Bishop's Stortford Round One Victory

On Saturday 12th October 2013, a 35-strong team of swimmers (19 boys & 13 girls) from Bishop’s Stortford Swimming Club competed in the first round of the National Arena League held at Eltham Sports & Leisure Centre in South London, against opponents Harrow, Islington Anaconda, Lewisham Saxon Crown, Haringey Aquatics, Potters Bar, Hitchin, and Halstead.

BSSC dominated the event from start to finish, and won the Round convincingly with 27 top 3 places out of 50 events – 21 of those were 1sts, 7 were 2nd places and 9 were 3rd places.  In addition, many PB’s and club records were gained on the night.

Starting off the competition strongly on a winning note was Amy Young, 14, who stormed ahead in the Ladies Open 200m Individual Medley, gaining 1st position by a clear margin, and breaking the Club record, in 2:32.44.

Stuart Clarke, 29, also started off his busy evening strongly in the Men’s Open 200m IM, gaining 3rd position in a time of 2:16.39.

Next up were the Girls 11/U 4 x 50m free relay team of Jessica Penkul, Anya Fletcher, Sarah Carroll & Nellie Eastland all aged 11, who had a fantastic race with Jess, Sarah & Nellie all gaining split PB’s (35.65, 33.09 & 33.26 respectively) and securing 2nd position in a time of 2:18.02.

The Boys 11/U free relay team of Bryn Couser (11), Alex Catton (10), Amrik Braico (11) & Nicholas Botha (10) started off their night with 3 split PB’s in that event (Alex – 39.09, Amrik - 35.18 & Nick – 34.37), finishing 5th in 2:27.09.

The Girls 13/U 4 x 50m medley relay team of Zara Pretious White (back), Meg Wickham (breast), Megan Cook (fly) & Ellie Mitchell (free) dominated this event.  Zara came in first in the backstroke leg finishing very strongly, and Meg Wickham gained a huge lead in the breaststroke leg with a split PB of 37:64.  Megan and Ellie held the lead to the finish, winning easily and with a huge margin, in a time of 2:13.38.

For the Boys 13/U 4 x 50m medley relay team, again 3 split PB’s were set, with Daniel Chada, age 12, (back) 34.36 split PB, Steven Raphy, age 13, (breaststroke) 43.91, Callum Davis, age 13, (fly) 31.06 split PB, & Joe Taylor, age 13, (free) 29.22 split PB.  The boys secured 3rd position in this event in a time of 2:18.55.  

Next up were the Girls 15/U 4 x 50m free relay team, consisting of Amy Young, Cira Fletcher, Megan Cook (swimming up an age group) & Ellie Mitchell (also swimming up).  Amy swam the first leg in 29.88, with Cira gaining a good lead in the second leg (30.88), Megan held the lead in leg 3 in 29.74 with Ellie Mitchell completing the girls’ victory in 29.34.  The team won this event in a time of 1:59.84, a full six seconds ahead of their nearest rivals!

The Boys 15/U 4 x 50m freestyle relay team was made up of Cameron Brickel (27.98), Nathan Holmes (28.24) Joe Taylor (swimming up an age group – 29.70) and Callum Davis (also swimming up – 28.96).  The boys came 5th in a time of 1:54.88.

Two more 4 x 50m Medley Relay team victories included the Ladies Open, consisting of Zara Pretious-White (back – swimming up), Bernice Edgeworth (breast), Lizzie Bellinger (fly) & Jess Wacey (free) – who won their event in a time of 1:12.78.  Lizzie gained a great lead in the fly leg, which Jess held on to in the Free to come in 1st.   

The Men’s Open was in the form of Ollie Barker (back), Matt Aldous-Horne (breast), Geoff Short (fly) & Stu Clarke (free).  Ollie had a very strong first backstroke leg, touching the wall first, with Matt & Geoff doing a great job of the breast & fly respectively – Stu then powered home in the final leg of Freestyle in a very exciting and nailbiting finish, overtaking Potters Bar at the post to win the event in a time of 1:54.18.

Several other of our relay teams were also looking very strong and won their events - the Girls 13/U 4 x 50m Freestyle relay team of Ellie Mitchell, Meg Wickham, Zara Pretious-White & Megan Cook came 1st in a time of 2:02.96 with Meg Wickham swimming a split PB of 30.77.  The Girls 15/U 4 x 50m Medley relay team of Ellie Mitchell (back – swimming up), Cira Fletcher (breast), Amy Young (fly) & Megan Cook (free – swimming up) won their relay in a time of 2:14.63.  

Third place relay teams were the Boys 11/U 4 x 50m Medley team of Alex Catton (back), Bryn Couser (breast), Amrik Braico (fly) & Nick Botha (free) in a time of 2:52.59 with Alex swimming a split PB of 41.81 in the backstroke.  The Boys 13/U 4 x 50m Free team of William Picton, Callum Davis, Matthew Crafford & Joe Taylor also came third in their relay in a time of 2:01.64, with William & Matthew swimming split PB’s of 31.04 & 31.23 respectively.  Nathan Holmes, Joe Collins, Callum Davis & Cameron Brickel gained 3rd position also in their Boys 15/U 4 x 50m Medley relay, with Callum again swimming up an age group.  Joe Collins & Cameron Brickel gained split PB times in that event of 34.77 & 27.77 respectively.

5th spot went to the Girls 11/U 4 x 50m Medley relay team of Jess Penkul, Sarah Carroll, Anya Fletcher & Nellie Eastland in a time of 2:44.94 with Jess swimming a split PB of 42.44.

In the individual events, performances of note were Masters record-breaking fly swimmer & Herts & Essex PE teacher Lizzie Bellinger, who dominated the Ladies Open 100m Butterfly from the outset through to the finish, winning in a time of 1:07.55.   Geoff Short gave an outstanding performance in the Mens Open 50m Butterfly, setting a new Club record of 59.53, and winning the event.  Bryn Couser swam a PB and a new Club record in the Boys 11/U 50m Breaststroke, coming in 2nd.  A new Club record was also set by 14 year old Joe Collins, who swam a fantastic PB in the Boys 15/U Breastroke in 1:15.80, coming in 3rd.

Other first places gained include Meg Wickham, 13/U 100m Breaststroke (1:23.19), Geoff Short, Mens Open 100m Butterfly (59.53 & Club Record), Ellie Mitchell, 13/U 100m Backstroke (1:11.81) - Ellie also won the 13/U 100m Freestyle (1:04.38), Amy Young, Girls 15/U 100m butterfly (1:09.88) - Amy also won the 15/U 100m Freestyle (1:03.83), Ollie Barker, Mens Open 100m Backstroke (1:03.56), Megan Cook, Girls 13/U 100m Butterfly (1:14.05), Cira Fletcher, 15/U 100m Breaststroke (1:23.45), Jess Wacey, Ladies Open 100m Freestyle (1:03.66) and Stu Clarke, Mens Open 100m Freestyle (54:78).

Amrik Braico had a great race in the Boys 11/U 50m Backstroke, gaining 2nd place and a PB of 40.86. Other second place finishes went to the Ellie Mitchell, Girls 15/U 100m Backstroke (swimming up an age group 1:09.72), Sarah Carroll, 11/U Breaststroke (43.29) and Cira Fletcher, Girls Open 100m Breaststroke (swimming up 1:23.91).

Third place finishes went to Joe Taylor, Boys 13/U 100m Backstroke (1:12.47) and also the Boys 13/U 100m Freestyle (1:04.42) and Cameron Brickel, Boys 15/U 100m Free (1:00.53).

Finally, two very exciting Open 6 x 50m Free squadron relays took place to finish, with both Stortford teams seeing off all opposition and winning them both convincingly.  The Ladies team were Bernice Edgeworth, Jess Wacey, Megan Cook, Amy Young, Ellie Mitchell & Lizzie Bellinger, who won their relay in 2:59.18 with Amy Young gaining a split PB of 28.59.  The Men’s team was made up of Ollie Barker, Kieran Raphy, Michael Alexander, Matt Aldous-Horne, Geoff Short & Stu Clarke.  They won their very nail-biting relay in a time of 2:35.78, with Kieran swimming a split PB of 26.76.  Michael Alexander had a particularly strong swim, handing over to Geoff who maintained their position, culminating in an extremely exciting finish with Stu Clarke beating the opposition off in the final 10m to win overall!

We are now looking forward with great anticipation to the next round.