Club fight off relegation and Matt breaks magic minute
Picture: Rugby’s Arena League team
Rugby Swimming Club again competed in two simultaneous leagues, finishing a highly creditable 13th in the Leicester league, and 17th in the Arena League - a result they would have happily settled for at the start of the season.
Rugby were promoted to Division 2, following a withdrawal, having missed out on the play-offs by two points last year, so were always going to be up against it, in the higher division.
There is a quite complicated scoring system, but having finished 4th in the last round, and at least three of the teams below us, not winning their last round, which they had to do to catch Rugby, preparations can start for next year in Division 2. Which will require more swimmers across all ages, as again, swimmers missing, and still having weak areas, were really highlighted on Saturday.
Rugby were ahead of Coventry B, all evening, until the last six relays, where Rugby swimmers were doubling and even trebling up. No one from Cov had to swim twice, and this was key to them pipping Rugby by two points.
The final results were a tie for first between Northgate and Leighton Buzzard, Coventry 3rd, Rugby 4th and Coleville 5th.
Over at Loughborough the Rugby team won their gala, with some rousing performances, which just validates the decision to compete on two fronts. Many swimmers were able to race, who may not have done so with one team, and this can be seen with the number of PBs achieved and the improvements made.
At the Arena League hosted again at the QDJC, Rugby had 11 wins, Luie Gilroy, Luke Anspokes, Lucas Gregory, Ellen Armeson, Matt Seaton, Ross Turner, Jack Carey and Thomas Parker in the individuals. This was backed up by the boys 9/11 Medley relay team of Louie, Lewis Cresswell, Lucas Marshall and Toby Rigg, romping home by two clear seconds, the boys 13 and under Medley team of Matt, Luke, Jack, and Louie won by half a second. Though the race of the night, I know I am biased, was the senior men’s medley team of Noah Slinn, Ross, Lucas and Simon Rigg, who won by 0.005 of a second, as on this occasion experience overcame youth on the anchor leg, as Rugby were given the touch by the smallest of possible margins.
This was backed up by seconds from Tom, Viktoria Perzylo, Lucas Marshall, Gleb, Luie, and several relay teams. Rugby only managed seven thirds, which ultimately was the reason for the 4th place, as Cov managed 10. Special mention must go to Emilia Walker who stepped in from the Synchro section at the last moment, and Lucy Rouse, who swam everything for the senior girls that nobody else would, or could. These girls embody the team spirit that we are trying to build within the club. Swimming is a team event, especially in these galas, and every point counts, as we saw in last year’s play-off, and again on Saturday night.
Over in Loughborough the team spirit was very much in evidence, as the team was involved in a close gala, and a chant off, with their opposition, coming out top in both. The other major event of note was Matt Laity clocking his first sub 60 for 100m free, after a year of knocking on the door in the 60s, he changed tactics, thanks to retiring coach Roy Smith, who suggested he go out slow and come back hard, Matt clocked 59.87, with the promise of much more to come. Rugby romped away to a relatively easy points win, 225 to Kettering, 203, and Shepshed, 187.
There were individual wins for Harriet Troupe, James Phillips, Luke Harris, Lana-Rees, Max Green, Jasmine Rigg, Matt Laity, and seconds for, Ellen Harrington, Adam Wanless x 2, Matt, Clara Heywood, James P, Rory Grealy, Max G, Luke H, Haydn Maher, Devesh Chohan, Ethen Fletcher, Emily Goodwin, Aaron Kirkaldy. Backed up by winning three relays, The boys’ 10s free team of Max, Haydn, James and James Armeson, the girl’s 14/u medley relay of Jasmine, Ellen, Regan Walker and Lucy House, and the 8x 1 cannon. There were several seconds, as many swimmers swam in two or even three age groups. Though Rugby did have a swimmer in every race, unlike some of the opposition.
A special mention to coach, Devesh Chohan, who was second in the 100m breaststroke, to Rory Grealy and Adam Henderson for lending their experience to the otherwise very youthful team, and Karen Maher for being team mum, and for reinforcing the fact that swimming doesn’t stop when you reach ‘21’.
All in all, as Club Chairman, I am extremely proud of what the club has achieved, there is still work to be done on various aspects to continue the improvement, not all directly swimming related. As a team, we are greater than the sum of the individuals, parents and swimmers alike need to support the whole team, and not just selected parts.
At Loughborough, the swimmers were told off for cheering too loudly, I think we as a club, should take this as a challenge, and be the loudest team at every gala. Simon Rigg.