9th October 2011

Horsham-based competitive swimming club opened its National Arena Swimming League  (NASL) Division 1 East account in an exciting, knife-edge contest at the Medway Centre in Gillingham on Saturday night.

At the end of an evening of high drama, only a single point separated Atlantis from the eventual winners Black Lion, the host club.  The final points totals were Black Lion 208 (1st); Atlantis 207 (2nd); Crawley 196 (3rd); East Grinstead 152 (4th); Beckenham B 147 (5th); Dartford 128 (6th).

Last season Atlantis achieved a highest-ever 4th place in the National Arena Swimming and  views this campaign as a year of transition, as the Club introduces a clutch of new young swimmers to its league squad.  No fewer than 12 swimmers were handed their NASL competitive debuts - Matt Lambourne, Toby Van Der Hut, Oliver Giles, Max Dillon, Chris Lambourne, Dan Jones, Joe Widdowson, Lauren Pedel, Gemma Cumber, Lily Cherriman, Lily David and Francesca Giles.  None of them were overawed by the occasion and all acquitted themselves admirably.

The all-round quality of the Atlantis performance was emphasised by 33 top three finishes (including 15 firsts) in 50 events.  Black Lion scored only 8 victories, but crucially edged it with 36 top three finishes.  Atlantis in lane 4 also enjoyed a good scrap with near neighbours Crawley, who were swimming next to them in lane 3.  In July Crawley came out on top in the final gala of the Sussex League, on this occasion it was Atlantis who came out ahead.

Atlantis and Black Lion exchanged the lead throughout the night and the result was in doubt right to the final 2 events - the Girls and Boys 6-swimmer Open freestyle relay.  With the crowd shouting themselves hoarse, the Atlantis team finished ahead of Black Lion in both events, but not by a sufficient margin to quite overhaul them one final time.  It was a fantastic effort, particularly by the girls‘ relay team which included one 12 and one 13 year-old, with all 6 girls recording sub 30 secs splits.

Deputy Head Coach Andy Lobley said: “The team spirit tonight was absolutely fantastic.  All the team swam with such heart and for each other.  We have set very realistic expectations for this season and we have got off to a very strong start.”          




Further Information: Andrew Dunlop - 07710 352023