On Saturday 13th December 2014, a team of 35 swimmers from Bishop’s Stortford Swimming Club competed in the final round of the National Arena League (London) held at Basildon Sporting Village. As in the previous two rounds, they again faced top-flight opposition, competing against some of the UK’s best amateur swimmers. The opponents drawn were Hatfield, Ipswich, Ealing, Teddington, Camden Swiss Cottage, Romford and Chelsea & Westminster. Stortford finished a commendable 7th on the night and overall a fantastic 8th position out of 16 clubs in the Premier Division – which is an incredible achievement given we were only promoted at the end of last season!
We achieved 6 top three places out of 50 events – 3 top spots; one 2nd and two 3rd.
1st places were won by Ellie Mitchell (girls 15/U 100m backstroke 1:04.26), who was hotly pursued by Ipswich but pulled away strongly at the flags; Dan Chada had a brilliant and commanding win in the Boys 13/U 100m backstroke 1:05.59 PB), and the Girls 15/U Free Relay Team of Megan Cook, Emily Lampon, Ellie Mitchell & Amy Young (1:51.15; with Ellie and Amy gaining split PB’s of 26.39 & 26.93 respectively) fought hard to beat off Camden Swiss Cottage for their very exciting & well-deserved win.
2nd spot was won by Olly Perry in the Boys 15/U 100m butterfly – he led all the way to a photo-finish, but was just pipped at the post in another exciting race – but saw him claim a new All Time Club record with a fantastic PB of 58.60.
Amy Young put on a valiant performance in the Girls 15/U 100m butterfly, coming 3rd (1:06.07) just minutes after competing in the Ladies Open 100m butterfly with her second fastest ever swim of 1:05.13.
Josie Pretious-White also swam home to 3rd position in the Girls 13/U 100m backstroke with a strong start and a great finish in a time of 1:10.67.
Another All Time Club Record was broken by Grace Lee, who came 5th in the Ladies Open 200m IM with a time of 2:21.98 PB.
Current Club Records went to Stu Clarke, who came 4th in the Men’s Open 200 IM in a brave display – despite carrying a shoulder injury he beat off his nearest opponent in the final 3m (2:11.05), Dan Chada 100 Back (time above), Joe Taylor, who was a laudable 6th in the 15/U 100 Back (1:07.77), Tom Ogden, 7th in the Boys 11/U 50 fly (36.76), Ollie Barker, 6th in the Men’s Open 100 Back in an unbelievably close race (59.22 – Congratulations go to Ollie, as it was the first occasion that he has broken a minute) and 15 year old Joe Collins, who was 8th swimming up an age category in the Men’s Open 100m breaststroke in a time of 1:12.79. Joe had a very busy night as one of our specialist breaststroke swimmers, as literally minutes later, he was back in the pool competing in the Boys 15/U 100m breaststroke – clocking a fantastic 1:12.94 so soon after swimming it in the Open! Joe was on form on the night as he also gained a split PB time of 32.13 in the breaststroke leg of the Men’s Open 4 X 50m medley relay.
Other individual performances of note on the night were: Chloe Ogden, who was so close to 3rd, but was just pipped into 4th in the Girls 13/U 100m breaststroke, with a personal best time of 1:19.51. She then followed this up soon after by swimming up an age group in the same event, clocking an impressive time of 1:20.64. Grace Lee also secured 4th in the Ladies Open 100m backstroke (battling against Bulgarian 2012 Olympian Ekaterina Avramova of Ealing SC) in 1:04.32. There were four great 100m freestyle performances also; Ellie Mitchell 15/U (1:00.05) which was an exceptionally close race, Olly Perry who had a very strong finish in the boys 15/U (57.45), Grace Lee, Open (58.40 PB) and Stu Clarke, Men’s Open (arguably one of the closest and most exciting races of the night) 53.09.
Josie Pretious-White claimed a very creditable 5th spot against tough opposition in the Girls 13/U 100m butterfly (1:12.56).
Great races and PB’s were also swum by Bryn Couser in the boys 13/U 100m breaststroke (6th in 1:24.68 PB), Alex Catton found fantastic form on the night gaining two PB’s in the boys 11/U 50 freestyle (5th in 34.23 PB) and 50m backstroke (7th in 37.87 PB), as did Mia Carter, swimming a personal best time of 1:04.57 in the girls 13/U 100m freestyle, coming 6th. Tom Ramsay also clocked a PB in the boys 13/U 100m butterfly event, finishing 7th in a time of 1:14.88.
Isabella Renwick swam home to a commendable 5th against strong opposition in the girls 11/U 50m breaststroke (41.96), as well as 7th spot in the 50m butterfly (36.87).
Jake Lloyd fought hard in the Men’s Open 100m butterfly event – it was a super-close very exciting race all the way, and Jake picked off two of his opponents to finish in 6th (58.60). Another 6th spot was claimed by 11 year old Tom Ogden in the 50m breaststroke, finishing in a time of 44.54.
16 year old breaststroke sprint specialist Cira Fletcher came in 7th place (1:18.28) in the Open 100m breaststroke, which she preceded by swimming a split personal best time of 35.09 during the breaststroke leg of the 4 X 50m Girls Open medley relay.
We also saw some strong relay performances from our free and medley teams during this final round – in particular, as well as the Girls 15/U free team win, the U/13 girls medley relay team consisting of Niamh James (back), Charlie Nash (breast), Josie Pretious-White (fly) & Mia Carter (free) were also on form, taking 4th spot in a time of 2:13.22 – with Niamh and Mia recording split PB’s of 33.45 & 29.04 respectively.
Also securing 4th spot in the relays were the boys 15/U medley relay team of Dan Chada (back), Joe Collins (breast), Olly Perry (fly) & Callum Davis (free) – with Olly recording a split PB in his fly leg of 26.14 – the boys came in in a time of 1:57.55, with Callum only just pipped at the finish; he was so close to 3rd.
We had three 5th place relay finishes; the first being the boys 13/U 4 x 50m medley relay team of Dan Chada (back 30.39), Bryn Couser (breast 38.56), Tom Ramsay (fly 31.43) & Isaac Mendel (free 30.56), with Dan, Bryn & Isaac all recording split personal best times. Next to claim 5th position were the Girls Open 4 X 50m medley relay team, who were Grace Lee (back 30.49), Cira Fletcher (breast 35.09 split PB), Amy Young (fly 29.67) & Ellie Mitchell (free 26.77), who together swam home in a time of 2:02.02.
Finally the Men’s Open 4 x 50m medley relay team of Ollie Barker swimming a very quick 50 back (27.46 split PB), Joe Collins (breast 32.13 split PB), 2010 Commonwealth triallist Geoff Short (fly 25.53) & former national freestyler Stu Clarke (free 24.24) – collectively clocking 1:49.36.
6th place relay finishes went to the boys 15/U 4 x 50m free relay team of Joe Taylor, Dan Chada, Callum Davis & Olly Perry (1:48.98, with Dan recording a split PB of 28.33; the Girls 13/U 4 x 50m free team of Sarah Carroll, Niamh James, Josie Pretious-White & Mia Carters (2:02.34) – with Sarah & Niamh clocking split PB’s of 30.91 & 31.03 respectively; and the girls 11/U 4 x 50m free relay team of Millie Fields, Ella Smith, Eleanor Mason & Isabella Renwick who collectively clocked a time of 2:12.95, with Eleanor & Isabella gaining split PB’s for their legs of 33.05 & 31.23 respectively – Isabella’s final leg of the race was particularly strong, and her very fast split time reflects what an outstanding swimmer she is in her age group.
We saw some further split PB’s from some of our younger swimmers on the night – Thomas Howes recorded 50 free split PB’s in both of his relays – firstly in the boys 11/U 4 x 50m free team (36.41, which he then promptly broke during his second outing of the evening, in the free leg of the boys 11/U 4 x 50m medley relay (36.11)! Well done to Thomas in one of his first forays into competitive swimming. Alex Catton and Tom Ogden also recorded split PB’s during the 11/U free relay of 34.01 & 32.57 respectively, which also included Darren Raphy swimming the second leg of the race (37.50), who then went on to record a split PB himself during the breaststroke leg of the 4 x 50m medley relay later in the evening. Isaac Mendel is also on form this season, recording a split PB in the freestyle leg of the boys 13/U 4 x 50m medley relay of 30.56, only to beat it later in the evening during the first leg of the 13/U 4 x 50m free relay (30.41)!
To finish off the night were two exciting Open 6 x 50 free squadron relays. First up was the Ladies -seeing Megan Cook, Cira Fletcher, Emily Lampon, Ellie Mitchell, Amy Young & Grace Lee go all out to finish in 7th place, Emily recording a split PB for her leg of 28.55. Swiftly followed by the Men’s, who were Jake Lloyd, Kieran Raphy, Olly Perry, Ollie Barker, Geoff Short and Stu Clarke, who was the hero of the race, picking off two places to storm home to a very noisy crowd in 6th position.
Other swims of the night included:
Millie Fields 7th girls 11/U 50m back 38.03 & 8th 50m free 33.64, Tom Ramsay 7th boys 13/U 100m free 1:06.1, girls 11/U 4 x 50m medley relay team Millie Fields, Isabella Renwick, Eleanor Mason (split PB 38.84) & Ella Smith 7th in 2:34.89, boys 11/U 4 x 50m medley relay team Alex Catton, Darren Raphy, Tom Ogden & Thomas Howes 7th 2:43.25, boys 13/U 4 x 50m free relay team Isaac Mendel, Tom Ogden, Tom Ramsay & Dan Chada 8th 2:03.53 (with Isaac recording a split PB of 30.41), girls 15/U 4 x 50m medley relay team Zara Pretious-White (back), Charlie Nash (breast), Amy Young (fly) & Ellie Mitchell (free) 7th 2:08.42.