15 October 2017
The competitive season kicked off in familiar fashion for Sharks as the first round of the Arena League was held at Sutton in Ashfield. Once again being held at the start of the Leicestershire holidays, Sharks were missing a couple of athletes with other commitments but still put out a strong team as a sign of intent in this season's curtain opener.
Drawn against last year's third place finishers Worcester, Sharks started brilliantly, winning both of the opening 200m Individual Medley events, thanks to Michaella Glenister and Simon Scully, and winning 5 of the 8 relay events, only narrowly finishing 2nd in a 6th. Despite these victories, Leicester Sharks only led Worcester by 1 point after 10 events.
On came the individual events and our Sharks had some amazing swims, winning 18 of the 32 events! Victories for Isabela Zurdo Romao, Georgia Clarke, Michaella Glenister (2), Alexia Kowal, Madeleine Squires (2), Keanna Kowal, Daisy Platts, Jon Bennett, Abby Mitchell, Declan Luff, Yasmine Sheffield, Courtney Smith, Laurie Devine, Jacob Mills, Milly Scotchbrook and Lewis Kerrod ensured the Sharks carried a four point cushion into the final 8 relay events.
Then it got tight.
6 relays down, and 2 remaining (The Senior 6x50m Freestyle Cannon events), Worcester had closed the gap to just 2 points! The Girls calmed the nerves, thanks to their strong showing to finish a full 3.2 seconds ahead of the Worcester team, but only one place, with Worcester still having enough to finish second in the race, meaning there was still all to play for going into the last relay.
Nerves were jangling again as team captain Matthew Jory was sent in as the anchor leg with more than a body length to make up on the leading two, but what a race he gave us. Putting in a captain's performance to win the event by only one tenth of a second from second placed Belper Marlins, with Worcester finishing in 3rd only 15 one hundredths behind.
The final two relays really showed what Sharks were all about. Tough until the end, and a refusal to admit defeat against even the strongest of competitors! Despite being second favourites going in, Leicester Sharks managed to come out with the victory and a mammoth 250 points to carry into the second round.
The Final Table was as follows:
|3rd||Sutton in Ashfield||168|
|5th||City of Derby 'B'||140|