On the hottest day of the year so far, a small Portland contingent entered Alfreton Leisure Centre, weighed down with water bottles to abate the threatened heat exhaustion.
By the end of the warm-up, swimmers were refreshed and parents had bagged poolside seats, for once looking forward to splash attacks by Lane 1 swimmers.
For every event, the top six swimmers of each age group would receive an award – gold, silver and bronze plaqued marble trophies for the first three and medals for 4th to 6th. Anyone swimming faster than the Meet’s cut-off times would receive a Speeding Ticket.
Stan Toplass, the only Portland boy present, swam a storming 200M INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY, with fantastic fly and strong breaststroke, to knock over 26 seconds off his previous best time and win bronze.
Lucy Toplass, not to be outdone by her brother, beat her 200M FREESTYLE time by almost 4 seconds in impressive style: a deceivingly leisurely-looking stroke with a constant, rapid kick left the others standing … swimming … a long way behind, to get 6th place in her age group.
Rebecca Horne also sped ahead in her heat and maintained her lead to grab a PB and silver award.
Stan was in the pool again to win another bronze, this time in 50M BACKSTROKE.
Isabelle Day’s dive and long underwater spell made her the last one to come up, but at the front, in the 50M BREASTSTROKE. She achieved a time more than 3 seconds faster than her previous.
Bullet dives and great underwater skills were on show from Portland’s 100M BUTTERFLY-ers: Jaime Misiuda stretched away and set a fantastic 22 second PB-walloping time to take a 4th place medal; Rebecca achieved a new PB and Emma Horne was awarded gold. Stan’s new fastest time in the 50M FLY earned him a 4th place medal. The Portland butterfly is reaching new heights!
Isabelle brought the limelight back to FREESTYLE in her 50M sprint, kicking vigorously all the way.
Olivia Misiuda gave a polished performance to win silver in the 100M BREASTSTROKE with a 3 second PB. Sisters, Rebecca and Emma, found themselves in a same-heat-swim-off, always stress-inducing for parents. Rebecca finished 5th in her age group, Emma collected gold in hers.
Stan once again opened proceedings for the afternoon session, securing 6th place in the 200M FREESTYLE.
Lucy then set a great new 200M IM time and PBs were attained by Olivia 4th, Rebecca 4th (7 second PB) and Emma, who claimed gold.
Everyone was wilting, no-one wanted the unclaimed raffle prize box of chocolates (or, as the announcer declared, the now one large lump of chocolate) and Stan was eliciting some interesting noises from his swim cap. Everything felt a bit surreal. The heat was getting to us.
Jaime’s 100M FREESTYLE was so quick it warranted a Speeding Ticket and thus deprived her of a first place gold trophy; Rebecca’s PB-beating time afforded her a silver; Emma picked up a silver too.
Stan won bronze in 50M FREESTYLE. Dom hung up his coach pass for a short while to swim 100M BREASTSTROKE, finishing an honourable second.
In the final event of the day, 100M BACKSTROKE, Jaime came 5th, Emma 2nd and Rebecca 4th in their respective age groups.
Our small team showed huge spirit all day, managing lane end support – shouts and flappy arms – for every Portland swimmer. Big thanks to Dom for his poolside fun and support. Well done to all the swimmers – you were brilliant!