Gala event proves a big success for swimming club

Matlock and District Swimming Club this year changed the format of the annual Elaine Bowler Memorial Gala into a celebration of its own talent by convening an intra-club competition on Saturday night.

Approximately 100 swimmers of all ages were divided into four teams, to compete against each other in a cleverly structured series of relay races.

The youngest competitor was just four years old and the eldest (and team manager to boot) was well into his 60s. An experimental format turned into a night of great fun and friendly rivalry, as well as producing excellent swims across the board.

Congratulations to Team Duncan, which won the event by the narrowest of margins. The club now hopes to turn this competition into an annual event.

The following morning, 13 of the club’s swimmers set off for Alfreton to contest the Ripley Open Meet.

William Needham experienced his first Open Meet and was very pleased to win a couple of medals. He was joined by Harry Morley, aged 10, Aiden Broadbent and Campbell Stephen, 11, Harrison Fern, 12 and Jorge Thompson, 13.

Between them, they notched up a number of first three and minor places in a variety of strokes and distances as well as a number of “speeding tickets” (issued for exceeding the lower time limit for any event). Harry, Harrison and Jorge each won at least one first place.

Among the girls, nine-year-old Michaela Stephen, who already demonstrates that she is likely to become one of our club’s leading swimmers, picked up two speeding tickets while sisters Lowri (nine) and Sian Heap (ten) also took one apiece home, in each instance the result of a significant improvement on previous personal-best times.

Claudia Bray and Jemma Gascoyne (both ten), Nicola Greaves and Cerys Heap (both 11) made up the girls’ squad, all posting new PBs in many races.

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