Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club have been relegated from the Premier Division of the National Arena Swimming League despite a battling display at Hatfield Sports Village.
The swimmers produced 13 personal best times as well as breaking four club relay records, but their seventh-placed finish meant they missed survival from the drop by just one place.
The team had a tough job with seven first-choice swimmers missing, but 43 of the 50 races saw the Hemel representatives swim faster than they had in the previous round of the league.
Swimmers of the gala accolades went to Alexandra Hatt, who won the open girls’ 100m breaststroke, and Joshua Gaines who competed despite having a wrist sprain.
The 15-and-under girls produced a club best time for the 4x50m freestyle and the same set of girls – Grace Rayner, Paige Wilding, Molly McLoughlin and Aimee Abrey – also broke the 4x50m medley relay record.
Not to be outdone, the girls’ and boys’ open relay teams both broke the club record for the 6x50m freestyle.
The girls were represented by Lois Moore, Grace Rayner, Kira Doyle, Rachel Barber, Molly McLoughlin and Aimee Abrey, while the boys’ team was made up of Freddie Woodcock, Paul Mackie, Conner Reynolds, Josh Gaines, Matt Sherriff and Tom Sherriff.
Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club head coach Alan Doyle said: “The team started on the back foot with seven swimmers missing, but the whole team including the replacements stepped up and swam every race to the maximum.
“The overall effort and team spirit was fantastic and made me proud of each and every one of them.”