A group of 57 juniors from Berkhamsted Swimming Club competed in Divisions One and Three of the Herts Peanuts League at the weekend.
The A team took to the pool at Hemel Hempstead and had a roller coaster night, fluctuating between second and fourth place before recovering to finish in an excellent third overall.
Meanwhile, the B team recorded a second consecutive second placed finish and look good to challenge for promotion to Division Two when the final round comes up in four weeks’ time.
The A team challenge was to see whether they could make the winners’ gala in the final round after just a fourth placing in the first round.
Swimmers of the night, awarded by A team coach Michelle Hewson, were James Boylan and Lydia Wisely.
Boylan gave the squad their first win in the 10 years’ freestyle after they began with a brace of seconds from Lara Coster and Tom Holmes-Higgin in the nine years’ fly. Boylan won by 1.5s, a huge margin in a one-length race.
He was followed by Abi Hewson who was pushed all the way to take victory in the 11 years’ 50m back by just 0.08s. Both Boylan and Hewson swam PBs, with Hewson setting a club age group best.
James Corner, building on his regional swim in May, got ever closer to the 30s barrier when taking a close 50m free win in 30.24s.
Imogen Crowther stepped up from the B team on the day and was completely unfazed, swimming a 2.5s PB in her 9 years’ backstroke.
Another winner by a distance was Tamsin Moren, who finished 1.7s clear in the 9 years’ breaststroke.
But it was in the 12 years’ 50m fly that the squad showed their quality when Izzie Soulsby broke the club best, setting PB and touching almost 2s clear. Ish Rahim then destroyed his field with a 6.4s victory in the boys’ event immediately afterwards.
Rahim led the 12 years’ boys squad of Callum Bullock, Harrison Bullock and George Thorne to an unbeaten night in the relays, including the penultimate race.
Ollie Benton was a first time victor in a for the club, taking the 10 years’ backstroke, and there were PBs for Dan Chennells, Thorne, Sam Baker, Roisin Clarke, Callum Bullock, Danny Hoyes, Izzy Sansom, and Harrison Bullock.
Sansom, Soulsby and Clarke swam with Amelie Baker to set new club figures for the 12-year-olds’ medley relay, clocking 2:27.66 for second place.
At The Venue in Borehamwood, the B team only had to wait until event two for their first win when Harry Lines came through to win in the 10 years’ freestyle in an almost four-second PB.
Jack Bowers earned male swimmer of the night with two victories in the 12 years’ breastroke and freestyle, both in PB times.
Girls’ swimmer of the night went to Alex Farnham who went PB in both her free and breaststroke races.
Ellie Matthews beat the club 11-year freestyle best time to win her race, swiftly followed by Dan Stace who had clear water between himself and second place as he stormed home.
Fin Ferguson was another first time swimmer and emulated Lines’ feat when he romped home by over two seconds to take the 10 years breaststroke.
The boys’ 10-year-old relay squad of Ferguson, Lines, David Graham and Ben Jones showed the club’s strength in depth with the two first-timers helping the squad to a further unbeaten night in the relays.
Indeed, Graham’s lead off leg in the free relay took him to a 1.10s PB to set up the win.
Clemmie Holmes was another to set PB with her free relay lead off leg for the 10-year-old girls, beating the time she set in the first race of the night for her individual free.
Matilda Verney-Kershaw, Euan Donald, Sophie Eastham, Maddie Morris,Anna Stelfox, Lauren Collingwood, Matthews, Charlie Woodmansee and Helena Martin all set individual PBs. Donald went quicker than previously in every race he swam.
Adam Francas was one of several to push for selection for the A team when he set PBs in both his freestyle and backstroke.
The squads were completed by Meme Hancock, Tom Stoker, Elliss MacNab, Elise Ansell, Ruby Stimpson, Conall Clarke, Daisy Laing, Grace Payne, Izzy Painter, Marcus Donald, Jamie Powell, Alex Davis, Izzie MacDonald, Essie Harrison, Jacob D’Cunha, Zoe Kenney, Hannah Davis and Evie Watson.