With their squads bolstered for round two of the Herts League, Berkhamsted Swimming Club recorded two third placed finished and await the finals with keen anticipation.
The A team fought through to third position in Potters Bar after a testing first quarter, while the B team held on gamely in a frenetic second half of action in Borehamwood.
The club’s strength in depth is shown by the fact that they give all swimmers an individual race as well as two relay swims as a minimum, and this policy paid off with half of their 12 wins across the galas coming in the relays.
For the B team, the open girls’ squad won both their relays, with Jenny Atwill holding off fast finishing Verulam in the freestyle.
Other relay wins for the Bs came from the U16 boys’ medley squad, who again held on in a tight finish as well as cleaning up in their freestyle relay by almost seven seconds.
Louise Holden, Molly Baker, Roisin Clarke and Izzy Sansom set club relay bests in the freestyle and medley races, as did the U16 boys, along with the open medley squad.
In the squadron relay, Dan Stace, Elli Matthews, Harry Thorne, Amy Stoker, Harriet Horwood-Jones, Jamie Hoyes, Sam Newman and Abbie Brown stormed into an early lead, only to have it clawed back before just touching out to win.
Hoyes took the only individual victory in the U16 butterfly, setting a club age group best.
PBs were set by Newman, Emma Walker, Tom Holmes-Higgin, Harry Thorne, Hannah Davis, Kieran Mallory, Adam Hawkswood, Izzy Painter, James Boylan, Tom Weston, Izzy Sansom, Rachel Barber, Dan Stace and Amy Chennells, with relay lead-off leg PBs from Weston, Walker, Elly Sansom and Louise Holden.
For the A squad, Jordan Northwood was imperious in the U16 freestyle, clocking another sub-57s swim to win by more than 1.5s.
Amy Pemberton and James Chennells took both U14 freestyle races, while Abbie Hurst showed her class with victory in the U16 breaststroke (club best), and James Corner was triumphant in the U12 free.
The U14 boys’ relay squad of Zach Patel, Mason Brand, Ish Rahim and Chennells remain unbeaten so far in the league this year, comfortably winning both relays by a combined total of over five seconds despite only Chennells gaining an individual win.
Among the rest of the team, Patel clocked a PB in his 100m back as well as his 50m back lead off in the relay.
Zoe Kenney set new figures in her 50m free, as did George Thorne in his 50m fly, while Abi Hewson, Daniel Chennells, Marley Maidment, Ellen Northwood, Ish Rahim, Northwood and James Chennells also setting PBs.
Jess Potts set a new club record in her U16 100m free, while Charlotte Watson set new club figures in the U14 100m back.
Much of the night’s excitement was, however, reserved for the final race – the 8 x 50 squadron relay.
At the end of 400m of frenetic speed, Abi Hewson, Corner, Pemberton, Mason Brand, Charlotte Watson, Jordan Northwood, Alice Hewson and Harry Ormerod were just pipped on the touch as less than 0.9 seconds separated the first four squads.
The remainder of the two successful squads comprised: Callum and Harrison Bullock, Ben Holmes-Higgin, Jess Stace, Eli MacDonald, Yazii Brand, Charley Stevens, Tom Strakosch, Jack Filer, Tommy Sheldrick, Helena Martin, Evie Watson, Chris Nel, Ollie Hurst, Tom Lyons, Izzie Soulsby and Maddie Kiernan.
With just the final round to come, both teams are assured of a top-six place in their divisions as they continue to set best ever results for the club.