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Success for Croydon Amphibians at Arena League

Success for Croydon Amphibians at Arena League

On Saturday 9th December on a very cold and wintry day, Croydon Amphibians boarded the team coach and headed down to The Pavilions In The Park in Horsham to compete in Round 3 of the National Arena Swimming League. Croydon Amphibians currently compete in Division One East and after completing Rounds 1 and 2 were swimming in the Lower Gala to avoid relegation.

Hosts on the night were East Grinstead who were one of the favourites along with Orpington Ojays. Also stepping up to the blocks were Ashford Town, Shepway A and Dover Lifeguards. Croydon Amphibians were allocated Lane 3 and after having already beaten Shepway A and Dover Lifeguards in previous rounds, were confident that they could perform well.

Right from the start Croydon Amphibians were very keen to make their presence felt, especially as Laura Brooks had kindly provided the swimmers inflatable clappers to get the crowd going.

Our younger swimmers performed superbly once again in the 11/U age group, claiming six first places on the night. Consisting of Chloe Davey, Maya Malhotra, Alyze Gentles and Ava Kelly the 4 x 50m freestyle girls relay was the first to be claimed, which was then immediately followed up by a win for the boys who were Zain Lam, Noah Findell, Ethan Martin and Rudy Kool. This feat was repeated in both the girls and boys 50m medley relay events. Zain Lam also picked up first places in the 50m breast and butterfly events, as did Ava Kelly in the 50m back and breastsroke events.

The 13/U boys relay team of Nico Lane, Sebastien Sparshott, Arun Oelkers and Stephan Bazhenov continued the success by storming to victory in the 4 x 50m medley relay, while Amy Brown, Ava Kelly, Pippa Danielson and Anna Wooley swam valiantly in the girls relay and claimed an impressive second place. Again this feat was repeated in the 4 x 50m freestyle relays. James Poulton replaced Nico Lane in the line-up and help secure victory while the girls came in second in their race. Amy Brown came first in an impressive 100m backstroke race, while Arun Oelkers won the 100m butterfly with consummate ease.

The 15/U and Open age groups proved once again to be extremely competitive across all strokes but Croydon put in some excellent swims. Hannah Bridges put in a sterling performance to claim second in the girls 200 IM while Daniel Dubet swam gallantly in the boy’s event.  Ella Abai Haddon, Leah Slattery, Jadie Munro and Halina Wieckowska swam a superb race to claim the girl’s 4 x 50m freestyle relay, while the boys of Ronan Brennan, Alexander Dabysing, Jules Rognon and Luca Barretta put up a decent fight to claim third place in their respective freestyle relay.  In the girl’s 15/U open 100m backstroke Ella Abdai Haddon claimed a solid second place while Luca Barretta, who swam an incredible six races on the night, came home in fourth.

In the open 100m butterfly events, both club captains stepped up on the blocks and put in stunning performances. Anna Power took third place in her race while Maciej Wieckowska stormed home to take first place. In other notable races, Jules Rognon took an impressive second place in the 15/U butterfly, Rochelle Joyce looked very strong in the 15/U 100m breastsroke taking second, while Charlie Goriup stormed home in the open 100m freestyle relay in what was a very exciting race to watch as he pipped the swimmer from Shepway A to the post with the last few strokes.

As always the evening’s racing finished with the relays. Croydon needed a solid performance as they were only seven points clear of their closest challenger Orpington Ojays. In the 15/U girl’s medley relay, Ella, Rochelle, Halina and Leah swam to victory while both the girls and boys 6 x 50m relay teams put in very honourable swims achieving third place in their respective races. The boys in particular made a stunning comeback, as at the halfway point they were in last place. The excitement was immense and the roof nearly lifted off the Pavilions in the Park as the noise rose to an incredible crescendo. Along with the stunning performances by the 11/U and 13U relay teams, Croydon were happy they had done enough.

And so it was to be, with everyone waiting in anticipation for the final scores, Croydon were announced winners on the night with 214 points. Loud cheers emanated from the Croydon support and all the swimmers jumped in the pool in celebration.

The final standings were as follows

1st – Croydon Amphibians – 214 points
2nd – Orpington Ojays – 201 points
3rd – Tied - East Grinstead and Ashford Town – 179 points
5th – Shepway A
6th – Dover Lifeguards

Full race results and league tables.