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Santa swimmerFestive fun was in the air for the last JC Dobb Gala of the year, held Saturday evening 19 December at Hucknall Leisure Centre in front of a noisy crowd, thrilled to be cheering on their special team, and the Portland Team Supporters were no exception!

Portland's team was small in number but big in heart as they swam just two points less than the second place team to come 4th overall and scoring many PBs. Just look and see!

Club galas are great fun for swimmers and enable them to show off their might and speed, thrilling themselves and their families with their 25 or 50 metre swim in front of a packed out spectator gallery. The hard work of training shines then and is really what it is all about. The beauty of the shiny water and the kids swimming their hearts out really is a wonder that sends out vibes of excitement that is a joy to be a part of. Support the Club if you can by attending the Club galas listed in the fixture page. They really are fun and the kids really do love them - this is a uniquely special time in all of our lives as we watch our fit swimmers move faster and with an ease that we adults know we cannot match. See the fixture page via the top right menu tab of this website page to put a gala date or two on the shiny, new 2016 calendar!

Officials with Santa hats was the theme of the night and here is a summary of the fun had at the pre-Christmas gala.

The little but mighty young swimmers featured in this gala as they swam their first gala in some cases (Charlotte Clay and Alessia De Rosa) and in many, many races in other cases (Judd Tucker and Efan Drury) to gain important team points for Portland.

Specifically, the girls 10/u girls team swam the 4x1 freestyle relay to achieve a good, solid warm up performance. Great stuff from Mai Drury, Charlotte, Grace Artley and Alessia. Mai and Alessia also swam up a category in the 12/u freestyle relay, while Charlotte and Grace swam in the mixed boys/girls 8/9 year category for two races. Well done girls, especially as they also swam well in their individual races, with Mai achieving an almighty PB in the 25m butterfly event, toward the end of the gala.

For the young boys, they had a big job to do on the night as there were not quite enough 10/u boys to put in a team for the relays and, in fact, as there were no 10 year old boys available at all! This did not pose any problem at all for the two 9 year old boys though who swam up for the 10/u individual races, swimming a total of 7 races each! What superstars! No fear! Judd achieved 2nd place in the 10/u 25m freestyle and Efan, who had had his 9th birthday just 3 days earlier, swam into 5th place in the 10/u 25m breaststroke! Amazing performances from these boys! They also joined in with the two mixed 8/9 relay races! Whew! I am tired just thinking about how hard these boys worked! Your team loves you!

For the exciting girls 12/u category, Angelina Giannino and Fran Roberts both swam PBs in their individual races as well as swimming up a category to the 14/u freestyle relay. They also swam very well in the 12/u mixed relay. Plus they worked together and shared the effort of the 12/u races swimming the 50m breaststroke (Fran – PB), 50m fly (Angelina), 50m backstroke (Angelina – PB), and 50m freestyle (Fran).

For the fantastic boys 12/u category, Archie Poole, Gabriel DiFolco-Brooks and Dan Hardy swam very well with all achieving PBs: for Archie, the 50m breaststroke, for Gabriel, the 50m freestyle and for Dan, the 50m fly AND the 50m backstroke! These big efforts won Archie 4th place and earned Dan and Gabriel 2nd place in their individual races, giving Portland team those extra points that make the difference. Well done boys! In the 4x1 freestyle relay they placed 3rd with Efan's help and in the 4x1 mixed medley relay, they placed 4th with the help of Angelina G and Fran. Well done boys and girls!

Now moving up to the 14/u girls, Angelina Difolco-Brooks and Lucy Toplass gave strong performances in their individual races and in both the mixed and freestyle relays. They too!/two! shared the 14/u races with Angelina swimming the 50m backstroke and 50m fly, while Lucy swam the 50m breaststroke and the 50m freestyle. Angelina pulled out all the stops to achieve 2nd for the team in the 50m fly. Just super girls!

The 14/u boys team was all under cool control with the neighbourly partnership of young Stan Toplass and tall William Cranton, dubbed here as 'the small and the tall' team. Both achieved PBs: Stan in the 50m fly which enabled him to place 2nd and William in the 50m breaststroke which earned him a 5th place. With help from the 14/u girls, as a mixed team they powered into 2nd place in the medley relay. Both boys swam up in the Open category to help Connor Cruickshank, Michael Tones, Rebecca Horne and Millie Perry Jones pull in a 3rd place for the Open freestyle relays. Way to go!

The Open girls team, Rebecca and Millie, were in top form on the night with Rebecca winning the 50m breaststroke and placing 2nd in the 50m fly and Millie giving a solid performance in the 50m backstroke and 3rd in the 50m freestyle. They benefitted from help from the 14/u girls for the 4x1 freestyle relay in which they placed 3rd. Aren't ya grand girls!

The boys Open team, Michael and Connor, positively flew down the pool on the night. Connor achieved a PB in the 50m breaststroke, for which he placed 3rd and then in the 50m backstroke, for which he outright won! Michael too was strong on the night, in both the 50m freestyle and fly. In the relays, the mixed open, a small mishap unfortunately disqualified them but they came back strong in the 4x1 freestyle relay to place 3rd with Stan and William's help.

All in all a wonderful night, enjoyed by the swimmers and parents alike.

Thank you so much to the helper parents and to those who enabled their kids to be there. And a big THANK YOU to all of the Portland swimmers who support and encourage each on the night and in training and without whom there would be no Portland Club.

Log in and go to Swimmers Gala corner for full results.

Happy New Year and here's a big cheer to all of the fun we'll be having in 2016!

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