Hemel swimmers gave their all as they battled for points at the final round of the National League in Eltham this weekend. The team was fighting to maintain its place in the League’s First Division. In order to avoid demotion, they had to finish in the top four out of eight.
There were many strong performances on the night. Victoria Fisher proved an invaluable asset to the team, gaining a PB on her 100m backstroke to finish fourth in the age group above her own, then breaking her record again to achieve a blistering time of 1.14.20 and take a win in the 13-and-under event. She was also a powerful force in the medley relay.
Other first place finishes went to Katie McLaren and Paul Mackie in the 15/u 100m freestyle and there were second places for Lois Moore, Tom Osborn and Liam Barnett in the 13/u, 15/u and Open 100m butterfly, as well as for Ben Page in the u/13 50m butterfly, who also came second in the 50m freestyle.
Lois Moore added to her second place with a third in her 13/u 100m freestyle race, with third places also awarded to Adam Daniell, 13/u 100m breaststroke, Jamie Keevill, 15/u 100m breaststroke, Paul Cox in the Open 100m backstroke and Frederick Woodcock in the 13/u 100m backstroke and 100m butterfly.
Despite a sweet period in the middle of the gala, with a number of top three finishes, it was a close call with Hemel Hempstead and their closest rivals swapping the coveted fourth position between them until the bitter end.
The team pulled out all the stops for the final run of relays. Danielle Bayliss put aside an injury picked up earlier in the meet to join her team-mates for the Open 6×50 freestyle. With every swimmer pulling their weight and encouraging one another, the team succeeded in clinching fourth spot by a nail biting three points, thus securing their place in Division One for another year in this toughest of leagues.