Rugby Swimming Club
Rugby Swimming Club went into the final round of both leagues, knowing they had already finished higher than last year.
Rugby avoided relegation in the Arena league by a couple of points, and the Leicester team were mid-table, safe in the knowledge that there is no relegation, but not threatening the top half in reality.
Both teams had an outside chance of reaching the top 8, in which both teams would make the grand finale.
It looks like the club have just missed out on both, but still awaiting final confirmation.
Rugby were again at home in the Arena League and were up against pretty strong opposition, having lost out to all these teams in the last year. It was a very close gala with Rugby coming out on top with 192 points, Shrewsbury 181, equal with Pershore, Derby Pheonix 175, Cov B 168, and Coalville 150.
Rugby actually only had seven winners out of 50 races, actually only one team had less, but had 29 seconds or thirds, and vitally, only one disqualification.
There were two wins eac for Jack Carey, Luie Gilroy and the 15s boys relay of Jack, Rhys James, Matt Seaton, and Max Markham, with one for Matt Seaton.
There were many strong swims from the young and less so.
Ross Turner, Club President, was second, but also swam the fastest relay splits of the night, along with Jessica McKenzie, Luke Anspokes, Maddie Heywood, Rhys James, Lewis Cresswell, Megan Williams, and Rachel Lloyd.
Several of the relays teams also managed second places, six in fact.
The result was nip and tuck all evening, with Rugby easing away as Pershore and Shrewsbury fought it out for second place.
We await the news on the grand final, but for a small club like Rugby to be pushing the top end of the table is a fantastic achievement.
Hinckley was the destination for the Leicester League team, and an early start, a few late moves over to the Arena League team and a couple of late withdrawals saw Devesh Chohan shuffling swimmers right up to the last moment.
Jasmine Rigg made her debut in the Arena team, and Will and Izzy Dunderdale in the LL.
With no results through yet, I will try to recall the details.
The team spirit in this league can be epitomised by the final 8x1 cannon relay, which has a male and female swimmer from each age group.
Rugby’s first six swimmers had 71 years between them, and the last two had 91.
There were three teams neck and neck the whole way, but Rugby came from a yard or two (showing my age and possibly who was involved) over the last three lengths to win by a clear yard, much to the delight of all the swimmers who had stayed to the end and the Rugby Roar, as the travelling supporters are known.
As always, apologies if I miss anyone, Rugby showed the way in the girls’ 100m backstroke and first Cerys Allen won by 10m, only to be outdone by Karen Bates in the open, showing her experience to cruise home half a length clear.
Other individual success came from Harriet Troup, Lucy House and Toby Rigg.
It was the relays where Rugby really showed their strength, with some very close racing.
The senior men’s team of Adam Henderson, Devesh, Will Dunderdale and Simon Rigg won the freestyle relay and remain unbeaten over every round.
Second was probably the position of choice in the relays, with Ben Jones, Ethan Fletcher, Toby Rigg, James Armeson, the Kayada Brothers, Tamzin Kyte, the Harrington sisters, Erin Lloyd and Clara Heywood, Lucy House standing out, to name but a few.
Rugby finished a close second behind Burton on Trent A, but well clear of the other teams, Rugby couldn’t quite close the gap, but we did have the last word, as the cannon team of Erin, James, Izzy, Tony, Cerys, Ethan, Karen and Simon thrilled the crowd, and maybe soaked an official or two.