Berkhamsted Swimming Club were forced to settle for sixth place in the second round of the Arena League at the Inspire pool in Luton.
Despite setting club records in both of the final freestyle relays, and after a gala-long battle between themselves, Potters Bar & Saxon Crown for fourth place, the result sees Berkhamsted in the bottom half gala for the final round in December – but should see them safe from relegation barring any major upsets.
The girls in the final relays were Amy Pemberton (28.94), Yazii Brand (30.22), Jess Potts (29.81), Eleanor Joliffe (29.08), Rachel Barber (28.75) and Eli MacDonald (28.55) who dropped the record to 2:55.35 and fourth place.
Jordan Northwood (26.13), Tom Strakosch (25.97), Ollie Hurst (27.68), Jamie Hoyes (25.59), Tom Lyons (27.00) and Chris Nel (25.20) combined for 2:37.57 and sixth place for the boys.
At the start of the gala, Emma Walker, Izzie Painter, Izzie MacDonald and a storming final leg from Abi Hewson combined to 2:26.99 for an exciting fifth place in the U12 free relay.
Meanwhile Tom Holmes-Higgin led off the squad of David Graham, Sam Baker and Charlie Woodmansee in their free relay with a PB of his own; finishing his leg in 36.30.
In the U14 boys’ medley, George Thorne led off on the backstroke leg with his own PBof 37.02, before Kieran Mallory, Ish Rahim and then James Corner took over for second place in 2:18.00.
The U16 boys’ squad of Jamie Hoyes, Mason Brand, Tom Weston and Chris Nel then narrowly lost the free relay to Potters Bar as the quartet dropped their own record from the previous round in October to 1:44.41.
The first win of the night went to Abi Hewson in a tightly fought U12 backstroke as she hung on to take the touch by just 0.04 seconds.
Tom Lyons went out hard in his open 100 fly and set a PB of 1:04.43; this was followed by Izzie Painter taking second in her U12 50m fly in a PB of 38.64.
In the U14 age group Ish Rahim took second place in his 100m backstroke, reducing his time by over 1.5s for second place in 1:07.97. He then won the 100m fly in a PB of 1:08.05.
First time Arena swimmer Woodmansee swam a scintillating 50m breaststroke, improving by more than 2s to win in 46.50 as he and Rahim took the club’s male swimmer of the night award.
Jamie Hoyes and Tom Strakosch both set PBs and took fourth places in the U16 fly and open back, respectively.
Abbie Hurst, 14, took on the senior swimmers in the open 100m breast and took a merited third place in another PB, while both Amy Pemberton and Chris Nel (56.71 PB) were third in their U16 100m free races.
Hewson took second place in the U12 free, as did Hurst in her own age group breaststroke just minutes after her open effort.
Amelie Baker set a PB in her 100 free, and this was followed by PBs for both James Corner and Eli MacDonald in their respective freestyles.
Baker and Hurst shared the spoils for the club’s female swimmer of the night award for their efforts.
Hewson led off the U12 girls’ medley with Walker, Painter and Izzy MacDonald to take third place.
Corner, Mallory, Thorne and Rahim then pipped Saxon Crown, and they were followed by Charlotte Watson, Hurst, Ellen Northwood and Pemberton who claimed another second place in what was both an age group and open club medley relay time of 2:08.90.
Nel, Brand, Hoyes and Weston took third place in their medley, while Roisin Clarke, Izzy Sansom, Izzie Soulsby and Jack Filer comprised the remainder of a strong squad.