Eight swimmers from Hemel Hempstead travelled to Norwich over the last two weekends to take part in the East Region BAGCAT Championships. For four of them it was their first taste of competition at this high level.
Thushira Kumerage was the youngest, competing in the 10 year boys’ category, having only just recently moved up to this age group. Merely qualifying is tough enough in this situation, but Thushira went a step better, making it through to two finals. In the 200m breaststroke, going into the final as 6th fastest qualifier Thushi improved to finish in 5th place. He also managed to move up a place in the 100m breaststroke final, from 8th to 7th. Thushira also swam to 7th spot in the 400m freestyle, 11th in the 200m IM and 12th in both the 100m and 200m freestyle. His regional debut performances culminated in him finishing a very impressive ninth in the BAGCAT overall scores.
Megan Pirrie was another first-time qualifier to make the top ten in the overall listings. Megan swam 5 PBs out of 5 races. Her superb all-round technique earned her a 4th place in the gruelling 400m IM. She came 6th in the 400m freestyle and made the 200m IM final in which she finished 8th. Megan also just missed out on two more finals appearances, coming 9th and 11th in the 200m and 100m breaststroke respectively. Finishing tenth in the BAGCAT rankings, she was the highest placed 10 year-old competitor from Hertfordshire.
Breaststroke specialist Kyle Holmes competed in his first Regionals in the 11-year boys. Kyle, who, like Thushira, just moves up an age group, came into the championships on the back of a knee injury so wasn’t in peak form. He posted 11th in the 100m breaststroke and 12th in the 200m breaststroke.
Aimee Abrey was the other Regionals novice from Hemel. Aimee travelled to Norwich to take part in the 11 year-old girls’ 200m backstroke in which she came 21st.
Club Captain Tom Sherriff was the veteran of the competition swimming in his fourth championships. He claimed two top twenty placings with 17th in the 14-year boys’ 400m freestyle and 19th in the 100m freestyle. He also posted 22nd in the 200m freestyle.
Freddie Woodcock, another seasoned competitor, was unable to match previous performances due to a shoulder injury which resulted in him withdrawing from five out of the eight events for which he’d qualified. He finished 18th overall in the 13-year boys’ BAGCATs, with a 9th place in the 800m freestyle.
Hannah Bagley swam to 15th spot in the 12-year girls’ 100m breaststroke on the final afternoon of the competition, with Arthur Woodcock posting 18th in the 13-year boys’ 400m freestyle that morning.
Kelsey Doyle was the other swimmer to gain qualification for the competition but was unable to attend due to a clash with her school trip.
It is a great achievement to make the competition with qualifying times having been toughened up considerably this year. Hemel Hempstead continues to be successful at producing Regional level swimmers and the club will hope to field yet more qualifiers in 2011, whilst 2010’s group build on their experiences. Well done to them all.
See photo here.