Grit, talent and team spirit at Round Two of Arena League

TSC swimmers put in a fantastic team performance in Droitwich at Round Two of The Arena League. A depleted squad, short of senior swimmers, meant that many youngsters found themselves 'swimming up' in the age groups, and this they did to great effect. Competition amongst the four teams was fierce, with Solihull looking particularly strong, largely due to the efforts of a swimmer in their ranks who had competed in this summer's Commonwealth Games.

Hannah Church and Matt Benson started the evening's racing with the Ladies and Mens Open IM and we then went straight into the relays. The Girls 9/11 Freestyle Relay team – Tonicha Taylor, Izzy Quinn, Cora Brady and Eve Heeley – finished second. The Boys 9/11 Freestyle Relay team – Ethan Cooke, Jack Beazer, Harry Quiney and Sebastien Barley – finished third. The Girls 15/U Freestyle Relay team – Hannah Church, Katie Francis, Sophie O'Neill and Jess Lane – then powered to an excellent first place. The Boys 15/U Freestyle Relay team – Bob Tharme, Jordan Barnes, Joe Jollans and Josh O'Neill – finished third. The Ladies Open Medley Relay with Sophie, Jess, Hannah and Katie, finished an excellent second, as did the Mens Open Medley Relay team – Chris Graffin, Matt Benson, James Partridge and Alex Tailford. These results typified the fantastic efforts by swimmers competing against much older and experienced rivals. 

Highlights from the individual events included second places for Josh O'Neill in the Boys 15/U Backstroke, Hannah Church in the Ladies Open Butterfly, James Partridge in the Mens Open Butterfly, Eve Heeley in the Girls 10/11 Butterfly, Matt Benson in the Boys 15/U Butterfly and Sophie O'Neill in the Ladies Open Backstroke. 

Will Gibney turned on the power to finish first in the Mens Open Backstroke and Will also finished an excellent second in the Mens Open Breaststroke. Harry Quiney finished second in the Boys 10/11 Breaststroke. Next up, Eve Heeley cruised to first place in the Girls 10/11 Freestyle. Matt Benson looked awesome as he won the Boys 15/U Breaststroke and Alex Tailford showed technique and strength whilst securing second place in the Mens Open Freestyle.

More relays concluded the evening's events with credit going to the Ladies Open Freestyle Relay team – featuring a 12-year-old Becky Church – finishing third. The highest two relay finishes were a second place for the Boys 15/U Medley Relay team – Joe Jollans, Matt Benson, Bob Tharme and Josh O'Neill – and the perfect climax to the event, a first in the Mens Open Freestyle Relay – Josh, Alex, Chris, Matt, James and Will doing the business for TSC.

Most swimmers secured PBs in their events, showing that progress is continuing to be made, and even though they might not have tasted glory, every swimmer should be proud of their contribution to a rousing team performance. The spirit amongst teammates is plain for all to see, with the senior swimmers encouraging the youngsters who in turn shouted throughout for each and every TSC colleague.

Well done to all TSC's participating swimmers, to Craig and the chaperones for their excellent motivational work, and a huge thank-you to the travelling parents for some highly vocal support. Round Three is scheduled for December 13th.