Hemel’s sixth Spring Development Meet was the biggest yet, with over 460 swimmers from twelve clubs competing in more than 1,800 swims over the weekend. There was some fantastic swimming urged on by noisy support from their teammates poolside and parents in the crowded gallery. The 90 Hemel swimmers enjoyed a very successful meet with 60 swims achieving the goal of being too fast to win a medal (confused? – see below!), winning 72 gold medals, 95 silvers and bronzes, setting 97 new personal best times and with 103 first time swims, all from 390 entries. Jo Lee-Pearce set two new age group masters records, Charlotte Gillham was too fast in six of her swims, Kizzie Beckwith in five, and Daniel Belsey, Pippa Croucher, Chloe Hodgkinson, Daniel Keates, Tilly Stratford and Louisa Wilson (competing in her first open) were all too fast in three. Special mention also of the Davies brothers with Elliott clocking up 7 golds and 4 silvers, and Ben 6 golds, 3 silvers and 2 bronzes.
Our Spring Development Meet is specifically designed to give younger/less experienced swimmers an opportunity to compete and succeed. To achieve this we set “no faster than entry times” broadly designed to exclude those swimmers who qualify for county championships. If a swimmer then swims faster than the entry time limit during the competition they receive a speeding ticket rather than a medal; speeding tickets may have less bling appeal, but they should be viewed as even more of an achievement than winning gold!
Jo Lee-Pearce’s two new age group records in the 50 back and 200 IM smashed the previous records which were set so long ago that they’re just described as “sometime before 2007”!
George Ball set five 5 PBs, getting a speeding ticket in the 100 back with a massive improvement of 10 seconds, and winning gold in the 100 fly in his first attempt at the race. Seyi Bankole set four strong PBs in winning 2 golds and a silver, whilst Elise Beardsworth, in her first open, achieved a speeding ticket, 1 gold and 2 silvers. Kizzie Beckwith set 3 new PBs in achieving her speeding tickets whilst older sister Tilly achieved two speeding tickets including a remarkable 35 second improvement in her 200 breast alongside a silver medal. Daniel Belsey set two PBs alongside his speeding tickets whilst twin sister Rachel won a silver. Kieran Brevern won a silver and bronze with 3 PBs from 3 races, whilst younger brother Neil achieved a speeding ticket, a silver and 2 bronzes with 4 PBs in 4 races.
Seve Carrillo de Albornoz achieved a speeding ticket and won 2 golds in the 200 free and 200 back, setting a massive 10 second PB in the free and in his first competitive swim in the back. Anne-Marie Chijuka achieved a speeding ticket whilst Lewis Clark achieved a speeding ticket and gold in the 200 back. Arthur Coldwell won a silver and 2 bronzes whilst older sister Mabel achieved a speeding ticket, 2 golds and 4 silvers, setting 6 PBs in the process. Kate Cresswell won 3 golds and 2 bronzes with 6 PBs, Heidi Croucher set 2 excellent PBs in the 50 breast and fly and older sister Pippa won bronze alongside her speeding tickets, setting good PBs in all four of her races.
Ben Davies set 5 PBs alonsgide his impressive medal haul, younger brother Elliott set an even more impressive 9 PBs including an excellent 12 second improvement in the 200 back, whilst younger sister Lily achieved a speeding ticket, won a gold and silver in her first competitive outing in the 200 back and 200 IM, and set 6 PBs including a massive 21 seconds in the 100 back, 15 seconds in the 100 free and almost 10 seconds in the 100 breast. Lois Emery won 4 silvers and a bronze, Chibikem Ezennia won a bronze alongside a 20 second PB in the 100 IM, and Amarah Frazer Williams set 4 PBs in four races including a 14 second improvement in the 100 fly and a 16 second improvement in the 100 back.
Alongside her haul of speeding tickets, Charlotte Gillham also won a silver and set 5 PBs including a 27 second improvement in the 200 breast and a 14 second improvement in the 100 free, whilst younger brother Elliott in his first open achieved a speeding ticket and a silver. Freya Goad achieved two speeding tickets and a bronze with four PBs in four swims whilst Aaron Harburn won a silver and bronze alonsgide two good PBs. Chloe Hodgkinson won a bronze to go with her speeding tickets, Finn Jackson won a silver and Izzy Jelfs achieved two speeding tickets and a gold, setting an impressive 13 second PB in her 50 free. In addition to his three speeding tickets, Daniel Keates won 2 golds, one in his first competitive outing in a 200 back, and 2 bronzes along with a massive 17 second PB in the 200 free. Dylan Kennell won 2 golds, 3 silvers and a bronze with strong PBs in the 100 IM and 100 fly, whilst younger brother Ryan won a gold in the 100 back in his first competitive swim in the event.
Leoni Lee set a 13 second PB for her 100 free whilst Rohan Liddar won gold in the 200 IM and bronze in the 200 back alongside an impressive10 second PB in his 50 fly. Jake Lockhart set a massive 20 second PB in the 200 free where he won bronze, whilst sister Skye won gold in the 50 free with a 3 second PB. Katie-Fleur Lodge set five new PBs in five swims including improving her 50 fly time by 11 seconds. Niall Marsden achieved two speeding tickets, won gold in the 100 back and set three PBs, whilst younger brother Zayne won two bronzes and set five PBs in five swims, three of them by more than ten seconds.
Rayne Marsh won 3 golds and 3 silvers whilst setting four PBs, whilst Mia Maslen Wollington achieved two speeding tickets and 2 golds which included a massive 10 second PB on her 50 back. Matthew Morley in his first open got a speeding ticket and 2 silvers, whilst Albert Newbury-Kemp got 2 golds and set an impressive 13 second PB for his 50 free. Mason O’Brien won gold in the 100 breast and knocked a massive 17 seconds off his 200 free time, whilst older brother Tyler won a gold, 2 silvers (which included an excellent 9 second improvement on his 200 IM) and 2 bronzes. Isabella O’Leary achieved two speeding tickets in her first competitive outing in the 100 IM and 50 back along with a bronze, Nathan Parker won a gold, a silver (with an 8 second PB) and a bronze (with an even more impressive 18 second PB), whilst older sister Vanessa won gold in the 100 IM.
Justin Patrick won three golds (which included an 11 second PB in the 100 IM and a 20 second PB in the 100 fly), a silver in the 200 breast with a staggering 30 second PB and 2 bronzes, whilst younger sister Kelly won golds in the 50 free with a 7 second PB in her first competitive swim of a 100 IM. Georgie Pearce won a silver and bronze, the latter in the 200 free with PB of just under 10 seconds, Amelie Perrault won silver in the 200 breast with a PB of just under 6 seconds, and younger brother Matthieu won two golds, the 200 back with a huge PB of nearly 17 seconds, and a silver along with a 10 second PB in the 100 breast.
Competition is mounting amongst our male Masters swimmers in the 200 fly with Matthew Rafiq-Craske putting in an impressive 8 second PB to win gold, but good though that performance was, daughter Zara posted a 20 second PB to win bronze in the 200 free. Mia Smith won two golds and set three large PBs alongside two first time swims. Amber Stratford achieved one speeding ticket alongside three golds and a silver whilst younger sister Tilly achieved a gold in the 200 free with an impressive 10 second PB alongside her haul of speeding tickets. Jess Walters won 3 golds from her 3 swims whilst younger sister Caitlin achieved a speeding ticket and won gold in her first competitive swim in a 200 IM.
Sam Warner won a gold and 2 silvers from three swims, all with good PBs, Henry White achieved a speeding ticket in the 100 breast, and Nathan Whiting set an impressive 15 second PB in the 200 breast to claim silver. Logan Wiles claimed two speeding tickets whilst older sister Maddison claimed one alongside a couple of impressive PBs in the 100 free and 50 breast. Calum Winton won three golds whilst Alex Wood posted an impressive 14 second PB in the 100 back to claim bronze. Jack Wright won a gold and bronze, whilst finally Emily Young achieved two speeding tickets with massive PBs of 13 and 18 seconds respectively in the 100 fly and 200 IM.
Organising a team of 90 swimmers over a long weekend is no mean feat, so hats off to Head Coach Oliver and everyone who helped out poolside making sure that swimmers knew when they should be swimming and giving feedback on performance. Thanks also to all the new and not so new parents who helped manage the event, and in particular to the older swimmers who were helping out either front of house selling cakes and refreshments or behind the scenes helping with results, announcing and stewarding.