Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club ended their Arena National League campaign in style this weekend with a sweet victory in the final round, held in Enfield.
After a couple of tough previous rounds, the swimmers went into the final of the lower half of Division One, hoping to safeguard their place in the top division for next year. With 21 PBs and 33 top three finishes, the swimmers did not disappoint.
The evening opened with a solid round of relays, the 11/u and 13/u girls and 13/u boys all coming second in their relays. Then Tom Osborn swam a blisteringly fast final leg of the boys’ Open medley relay to claw back the leaders and claim the team’s first place of the night.
This was followed by the first individual win which fell to Paige Wilding in the 11/u backstroke. Paige was on determined form, claiming another first spot in the 50m breaststroke later on. Aimee Abrey stormed to first spot in the 11/u 50m butterfly and the 50m freestyle, giving the girls in that age group a clean sweep of individual wins.
Nationals competitor Victoria Fisher, having swum up an age group in her first 100m backstroke of the evening, in which she finished third, made sure of a win in her own 13/u event.
Kyle Holmes kept up his record of swimming faster in each round, taking the 11/u 50m breaststroke with another new personal best, and new club record, having also put in a PB in the freestyle relay, and then going even faster still in the breaststroke leg of the medley relay.
Curtis Barnett improved on his previous performances with a stonking PB in the 13/u 100m butterfly to claim another full set of winner’s points for the team.
The scores were close going into the final round of relays, but the 11/u girls of Freya Mayhew, Paige Wilding, Aimee Abrey and Mollie McLaughlin raised confidence levels with a victory in the medley relay, with PBs for Mayhew and McLaughlin. The 13/u boys took their freestyle relay and in the last event, the Open Boys 6x50m freestyle relay, Rob Hill and Liam Barnett topped off the celebrations with a PB apiece.
Other notable PBs included Lois Moore’s club record-breaking 100m butterfly and Kelsey Doyle’s club-record breaking 100m breaststroke, Kennet’s 50m individual backstroke and freestyle relay swim, Sam Pigott’s 100m butterfly, Harrison Robb’s 100m freestyle, Freddie Woodcock’s 100m breaststroke and Emma Jolly’s and Lauren Wilding’s 50m freestyle relay swims.
Hemel won the gala by 16 points. Bill Woodhouse, Team Manager, who steadily steered the team through all three rounds, told the swimmers ‘out of all 48 clubs competing in the London Region of the Arena League, Hemel has come 17th. This is a great achievement and is down to fantastic team work with all the swimmers supporting each other.’ Well done Hemel.