Medals galore for Hemel Hempstead starlets in Watford


A team of 32 young Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club members competed at the Watford Middle Distance and Sprints meet and brought home a hatful of medals.

The swimmers ranged in age from nine to 18, with 11-year-old Shona McKenna winning two silver medals and two bronzes.

Kelsey Doyle, 17, took home gold medals in the 200m IM and the 50m breaststroke, while Luke Pestaille won two bronzes in the 50m and 200m breaststroke.

Luke is a graduate of the Hemel Hempstead and Sportspace Academy which helps swimmers make the move from lessons into a competitive swimming club environment.

Jack Christie took home a silver in the 50m freestyle followed by a gold medal in the 50m breaststroke, while Kyle Holmes won gold in the 200m breaststroke.

Grace Rayner won gold and also achieved a regional qualification time in her 200m breaststroke event, and Paige Wilding smashed her PB by almost a second to take gold in the 50m breaststroke.

Kira Doyle – who won the prize for U21 Coach of the Year at the Dacorum Sports Awards – took time away from the poolside to win silvers in the 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly.

Millie Anderton, nine, took bronze in the 50m freestyle, while siblings Holly Carter and Sonny Carter also won bronze medals.

Georgia Purkis entered the tough 400m IM and won gold, before Aimee Abrey took silver in the 200m backstroke in a regional qualification time. Keelin McKenna took bronze in the 50m backstroke.

Other swimmers competing included Sam Warner, Chris Cox, Emily Young, Charlotte Hingston, Olivia Gill, Cameron Fakes, Izzy Anderton, Molly McLoughlin, Lois Emery, Leanne Abrey, Emily Holland, Billie Grant, Alisha Kan, Yewande Bankole, Seyi Bankole, Mael Jegu, Loren Christie and Siena Milner.

Elsewhere, the Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club Masters competed in the Hertfordshire Senior League at Bishop’s Stortford School.

The team is made up of swimmers ranging from 25 years old to over 60 years old, and the league brings the best masters teams from all across Herts to compete in a team gala.

There was some fierce competition on the night with Hemel finishing fourth out of nine teams.

The ladies’ relay teams did very well with three victories as Annette Thatcher, Olga Powell, Anna Belsey, Pam Ware, Jo Lee-Pearce, Rachel Barber, Bev McKenna and Pam Ware showed their class.

Members of the team also included James McFarlane, Mark Ayres, Tim Wilson, Phil Isles, Dave Windsor and Tony Gaines. Ayres also took on the role of team manager.