Matlock and District Swimming Club members impressed at their home venue at the weekend as they competed in the Amateur Swimming Association Derbyshire Championships at Arc Leisure Matlock.
Virtually every swimmer from the club who was involved set a new personal best, some by a significant margin, and the two days of endeavour produced a total of 16 medals, as well as a further six fourth to sixth place awards.
Pride of place must go to nine-year-old Helen Cross of Tansley who came away with four medals, two gold (50m and 200m breaststroke) and two silver (50m and 200m freestyle) to complete a superb display.
Also swimming was Lowri Heap, also aged nine, who produced strong swims in breaststroke at both these distances.
Among the ten-year-old girls, her sister Sian Heap set personal bests in all strokes and Gemma Gascoyne took bronze medals in both her favoured backstroke, at 50n, and in 50m freestyle.
The 11-year-old girls were well represented with Emily Croft and Cerys Heap producing fine performances and Nicola Greaves competing strongly, just a week after her 11th birthday.
Older members Sarah Cross (winning five silver and one bronze medal), Helen Thornhill (winning two silver and one bronze medal) and Jess Halbert also took part, the first two setting qualifying times for the forthcoming Regional Championships along the way.
Boys included junior swimmer Jamie Everest, enjoying his first county championships, supported by fellow ten-year-old Harry Morley, 12-year-old Harrison Fern and two 13-year-old veterans in Jorge Thompson and Callum Gascoyne.
All boys set new personal standards with Callum missing the iconic sub-one minute 100m freestyle by just seven tenths of a second.
He did, by way of consolation, pick up a bronze medal at 50m.
This weekend, the swimming moves to Chesterfield for a further two days of competition, with the club confidently expecting to build on its success.
All in all, around 3,500 people attended the two-day event at the Arc over the weekend.
Arc Leisure Matlock manager Paul Blakemore said: “This event was a major test for the facilities at Arc and for the staff and both came through with flying colours.”
Roger Glithero, ASA East Midlands regional director, added: “The overwhelming response was really positive. Everything went really well, especially the helpful staff and the food. The swimmers liked it because it was a fast pool – yes there are differences!”
n For an account of the event by Wirksworth’s Ken Miller, a former swimming and diving ace who is part of the BT Storytellers programme, go to www.matlockmercury.co.uk