More personal-best times for club’s young swimmers

Berkhamsted Swimming Club's Alex Kalverboer and Eva Lawson  at the East Region championships in Norwich.
Berkhamsted Swimming Club's Alex Kalverboer and Eva Lawson at the East Region championships in Norwich.

Over the two May Bank Holiday weekends eight Berkhamsted Swimming Club members took on the top swimmers in the East Region at Luton and at Norwich University.

Zac Patel and Ish Rahim began the competition in the 100m butterfly and were a little short of their best times with a brace of 65-second swims.

Dan Chennells, in his first individual regional swim, clocked a time of 31.12.

James Chennells took on the 100m freestyle after nearly nine months of illness interrupted his training and did well to clock 55.60, a club-best time for 17-year-olds.

Patel and Ish Rahim followed up with 50m fly swims in 26.72 and 27.56 respectively.

Abi Hewson recorded 34.27 and 1:16.22 for the 50m and 100m backstroke events.

After the Youth meet, the age group athletes of Tamsin Moren, Alex Kalverboer and Eva Lawson travelled to Norwich for their Championships. The Saturday produced four personal bests out of four.

In his first regional swim after missing out last year due to holiday, Kalverboer smashed his 200m breaststroke personal best (PB) by six seconds, clocking 3:09.47.

His 50m and 100m splits were both PBs in their own right, a testament to how hard he pushed. His time was a club long-course record for the 12-year-old age group.

Moren was then back firing at her best and raced hard in the 100m breaststroke, leading at halfway in a 50m PB of 38.59. In the second half of the race she struggled late on and faded slightly but her time of 1:23.92 placed her 13th from a seeded position of 19.

In the afternoon Kalverboer was back in the pool for the 100m backstroke, swimming the long course distance for the first time. A steady start saw him in fourth place at the turn and he ploughed back on the second 50m to move into third place in the heat. His time of 1:14.26 was a small improvement on his short-course PB, converted to a 50m pool time.

Lawson was the final swimmer in the meet and her first swim came in the 100m freestyle. As an 11-year-old competing in the double age group for 11- and 12-year-olds, she was seeded 26th and the second-fastest 11-year-old out of the 33 entrants going into the race. After an unusually slow start Lawson came through strongly to the half-way mark where she dropped her 50m best time to 32.69 and led her heat. It was a lead she did not lose, touching the pads in 1:08.25 to take the heat comfortably and move to 13th overall as the fastest 11-year-old in the field.

Kalverboer saved possibly his best swim for his final event, the 200m backstroke. Seeded 16th and in the unfavoured outside lane one in his heat, Kalverboer took off from the start and was never headed. Turning at 100m only fractionally slower than his 100m event the day before, he continued to pile on the pressure and moved inexorably away from the field until about 175m when they started to reel him back in. But his excellent pacing in the last three 50m segments all at 40 seconds saw him far enough ahead as he held on to win his heat and finish 10th overall, just 0.13 seconds away from a place in the final.

The age group meet ended with Lawson taking on both the 50m backstroke and 200m freestyle events, where she once again performed with distinction.

In the 50m backstroke she reduced her PB to 36.17 to finish 20th in the dual age group again. However, like Kalverboer, she saved probably her best swim till last. As the sixth fastest qualifier for her heat, Lawson was aggressive from the off and made the rest chase her. She led the heat from the 25m point, turning first at every turn and with every split being almost the same as her short-course [25m pool] PB.

Her final time of 2:27.50 converted to a short-course PB by two seconds as she set a new club record by some six seconds to finish a magnificent series for all the first-time participants at this level.