18th October 2011

Atlantis’s Horsham and Billingshurst based swimmers came together at the weekend to demonstrate Head Coach Bill Penny’s vision of a single club fed from three swimming centres in the Horsham District.

Atlantis has operated from the Pavilions in Horsham and from the Steyning Leisure Centre.  Two years ago Bill formed a brand new squad at the freshly opened pool in Billingshurst. The plan was to replicate the high levels of competitive success enjoyed at both Horsham and Steyning.

Attendance at a meet in Eastbourne last weekend showed just how far the squad has moved along with 10 swimmers joining a further 20 swimmers from Horsham at the event. Designed for swimmers looking to achieve county qualifying times, the club had earmarked this event as an ideal introduction to competitive swimming for the Billingshurst members and a chance to secure some county times for others. 

The results far exceeded the expectations of the coaching team with 20 medal placing including 2 from Toby Van der Hut (9), who also narrowly missed out on a County Qualifying time by only .23 of a second in his first ever competitive meet. Team-mate Amelie Somers also making her debut produced a day of fine swims including 2 County Times in both the 50 free and 50 Back at her first attempt, topping off a fine performance from all the Billingshurst members.

Not to be outdone by their Billingshurst compatriots, the rest of the squad performed consistently well throughout.   They raced with ambition and achieved a total of 19 1st placings and 20 county qualifying times between them. Notable achievements came from a current in-form swimmer Jade Stocker (13) with a clean sweep of wins in all her races with county times in each event. Following on Lauren Pedel (10) continued her good form from a highly successful meet in Brighton 3 weeks ago, notching up 3 County Times and 3 medals, including 2 first places.

A delighted Deputy Head Coach Andy Lobley commented:  “Our Head Coach Bill Penny has worked hard over the past 5 years to build a foundation for the club from which it can expand.   I am excited to be part of what is happening at this club at the moment.  To come to Eastbourne have 96 swims of which 79 were personal bests is a remarkable day by any clubs standards. All our swimmers - from our foundation squads through to our top squad - are working really hard in training and they are reaping the rewards.  We have been focusing on stroke technique and the underwater phase at the start of races, the results of which are now starting to show through.  We still have a long way to go but the ethos of the club is strong”.