Berkhamsted Swimming Club’s rising young stars rose to the occasion in the first round of the National Arena League with a highly creditable sixth at Woodside in Watford.
The night began with two huge pbs for 15 year olds Amy Pemberton and James Chennells swimming in the Open Category 200 IM races as they both finished fifth in their races.
After Tamsin Moren and David Graham had set 50m back pbs when leading off their medley relay squads of Daisy Laing, Abbie Briers and first timer Ella Nijkamp and Sam Baker, Harry Lines and Tom Holmes-Higgin, Nijkamp put in the first of two storming swims on her freestyle anchor leg to bring the girls home in third, a swim which saw her share the female swimmer of the night award for the club with Pemberton.
George Thorne repeated the lead off backstroke leg pb for the Under 14 boys posting 36.47, handing over to Marley Maidment, Euan Donald and James Corner.
First club win went to the Boys U16 Free squad of Chennells, Mason Brand, Ish Rahim & Zac Patel. Chennells.
To climax the first round of relays, Issy Soulsby was another with a backstroke lead off pb (33.71) handing over to Ellie MacDonald, Yazi Brand and Jenny Atwill (30.02) final leg in the Open 4x50 Medley relay. Nijkamp then smashed her 50m Back pb with a National top 20 time of 34.98 to win by several metres again.
Lara Coster, 10, showed determination when she was unfazed by her goggles coming off in the dive of her Under 12 fly. Not only did she complete the race without stopping but was to smash her best by nearly 2.5 seconds, touching home in 44.79. Sam Baker also improved his under 12 fly to 40.19 seconds for 5th. Thorne improved again in his 100 Back this time for 1:18.95 for 4th Under 14 and then it was Ellen Northwood with 3rd in the Under 16 fly before
Ish Rahim continued his astonishing run of form. He lowered his week old 100 Fly time and club record by 0.72 seconds to go sub 62 for the first time with 1:01.98 and a club best performance and another top 20 National ranking time.
Moren is constantly improving and stepped up to lead her Under 12 Breast from the start. Showing excellent underwater skill off start and turn she blitzed the 50 to win in 43.19. Euan Donald had earlier stepped in at late notice to drop his 100 Breast time to 1:23.40 for 4th setting a 50m pb en route and then improved a place on that to come home 3rd in his 100 Fly in 1:16.63.
This was followed by a clean sweep in the U16 100m Free races from Pemberton, closing in on going sub 60 as she finished equal 1 st in 1:00.74 with Chennells showing new found determination to post a 1.53 second improvement with 56.77 and another clear win and yet another club best performance. Amelie Baker dropped her 100 Free pb to 1:10.48 ahead of her biathlon to be raced on Sunday morning and James Corner took 3 rd in his free dropping another 0.65 seconds to go 1:03.80. Abbie Hurst is still not back to full fitness but the National Medallist was still too strong for her opposition, stretching out to a comfortable win in the U16 Breast with a 1:16.44 and then Patel claimed his Male Swimmer of the night award with his almost two second improvement to 1:15.37 (Club Best) for the 100 Breast and fourth.
Thorne’s commendable night continued with a lead off leg pb in the Free relay and Chennells finished his night by leading off the soon to be unbeaten relay team of Brand 36.06 – breast), Rahim ( 27.81 – fly) and Patel (26.05 – free) to victory with his 30.50 leg to start the race. Moren, Laing, Briers and Nijkamp also set a club relay best in their 4 x 50 Free, posting 2:20.85 and the Open 6 x 50 male squad of Jamie Hoyes, Patel, Tom Lyons, Hurst, Tom Strakosch & Chris Nel popped out another new club record in the final exciting relay with 2:37.17
The rest of the squad comprised Abi Hewson, Evie Watson & Charlotte Watson on a raucous night in the pool.