Head coach Gary McCaffery was away in France, coaching Diane Lee to another stunning triathlon victory, so it fell to others to coach the Matlock and District Swimming Club team in the Notts and Derbys junior swimming league gala, held at Sutton in Ashfield.
Signs were ominous, as the first two races resulted in last places, but then something remarkable happened. Matlock swimmers recorded six first places in a row, and went on to win the gala with a total of 20 firsts out of the 47 races.
Much credit must go to juniors coach Duncan Macfarlane, as the majority of those victories came from the under 11s squad, with some genuinely remarkable swims.
A further 11 second places meant that victory was secured even before the last race, a ‘cannon’ where eight swimmers, four girls and four boys from each age group each swim one length of freestyle, resulting in a stirring final victory. That encapsulated the growing strength in depth of the boy’s squad, and also the continuing progression of the girl’s team.
First places were recorded by Sam Watts, Helen Ross, Harry Morley, Jemma Gascoyne, George Bell, Sian Heap, Helen Thornhill, Emily Crofts, Helen Cross, and Josh Simmons. Cannon swimmers were Oliver Brown, John Webster, Jorge Thompson, Helen Cross, Jemma Gascoyne, Charlotte Kennedy and Helen Thornhill.
Personal best times were also recorded by Jorge Thompson, John Webster, Kate Watson, Thomas Woodings, Abbie Wayte, Elizabeth Wall, Oliver Brown, Nicholas Edwards, William Woodruff, Cerys Heap and Henry Wall.
With the move to the new pool, there have been some issues and difficulties to overcome. However, strong team results such as this show that the club as a whole can continue to move forward with confidence.