17 Oct 2023

Author: Matt Boyd-WallisArena League

I would like to start by saying a MASSIVE ‘THANK YOU’ to everyone who swam, supported, and helped with the Arena League Round 1 Gala up at Amersham on Saturday night. As a coach, let alone the Head Coach of Eastleigh Swimming Club, I couldn’t be prouder of a group of swimmers, who for some, this was their first ever competitive event.

Thank you to all the parents who transported and supported their swimmers all the way to Amersham, to Paul Rutherford and Justin Innes who helped on poolside, to Polly Sadler, Julia Maddock and Shane Shaw for officiating and of course to Tyler who was at lane end and who gave the swimmers their final words of confidence and belief. Honestly, it was all worth losing my voice for and being told by an official "I was too loud in my cheering for my club’s swimmers"!

In short you all did an amazing job, considering how many changes were made to the team that was hit with illness/injuries and swimmers who were unfortunately unavailable! Every single swimmer who travelled and swam at Amersham gave it their absolute best and this is very evident when you look at the individual times.

Overall, we came 6th, but to be just 9 points off 5th is a great result! However, what really, really pleases me are the stats for PBs and DQs. We only had 2 DQs, which was the third best team for this at this event. Only Farnham and Amersham beat us on that fact, and they can 3rd and 1st! This really makes me smile as it reflects the hard work you and coaches put into our focus on technique and mastery of strokes!

There were 34 individual swims and we had 19 of those swims were PBs (LIFETIME BEST TIME!) and a further 7 swims that were within 2% of their PB time, and this was across all age groups. Some PB’s were huge! Elliot Latham must be mentioned with a new 5 second PB in his 100m Breaststroke, which he only set in June, yet as mentioned he took a further 5 seconds off his old time to record a 1.23.46. Alistair Taylor had to go that little step further as he also improved on his 100m Breaststroke time with a massive 10 second drop, from his old time which he recorded in June, to a new time of 1.35.03.

However, all these swimmers recorded a new PB in their events and all deserve a mention, Oliver Rutherford (x2), Lara and Evan Willoughby, Sammy (x2) and Ella Scott, Heather and Elias Grimes, Alistair Taylor, Evie Sherriff Lee, Emily Bourn, Indie Bond, Jessica Heywood-Crozier (x2), John Lugares, Nathan Lewis, Samuel Marcade and Jessica Innes. Honestly this is a fantastic start, and all these times will be added to your Swim England Profiles, and they should be updated in all your logbooks too!

As Tyler and I have been saying to you all, this reflects what you are doing in training, your increased commitment and effort, but also the increase in belief you are all starting to show in yourselves. Well done everyone and please keep going, keeping enjoying the successes and most of all keep smiling.

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Arena, League, Team, Race, Competition, Head Coach, Matt