A superb performance by Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club in the first round of the 2015 National Arena League saw the team set the fastest collective time for the 50 events in the competition since the club started keeping records in 1999.
Hemel were just touched into joint second place by five points after a thrilling seesaw battle with Brompton and Wandsworth, which saw all three teams take the lead at different stages of the competition.
There were 10 new individual club records, four relay records and 25 personal best times – all the more impressive coming only a few weeks after the events had been swum at the Club Championships.
The girls’ 13 & under quartet of Izzy Anderton, Eleanor Bevan, Shona McKenna and Georgia Purkis won both the 4x50m medley and free relays, setting new club records for both events.
The open girls’ team of Aimee Abrey, Emily Jelfs, Lois Moore and Grace Rayner won the 4x50 medley relay and were joined by Kira Doyle and Rebecca Sewell to win the open 6x50 free relay, setting a new club relay record in the process.
Jonny Farrow won the individual 13 & under 100 back and there were 17 other top-three finishes.
New individual open club records were set by Lois Moore (100 fly), Grace Rayner (200 IM), Jack Spence (100 free, 50 and 100 back) and perhaps most notably by Jack Christie who broke a 100 breast record which had stood for over nine years.
Age group records were set by Alice Fender (14 yr old 100 free), Rebecca Sewell (15 yr old 100 back) and Max Jelfs (14 yr old 50 and 100 back).
A new age group relay record was also set by the 15 & under girls quartet of Leanne Abrey, Alice Fender, Rebecca Sewell and Aimee Woodage.
Second and third places were achieved by Josh Gaines in the 200 IM, the girls’ 11 & under free relay quartet (Millie Anderton, Freya Beresford, Millie Herbert and Tilly Beckwith), the boys’ open medley relay quartet (Jack Spence, Jack Christie, Rob Jennings and Josh Gaines), Eleanor Bevan in the 100 breast, Lois Moore (100 fly and free), Shona Mckenna (100 free), Max Jelfs (100 fly), Jack Spence (100 back and free), Millie Herbert (50 breast), Mason Mills (50 breast), Jonny Farrow (100 fly), Grace Rayner (100 breast), Jack Christie (100 breast) and the open boys’ 6x50m free relay team of Jack Christie, Josh Gaines, Kyle Holmes, Jacob Hutchings, Rob Jennings and Jack Spence.
But above all this was a team effort, with a great poolside spirit.
The other swimmers who contributed so much to the team were Reuben Balch, Sonny Carter, Joe Coldwell, Chris Cox, Elliott Davies, Harrison Mills, Mason Mills, Harrison Newbury-Kemp, Henry Newbury-Kemp and Luke Pestaille.