Berkhamsted Swimming Club had National medallist Abbie Hurst and National hopeful Ish Rahim at the Maxwell meet in Aylesbury and over 30 swimmers at the Venue in Borehamwood for the Harpenden legacy Meet.
Abbie Hurst, who has also recently been selected for the East Region Beacon Development programme in Basildon, did not need to be at her best to win the 200 Breast at Maxwell posting 2:46.28 but she was close to her short course best in the 50 Free with 30.47.
Rahim is becoming a real force, particularly in the Butterfly events. He took gold in the 100 & 50 fly races at Maxwell. His 1:02.70 for the 100 was a 2 second pb and his 50 time of 28.23 was also a 2 second improvement.
Both swims move him into the top 20 in his age group, Nationally for the events, short course and it is to be hoped he will maintain his form into the long course season for early 2017.
Both the fly swims were club records and he further improved the club bests in the 50 Back, 30.13 (1st); 200 Free, 2:10.61 (1st); 200 IM, 2:26.42 (1st) & 100 Free, 58.66 (1 st) all of which were pb times and County qualifiers for January, also posting 35.83 for silver in the 50 Breast to finish an enormously successful meet.
Meanwhile, at The Venue in Borehamwood for the Harpenden Legacy meet 169 swims produced 70 pbs, 11 County times and 69 consideration times alongside 34 Golds, 28 silvers and 20 bronze medals.
34 swimmers swam at least one race with newcomers to Opens, Emma Hockney, Evie Light & Lauren Rogers showing the future looks bright for the youngsters. Hockney overcame the disappointment of being disqualified in her backstroke event on Saturday to take silver in a pb of 41.73 in the 50 Free on Sunday. Light shaved over 3 seconds from her 50 back for 4th place and also improved her 50 Free to 43.36 for 6th, placed 6th again in her first ever effort at 100 Breast and yet another 6th with a pb in the 50 Fly.
Lauren Rogers overcame her initial nerves to swim pb times in both her 50 Back and 50 free as well. Stand out swimmers for the club across the 2 days were, undoubtedly, Euan Donald and Zac Patel who showed the real benefits of the hard work they have put in during training so far this season.
Donald was in amazing form from the start with pbs in the 400 IM, 200 Fly where he reduced by 6 seconds for Gold in a County Qualifying time (CQT); 50 Fly (34.28) for 2nd 200 IM (2:39.81) 2nd and CQT; 100 Free (1:05.00) 2nd; 100 IM (1:15.49) 1st and 200 Free (2:21.20) 2nd; a massive programme of races for the 13 year old and proof that he will be a contender in the County Champs in January and can now set his expectations a bit higher still.
Zac Patel is another who has made huge strides lately. He began his meet by cruising effortlessly to 27.02 to win his 50 free with a pb by 1.3 seconds and followed it up by winning the 100 Breast in 1:17.31, another 2 second drop. He entered the 50 Fly as a time trial only and would have been 2 nd
fastest overall with yet another best time of 28.54. He dipped inside 32 for his 50 back, for the first time, posting 31.50 for the win, dropped 2 seconds on his 200 Free for yet another gold in 2:11.80 and completed his events with possibly his best swim of the meet in the 200 Breast. With a best of 3:28.83 going in he finished with silver in 2:51.91 absolutely streaking away from all the others in his heat. Just some of the other highlights of an excellent 2 days of competition came as follows: Euan Donald carved an amazing 57 seconds from his 400 IM best time for 3rd and Owen Strakosch improved 44 seconds also for 3rd.
In the 100 Fly Mason Brand returned to something like his old best to record 1:07.63 (pb ) and claim the first CQT of the meet for the club. He also went sub 30 for the first time in his 50 Fly; 29.71 (CQT) to win that as well.
Also returning after a prolonged absence from the competition pool, Louis Armitage looked powerful chopping 2 seconds from his 50 Breast clocking 37.05, also a CQT and slamming in another gold in the 100 IM with a 7 second drop to 1:15.24 (CQT). Also in the IM, Harry Thorne took gold with an almost 3 second drop, which is a massive amount at 15 years of age, to 1:08.83. Danny Hoyes managed to slip inside 32 seconds for the 50 free for the first time with 31.61 for bronze. 15 year old Amy Pemberton was fastest overall in the female 100 IM with her own CQT of 1:11.67. On Day 2 Cam MacDonald starting things rolling with an aggressive 1:13.70 (3rd) in his 100 Back knocking 4 seconds from his pb as did Alex Kalverboer but his was in a 50m Back race coming down to 43.84. Ellen Northwood overcame the effects of recent illness to claim all 3 golds in the Butterfly events in County Consideration times, evidence of more to come when she regains full health.
There were lots of pbs and medals amongst all the other swimmers, too many to mention individually with Harrison & Callum Bullock, Peter Lever, Jamies Hoyes, Chris Nel, Lydia Wisely, Issy & Christina Soulsby, Tommy & Marley Maidment, Marcus Donald, George Thorne, Izzy Sansom, Grace Payne, Louise Holden, Reece Marchant, Tom Holmes-Higgin, Sam Newman and David Graham all playing their part for the team and giving rise to the stewards complimenting all the club’s swimmers on their behaviour, politeness and general good naturedness across two long days. Wins, other than those mentioned above, also went to: Jamie Hoyes, Lever, Wisely, Kalverboer, Nel, Soulsby & Newman.
With the Hemel Hempstead Open on October 15 and 16 and Winter Regionals, at which the club has 15 qualifiers across 52 races from November 4 to 6, it is a hectic schedule for the swimmers.
In between, they also have Issy Soulsby, Abbie Hurst, Amy Pemberton and James Corner swimming for Hertfordshire at the National Inter Counties gala in Sheffield during October at which coach Geoff Wood is one of the 2 coaches taking the County Squad.
This amounts to the biggest representation in one team that the club has ever had and, indeed, it could have been more with Ollie Hurst, Jordan Northwood and Ish Rahim selected but unavailable due to school commitment. The future looks very bright.