With a temporary lull in domestic competition Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club is a celebrating a record number of qualifiers for Winter Regionals, the first regional competition of the season held in early December. 20 swimmers have qualified to enter just under 120 events in a competition which traditionally has tough qualifying times.
Hemel Hempstead is part of the strong East Region which consists of clubs from Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. The competition is the first high level individual competition of the season for swimmers and will take place at the Luton Inspire pool over the weekend of 6 and 7 December 2014. Swimmers compete in the Short Course format at Winter Regionals, which means is a 25 metre pool. The season’s second Regional level of competition takes place in late Spring in the Long Course format, which is in an Olympic sized 50 metre pool.
With no individual age group qualifying times for younger swimmers, Winter Regionals is effectively an Open Event with some tough qualifying times. As further evidence of the continuing progress at Hemel Hempstead this season and the growing strength of its senior section the club has a record 20 qualifiers made up of 11 men and 9 ladies with Charlie Rayner the youngest qualifier at 13.
Individual qualifiers were Aimee Abrey, Rachel Barber, Greg Baxter, Jack Christie, Josh Frewin, Tom Frewin, Josh Gains, Alex Hatt, Emily Jelfs, Justin Langford, Bethany Masters, Molly McLouglin, Lois Moore, Matt Sherriff, Tom Sherriff, Jack Spence, Charlie Rayner, Grace Rayner, Paige Wilding and Freddie Woodcock.
A number of other swimmers came very close to qualifying including 13 yr old Leanne Abrey who was just 4 hundredths of a second from qualifying for the 200 breastsroke.
With just under 120 qualifying times many of the qualifiers earned the right to compete in multiple events with many well inside qualifying times. While the main focus of Winter Regionals are individual events, the club have also found themselves in the enviable position of being able to enter a complete range of relays for both Men and Ladies at Winter Regionals in the 4 x100 metre Medlay and Freestyle relays as well as the extremely tough 4x 200 Free Relay. This historically has only been achieved in the past by the strongest clubs in the region.
In preparation for the event as well as other competitions ahead this season 37 of Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club’s swimmers have been taking part in a week long intensive warm weather training camp in Tunisia over the last week of October.