SWIMMING: First Grand Final in many years

Rugby's team in the Grand Final of the Mercian League
Rugby's team in the Grand Final of the Mercian League

Rugby Swimming Club

Rugby Swimming Club made the Grand Final of the Mercian Swimming League for the first time in many years.

This covers most of the South Midlands region and has nearly 25 teams entered. Any swimmer with a regional qualifying time is not allowed to compete, so this is really a test of the club’ s strength in depth.

Unfortunately this was tested to the limit with unavailabilities, for legitimate reasons. Swimmers were drafted in, and all performed well, but against such strong opposition is was going to be a tough night.

The event turned into two separate competitions, with Leamington, Stratford and Coventry fighting for top spot, and Rugby, Blythe and Worcester battling for fourth. Unfortunately whilst we came 6th on the night, it means we came 6th overall which is a massive achievement, and highlights the club’s continued growth and improvement.

As Marcus Willis said after playing Roger Federer at Wimbledon, he was competitive against the best in the world for two sets, and I feel we were competitive with the best in the region for most of the night. This being the last event of the season, a few swimmers had other engagements, and with no disrespect to the replacements, this cost Rugby a few valuable points, as Rugby ran out of steam a little during the last series of relays, with many swimmers having to do their own age group and swim up.

A special mention to those who were drafted in over the last few days, especially Toby Marlow, who was sat on the balcony at 18.20 ready to watch his twin sister race, only to find himself racing and swimming at 18.35, with no warm up, top man. Also Steven O’Neill, who was rushed over from Rugby for a single length, showing excellent team a spirit. Team spirit was great, as Rugby knew they were in for a battle, as ever Ethan Fletcher rallied the troops in his own inimitable style. I feel the fun but competitive ethos can be summed up by the ladies open breaststroke race, where Mel McWhirter from Coventry just pipped Rugby’s Rachel Lloyd into second place. These ladies were well clear of the field. The other four swimmers probably amassed a total of 60 years between them, some 25 less than Mel and Rachel combined, as the two avoided each other in an aquatic game of cat and mouse earlier in the evening, but were chatting away after the race.

The younger swimmers were finding it tough against older and bigger swimmers from the opposition, but Jake Smith, Kieran Jarvis, Steven O’Neil and Toby Marlow stuck to their task as did Erin Lloyd, Clara Haywood, Ella Marlow, and Libby O’Brien.

In the 12s Toby Rigg, Mack Patchett-Smyth, Ben Aitcheson and James Armeson where always on the pace, without recording a win, as were the girls of Erin Moran, Anna Farrow, Maeraid Williams and Harriet Troup. Moving up to the 14s, Pavel Scerbakovs, Ben Jones, Max Taylor, and Jack Dolly, were perhaps the most successful male age group, the girls of Aoife Williams, Kirsten Harrington were short staffed, but still kept the points rolling. The open men’s team was George Jarman, Ethan Fletcher, Rhys James and Simon Rigg, dragged out for his first appearance in this league this year, again kept up with the best gaining valuable 2nd 3rd and 4th places. The most successful age group were the open ladies, of Rachel, Abbie Dolly, Ellen Harrington and led by Club Captain, Megan Williams, who won both her events.

Others who swam in earlier rounds were amongst others, Devesh Chohan, Lucy and Ceri House, Jasmine Rigg, Tamzin Kyte Alfie Hebb. All in all a great team effort to make the final, next year, we aim to go on and challenge the very top clubs.

Chairman Simon Rigg