Message from our National Secretary

The 44th Cup Final and 13th B Final took place on the weekend of 20th /21st April at the Cardiff International Pool.

Following a booking problem at Ponds Forge, Sheffield, the Arena League found itself homeless for its National Finals. There are so few 10-lane 50m in the UK that it was difficult to find the pool which ticked all the boxes.

Cardiff International Pool became the intimate venue for the greatest inter-club competition, in the country, sponsored by Arena. Almost 400 teams took part in the rounds in October, November and December 2012.

The individual league winners and runners-up were invited to take part in the finals, plus the next six top teams, decided by virtual gala. The winners of the East Midlands league, City of Peterborough, decided not to accept the invitation, so, very late in the day, Amersham agreed to swim in the Cup Final, and Windsor agreed to swim in the B Final. I thank both clubs for their outstanding dedication to their swimmers, allowing their swimmers the best opportunity.

The venue was a huge success, primarily because of the excellent staff at the pool, who worked to ensure that nothing was a problem. The format of the events, other than the two galas being on separate days, was the same as in previous years. Representatives of the ten clubs paraded on, and stood in front of their own spectators, so the spectators automatically became part of the event. Both Arena Finals were opened by Josie Grange, the ASA President.

The competition during the events was close with the B Final finishing with a win for Preston by only one point. Stockport Metro won the Relay Challenge and the spectators from the City of Derby won the best supporters prize.

The Cup Final was also close. At various points during the gala, when the scores were read out, there was a dead heat for second place, with fourth place being only a couple of points away. A fantastic competition! Plymouth Leander were the eventual winners and they also won the Relay Challenge. The spectators from the City of Liverpool won the best supporters prize.

It is probably true to say however, that all the swimmers were the ultimate winners, just by being there and having the opportunity to take part in the event in an excellent venue.

A summary of the result of the survey will be shown on the website as soon as it is known. The venue for 2014 on the weekend 26th /27th April will be announced soon.

Meanwhile check out the article in the next issue of Swimming Times about the fantastic Arena League Finals.

Ian Mackenzie - Secretary