SWIMMING: Rugby v Solihull head to head

Rugby's team
Rugby's team

Gleb breaks magic minute barrier

Rugby Swimming Club took on Solihull Swimming Club in a head to head contest on Saturday night. This event was based on the USA v Europe competitions over the past couple of years, and pits the two clubs directly against each other.

In the eight lanes of the QDJC, there were four swimmers from Solihull in the even lanes and four from Rugby in the odd lanes, for every race. Points were awarded as normal but all four swimmers counted for each team. So not just winning each race, but also not finishing 7/8 earned the most points.

In the relays there were two teams in each race from each club, and in the Chairman’s Challenge, 24x1 cannon, one team each. There were also some individual triumphs along the way, as well as huge team spirit and a friendly atmosphere, for which we must thank our opponents, who despite being competitive in some age groups, were over-whelmed in others, but never gave up, and fought to the end. The end result being a resounding victory for Rugby, one which I am sure Solihull will be seeking to avenge next year at their place.

In terms of results, there isn’t enough room to go through them all, but the men managed a 1234 in the open 100m IM, Ross Turner, Gleb Popov, Tom Parker and Lucas Gregory, and the girls 13/14 managed 123, in their version, Aofie William, Ellen Harrington and Jasmine Rigg, highlighting Rugby’s dominance, as did Rugby winning the cannon by over a minute.

This was a fun event, allowing new swimmers to compete and others to do events and distances they may not normally choose to do. There were debuts from several of the younger swimmers, also for the Murali sisters, who have recently joined the club, having moved from India, as well as the Walker sisters and others from the Synchro section.

Though the debut of the day, goes to Steve James, a member of the committee, and in charge of technical matters, he last swam a competitive race 35 years ago. He anchored the B team home in the men’s 4x50 medley relay (Steve, Devesh Chohen, Tom Parker, and Jack Carey) in finishing 3rd with their battle with Solihull B, and didn’t look out of place at all. In fact, in his 100m breaststroke he clocked 1.39, a time which would have placed him in the top 20 at the GB Masters Nationals in his age group last year. Race of the night also goes to a relay team. This time the ladies B open Medley team of Jasmine Rigg, Ellen Harrington, Aiaina Murali and Karen Maher, came from five metres down on the last length to pip their rivals by 0.01 of a second.

The individual performance of the day, goes to Gleb Popov, a specialist fly swimmer, who can clock 1.04 for 100m fly, but although close, has never broken the magical 60 second barrier for the 100m free - the swimming equivalent to the 4 minute mile in running. Gleb turned in 28.1, so fast but was in fast enough? He came down the last length like a proverbial train, and smashed it with a 58.21, as the senior men again clocked a 123. Gleb was overjoyed, and the whole team, who realised the achievement and the crowd joined in their congratulations.

There were many, in fact probably hundreds of PBs for head coach to update his records.

Other resounding performances came from the eight boys in the two 11/12 freestyle relay teams, as Dan Carey, Toby Rigg, Lucas Marshall and Aaron Kirkaldy, were 15 seconds clear of Paul Scerbakovs, Hayden Maher, William Browne and Barney Dudkowsky, who in turn were 20 seconds clear of the first Solihull team. Closely followed by the senior men’s team of Gleb Popov, Ross Turner, Lucas Gregory and Simon Rigg, finishing over 16 seconds clear in their Medley relay, clocking 1.55.23.

We really hope that this is the start of an annual event, that both clubs will look forward to each year.