After six nights of racing, the final night of Bishop’s Stortford swimming’s Club Champs saw the top six swimmers in four categories battle it out to take the honours in the “Skins” competition. Involving a series of 50m races where the stroke is drawn randomly each time and with only minutes between each race, it is a test of tactics, skill and stamina.
After each heat, one swimmer is eliminated. The next race has a 10 second warning whistle and then starts, meaning that each swimmer must be focused and ready. Swimmers qualifying in the top six for 13 and under girls were Mia Carter, Sarah Carroll, Isabella Renwick, Nellie Eastland, Anya Fletcher and Eleanor Mason. After heats in backstroke, breaststroke, then three in fly, Nellie emerged victorious in a close-fought final race with Sarah.
For the under 13 boys, Nicholas Botha, Thomas Ogden, Alex Catton, Callum Harold, James Gor and Darren Raphy. The strokes ran breaststroke, breaststroke, then three free heats after which Nicholas was the winner in a nail-biting final heat with Thomas. He then went straight into the open category, where he had qualified along with Thomas, Callum Davis, William Picton, Daniel Chada and Joe Taylor. Breaststroke dominated this event, with only one heat in freestyle. Joe battled it out in the final heat with Callum, a breaststroke specialist, for Callum to take the win.
In the open girls category Amy Young, Cira Fletcher, Megan Wickham, Chloe Ogden, Mia Carter and Sarah Carroll were in contention. This time the strokes were more mixed, with fly, back, back, breaststroke, fly, fly. Fly specialist Amy took the honours after finding herself up against breaststroker Cira in the final.
“With all the swimmers gathered at the end of the pool cheering them on, it was a rousing finale to Championships,” commented club Chairman, Tony Chada. “It summed up perfectly the talent and determination that had been on display from all ages across the two weekends of swimming.”