We have become accustomed to Barnsley League galas being held in some of the smaller, more cramped swimming facilities in the region (especially our own pool!). So it was a refreshing change to make the trip over to one of the fastest and most spacious pools in the country this past Sunday for round 3 of this years competition.
Ponds Forge is renowned for allowing swimmers to swim fast... and oh boy were we fast! Across the board people were throwing in some amazing times, right from the start of the gala. There were individual victories for Simon Kliment (2), Ben Long, Lauren Christmas, Georgia Whetton and Molly Grayson in the first round of individuals, that's 6 wins out of 16 events and this meant we were in contention with Sheffield and Barnsley for the lead!. We knew that once the relays came around our rivals would edge ahead a little, due to the other teams having much bigger squads and being able to swim people in their correct age groups more of the time than we can. That's exactly what happened - our first 4th places of the night came when we had to swim three 10 year old's in the boys 12 years medley relay and a couple of 12 year old's in the girls 14 years freestyle team. However, there was a huge boost for the club when our team of Dale Marshbank, Reece Fielding (with a 33.59 split on Breaststroke!), Torin Wilson and Tom Bunkle took first place in the Men's OPEN medley relay - Torin is the only member of that team who is the right age.
Going into the second half of the gala we knew we needed a strong showing in the individuals to bring us back into contention, so that's what our swimmers did. We went on another little winning spree, taking first place in 6 of the next 9 individuals thanks to Casey Waugh, Sam Jenkins, Millie Colbear, Ben Long, Reece Fielding and Lauren Christmas. This meant we actually took the overall lead in the gala by 7 points! But unfortunately, those were the last 1st places of the night and with 15 events to go our challenge for the victory started to fizzle out. This was not due to bad swims on our part, but just some great swimming from the other clubs. For example, 26.4 is not a slow time for 50m freestyle in the open age, in a Barnsley League gala... but on this occasion is was only good enough for 4th place (the winning time was a low 23!!).
Going into this gala we were looking to try and cement our 3rd place position in the league and we have done just that. It's fair to say that with one gala remaining it is a two horse race for the league title between Sheffield and Barnsley. We are however looking in a pretty good position to remain in this league next year. Sure, it would have been amazing to come away with the win in this gala, and honestly I do think if we would have had a couple of younger swimmers who were not available to swim then we would have, but we can be extremely happy with how things went and the general team atmosphere on poolside. There were at least a dozen people walk back to the teams bench after swimming who were smiling from ear to ear because of the way they had just swum, or the time they had just done and that was really lovely to see.
Huge congratulations to all of you.
Gala 3 results:
1st Sheffield 183 points
2nd Barnsley 175 points
3rd Armthorpe 173 points
4th Wakefield 154 points
Total Points and League Standings:
1st Barnsley 538 points
2nd Sheffield 534 points
3rd Armthorpe 503 points
4th Wakefield 478 points
Swimmer of the meet
As with most galas nowadays, the race for swimmer of the meet was very hotly contested. On this occasion Reece Fielding stood head and shoulders above the rest and showed his real inner drive to win and swam some fantastic times and came away with a victory in the Open age Medley Team and Breaststroke individual.