Triumphant Tring Swimming Club are celebrating after winning the Herts Trophy at the London Aquatic Centre.
The Tring club competed at the Olympic pool in London on June 24 against seven other teams from Hertfordshire: Broxbourne, Welwyn, Letchworth, Royston, Ware, Hertford and Buntingford.
After losing out narrowly last year, where they finished a very close second to Royston, the team was determined to fight for every point this time around and went into the gala knowing that a single disqualification across 49 races could cost the team dear.
Great leadership was demonstrated at the start of the event with a big win in the first race by Brianna Mazey, swimming 100m freestyle in 1:04s, followed by early wins for Chloe Woodruff (U16 50m butterfly 32.90s), Isobel Geller (U14 50m breaststroke 41.94s), Josh Frewin and Molly Bradley (Open 100m backstroke in 1m11.58 and 1m12.96) and Sam Pyefinch (U14 50m butterfly 31.81s). All gave the team confidence and when Tring won four of the first round of eight relay races the team was starting to build a lead.
But as the second-half of races began, Ware SC fought back strongly with a string of wins in the younger age groups, and it took some brilliant racing from the Tring team to stay with them.
Cameron Winchcombe was outstanding in the Open 100m breaststroke, winning in 1:12.43, and 50m butterfly, in 28.06s, while Marcia Billingham (U16 50m breaststroke 41.04s) and Amelia Owens (U12 50m freestyle 35.06s) both won their races.
Fighting second-place finishes from Chris Hughes, Chloe Woodruff, James Anderson and Rosie Cave keeping Tring in contention.
As the final round of relays began, Ware led by ten points but three wins by the girls’ teams and a brilliant last leg in the U16 boys’ relay by James Anderson (27.99s) gave Tring a fourth win with just two races to go.
The turning point came in the penultimate race, with Tring in seventh after the second leg and Ware leading. Pyefinch dived in for the butterfly leg with a storming 50m in 30.89s and managed to gain five places. A great 50m freestyle by James Inglis on the final leg saw Tring on the cusp of pulling off what looked the impossible.
The final Squadron race was close at first, but with remarkable PBs from all of the last five swimmers (Pyefinch in 29.05s, Molly Bradley in 29.07s, James Anderson in 27.96s, Brianna Mazey in 28.14s and Cameron Winchcombe again in 26.43s), the team pulled away to win convincingly.
The evening was rounded off by Mazey winning the one-off 200m individual medley, stretching away on all four of her strokes with outstanding technique in 2:39.85s.
Head coach Johnny Bradley said: “What a wonderful way for the Tring team to end the 2016/17 season.
“Every single team member should be proud of their performance; not a single disqualification, coming from many months of hard work and dedication.”
n See p59 for news of the club’s Peanuts team.