Song and dance signalled the start of a swim event which promised to be fun and welcoming.
The Ripley Rascals Open Meet at Alfreton Leisure Centre certainly lived up to expectations!
At the start of the day the announcer honed his DJ skills, galvanizing everyone into a lively performance of YMCA, with the exception of Portland swimmers who looked on, a little bemused by the mass display of disco moves. Guy the Coach twitched, obviously itching to join in, but resisted writhing to the rhythm and opted to rally the troops: it was optimum time for a team talk whilst all others were distracted. This was serious business …
Rules of the game – swim fast and have fun. Oh yes, and there were medals up for grabs – for the six quickest times for every age group of each event; gold, silver and bronze for the first three.
Lucy Toplass, always brave, always determined, began the Portland campaign in the 200m freestyle. Just 2 weeks after setting a Personal Best at the Club Summer Gala, she swam 2 seconds faster and came 4th in her age category to earn a medal.
Next up was the 50m breaststroke:
Lucy Hinks, at her first competitive swimming event, now has a good new record to beat.
Lucy Waller knocked over 10 seconds off her PB!! Fabulous.
Angelina Giannino won her age group in style, so received a gold medal. What an achievement at a first open meet. Brilliant!
Now it was the boys’ turn in 100m freestyle:
Archie Poole, at his first open, set an impressive new time to get 4th place medal.
Stanley Toplass sliced 3 seconds off his PB to finish second in his age group, claiming silver.
Edward Roberts too had a great swim to touch in bronze position.
Super sprint time – 50m freestyle:
Lucy Waller slashed her PB by 4.5 seconds!
Angelina smashed hers by 5 seconds to achieve 3rd place bronze!
Hang the flags out for the 100m backstroke boys with Stanley and Edward competing in neighbouring lanes, Stanley’s eagerness to finish as soon as possible more evident than ever.
Edward won another bronze. Well done!
Sisters Anna and Charlotte Taylor matched perfectly, achieving 6th place medals in their respective age groups.
Briony O’Keeffe had an amazing swim at her first meet, knocking nearly 26 seconds off her PB!
Stanley, like his sister in the morning, kicked off the afternoon session with 200m freestyle exhibiting a gritty resolve and 3rd place finish. A well deserved bronze.
Beatrice Munro took on the 200m IM, her first race of the day, with enormous fortitude, finishing silvery 2nd (only 0.15 seconds after 1st place!) with a County Time (if times remain unchanged from 2015); all energy depleted – an exemplary demonstration for aspirational swimmers of any age. Stunning.
Girls’ 100m freestyle:
Anna fought the whole way to set her very first time for the event. Well done.
Beatrice also set a fine new time.
Gaby came home in 1st, setting not only a PB and winning a gold medal, but, if qualifying times stay the same for 2016, a fantastic County Time. Wonderful!
The lights blew when Rebecca Horne touched 1st in her age group for gold and, surely, a 2016 County Time! `Dancing in the Dark’ blared out from the sound system and this inspired a Conga round the pool by the swimmers – or as Rebecca likes to call them – her cheerleaders.
Faults fixed, concentration restored, onto the boys’ 100m breaststroke:
Archie swam with gusto.
Edward attained 2nd place silver.
Last event in the Meet’s schedule was the girls’ 100m backstroke:
Charlotte took over 4 seconds off the PB she had set only 2 weeks before at the Club Summer Gala and won 5th place medal.
Gaby too finished 5th in age group, achieving a PB within a whisker of a possible County Time.
Beatrice took the 4th place medal, also teasingly close to a County Qualifying Time.
Final race of the Rascals event was swum by Rebecca, Portland veteran for the day, with an exemplary performance coasting into first for another gold medal.
It was a truly fabulous day’s racing in a very friendly atmosphere. Thank you to all the Portland swimmers for supporting each other, as always, and forever doing your best.
Thank you to Guy for looking after everyone all day long, providing support, advice and encouragement. Next time, just let yourself go … yes sir you can boogie.