Berkhamsted - Round Three 2014

The final round of Arena League proved to be as exciting as it had been anticipated to be. With a severely depleted team due to illness which struck the squad in the last 4 days leading to the gala and with several  competing despite still being ill, the club came an amazing 3rd on the night.

Whilst the ravages of illness showed in the times swum, the whole squad came together in a spirit of unity and team ethos, stepping in to fill gaps as they arose with 2 swimmers actually going down on the night itself.

Notwithstanding all the travails some of the highlights of the night were:

Sam Newman taking third in the U16 backstroke chopping a huge 3.2 seconds off his pb to take the male swimmer of the night award allied to his 27.25 free relay leg and his 28.89 Fly relay split as well.

Amy Pemberton took the girls award on the night posting two 1.05s for her 100 Free within 10 minutes of each other and actually going faster to win the second one in her own age group. She had already taken third in the backstroke earlier, standing in at the last minute.

The first two races saw Charlotte Watson swimming the Open 200 IM with guts and determination despite, clearly being ill and then 15 year old Ollie Hurst stepped into the breach to fill a gap caused by sickness, to swim the Boys Open and promptly improved his own pb for 4th place.

Mason Brand was imperious, winning his Breaststroke before claiming victory and a pb in his 100 Back, leading both races from gun to touch.

There might not be much of George Thorne but he is a real racer and tore the field apart to take the U12 50 Fly and Hurst was metres clear when winning the U16 Breaststroke as well.
But, as usual the relays claimed valuable points for the club as team spirit triumphed. The U12 boys of James Corner, Marley Maidment, Kieran Mallory (late stand in and first time Arena swimmer) & George Thorne, won their Medley relay and came second in the Free.

The U14 Boys, Brand, Harry Thorne, Ish Rahim and Ollie Martin picked up a second and a third in their relays while Newman and Hurst teamed with Jamie Hoyes & Rahim (swimming up)in the U16 Free relay for 2nd and with Brand (swimming up) leading off on backstroke, took the win in the medley relay. Meanwhile the Open Boys, Harry Ormerod, Jack Filer, returning stalwart and ex club captain Tommy Sheldrick & Sam Gray pitched in with 2nd in the Open Medley relay as well.

Strakosch was involved in a real scrap in his backstroke using his enormous reach to take 2nd on the very last arm recovery!

Sheldrick was second in his Open Fly and has vowed to be back stronger in 2015!

Other pbs were set by Maidment in his U12, 50m Breast and Ish Rahim who took nearly 3 seconds from his 100 Fly best with an attacking swim for 3rd.
Busiest swimmers on the night were Pemberton and Izzie Soulsby who, uncomplainingly, both swam anything asked at very short notice.
Newcomers to the Arena scene, Kieran Mallory, Helena Martin, Maddie Kiernan, Aoife Hanling and Harry Thorne all swam themselves into contention for selection for the A team in 2015 and enjoyed the experience.

The squad was finished off by Evie Watson, Amy Stoker, Charley Stevens (all swimming ill), Abbie Brown, Jess Potts and Jenny Atwill. Every swimmer in the team can be proud of their efforts and thanks must also go to Zoe Watson, Sian MacDonald and Jan Stevens for their help in stressful situation times poolside with the changes needing to be made due to illness and Ange Northwood and Mark Strakosch for selflessly giving up their time to officiate.

The final two 6 x 50m relays saw MacDonald, Stevens, Emily Kiernan, Abbie Brown (back to something like her best), Pemberton and Potts for the girls followed by Ormerod, Hoyes, Filer, Gray, Strakosch and Sheldrick, battle to 3rd places for both relays to end an evening where everybody could be justifiably proud of their efforts. We look forward to 2015!