Arena League Round - 2 Nov 17

On another busy weekend of swimming action, Berkhamsted Swimming club may have propped up the final results at the National Arena League 2nd round finishing in 8th place, but 33 swimmers had an exceptionally exciting night of racing resplendent in the new team kit livery courtesy of our sponsor.

The evening began with the majority of the team and parents coming together on the Club coach, curtsey of Motts travel and our very helpful driver Ryan, this made for a great start to a team evening.

At the start of the event yet another personal best and club record for Amy Pemberton in the 200 IM (2:25.87) for second place and a repeat performance from James Chennells in the boy’s version where he also set a pb and club record with 2:14.49 for 3rd place. These two athletes set the tone for some super personal achievements by their attitude as well as their performance in the water.

However, the two biggest cheers of the night were reserved for Ish Rahim and James Chennells himself, later in the gala.

At the half way point in the 50 race program Rahim stepped up for his 15 & under 100m fly and despite his usual excellent underwater phases, a more controlled first half saw him in 2nd place with 25m to go. His final length was exemplary and he took over the lead in the last 10m to hit the pads in yet another club record. His 59.68 is the first time since the new club was formed in 2013 that a swimmer has gone under the iconic 60 seconds for the 100m fly and puts him currently in the top 20 in Britain for his age group at this event.

In the final Open individual race of the evening, the Boys’ 100m Free, James Chennells, fired up by what had gone before, dipped under the 54 second mark, posting 53.82 which, again, currently makes him the fastest 16-year-old in Hertfordshire & the East of England as he claimed 3rd place against much bigger, older competition. Both boys evidence the benefit of superb soft skills throughout their races.

Other top 3 placings on the night included a 2nd for Ish Rahim in the 100 Free (56.73, pb); 3rd for Amy Pemberton standing in manfully in the 100m Breast with a 1.6 second pb of 1:19.68 and she also took victory in the Open 100m free, smashing out a powerful last 25m to claim the win in the last 5m in 58.89.

In addition the Girls’ 12/13 Medley squad of Ella Nijkamp, Tamsin Moren, Lydia Wisely and Abi Hewson took 3rd in their relay with a super last leg from Abi Hewson reclaiming 2 places for the team. All of the first 3 will be in the same age group next year boding well for some super performances.

There were pbs for Michael Joyce (100m Breast 1:37.20 & 100m Free 1:09.01); James Chennells (100m Fly 1:01.65); Lara Coster & Jack Eyles  (50m Fly 40.59 & 46.26 respectively); Ella Nijkamp (100m Back by over 3 seconds 1:14.47); Alex Kalverboer (50m Breast 44.10); Victoria Ayles – a debutant in Arena at 14 years old (100m Free 1:14.22 by 4 seconds); Ronan Philbin (50m Free 38.29 – sub 40 for the first time) and Chrissie Soulsby who exactly equalled her pb in the 50m Breast with 45.98.

In addition there were relay leg best times set for Dan Chennells (14/15 Free lead off leg 27.74) and Lara Coster (9-11 Medley backstroke leg 40.84) while David Graham swam his first ever 100m fly in competition and during his posting  of 1:33.55 set a 50m pb at half way with 41.54. Other pbs set at 50m on route to final 100m times came from Harry Thorne (Breast 35.97) & Amy Pemberton (50m Breast 37.56).

The remainder of the squad comprised: Eric Batt, Tom Holmes-Higgin, Tom Stoker, Izzy Sansom, Caitlin Kelley, Euan Donald, Luke Nijkamp, Charlotte Watson, Ellen Northwood, Jess Potts, Chris Nel, Tom Strakosch, Evie Light, Abigail Briers & Issy Soulsby.

Intra club awards on the night went to Lara Coster for her pool swims and stepping in at the very last minute to swim an unexpected relay leg, Ronan Philbin for bouncing back from a disappointing relay leg to go pb in his free, Victoria Ayles for her attitude poolside and 4 seconds pb, Dan Chennells for his relay legs, Abbie Briers for her demeanour following a late arrival due to roadworks, which would have ruined a lesser individual and the club record setters, Ish Rahim, Amy Pemberton and James Chennells.

A big thank you also goes out to the following without whom we could not do this for the Club and swimmers.

  • David Soulsby - Judge
  • Geoff Wood - Coach
  • Jo Sansom - Judge
  • Kath Donald - Poolside Help
  • Marcus Donald - co Lead Supporter
  • Mark Strakosch - Judge
  • Natalia Moren - co Lead Supporter
  • Simon Lever - Referee
  • Tracey Moren - Poolside Help
  • Zoe Watson - Coach