A big thank you to all officials, volunteers who gave up their time to help make this meet run smoothly and to all the visiting clubs.
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.”
Club Championships got off to a great start with three evenings of exciting swimming and lots of determination on display. Although it is a perfect opportunity to showcase the talents of our more experienced swimmers, for many it is their first experience of competitive swimming.
Cheered on by club members including older brother Joe, George Taylor, who celebrated his eighth birthday only a few weeks ago, put in a fantastic swim in the 200m freestyle to secure a 16-second PB time of 3:30.49 which ranks him currently second in the country for his age. Asked what was the trickiest part, he said that making sure he counted the lengths accurately was the bit he worked hardest on, and making sure his tumble turns went smoothly. Eight-year-old Alice Longman also swam an excellent race in 50m backstroke to take fourth place (1:01.03) as well as taking part in 200m breaststroke.
There were several nine-year-olds in action in the pool: Grace Mason (4:46.98) impressed in the 200m breaststroke; Jessica Fields took first in 50m backstroke in a time of 51.26, closely followed by Meisha Trend-Evens in 52.41; David Badcock took first in 50m fly in 50.54; and Harry Eagle swam 4:10.58 in 200m free, his first ever 200m race.
“Club Champs are perfect for giving our swimmers early competitive experience and it was great to see so much talent and determination on show over the first three nights”, said Adam Barnes, Head of Development. “I’m looking forward to seeing more of them shine in the second weekend of swimming, and during the season ahead.”