For the first time in 10 years Hemel Hempstead SC has two teams in Division One of the Herts Major League – and as luck would have it they were drawn against each other in the first round of the competition on Saturday.
The A Team was in dominant form, coming first by a margin of more than 30 points, finishing in the top three of 43 of the 49 events with 16 wins and 27 second and third places.
There were also new club age group records set by Becca Sewell in the 100m backstroke and Max Jelfs in the 100m butterfly.
Faced with such a strong performance from their team-mates, the B Team did well to achieve nine second and third places, finishing sixth on the night.
Individual first places were achieved by Aimee Abrey (100 back), Leanne Abrey (100 breast), Millie Anderton (50 back), Reuben Balch (50 back), Millie Herbert (50 breast), Max Jelfs (100 fly), Mason Mills (50 breast), Becca Sewell (100 back), Jack Spence (100 free and 100 back) and Paige Wilding (100 breast).
Relay firsts went to the open girls’ free team (Emily Jelfs, Aimee Abrey, Paige Wilding and Lois Moore), the open boys’ medley and free teams (Jack Spence, Jack Christie, Tom Sherriff, Matt Sherriff), the girls’ 15 and under medley team (Becca Sewell, Leanne Abrey, Minah Sherwani-Keeling and Alice Fender) and the girls’ 11 and under medley team (Millie Anderton, Millie Herbert, Freya Beresford and Holly Robinson).
As this was the first competition after the Christmas festivities it was gratifying for the club to see a significant number of new personal best times; Lois Emery and Luke Pestaille set the bar high, improving their 100 fly times by a remarkable 6 and 5s respectively, with significant improvements also achieved by Reuben Balch, Freya Beresford, Joe Coldwell, Millie Herbert, Max Jelfs, Helen Jennings, Katie-Fleur-Lodge, Mattias Morse, Daniel Keates, Shona McKenna, Henry Newbury-Kemp and Becci Rumble.
With over 60 Hemel swimmers taking part, the support for the competitors in the pool was fantastic throughout the evening, regardless of which team they were in.
The club extended their thanks to Alan Doyle, Lauren Wilding, Alan Coldwell and Terry Davies for their coaching support throughout the evening and to all of the poolside helpers for making sure that the right swimmers were in the right place at all times.