“One of the most thrilling galas we have ever been in” exclaimed a jubilant Chief Coach Richard Garfield in Cardiff Sunday 26 April. Guildford City Swimming Club had got closer than ever before to achieving the pinnacle of club success by winning the National Arena Swimming League final. Ultimately runners up to eventual worthy winners Plymouth Leander, the Surrey based club held the lead for a good majority of the gala just to see the “dream” slip away during the final few events. “At event 32 we were in the lead by a single point, but we knew what was coming from Plymouth. Their big guns, Ruta Meilutyte & Ben Proud were lining up to swim and it was clear the final 17 events were going to be tough.”
Final scores were
1 Plymouth Leander 362
2 Guildford City 342
3 Millfield 330
4 Stockport Metro 297
5 City of Leeds 296
6 Ellesmere 276
7 City of Peterborough 230
8 Hatfield 226
9 City of Derby 207
10 City of Salford 182
City achieved a terrific 11 first places, 4 seconds & 6 thirds out of 50 events in a brilliant afternoon of competitive swimming at the highest levels. “The pool was littered with superstars“ quipped NAGs Lead Coach Lee Spindlow, “truly an awesome experience for all of the youngsters involved”.
In the 9 to 11 category Jordan McPhail won both the 50m Fly & Backstroke, Max Windle (a year out of age) won the 50m breaststroke and both boys with teammates Toby Stewart, Zack Haynes and Joshua Shaw won the free & medley relays.
Isabella Fakkel was an individual winner in the 50 breaststroke as was Tatiana Belonogoff in the 100m breaststroke. Olympian Marco Loughran won the 100m back and the Girls 13 & under of Sophia Wilson, Tatiana Belonogoff, Madison Desroches and Anna Cutts won the medley relay.
On the way to winning the Girls 9 to 11 Medley Relay the team of Daisy Seymour, Isabella Fakkel, Zara Agius and Claire Murphy broke the Meet Record, as did Danish International Jeanette Ottesen in the 100m butterfly.
Jeanette won Top Female Swimmer of the Meet and Isabella & Jordan won most improved 11 & under girl and boy. The Williamson family of coaches, Laura, Josh & Sally were seriously impressed by the overall standard of the meet and how well their swimmers performed in the spotlight.
“We are so proud of all of our swimmers today. They gave everything they could. Huge thanks to our large group of parents who travelled to Wales to give us vital support and to the Guildford City Committee who organised and financed the trip”