Alice wins freestyle title as the records tumble at regional meet

Alice Fender with her full compliment of medals
Alice Fender with her full compliment of medals
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Hemel Swimming Club’s Alice Fender is the 16-year-old girls’ regional long course champion in the 200m freestyle.

Alice won the title in a new open club record time, breaking the old record by nearly five seconds that she had only set in the heats earlier that day.

Hemel Swimming Club at East Swimmings long course championships

Hemel Swimming Club at East Swimmings long course championships

Alice also set a new club open record in the 100m freestyle where she won bronze and after winning a silver in the 800 freestyle, came away with a complete set of medals from the championships.

Jack Christie (50 breast), Ashley Coombs (50 and 100 free) and Sam Gaines (200 breast, 200 fly and 200 IM) all made finals and there were six top-eight finishes for the club’s relay teams.

Five other open club records and 23 age group records were broken in the first weekend of East Swimming’s long course championships.

Having come third in the heats of the 200 free, Alice went out with serious intent from the start in the final, turning first at the 50m mark and maintaining her lead throughout the race, holding off the chasing pack in the final 50m to become regional champion.

In winning bronze in the 100m free, Alice also beat her 50m personal best at the turn in some exemplary racing.

Shona McKenna set a new open club record in the 50 free by one hundredth of a second –good enough to get her name on the club roll of honour.

Josh Gaines broke his own 200 back open record, Jack Christie set new open records in the 100 breast and 50 breast – the latter set in the heats by a whopping 1.5 seconds on a time he only set a month ago – and he then matched the new record in the final.

Sam Gaines set a new 
open record for the 200 
fly, beating the previous record by nearly 20 seconds.

Age group records for the girls were set by Alice in the 50 free and 50 breast, Shona in the 100 free, 100 and 200 back, Georgia Purkis in the 800 free, and Rebecca Sewell and Keelin McKenna, both in the 50 back.

And for the boys there were age group records for Ashley Coombs in the 50 and 100 free, the latter breaking a record by just over two seconds that had stood since 2008.

Sam Gaines set no fewer than seven new club records in his eight qualifying events, in addition to the open record in the 200 fly, setting new age group records in the 100 back, 50 breast (breaking a record last set in 2011), 200 breast, 50 fly, 100 fly (breaking the previous record by over three seconds), and 200 IM.

Older brother Josh Gaines weighed in with a new record in the 200 IM.