Swimmers turn out in force for Hemel Hemptead Swimming Club centenary bash

Kyle Holmes, Matt Sherriff, Josh Gaines and Tom Sherriff at the Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club Centenary Birthday Open
Kyle Holmes, Matt Sherriff, Josh Gaines and Tom Sherriff at the Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club Centenary Birthday Open

More than 400 swimmers from clubs across Herts, Beds and London hit the pool as Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club held its Centenary Birthday Open Swimming Gala.

Swimmers entered a total of 2000 races, but the gala ran like clockwork thanks to the tremendous support of all the officials and helpers who had given up their time to assist the running of the two-day event.

The Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club Centenary Birthday Open

The Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club Centenary Birthday Open

The Skins Competition, sponsored by Orchid Properties, was arguably the highlight of the meet as the top-six male and female freestyle swimmers battled it out in a knockout format.

Competitors swim the 50m freestyle every three minutes, and the eventual winners were Watford’s Alison Binns and Jack Spence who took home combined winnings of £100.

Over the weekend another competition was held for the Top Girl and Boy trophies which gave swimmers of all ages a chance to win.

Mailsports International sponsored the competition, offering the winners performance swimwear worth more than £300.

HHSC head coach Alan Doyle with referee and meet director Marilyn Hughes at the Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club Centenary Birthday Open

HHSC head coach Alan Doyle with referee and meet director Marilyn Hughes at the Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club Centenary Birthday Open

The winners again came from Watford, with Binns doing the double and Oliver Taverner winning the boys’ competition.

Those results helped Watford Swimming Club to the Top Visiting Club accolade, narrowly beating City of Saint Albans Swimming Club.

Entertainment at the event included an Edwardian Relay, where eight Masters swimmers from Hemel Hempstead SC donned traditional swimwear from 100 years ago and demonstrated some of the strokes that were used in the early 1800s.

During the course of the gala, the host club had 134 swimmers competing in 645 events and they brought home a total of 25 gold, 24 silver and 28 bronze medals.

There were also numerous personal best times, with 12 swimmers gaining new qualification times for the Hertfordshire County Championships in 2014 - bringing the current total of club qualified swimmers to 44.