|Another magnificent performance saw Hemel win the second round of the National Arena League in a new aggregate best time for the Club, beating the previous record set in the first round by 30 seconds; to put this in context, before this season the next fastest time was set in 2006! 32 of the 50 swims were faster than in the first round, there were 12 Arena records (i.e. the fastest time by a Hemel swimmer or relay team in this competition) of which 6 were new Club Records, 17 individual personal best times, 13 new or improved county qualifying times and 9 new or improved regional qualifying times. The team secured 12 first places and 16 second and thirds, but as with the first round it was the consistency and strength in depth of the squad that secured the win with all our swimmers finishing in the top six and no disqualifications.||
Hemel went into this round ranked third behind Brompton (who narrowly beat us in the first round) and Potters Bar. But Hemel led from the start and the competition rapidly became a two horse race with Brompton. By the half way point we had established a reasonable lead but Brompton came back strongly in the second half and in the end we held on to first place by a single point. Luton were third, Saxon Crown (Lewisham) fourth, Potters Bar fifth, Berkhamsted sixth, Hitchin seventh and Enfield B were eighth.
First places were achieved in the relays by the girls open medley team (Aimee Abrey, Grace Rayner, Lois Moore and Emily Jelfs), the boys open medley team (Josh Gaines, Jack Christie, Tom Sherriff and Jack Spence – a new Arena record), the 9-11 girls medley team (Tilly Beckwith, Millie Herbert, Freya Beresford and Millie Anderton) and the 12-13 girls free team (Georgia Purkis, Izzy Anderton, Eleanor Bevan and Shona McKenna). Individual first places were achieved by Eleanor Bevan (100 breast – a new Arena record), Jonny Farrow (100 back – a new Arena Record), Millie Herbert (50 breast), Lois Moore (100 fly), Becca Sewell (100 back), Tom Sherriff (100 fly – a new Arena record) and Jack Spence (100 back and 100 free – a new open Club record).
Other Club records were set by Alice Fender (14 yr old 50 free), Josh Gaines (open 200IM), Max Jelfs (14 yr old 100 back) and Grace Rayner (open 200IM and 100 breast), whilst other Hemel Arena records were set by Aimee Abrey (open 100 back), Georgia Purkis (13 yr old 100 free) and the girls open 6 x 50 free relay team of Emily Jelfs, Grace Rayner, Aimee Abrey, Kira Doyle, Becca Sewell and Lois Moore.
Congratulations to everyone else in the team without whom this victory wouldn’t have been possible – Leanne Abrey, Reuben Balch, Sonny Carter, Joe Coldwell, Chris Cox, Elliott Davies, Elliott Hutchings, Jacob Hutchings, Rob Jennings, Henry Newbury-Kemp, Luke Pestaille, Nathan Whiting and Aimee Woodage.