Press Reports 2002
Swimming Club's Marc Gooding produced an amazing performance at Hitchin on
Saturday in the third round of the Speedo London League. The 16-year-old was the
anchor leg in the 6x50m freestyle, in the final event of the evening, and when
he dived in was almost five metres down in third place. But he took the
challenge on and powered down the pool in a superb split of 25.11, and touched
home in first place to the delight of team-mates Adam Collins, Mark Cuthbert,
Adam Bowden, and brothers Paul and Peter Gooding.
The gala was a very close event, with Watford holding a narrow lead for most of the evening, but an unfortunate disqualification in the boys under-14 freestyle team meant the club eventually finished in third.
There were several good performances from club members, and Haley Duncan (open 200m individual medley 100m backstroke) and Emily Harris (under-16 100m backstroke and freestyle) were both in double winning form, and Lauren Simmons easily won her under-14 breastroke, Adam Collins in the under-16 100m butterfly, and for brothers Glen and Dean White, in the under-14 100m backstroke and under-12 50m freestyle.
retained their fourth place in the London League after the second round in
Hitchin on Saturday.
After their good first round performance, the Watford squad were pitched against league leaders Wandsworth and four other clubs, and although they only finished the gala in fifth place, their league position remained unchanged.
Paul Gooding led the way with two excellent wins in the boys under-14 100m freestyle and breastroke, and stepped in to swim in the men's open 100m breastroke and 200m individual medley as well. Team-mate Tom Rose continues to impress, and he swam another fine race in the under-14 100m butterfly, narrowly losing out to the Wandsworth swimmer. Rose and Gooding then teamed up with Glen and Dean White to take the runners-up spot in both the medley & freestyle team, again losing out to the impressive Wandsworth squad. Adam Collins, missing from the first round gala, showed how valuable he is to the team with two fine second places in the under-16 100m backstroke and butterfly; both swims were personal best times.
Lauren Simmons (12) was the star for the girls. The breastroke specialist took the under-14 100m event in a fine time of 1.26.76, and later on in the evening took the runners-up spot in the under-16 race.
Watford Swimming club started this season’s Speedo London
League with a solid fourth place in their first round gala at Stevenage on
Despite fielding a slightly under-strength team. Watford’s squad displayed their usual excellent team spirit, with many swimmers forced to swim up in older events. The first victory of the night came from the men's’ open 200m medley team of Matt Ginty, Pete and Marc Gooding and Adam Bowden. In a competitive race, top middle distance runner Bowden showed he can still produce the goods in the pool, with a storming last leg which just took the honours by a couple of hundredths in a three-way touch.
Fifteen year old Emily Harris was outstanding, winning both her individual races, the girls under 16 100m backstroke (1.14.78) and 100m freestyle (1.05.84), and capped a good night with some excellent relay swims. Hayley Duncan also swam well, taking the runners-up spot in her two events, the open 200m individual medley, and the 100m butterfly. Stacey Rafferty, 12 continues to impress, taking the runners-up spot in the under 14 100m freestyle in a time of 1.1.81.
The under 14 boys team were the club’s most successful. Tom Rose is swimming really well at present, and he produced the swim of the night to power down the last length of 100m butterfly to win in 1.19.69 and his team mate Paul Gooding outclassed the opposition to win the under 14 100m breaststroke in 1.23.75. These two then teamed up with the White brothers, Glen and Dean, to take the under 14 freestyle relay and they were placed second in the medley event.
Watford dive into medals
Several members of Watford Swimming
Club were in action at the recent Hatfield Open meet, and with many top class
swimmers looking for National Age Group times, this was a tough, high quality
Leading the way for Watford again were established stars of the local scene, en Dollard and Paul Gooding. Dollard,, competed in five events and came away with three gold's in the 100m and 200m freestyle and 100m butterfly. His swim in the final of the 100m freestyle was a nail biting affair as he was lying half a body length down going into the final turn, but a stunning last 25m saw him touch home in 56.44, just 0.03 ahead of the second placed swimmer.
Gooding had an even closer finish in the final of the 12-year 100m freestyle. He was involved in an epic battle with Andrew Curtin, from Hitchin, and the lead changed throughout the race, but Gooding found the strength to touch in a new personal best of 1.01.97 and clinch the gold by the smallest of margins, with Curtin touching in .1.01.98. Gooding had a fine weekend, as he went on to take a further gold in the 100m breaststroke, and two silvers in the 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley.
Also performing well for the club were Hayley Duncan, who made two finals, and was placed sixth in both the girls 15/16 years 100m butterfly and 100m backstroke, and was placed fifth in the 200m butterfly and individual medley, which were heat-declared winner events.
There are a strong set of youngsters coming through the Watford ranks, and Lauren Simmons confirmed her breastroke promised by reaching her first final in a top meet in the 12-year girls 100m event. Her time of 1.56.52 in the final was slightly down on her heat time, but nevertheless was good enough for fifth place. And in the highly competitive 100m freestyle event, Stacy Rafferty, 12, won her heat in a new personal best of 1.11.19, as did Nicky Dormer, 13, who also swam a new personal best, recording 1.07.72.
Gooding delivers depth
Paul Gooding continued the good form
shown by Watford’s swimmers at this year’s Southern Counties Age Group
Championships when he competed at Crystal Palace at the weekend, producing a new
personal best and club record in each of his seven events.
The 12 year old’s best event was the 50m butterfly in which his time of 32.06 proved good enough for the silver medal. Gooding also had an excellent swim in the 200m breaststroke, where he touched home in 3.03.92 to earn a fine bronze. His other events during a busy weekend were the 200m freestyle (2.19.25, sixth), 50m freestyle (29.39, fifth), 50m breaststroke (39.15, seventh), 100m free (1.03.98, fourth), and 200 individual medley (2.41.81, fifth).
He now joins team-mate Ben Dollard in the National Championships in Sheffield late this summer.
Dollard on the money
Watford Swimming Club's Ben Dollard
continued his remarkable season last weekend when he competed in the Southern
Counties Age Group Championships at Crystal Palace.
The 14-year-old swam in four events and underlined his fantastic rise up the ladder to win an astonishing three gold's and one silver medal, and in doing so becoming Watford's first Southern Counties champion for some 15 years.
He started with a win in the final of the 100m freestyle on Saturday, which he took in a new personal best of 57.39. Spurred on by this success, Dollard took a further two gold's in his favoured sprint events on Sunday, the 50m butterfly and freestyle, which he won in great style in times of 28.63 and 26.48 respectively. A fourth gold looked on the cards in the 100m butterfly, but he just failed to take this title, touching home in 1.04.16, only 0.2 seconds behind the winner.
Dollard is now in training for the English Nationals, which will be held in Sheffield later this summer.
Pair net haul
Two Watford Swimming club members
competed in an International Swimming competition at the weekend as gusts of the
University Swimming Club of Mainz, Watford’s twin town. With swimmers from all
over Europe taking part, the standard was particularly high. The teams from
Zagreb and Basel were particularly strong, with several Croatian and Swiss
national age group records broken over the two day meet. But the two Watford
swimmers, Ben Dollard and Paul Gooding, did themselves and the club proud,
eventually winning one gold, two silvers and three bronze medals between them.
Despite a less than easy trip due to problems at Heathrow, Dollard, in the 1987 age group, got the competition off to a great start in the second event of Saturday the 200m backstroke in which he won a fine silver in 2.35.85. And he repeated this silver medal success in the 400m freestyle later in the day when a superb last 50m of 31 seconds helped him to a time of 4.42.67.
Not to be outdone, Gooding (1989) won himself a bronze in his only event, the 200m breaststroke, recording 3.15.48, and although this was outside his personal best, it was still a fair time in the 50m long course outdoor pool. The boys best events were on the Sunday, though, and hopes were high when Dollard stepped up on the blocks in his best event, the 100m butterfly in the fastest heat. He did not let himself down touching in 1.04.89 and winning the gold by more than a second. He went on to take another silver in the 100m freestyle (558.17) and bronze in the 200m freestyle (2.12.88). Gooding added another two bronzes to the medal haul in the 200m freestyle (2.26.84) and the 200m individual medley (2.54.71), and both boys are now in training for the Southern county Championships in the forthcoming weeks.
Watford swimmers stay afloat
The final round of the Herts Major Swimming
League was held last weekend, with Watford's swimmers competing in two galas.
At Stevenage, the A team were in action in a crucial Division One event against five other teams. The mission here was to beat Hertford Swimming Club to avoid relegation, and in great style, as Watford eventually finished joint third on the night, with Hertford some 30 points adrift.
Three swimmers were in double winning form on the night. Graham Martin-Dye, fresh from his success at the Commonwealth Water Polo competition where he bagged bronze, took the open 100 metres breaststroke (1.13.48), Ben Dollard won the under-16 100 metres butterfly (1.16.07) and 100 metres freestyle (58.43), and Dean White doubled up in the under-12 25 metres breaststroke (20.41) and 25 metres butterfly (18.56). Paul Gooding almost matched this feat; he won the under-14 50 metres butterfly (33.60), but had to settle for the runners-up spot in his other individual, the 100 metres freestyle (1.06.08).
In the girls' races, there were wins for Hayley Duncan, in the open 100 metres backstroke (1.13.33), and Emily Harris, in the under-16 100 metres freestyle (1.07.24). Overall the squad won 12 of the 49 events, which was the best result from this year's league, and confirms the team's status in the county's elite for another season.
Over at Hemel Hempstead, the B team turned in another excellent performance by winning 11 of the 49 events, plus gaining a further 20 runners-up positions, which was good enough to win their Division Three gala from their four opponents.
There were several good swims at this venue, as well, adding to the afternoon's entertainment. Miles McCleod won both his individual races, the under-12 25 metres backstroke and freestyle, and he looks a real star for the future. Meanwhile, Chris Longman took the under-12 25 metres breaststroke, Guy Rogers the under-14 50metres freestyle, and Ryan O'Connor won his 50 metres breaststroke race by nearly half a length.
There were two individual wins for the girls. These came from Melanie Forrester in the under-14 50 metres breaststroke, and Kate O'Reilly in the under-16 50 metres freestyle.
England's bronze age
ENGLAND have won an historic bronze
medal at the inaugural Commonwealth Water Polo Championships in Manchester, with
Watford's Graham Martin-Dye, highly instrumental in the team's success. Although
water polo was the first Olympic team sport, the Commonwealth Games has never
included team sports on its agenda before, although it is hoped that in future,
the team events will take place at the same time as the actual games.
England began the competition with a difficult game against New Zealand, and, despite trailing for most of the match, vital penalties from Martin-Dye put his side 9-7 ahead in the final period on their way to a vital 12-9 win. A comprehensive 15-4 win against Ireland was followed up by a narrow 8-4 loss to eventual winners Canada, although England spurned several chances to take victory. The defeat meant a semi-final tie against the Olympic quarter-finalists Australia, and the Antipodean's extra class showed as they cruised to a 11-4 win. However, in something of a shock, the Canadians edged out the Australians in what was something of a shock.
England's bronze medal showdown with Malta - one of the top sides in Europe - was one of the most exciting games in the competition, played out in front of a packed Manchester swimming arena. The match was pretty much level throughout but Malta edged 7-6 ahead with only two minutes left on the clock. However, Colin Burgess tied to take the match into extra-time and, with the scores level at 8-8, Martin-Dye popped up to fire England into the lead with late strikes from Craig Figes wrapping up the victory and the bronze medal. "The atmosphere at the arena was absolutely amazing," said Martin-Dye. "We played really well and hopefully people will begin to take notice of us. It's given us a real boost ahead of the European 'B@ qualifying campaign." The first world medal won by a British Water Polo team since the 1920 Olympics, the Bronze should go some way to boosting water polo - the second most popular team sport in the world - in Britain but the real test for Martin-Dye and his team mates lies in qualifying for the European 'B' championships. Only in qualifying for these championships, could the British ten be given the chance to qualify for the 'A' championships and then the Olympic games. The omens are good though. In the North Sea Cup, a Commonwealth warm-up event held in Sheffield, England beat the likes of Belgium, Denmark and Sweden on their way to the title. When you consider two seasons ago Denmark were in the European 'A' qualifying groups, the national side can take heart from the fact that real progress has undoubtedly been made.
England head to Holland for a training camp on April 18 where final preparations for the European qualifying tournament in Bulgaria later in the year will be put in place. However, for now, the team can bask in the glory of Commonwealth success, and look to a future at last looking bright for British water polo.
Relay team at four-front of medals
THERE was continued success at the
Herts County Age Groups and Championships for Watford's swimmers at the weekend
when they won four gold, nine silver and three bronze medals to add to the
previous week's totals.
Dean White, in the 11-year age group, led the way with two gold's and two silvers, and he would have made it a hat-trick of titles were it not for a faulty start in one of his best events, the 200 metres breaststroke, which saw him disqualified. His wins came in the 200 metres freestyle (2.42.09) and 50 metres breaststroke (44.83), and 100 metres individual medley (1.28.70).
Hayley Duncan was among the medals again. She took the 16-year 200 metres backstroke in a impressive time of 2.38.74, and added silver in the 100 metres backstroke (1.13.23), and bronze in both the 100 metres freestyle (1.05.73) and 100 metres butterfly (1.15.96). Duncan also took bronze in the junior 200 metres butterfly event, clocking 2.50.28 for the eight-length race.
Paul Gooding added three more medals to his collection, placing second in the 13-year boys' 200 metres breaststroke (3.09.39), and taking bronze in the 50 metres butterfly (33.66), and 100 metres breaststroke (1.28.12). The final age group medals were both silver, and were won by young Peter Beardsworth, swimming in his first county event in the ten-year 50 metres butterfly (46.25), and Mark Cuthbert, in the 14-year 200 metre breaststroke (3.04.28).
But the highlight of the weekend, and indeed the whole championships, had to be the outstanding performance of the Watford quartet of Ben Dollard, Adam Collins, Matt Ginty and Marc Gooding in the junior boys' 4x50m freestyle relay.
Dollard got the team off to a flyer in the first leg, touching home just ahead of the strong Hatfield and Cheshunt teams. Collins, who has improved this year and swum personal bests in every event he has contested, gritted his teeth to keep the team in contention, and then a superb leg by Matt Ginty saw him touch almost simultaneously with the other two teams, who were all aiming for gold. It was left to Gooding, who produced the swim of his life with an amazing turn of pace to stop the clock in 1.49.07, and, more importantly, winning another championship title for Watford Swimming Club. Hatfield were just behind in 1.49.78 in what was a thrilling race.
Dollard went on to take three silvers in the junior championship events in the 100 metres butterfly and backstroke and 50 metres freestyle, and he was also joined on the podium by Gooding, who took the bronze in this event.
Pair add to medal haul
A SMALL squad of Watford swimmers
travelled to Borehamwood at the weekend to compete in the second round of this
year's Herts County Age Groups and Championships.
Ben Dollard was again among the medals, picking up a silver in the junior under-17 championship 200 metres freestyle (2.09.34), and then he smashed his personal best to take an excellent bronze in the 100 metres event, touching home in 57.55.
Hayley Duncan continued her fine form from the previous week, winning the bronze in the junior 400 metres individual medley championship (5.41.60), and she was also placed sixth in the 200 metres individual medley.
In the age group competitions, Marc Gooding swam a fine race in the 16-year boys' 100 metres freestyle, coming home in 58.92, which earned him the bronze medal. His brother, Paul, had a great swim in the 13-year event, but his personal best time of 1.05.06 was agonisingly just outside the medal times, and he was placed fourth.
Nicky Dormer continues to improve at a tremendous rate. She swam in the ultra-competitive 13-year girls' 200 metres breaststroke, won her heat by a huge margin, and took a very creditable ninth placing in the final (3.19.05).
In the boys' 200 metres backstroke both Mark Cuthbert and Adam Collins ended in a good sixth position in their respective age groups, Cuthbert in the 14-year-olds (2.45.19), and Collins in the 15 years (2.36.42). Both of these times were new personal bests.
The standard in this year's championships has been particularly high, but the club go into this weekend's final sessions full of confidence they can add to their already impressive medal haul.
Duncan dips in for gold
The first round of the Herts
County Championships were held at Hemel Hempstead over the weekend, and the
Watford swimmers competing were all in great form, bagging four gold's, three
silvers, and a bronze in the events.
The competition started on Friday night with the longest events, the 1,500 metres freestyle, which is competed over 60 lengths of the pool. Two Watford swimmers competed in this gruelling marathon, Hayley Duncan and Mark Cuthbert.
Duncan recorded 19.56.56 to take first place in the girls' 16-year age group, but Cuthbert was a little disappointed with his fourth placing in the 14-year age group, as he was the reigning county champion. However, he made amends the following day to take the gold medal in the 800 metres in 10.31.64, and, although slightly tired, added a fine fifth placing in the 400 metres freestyle later in the day. Duncan continued her excellent performances with two gold medals in the 800 metres freestyle and 200 metres individual medley (10.29.53 and 2.37.56), and as senior member of the squad, proved an inspiration to the team.
Twelve-year-old Kerry Cuthbert had a day to remember on Saturday. Seeded seventh in the 800 metres freestyle, she kept her stroke going well throughout the 32-length race to touch in 11 minutes dead, to improve to second overall, her first county award. A couple of hours later, buoyed by this success, she produced another fine swim in the 400 metres freestyle, touching in 5.18.18 which earned her a bronze medal, as well as the new club record.
Paul Gooding also won a silver medal in his only event of the weekend, the 200 metres individual medley. Ben Dollard, 14, produced an awesome swim in the 50 metres butterfly championship. He made the final as the sixth fastest swimmer, then powered home to touch in 27.11, which improved him up to fourth overall, and an excellent second in the under 17 junior championship.
In at the deep end
Come August, the nation is likely
to be gripped by Commonwealth fever as the Games come to Manchester. Derived from a time when Britain
ruled the globe with a colonial fist, the Games have continually gone from
strength to strength despite the weakening of the Commonwealth in the modern
age. Part of the secret to the games'
success is that it allows countries like Britain - where lets face it, funding
and commitment to sport from the Government is fairly pathetic - to achieve
success in all sports, without being overwhelmed by superpowers like the USA and
A perfect example is the sport of water polo and for one of England's top players, North Watford's Graham Martin-Dye, the Games could become a crucial turning point in his career, as well as the sport in England. "The problem with water polo in England is that we have to establish ourselves," said Graham. "Europe has the top teams in the world like Spain, Italy and Hungary, and it is impossible for us to qualify for major events because we have to compete with the top sides in the world in the qualifying stages." "We're not too far behind countries elsewhere in the world, and the Games will give us top level practise in a tournament we can do well in, which can only be good for the sport."
However, the Commonwealth Games are to be seen as more of a stepping stone both in Graham's blossoming career and future of Team England. Graham has already had a superb season with his club Hammersmith Penguins. After winning the national league, he was top scorer as the Penguins took the UK title for the first time since 1988 resulting in Penguins' qualification for the European Championship's. The European preliminary rounds are due to take place in October. The 24-year-old's form has also caught the eye of top Italian Club Roma and, as Graham explained, the sport is taken a little differently in the Italian capital. "Water polo in Italy is 100 per cent professional. There is a lot of money to be made in the sport and the lifestyle is more similar to that of a footballer. "Italy are one of the top clubs in the world as well as being former Olympic and World Champions."
Graham jets off to Italy tomorrow (Saturday) with the English team for a training camp and a number of friendlies, and his performances could see him being snapped up by the Italian Club, who will be there to assess his performances. "The training camp will only mimic all the conditions of the Commonwealth Games. We will train for two hours every morning as well as having a game every evening, just like it will e in Manchester." "Everything will be regulated like our sleeping patterns and diet, so we will be totally prepared for the games. A squad of 17 will travel to Italy but only 13 of us will be picked for the final team. I'm confident of making the cut but, of course, you can never be certain about these things."
Due to the fact that team sports have never formed part of the Commonwealth games, even though water polo has a long Olympic tradition, the tournament actually takes place in March in Manchester, although the prize still a Commonwealth medal, and England have a great chance of glory. "Teams like Australia, who will be our main rivals, have a much easier passage than us into events like the Olympics because the European qualifying groups are so tough. So this is our chance to show that we can compete. More importantly for England will be the European qualifiers which are due to begin in May. England are aiming for qualification to the B group, the second tier of European teams, and progress is vital if the team are to ultimately achieve their dream of reaching the pinnacle of sport, the Olympic Games. Only then will the sport receive much-needed funding from the British Olympic Association. "The team has come on a lot in recent times. We've got a new Yugoslavian coach and we are now more professional. "It would be great to do well in the Commonwealth Games, but the important thing is to prove ourselves in Europe. "If we do qualify, the finals are in Stockholm in August, with the huge prize of a place in the 'A' Championship qualifying rounds on offer."
The omens are good for Graham. His father, John, picked up two Commonwealth bronzes in swimming as well as representing Britain in the 1960 and 1964 Olympic games in Rome and Tokyo respectively. Any glory that the 24-year-old achieves will be well deserved. With practically no sponsorship, aside from the backing of Watford's Sportz Academy in High Street, as well as having to juggle a job with his training, it's undoubtedly been a struggle. However, for one, success seems to be in Graham's and England's own hands. Commonwealth Gold would be nice, but, in the bigger picture, Team England may need to keep their best for what could become a make-or-break year.
Watford out of their depth but still finish top five
Watford's swimmers competed in
the second round of the Herts league, but both teams found the competition
particularly strong, finishing their respective galas in fifth position.
At St Albans, the A team were up against five other teams in their Division One clash, and the outstanding squad here were Cheshunt A, who won the event by a huge margin, and are now favourites to win the league.
Watford only had two wins from the 49 events. Dean White took the under-12boys' one length breastroke in 29.02, and he also had a fine second place in the under-12 butterfly race. His brother, Glen, also swam well, putting in a fine finishing kick to take the runners-up spot in the under-14 100 metres backstroke in 1.24.30. Their other victory came from boys' freestyle team of Matt Ginty, Ben Dollard, Marc Gooding and Greg Buck. Butterfly specialist Dollard swam in both the under-16 and open individual events, and, on both occasions, he touched in second place. In what was a very busy night for Dollard, he also teamed up with Adam Collins, Luke Rogers and Mark Cuthbert to take the runners-up spot in both the under-16 medley and freestyle relays.
For the girls, Hayley Duncan (open 100 metres backstroke, 1.14.13) and Emily Harris (under-16 100 metres freestyle) both gained second places in their individual events. Duncan was also placed third in her other individual race, the open 100 metres butterfly.
Although the Cheshunt team were miles clear, the remaining five teams were closely matched, and Watford would have finished in a higher position had it not been for six careless disqualifications.
Meanwhile, over at the impressive new 25-metre Stevenage pool, the B team were involved in another exciting gala in Division Three. They fared better than their A counterparts team in terms of individual wins, but still finished only fifth, although this gala was a much tighter affair.
The Watford winners were Melanie Forester (under-14 girls' 50 metres breaststroke, 45.38), Sam Boxhall (under-14 boys' 50 metres breaststroke, 45.71), Chris Longman (under-12 25 metres breaststroke, 22.07), Caroline Rogers (open 50 metres butterfly, 37.49) and Nick Murkin (uner-14 50 metres backstroke, 43.54).
Watford making a splash
Watford Men's' Water Polo team are
celebrating after picking up the Hertfordshire League title in what is the
Swimming Club's centenary year.
The team have lost the last three titles to rivals Bedford but the two met in the opening fixture of the season with Watford worthy winners 15-9. The side wrapped up the championship on the last day of the season with victory against runners-up Hatfield although they had made life difficult for themselves with an uncharacteristic loss against Cambridge in mid-season. However, consistent performances from the likes of Graham Martin-Dye, Lee Bell and Drago Dunjerovic saw Watford through.
Meanwhile, Watford were able to field a junior side for the first time in four years and the under-16's made marked progress in their first season back in the London Winter League. Young Watford went down 24-0 to Beckenham in their opening fixture but showed how much improvement they made by narrowly going down 8-3 to the same opposition in the last fixture of the campaign, finishing in a creditable third-place overall.
Under-16's squad: Ben Dollard, Caroline Rogers, Louise Collins, Matthew Ginty, Marc Gooding, Tiffany Rogers, Adam Collins, Robert Duncan, Mark Cuthbert, Nick Ginty, Luke Rogers, Paul Gooding.
Watford thrown in at the deep end
The first round of the Herts
Swimming League was swum on Saturday, and there were mixed fortunes for the two
Watford teams. In Division One at St
Albans, the A team were up against stiff opposition, but nevertheless performed
well enough on the night to take fourth place out of the six teams competing.
There were only three wins for Watford swimmers; Marc Gooding took the men's open 100 metres freestyle in 59.44, and he also teamed up with his brother Peter, Greg Buck and Adam Bowden to take the freestyle relay event. The other victory came from Adam Collins, who produced the swim of the night to take the under-16 boys' 100 metres backstroke in a fast 1.15.69, a new personal best.
There wee, however, several encouraging swims from the youngest under-12 age group, with Dean White, J. Devlin and Nicholas Hardman all taking second places in their individual races.
At Hemel Hempstead, the B team fared much better in their Division Three event, just losing by a single point to Costa in an exciting gala.
Kim Cox got the team off to a flying start by winning the opening event, the open ladies 100 metres freestyle in 1.12.23, and there were further individual wins for Jo Allen (under-14 50 metres breaststroke, 43.03). S. Boxhall (under-14 50 metres backstroke, 1.12.84), and Guy Rogers (under-14 50 metres freestyle, 35.57).
Two relay teams deserve special mention for winning both freestyle and medley events; the under-12 boys of Nick Rogers, Chris Longman, Peter Beardsworth and Eliot Webber-Rosewall, and the under-14 boys, Nick Murkin, S. Boxhall, Elroy Elvie and Guy Rogers.