SWIMMING: Great performances in relay gala

Rugby Swimming Club team for the relays gala
Rugby Swimming Club team for the relays gala

Rugby Swimming Club

What a fantastic night Rugby Swimming Club had on Saturday, over at the Coventry 50m pool for the annual Coventry & District Relay Gala.

With Coventry on home turf it is always a tough task for the other teams in the district, these being Nuneaton and Bedworth, Kingsbury, Solihull, Blythe, Leamington, and Stratford, and of course Rugby.

Rugby have been improving over the years, winning two trophies last year, but traditionally struggled against the much bigger clubs.

This could be seen especially at the younger age groups, with Rugby unable to field an official team in the 9 year old boys, and in the larger age bands of 12/14, Rugby may have had two 14s, a 12 and a 13, always tough against four 14-year-olds.

Over more recent years, Rugby’s average finish has moved from 6th to 5th to 4th, and this year the average was probably in the top three.

Rugby swimmers did the club proud. Not all teams were threatening the medals, but every swimmer gave their all, and there were too many PBs to mention!

It was a thoroughly enjoyable night to watch as a spectator, as was confirmed by many of those attending this for the first, or umpteenth time.

The team spirit was high both on poolside and in the gallery, where it was great to see most of the parents and supporters taking over a block of seats on the balcony and they could be heard cheering on every swimmer, young and old.

Team races galas are fast and furious, all events are 4x50, and even if one team is clearly ahead, there can be very exciting match ups for 2nd, 3rd and 4th.

There were some very close races with Rugby A & B teams both featuring regularly amongst the top four places (21 out of the 32 races).

A run of fourths was broken, when Jess Mackenzie finished off the girls 12/14 freestyle relay, coming from several yards back to pip Blythe on the touch.

The club did particularly well coming second in both relays in the following age groups....so well done to:

12/14 year old boys A team, Matthew Seaton, Luke Anspoks, Ben Jones and Daniel Carey.

12/14 year old boys B team, Barney Dudkowsky, Toby Rigg, Max Green and Aaron Kirkaldy.

15 yrs & over boys A team, Lucas Williams, Ross Turner, Gleb Popov and Jack Carey.

15 yrs & over boys B team, Thomas Parker, Devesh Chohan, Rhys James and Mr. Chairman (Simon Rigg). Simon winning a medal some 40 years after he won his first in this gala, though unless required due to unavailability, this will be his last year.

The 10/11 year old girls B team came third in their freestyle race, so congratulations to Phoebe Faupel, Clara Haywood, Yanna Villasis and Elizabeth O’Brien, as Libby held off a much larger older Leamington swimmer by 0.09 of a second.

As mentioned the 12/14 year old girls’ A team, Jessica Mackenzie, Lucy Ann Cunliffe, Ceri House and Charlotte O’Brien also finished third, in an extremely competitive age group, speaking to the Nuneaton Coach, he has 17 girls, in this age group alone.

The 15 yrs & over girls’ freestyle A team came third also, which is definitely worth a mention as Rugby haven’t won a medal in this age group in living memory. Well done Maddie Haywood, Jasmine Rigg, Holly Cochrane and Megan Williams.

They may have been a few seconds behind Coventry, who could field three national medalists, but they fought off Stratford for the medal, and all four swam sub 30 for a time of 1.58.69, a PB for all four ladies.

A special mention should also go to the club’s newcomers in the younger age groups as this was their first gala, so a very big deal for them, hopefully the first of many, so well done, Amelia Kerr, Logan Wilson-Shrubb, Noah Unwin and Marco Rodriguez Hernandez.

These youngsters took the 50m pool in their stride, and indeed the whole occasion, as with up to 80 swimmers form all eight clubs, it is probably the most populated poolside for any event.

One last special mention must go to the swimmer who comforted a distraught nine-year-old, who didn’t relish a 50m long course butterfly for the first time.

With the team looking likely to default, she calmed him down, got him ready to race, all with no fuss or commotion. No names, but you know who you are, and the club and your parents are extremely proud.

Chairman Simon Rigg