Last weekend 150 swimmers from Dolphins to Seniors were at Barnet Copthall pools for the annual Club Championships. On Saturday evening they swam 50 free and 400 free, on Sunday afternoon 100 breaststroke and 200 IM and on Sunday evening 100 fly, 100 back and 100 free. Points are awarded to those in 1st place (8 points) to 8th place (1 point) in each age group and the Club Champions (announced in a previous news item) are those with the most points over all events - so truly all-round swimmers.
In some age groups the winners were very clear with Poppy Chapple, Fabio Arricale, Zach Shalovsky, Harumi Yagi, Jamie Richter and George Carter winning all 7 events and amassing 56 points each. Jo Zambelli and Oliver Keegan both dropped only one point overall and finished on 55 points. The 10 year old girls championship was very tight with Akari Ishida finishing only 2 points ahead of Karis Fuller and with Erin Nabney and Anum Bandey not far behind. There was also a close finish in the boys 15 yrs with Charlie Boldison finishing with just 3 points more than Alex Jessop.
In two age groups the lead swung back and forth between a couple of swimmers. After Saturday evening, Kerys O'Sullivan won 50 free and 400 free to lead the girls 14 yrs with Lauren Chapple in second place. Lauren then took gold in both events on Sunday afternoon and they went into the last session on equal points. In the last session, Lauren won the 100 fly and 100 back leaving Kerys unable to overtake her on points despite a win in the 100 freestyle. The girls 12 yrs was initially similarly exciting Maddie Tichborne and Megan Boldison each having 1 gold and 1 silver on Sunday evening. On Sunday afternoon they also shared the honours and went into the last session on equal points. Megan then won the 100 fly and was in second place to Nicola Burlingham in the 100 back. This established an unbeatable lead going into the last event.
In the youngest age group, 8 years and under, there were some excellent swims. With the minimum age for open meets being 9 yrs, the Club Championships is the only opportunity these swimmers have to compete and they went into it with enthusiasm - 11 girls took part in this age group (the youngest Chihiro Ishida being only 6!) and 10 boys. In the girl's events, gold medals were shared between Alice Bell, Olivia Cichon and Casey Howell with Ella Harvey, Isabella Sabharwal and Kirsty Halsey also taking home medals. In the boy's events, gold medal winners were Joey Shalovsky, Haris Bandey and Konstantin Kapanadze. Jeremy Simanjuntak also shared in the medals with a silver and a bronze.
There were two club records at the meet. The Saturday evening session saw a record beaten which had stood for 11 years - Jamie Richter (11yrs) swam 4:51.15 in the 400 free to beat a record set by Jamie Smithers in December 1996. On Sunday Lauren Chapple improved on her own record in the 14 yrs 200 IM with a 2:23.75. Congratulations to both swimmers.
Other highlights were: club captain, Jessie Porter finishing on a high note with her first sub-minute for 100 free; Kim Liu, Hugo Cliff and George Carter swimming their first 29s for 50 free; Emily Dean going under 5 minutes for 400 free.
Many thanks to everyone who helped at the gala. I'd especially like to thank Andy Woska who organised all the officials, Carol Allchorne who did her usual great job providing food and drinks on Sunday (lovely turkey sandwiches Carole!) and Jill Dean who provided pre-meet food and drinks for our officials on Sunday. Sarah Lawlor again helped on all three sessions despite having her arm bandaged - please don't anyone tell her that her daughter hasn't actually swum with us for several years in case she hasn't noticed yet!
We hope that all swimmers and parents enjoyed the meet.