Dacorum’s big three clubs have all been busy in the pool over the past fortnight, with medals, county titles and personal bests galore.
> Tring SC
It was a close fought match at the last round of the Herts Major League at Stevenage as Tring eventually took top spot by just one point over Royston.
At halfway only 10 points separated the top-five clubs, but Tring’s team spirit was obvious as every team member made a difference to the final result, which was only sealed by a thrilling win in the final event – the eight-leg squadron relay.
In total Tring took 20 first and second place positions; a fitting testimony to the season’s hard work and commitment to training.
Tring set the pace, with outstanding performances and PBs from club captain Katy Colwell in both the 100m back and also 100m fly, while boys’ captain Michael Renkel achieved a storming PB in the 100m free.
The girls’ team goes from strength to strength – three new club records were broken, one by the unstoppable U14 girls’ free relay team who shattered their club record yet again, winning with an impressive clear lead.
That was followed by the U16 and open girls’ teams, who also broke a club record each.
Head coach Johnny Bradley said: “I’m delighted to also see great progress in the boys’ team – the talent in the squad is really starting to show.
“Special mentions go to three boys who took on the tough challenge of swimming up an age group, ensuring Team Tring clinched first position – well done Peter Kenyon, Tom Monks and Ed Birch.”
Younger members of the U12 team also achieved some superb results, with wins for Max Gething and Joe Judson, and personal bests for Annalise McKenna and Rosie Cave.
The climax to the night, the eight-leg squadron, saw Tring going into the race a point behind Royston – the two clubs having swapped the lead eight times during the evening.
A thrilling race saw Royston, Ware and Tring neck and neck throughout, with Tring edging the other two clubs out by a second with a new club record 1.55.25 – a memorable way to finish the season.
> Hemel Hempstead SC
Hemel Hempstead swimmers enjoyed a record breaking first weekend of the Herts County Championship, with two new Championship records for Charlie Rayner.
Halfway through the competition, Hemel boasts 21 county champions, 14 second or third placed finishes and some significant personal best performances from swimmers of all ages.
Rayner, 13, broke championship records which had stood since 2004 in the 50m and 100m breaststroke to add to his golds in the 50m fly and 200m IM.
Jack Christie won golds in the 50m and 100m breaststroke and the 200m free, while Aimee Abrey won golds in her age group in the 100m and 200m backstroke as well coming third in the 100m back open final.
In the 100m free there were golds for Lois Moore and Emily Jelfs, who also both qualified for the open final where Lois won bronze before going on to win gold in the 100m fly.
Freddie Woodcock took gold in the 50m fly in his age group before winning the open final by a fingertip in a thrilling race in which Tom and Matt Sherriff also competed. Matt went on to win gold in the 100m free to add to his silver in the 50m fly.
Josh Gaines (200m IM) and Georgia Purkis, Grace Rayner and Holly Robinson (all in the 200m breaststroke) complete the list of county champions over the weekend.
Max Jelfs won silver in the 200m free and bronze in the 200 IM in a new RQT, while Tom Sherriff took silver in the 200m IM and 200m free, and bronze in the 50m breast.
There were also silvers for Elizabeth Kelly in the 200m breaststroke and Luke Pestaille in the 50m fly, while Josh Frewin took bronze in the 200m IM.
Notable PBs were also set by Izzy Anderton, Millie Anderton, Reuben Balch, Freya Beresford, Joe Coldwell, Ashley Coombes, Elliott Davies, Billie Grant, Emily Jelfs, Keelin McKenna, Shona McKenna, Harrison Newbury-Kemp, Chloe Purkis, Georgia Purkis, Rebecca Sewell, Clara Stancombe and Emily Young.
> Berkhamsted SC
Following their success in the final round of Herts League, Berkhamsted Swimming Club continued their excellent form in the first full weekend of the County Championships.
The competition started with the women’s 100m free, where Amy Stoker was first up and showed the way by slicing two seconds from her PB. There was a heat win for Jenny Atwill, and PBs for Abbie Hurst, Ellen Northwood and Yazii Brand.
Brand also claimed the bronze medal for 17-year-olds in a club best for her age group, while Charlotte Watson took the 14 years’ club best with her swim.
The men’s 50m fly saw remarkable swims from James Corner, George Thorne and James Chennells, who swept home to win his heat.
Ish Rahim, Harry Thorne, Ollie Martin, Zac Patel, Chris Nel, Tom Lyons and Jack Filer all set PBs, with Rahim collecting his first medal at counties by taking gold in what was also a regional qualifying time.
Patel, Nel, Mason Brand (club best), Jamie Hoyes and Lyons (heat winner) were also regional qualifiers.
The event provided silver for Brand, bronze for Lyons and another club best and bronze for Jack Filer in the 17 years’ age band.
In what transpired to be the final event of the day, the women’s 200m breast, Tamsin Moren showed she is a force to be reckoned with in the 9 years’ category by taking bronze.
Evie Watson set a new PB and Abbie Hurst took the club 14 years’ best.
Sunday morning saw the swimmers back for more and continuing their terrific form. In the 50m breaststroke, George Thorne and Chris
Nel stormed to heat wins in PB times, while Louis Armitage won gold in an RQT, Mason Brand collected silver (PB and RQT), and Ollie Hurst bagged a PB, silver medal, RQT and club best.
Jack Filer was in superb form, taking the 17 years’ bronze and making the club’s first final of the series by qualifying sixth as he won his heat in a new PB.
In the final he improved again, placing fifth overall by improving his RQT to put the club on the points table.
The girls’ 100m back allowed Roisin Clarke to win her heat in a three-second PB, while Izzie Soulsby dropped four seconds before Charlotte Watson took another club best.
Yazii Brand won bronze as she won her heat from an outside lane to claim her own club best.
The final event of the morning was the boys’ 200 IM where Tom Holmes-Higgin narrowly missed a medal as he finished fourth in a new PB.
George Thorne, Ish Rahim, James Chennells and Zac Patel improved on their own best times, while Mason Brand claimed his RQT for the event with a silver medal and club best.
Armitage picked up bronze in the 11 years’ age group, with Chris Nel and Ollie Hurst also setting PBs in the older age groups.
The 100m fly opened the afternoon session for the girls and, after Jess Potts went 1:18, Ellen Northwood claimed her first ever gold medal at counties in an RQT, club best and two-second PB.
That was followed by Yazii Brand winning the 17-year-olds’ gold as well as making the final in seventh place. Although fractionally slower in the final she improved her placing to sixth.
Yet another finalist came in the 100m breast when Ollie Hurst took gold in new PB and club best to qualify in fifth place.
Jamie Hoyes also set a new PB, with Hurst eventually finishing seventh in the 15 years’ final.
Back to the girls, and Moren improved 10 seconds to win her heat and take fourth overall in the 200m back, while Izzy Painter dropped eight seconds and Izzy Sansom also set a new PB.
Izzy Soulsby lowered her best by four seconds and Ellen Northwood improved as well, as did Amy Pemberton. There were further club bests to come from Charlotte Watson and Yazii Brand, who also took the 17 years’ gold.
The final event of the weekend was the boys’ 200m free which saw Holmes-Higgin win bronze to walk away with his first county medal.
George Thorne set yet another PB, as did James Corner as he gains experience at this level. Rahim went PB for eighth place.
James Chennells made another RQT, setting a club best for fifth as he narrowly beat Mason Brand into seventh – both of them inside the old club record. Peter Lever, in his first race at this level, showed his recent improvement by notching another PB.
The remaining swimmers who took part were: Abbie Brown, Jess Potts, Rachel Barber, Charley Stevens, Harrison Bullock, Callum Bullock, Sam Newman, Jordan Northwood, Emma Walker, Sam Murcott, Tom Strakosch and Tom Weston.
Anybody wanting to swim for the club should contact head coach Geoff Wood at Chiefcoach@berkosc.org.uk to arrange a trial.