06 November 2017
This year for the first time the competition was deemed to be run in 50m (long course) pools by our governing body and all of the swimmers swam very well given the time in the season.
This weekend was Winter Regional Championships across the whole of England. Eight Berkhamsted swimmers were in action with Issy Soulsby, Ellen Northwood, Ish Rahim, Zac Patel, James Chennells & Chris Nel competing in Norwich at the East Region event and Amy Pemberton & Abbie Hurst at Millfield for the South West meet.
Izzy Soulsby got things underway in the UEA pool in Norwich with the 200m Individual medley with a good technical swim just 1 second outside her long course pb recording 2:40.33.
Next up was James Chennells, who raced 9 times across the 2 days, in the 50m Freestyle where he posted 25.87 and followed it up with a new pb in the 400m Freestyle. In the longer event he showed his class by leading his heat for the first 250m as he attacked from the off. He was caught after the 5th turn but fought for the remaining 150m, just failing to outsprint his heat winner when just 0.10 seconds separated them at the finish as he recorded 4:23.91 for a club record.
Izzy Soulsby was back in the water with her own 50m Backstroke showing good underwater skills to touch home in 33.77 for 6th in her heat from the slowest lane 8.
In the 100m breast Zac Patel, who had not swum the event long course before, finished with 1:16.28 for 5th in his heat, again improving on his seeding.
The afternoon session on Saturday began with James Chennells up again in the 200 Freestyle where he went 2:02.47, just fading in the last 50m, followed by the 50m Butterfly races. Ellen Northwood clocked 32.06 and then Ish Rahim began his meet with a pb of 28.07 to move from a seeding position of 46th to a finish of 32nd. Just a couple of heats earlier, James Chennells had attacked his race to win the heat thanks to a superbly judged finish in 28.55 and then Zac Patel stepped up to hit the pads in 26.97, again his fastest since the National Champs in August. His time was good enough to move him from 10th seed to a place in the final as the 7th qualifier for the evening.
Izzy Soulsby then finished her competition with her 3rd fastest ever 200m Backstroke as she begins to refine her form ahead of the 2018 county champs in January.
In the evening final of the 50 Butterfly, Zac Patel was on fire again to improve on his qualifying position of 7th, coming home in his first Senior final as 6th fastest in the East region, a terrific achievement for the youngster whose 16th birthday is not until the last day of the year.
Sunday started with the 200 IM and Ish Rahim was right on his pb in 2:26.50 and a tired looking James Chennells clocked 2:22.55 although still the fastest swimmer from the club but it was down to Patel to finish with another pb in2:24.24 to end 3rd in his heat.
The 50m Backstroke saw a return to championship action for Chris Nel who recorded 30.52 from Lane 1 to be fastest in the club. In earlier heats James Chennells had stopped the clock in 31.52 and Ish Rahim posted 30.89.
The final event of the morning session was the 100m Butterfly with both Ish Rahim and James Chennells just outside their best times recording 64 second swims.
With just the 100 Freestyle and 200 Backstroke to finish the meet, Ish Rahim dropped a second from his pb as he won his heat in an impressive 58.37 to improve 26 placings in the rankings. James Chennells had found some reserves of energy to finish his race in 55.97 which was faster than he managed at Nationals in August, climbing two places on seeding whilst Chris Nel gave evidence of his undoubted talent, just running out of endurance in the final 25m in 59.45.
It was left to James Chennells to finish his mammoth programme with one of his best swims of the weekend in the 200m Backstroke. Looking smooth he came home 6th from the slowest entry Lane 8 in his heat with 2:22.72.
An excellent swim by all the swimmers, well done!!