Hemel Hempstead swimmers make a flying start at Club Championships

Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club's new diving blocks were installed last week
Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club's new diving blocks were installed last week

With the club’s newly installed starting blocks in action for the first time, the Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club 2014 Club Championships kicked off with Session 1 on Thursday evening.

The session saw two of the most challenging events – the boys’ 1,500m freestyle and the girls’ 400m IM – and the swimmers recorded personal bests in nearly every swim on the night.

First up on the night were the boys, with age group victories going to Reuben Balch (10), Luke Pestaille (11), Jonny Farrow (12), Max Jelfs (13), Harrison Newbury-Kemp (14-15) and Tom Sherriff (Open) .

Sherriff, Freddie Woodcock, Jelfs and Newbury-Kemp destroyed their county times, while Jelfs was also comfortably inside his regional time for next summer.

Dispelling the myth that distance Freestyle is boring were Newbury-Kemp and Sonny Carter in the 14-year-old category.

The boys were within a couple of metres of eachother through the entire race, with both swimmers ultimately touching together after a sprint finish with identical times of 19:16:36. Newbury-Kemp was awarded the touch by the judges.

In the girls’ 400m IM, the age group winners were Tilly Beckwith (10), Lois Goad (11), Eleanor Bevan (12), Alice Fender (13), Emily Jelfs (14-15) and Aimee Abrey (Open).

Millie Anderson, Beckwith, Georgia Purkis, Bevan, Leanne Abrey, Fender, Shaminah Sherwani-Keeling, Keelin McKenna, Jelfs, Aimee Abrey, Grace Rayner and Ellen Fender clocked county times, with a number of other swimmers near and likely to join them before the qualifying window closes.

The most exciting 400m IM race on the night was saved to last and as Rayner and Abrey battled it out in the final heat for the open title.

The lead changed throughout the strokes with Abrey taking it on the touch in 5:21:61 – one hundredth of a second ahead of Rayner.

Both girls were inside the previous club open record and well inside their regional qualifying times for next year