More than 20 youngsters from Berkhamsted Swimming Club took part in the Harpenden FINIS Legacy meet at Westminster Lodge across two days of competition last weekend.
Amid excellent results there was much merriment and a party atmosphere engendered by the host club.
The meet began with a disqualification (DQ) for Nell Coster, still a novice competitor, but she took the positives from what would have been a 20-second personal best (PB) but for a faulty turn in her 200m individual medley (IM).
There were PB times for Lara Coster, who was third in her heat (2:55.57), Mia Maslen-Wollington (3:04.06) and Lydia Wisely, who improved by seven seconds to go under three minutes for the first time in 2:55.57.
The first medal and County Consideration Time (CCT) for the meet came from Tamsin Moren, who pinched silver in 2:40.63 following a resurgent second-half to her race.
Euan Donald, on the recovery trail, was delighted with a bronze in a new PB of 1:05.41 in the 100m fly in a closely-contested heat.
In the 100m freestyle, Nell Coster showed her resilience by posting a five-second PB of 1:24.09 and Lara hit 1:16.19, before Emma Hockney clocked 1:10.06 for bronze and a CCT. Lydia Wisely was eighth (1:10.28) and Moren fourth (1:08.09).
Nell Coster, Maslen-Wollington, Wisely and Destiny Carnell swam the 100m back and a first-time swim for Coster brought a time of 1:36.19. Maslen-Wollington was seventh, Carnell 11th and Wisely claimed another CCT and a bronze with a PB of 1:19.18, missing a heat win by just 2/100ths of a second.
Abbie Briers (5:19.12, 8th) and Moren (5:16.47, silver) both showed an aggressive racing approach in the 400m freestyle.
In the 100m IM Eva Lawson and George Gray hit PBs of 1:41.87 and 1:27.39 respectively and Donald was fifth in a CCT of 1:08.33.
A first Open meet medley for Austin Clements saw him take a DQ for a faulty turn but he was in good spirit and his strokes looked good for the whole race.
In the 200m backstroke Lara Coster clocked a PB of 2:56.70 and Carnell posted 3:10.23.
The boys’ 200m freestyle saw Clements swim faster than he has before and Lawson Gray improved his best by ten seconds to 3:05.35.
Caitie Walters was slightly disappointed with her second-fastest 50m fly (37.63) after Emily Jones showed some untapped talent by dropping four seconds to 44.06.
Abi Hewson claimed her first gold, showing terrific underwater skills at the start and leading all the way to clock a PB 32.87 and a CCT.
The Gray brothers swam the 200m breaststroke and both posted big PBs with 3:51.67 for Lawson and 3:37.47 for George.
Then in the 50m freestyle it was gold again for Hewson, who came home in the only sub-30 second swim from the girls in the meet with a time of 29.72 and another CCT.
Jones hit a PB in 37.11 and there were CCTs for Hockney, whose 31.73 also took gold, Walters (33.20) and Moren (silver, 30.45).
Clements finished the first day by smashing 10 seconds from his 50m backstroke best in 47.16.
The second day saw Carnell swim her best race technically in the 400m IM, claiming fourth place in 6:35.23 and it was silver for Moren in 5:46.93 (CCT), improving some eight seconds and finishing like a train moving from seventh after 100m to third at the final touch.
Owen Strakosch posted 2:33.15 for his 200m IM for a CCT, a slightly below par 1:01.50 100m freestyle and finished with 1:08.48 (CCT) for silver in the 100m backstroke.
In the 400m freestyle Alex Kalverboer nipped in for silver by lowering his best by 11 seconds, just missing the five-minute barrier in 5:00.03, while Strakosch clocked 4:29.64, taking a heat win in the fastest time of the day for gold in his age group. Both of the boys’ times were CCTs.
Seren Diehl joined for the final session, slicing 17 seconds from her 100m IM PB, finishing second in her heat in 1:27.56.
Walters left behind her any lingering disappointment from her 50m fly the day before with the first of three successive PBs. Her 1:25.66 was also a CCT.
Briers (1:19.18, two-second PB, fifth) and Wisely (1:20.37, two-second PB, eighth) took their own CCTs before Moren once more showed four super strokes by winning gold in a County Qualification Time (CQT) and PB time of 1:12.72.
Kalverboer claimed gold in the 200m backstroke with a CCT of 2:36.42, then Chris Hughes blasted off the start, leading everyone through the first half of the race before finishing with silver in 2:27.20. Strakosch came away with the bronze in 2:30.64, both swims again being CCTs.
Walters continued to impress in the 200m freestyle, posting a six-second drop for 2:40.40.
Briers showed her strength of mind to slog out a 2:28.86 CCT and Wisely’s recent improvements continued with an eight-second drop to 2:35.02.
Kalverboer pocketed bronze in the 50m fly in a PB 34.16 and Hughes again showed off his electric start before posting 30.39 for fifth. Both boys hit CCT times and when Hughes allies some more endurance to his speed he will be a force to be reckoned with.
Moren cleaned up the 200m breaststroke just 1/100th outside three minutes for gold and Hughes was just off his best in the 50m freestyle in 28.71.
The meet finished with the girls’ 50m backstroke, providing a PB for Walters (42.67), a PB and CCT for Diehl in 40.67 and CCTs for Briers (37.07), Moren (36.13) and Hewson (34.01) to complete a successful early-season meet.