Heroic Hemel Haul!


Hemel masters win 10 medals at Bracknell

A small – but dedicated – team of 6 HHSC Masters made the journey to Bracknell to swim their hearts out in the name of Club at the Bracknell Masters Open.  The “Hemel Heroes” achieved an impressive haul of 10 (ten!) medals, with every swimmer garnering at least one.  Three of the swimmers then competed for the Hemel team in Division 3 of Herts Major League the same evening – there’s commitment!

After an easy ride to the pools, things got tougher for the team, with a high calibre of competitors at the meet.   A number of swimmers at the meet were going for records, and several were broken.

Dave Pirrie was the star of the show, racking up a full house of a gold, a silver and a bronze medal, His gold for 100m breaststroke was superb, he came in over 5 seconds ahead of the next person!  His silver was for the 100 IM was brilliant, close to his best, and his bronze was for 50 Free, against a lot of very good competition.

Rachel Barber and Kevin McKenna both won 2 medals, a silver and a bronze each.

In addition to her silver for 50 front crawl, Rachel achieved a PB for her 100 I.M. and a bronze plus a P.B . for her 50 back.  So an excellent result in all three of her races!   It was a great day for her, also completing on her first house!

Kevin had some very good races, his silver for 50 back was for a time only 0.1 seconds off his P.B. and his bronze for the 100 IM 0.5 seconds off.  His 50 front crawl was a fantastic swim and was only 0.5 off his best.  Kevin also did the driving there and back – thanks Kev!

Mark scored a superb gold for 100m fly.  Of course, he could have won a second medal after a very good 50 front crawl.  Only problem was, he somehow completely missed the wall on his turn!  We’re not sure if he needs prescription goggles.  DQ!  So frustrating, when even after a non-turn, and easing back on the return leg, his time was only 1.4 seconds off his entry time.

In a team head to head, Matt Rafiq-Craske won a bronze in his 100m fly, an excellent achievement.  It was a real Hemel head to head – Matt and Mark in the same heat, and though Mark later drew ahead, in Matt’s proudest moment of the day, he was leading Mark on the turn!

Bev McKenna gave her first 100m race in her life a go, managed to finish the IM, despite almost stopping in the first length.  She could not believe she was in front so thought there must have been a false start.  Instruction: never, never, ever, stop!   She also won a bronze in the 50m back.

Finally, the “boys” swam the over 200 Freestyle Relay and achieved an awesome time of 57.16 seconds!   The “No Breathing” rule was a key factor, we’re sure.  It can get even better in the future,  as Kevin said afterwards that he forgot for a moment it was a Dash, and breathed a couple of times before putting his head down.  55 seconds next, men!

It was a terrific afternoon with lots of triumphs for the Hemel team. Even more impressive as we assured ourselves that it was a “slow” pool. Afterwards, Rachel, Dave and Mark zoomed off to Borehamwood to swim again for Hemel 2 in the Herts Majors the same evening.  As I said, dedicated!

Congratulations to them all, we look forward to news of the next Masters Meet.

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We are a competitive sport club - with our swimmers competing at all levels from local team galas to National and European events.