Hemel Hempstead SC has concluded three weekends of Sprint Club Championships with swimmers from all sections of the club, from 6 year-olds to Masters, taking part.
For some swimmers this was their first taste of competition and, whilst the home atmosphere was friendly, the competitive spirit ran high with some fierce racing.
In the girls 7-and-under age group Sophie Lennon-Fakes ran away with all the spoils, winning the 25m freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke events.
In the same age group for the boys Sam Garratt took home three out of four gold medals, losing out to Reuben Balch in the 25m backstroke who, at the young age of 6, broke the 6-and-under Club Record. Mason Mills was another 6 year-old record breaker, beating his older brother Harrison’s previous best time in the 25m freestyle.
Harrison Mills won all his four events in the 8-year boys’ age group. In the girls the spoils were shared between Amber Stratford and Sian Pirrie, quite literally in the case of the 25m butterfly in which they finished on a dead heat. Stratford took the 25m freestyle and backstroke with the breaststroke falling to Pirrie.
The 9-year girls’ age group saw four competitors dividing up the gold medals. Jasmine Coe took three in the 50m butterfly, 100m breaststroke and 100m IM, Jessica Hubbard took two in the 50m and 100m freestyle, as did Holly Carter in the 50m and 100m backstroke, leaving Holly Talland to claim the 50m breaststroke.
The 9-year boys was another mixed bag with Sam Gaines claiming five golds across a range of disciplines in the 50m and 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle, 100m breaststroke and 100m IM. Ashley Coombs proved his sprinting prowess with golds in the 50m freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke, whilst Tyler O’Brien triumphed in the 100m backstroke.
Alice Fender and Shaminah Sherwani-Keeling shared the honours for the most wins in the 10-year girls with Alice claiming the 50m and 100m freestyle, 100m breaststroke and 100m IM, Shaminah won the 50m and 100m events in both backstroke and butterfly. Olivia Christodoulou was the other winner in the 50m breaststroke.
The 10-year boys was almost a one-man show with Max Jelfs claiming eight out of nine titles, the 50m breaststroke falling to Edward Shaw. Jelfs broke two club records in the 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke.
Megan Pirrie dominated the 11-year girls category, winning every single event and breaking her own 50m breaststroke club record along the way.
Ben Garratt and Thushira Kumarage slugged it out in the 11-year boys. Garratt took five titles to Kumarage’s four in a closely fought contest.
Aimee Abrey won six events in the 12-year girls. Two of the remaining victories went to Emily Jelfs in the 50m freestyle and 100m butterfly with Lauren Windsor taking the 50m butterfly.
Kyle Holmes excelled in the 12-year boys with seven wins but Josh Gaines didn’t let him have it all his own way, claiming gold in the 50m and 100m backstroke.
Paige Wilding was a six-times winner in the 13-year girls, losing out only to Molly McLoughlin in the 50m freestyle and Becky Farrow in her favoured 100m butterfly.
Peter Kennett took three golds in the 13-year boys, with Lewis Beardsworth and Louis Dunham each claiming two gold medals and Carl Prince and Joshua Coulson taking home one gold apiece.
Devon Prior was a force to be reckoned with in the 14-15 girls winning the knock-out IM Skins event as well as five individual gold medals. Prior broke a total of four club records along the way, the 50m and 100m breaststroke as well as the 100m freestyle and 100m IM. Charlotte Ballard took the 50m backstroke and 50m freestyle with Darcy Holmes claiming the 100m backstroke.
Tom Sherriff was on form in the 14-15 boys, claiming six wins and a club record in the 100m IM. Brother Matt Sherriff took the 50m freestyle with Robert Sizeland triumphing in the 50m backstroke and 100m butterfly.
It was a clean sweep for Kira Doyle in the 16-24 girls who went home with all nine gold medals up for grabs.
Sam Pigott came close to matching Doyle’s achievement in the boys’ 16-24, thwarted only by breaststroke specialist Adam Daniell in the 50m and 100m events. Pigott was also the victor in the boys’ IM Skins.
Finally the 25-and-over category saw Adrienne Monger take the 50m and 100m freestyle and the 100m butterfly with Pam Ware winning the 50m breaststroke and 100m IM. Monger also bettered her own previous club record in the 100m freestyle.
Bill Woodhouse’s return to competitive swimming in the Masters age group saw him re-writing the record books. He broke an impressive eight records out of eight events, the oldest being the 100m backstroke which had stood since 1991. Not surprisingly, Woodhouse won every event, apart from the 100m butterfly which he did not contest, leaving the door open for Kevin McKenna to claim victory.