Hemel swimmers excelled at Hemel Hempstead’s annual 101st Birthday Open with 314 PBs, 112 top three finishes, 81 new or improved County Championship qualifying times and 21 new Club records.
125 swimmers from Hemel were joined by swimmers from Banbury, Berkhamsted, Bourne End, Chesham, St Albans, Maxwell, Tring and Watford for a weekend of intense competition at Hemel Sportspace.
The meet was run over two days for the first time in 2013 to celebrate the Club’s 100th anniversary and proved such a success that the organisers made the decision to extend it to two days on a permanent basis.
Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning came down to the start of session 1 and met new Head Coach Justin Langford.
Amongst many fine performances, special mention must be made of Clara Stancombe and Rachel Barber who both obtained their first ever County qualifying times. Also of our gold medallists, most of whom won more than one event – Aimee Abrey, Leanne Abrey, Izzy Anderton, Seyi Bankole, Jack Christie, Jonny Farrow, Josh Gaines, Emily Jelfs, Justin Langford, Jo Lee-Pearce, Bethany Masters, Lois Moore, Georgia Purkis, Matthew Rafiq-Craske, Grace Rayner, Tom Sherriff, Jack Spence and Paige Wilding.
Two very exciting “skins” competitions, where the fastest 50 freestylers at the meet compete over 5 knockout rounds for cash prizes sponsored by Orchid Properties, were won by Abigail Green and Jack Pickford, both from Watford.
Watford also won the trophy for best visiting club with CoSTA narrowly edging out Berkhamsted to take second place.