There were lots of swims, some terrific personal best (PB) times, club-best records and county times recorded by Berkhamsted Swimming Club’s young members at the Terry Davies Alternative nationals event in Watford last weekend.
The annual end-of-season fiesta, held at Woodside Pool in Watford, was also the first opportunity for many athletes to get a crack at qualifying for the County Championships in 2020.
As always, Berkhamsted had a good representation at the meet and those who attended made best use of the fast, deep water at the pool.
The weekend began with a 100 per cent PB hit-rate in the 200m individual medley. Issy Whitaker started the ball rolling with a storming 10-second improvement (3:11.28) in her first Open meet attempt at the race and distance.
She began so well that after the first 50m fly leg she had smashed her 50m PB for the individual fly by more than two seconds.
Not to be outdone, Tamsin Moren began a meet that got better and better as it went on, starting by slicing off an incredible seven seconds from her PB as she swam away from the opposition in her heat.
Like Whitaker, Moren also set a 50m fly best during the race and her time of 2:38.84 gained a bronze medal, just 0.84 seconds away from automatic qualification (CQT) to the County Champs but some 15 seconds inside a consideration time (CCT).
Alex Kalverboer prepared for the summer break with a time of 2:40.67, taking second place in his heat and a further bronze, chopping seven seconds from his PB. He was leading his heat until the final few strokes.
Owen Strakosch continues to improve and clocked 2:30.95 for third in his heat, smashing his PB by five seconds.
Moren followed up with her first County Qualification Time of the year, posting 1:22.15 for another bronze in the 100m breaststroke and Kalverboer picked up a CCT in his 100m breaststroke, posting 1:28.24.
Eric Batt would have seen his 100m breaststroke time come down by more than six seconds but was deemed to have committed a false start.
Kalverboer took the club’s first gold in the 100m backstroke with another CCT in 1:14.03 and Cam MacDonald attacked from the off in his heat, taking a clear win in a PB time of 1:08.33 for a CCT.
Strakosch just missed his own CCT in 1:09.87, while Dan Chennells was off his best times following the school exam season.
Whitaker was back for the 50m fly, improving on her IM split to further lower her best to 40.18. For the boys, Kalverboer and Chennells were again just outside their best times.
Saturday afternoon saw newcomer Caitie Walters drop her 100m fly time to 1:23.74, improving five seconds with a flatter technique to claim a bronze.
The girls’ 200m freestyle saw Moren continue her super form as she cruised to third in her heat in a new PB of 2:25.20 and a CCT.
MacDonald led off the boys in 2:12.74, winning his heat for fifth overall in a CCT, followed by Strakosch (2:10.53, CCT) and Chennells (2:13.41).
Moren took eighth in her 50m backstroke for a CCT and PB in 35.83 and then learned that following the 200m IM, she was 10th fastest overall and second reserve for the medley skins knockout tournament. Because of two withdrawals, she would later have a place in lane seven.
The first round drawn was the 50m freestyle and Moren took the opportunity to smash through the 30-second barrier for the first time in 29.98, getting her into the second round.
That round drew the fly, as the race proved a step too far, but she went home £10 better off.
Day two started with a CQT for Kalverboer in the 200m backstroke (2:34.05), claiming another gold medal.
Eva Lawson continued her assault on the club record books by lowering her PB by seven seconds and the club-best by three seconds when touching in 2:38.79 for a silver medal.
In the 100m IM, Kalverboer completed his full set of medals with a silver in another PB and CCT of 1:15.92. He was joined in the event by George Gray, Ronan and Pierce Philbin.
Emma Hockney and Mia Maslen-Wollington had their first races in the 100m IM and both set PBs of 1:22.82 and 1:23.87, respectively, with Mia’s time being a CCT.
Lawson stormed to another club record when claiming gold (1:16.87, CQT), while Moren was just a second outside her age-group club-best, clocking 1:12.96 for another CQT.
The 50m freestyle saw Pierce Philbin post a PB in 34.07, joined in the event by Gray and brother Ronan.
Kalverboer was agonisingly close to joining Moren in the sub-30 bracket as he took silver in 30.02 (PB, CCT).
Maslen-Wollington and Hockney both clocked PBs in the 50m freestyle (33.78, CCT and 31.75 respectively) before Lawson posted 30.75 for another PB and CQT as she won gold.
Moren showed her Skins swim from the night before was not a one-off, lowering her best to 29.94 (CCT).
Kalverboer dropped his 200m breaststroke best to 3:02.80 (CCT) for fourth place and Maslen-Wollington took 10th, improving four seconds to 3:31.23.
Lawson pocketed a bronze in another PB and CQT for a club record 3:10.49 and Moren dropped four seconds to 2:55.07 for her own PB and CQT, making her the second-fastest female at the stroke and distance in the club, behind only Abbie Hurst, who went on to win national medals.
In the 100m freestyle Ronan Philbin (1:15.27) was ninth and Kalverboer second, with 1:05.59 (PB, CCT).
Hockney improved to 1:12.99 and Lawson’s remorseless march went on with a gold medal in 1:06.06 for another full set of PB, club-best and CQT.
The meet finished with the 50m breaststroke and a PB for Ronan Philbin in 46.12 and a fifth-place finish for Kalverboer in 40.80.
Hockney lowered her best by more than a second, Maslen-Wollington posted 43.84 and Lawson 42.10.
Moren finished it off with another best time and CQT, taking home a silver in a time of 37.62.
Meanwhile, at the Maxwell meet, member Keria Wharton had a best placing of second in the 50m fly, her 31.89 being fractionally outside her best.
She also swam in the 100m backstroke, and in the 50m and 100m freestyle.