It was a tough start to the Herts League campaign for the Berkhamsted SC swimmers as the A team managed a fighting fourth place in the Division One gala at Potters Bar while the B team scrapped their way to fifth at The Venue in Borehamwood.
For the A team there were wins for Ish Rahim in the 100 fly by over 2s (PB) and 100 back, and for Abbie Hurst in her specialist 100 breast. Abbie’s time was also a PB and confirms her place in the top ranks of the stroke and distance for her age.
The U16 girls’ team (Charlotte Watson, Amy Pemberton, Ellen Northwood and Hurst) won both of their relays, with Pemberton getting home ahead of Hatfield in the medley by a mere 0.2s.
There was an even closer finish (0.06s) in the free relay, as Pemberton prevailed after having been set up nicely by the other three swimmers.
Izzie MacDonald set a PB in her 50 back, and she was followed in the PB stakes by Callum Bullock (100 breast), Fin Ferguson (50 breast), Izzie Soulsby (100 fly), Eli MacDonald (100 breast), James Chennells (100 back), Jack Filer (100 fly) and James Boylan (50 free).
Soulsby also chopped more than 2s from her 100 free time as she returns to form ahead of the County Championships.
In the final squadron relay, Tamsin Moren, Boylan, Soulsby, Rahim, Pemberton, Jamie Hoyes, MacDonald and Jordan Northwood were roared home to a hard earned third place.
Coach Michelle Hewson awarded the swimmer of the night titles to James Boylan and Ish Rahim for the boys and the U16 girls’ squad for their double victory in the relays.
For the B team, vice-captain Jenny Atwill returned to action as she and Sam Newman started the night off with the open 100 free.
Atwill returned from a broken bone to deliver a gutsy display, before Newman went sub-60s again for a PB and the team’s first win of the night.
They had to wait until event 34 for the second win when Tom Lyons belied a lack of recent training to lead all the way and come home in 1:04.34 (PB).
There were plenty of excellent swims, with PBs coming from Daisy Laing and Harry Lines (50 back), Zach Patel (100 fly; 2nd), Kieran Mallory (100 breast; 2nd), Alex Davis (50 breast), Elliss MacNab (25 fly; 2nd), Louise Holden (100 back), Cam MacDonald (100 back), Harrison Bullock (100 free; 3rd), Harry Thorne (100 breast) and Ellie Mathews (100 back).
In addition, there were club bests in the relays for the U14 boys’ squad (George Thorne, Mallory, Euan Donald and Bullock) and U16 girls’ squad (Harriet Horwood-Jones, Jess Potts, Maddie Kiernan and Harriet Collinge) in both medley and free relays.
Coach Geoff Wood handed awards to Cam MacDonald and Elliss MacNab as swimmers of the night.
The squads were completed by: Yazii Brand, Emily Kiernan, Eleanor Jolliffe, Tom Strakosch, Ollie Hurst, Izzie Painter, Emma Walker, Tom Holmes-Higgin, David Graham, Mason Brand, Chris Nel, Roisin Clarke, Abi Hewson, Izzie Sansom, James Corner, Harriet Horwood-Jones, Abbie Brown, Hamish MacCaig, Peter Lever, Grace Payne, Essie Harrison, Jamie Powell, Miles Martin, Adam Hawkswood, Helena Martin, Evie Watson and Hannah Davis.
Berkhamsted SC head coach Geoff Wood said: “For many of the swimmers, they competed in events that would not normally be considered their best in order to best benefit the team.
“It is this team ethic that sets Berkhamsted apart from many of the other clubs.”