12th December 2011

In one of the most memorable nights in the Club’s 30-year history, Atlantis SC secured for the first time promotion to the Premier Division of the National Arena Swimming League South.  The Horsham-based club will now be Sussex’s sole representative in the top flight of swimming’s principal club competition. 

This represents remarkable progress for Atlantis - still a relatively small club in South East swimming terms - under the guiding hand of its hugely experienced Head Coach Bill Penny.  8 years ago Atlantis finished bottom of Division 2 with a meagre 4 gala points.  Following Bill’s arrival at the Club in 2005, there has been a steady climb up the League, with promotion achieved to Division 1 East in 2006 and then 12th, 7th, 8th and 5th place finishes achieved in the next four seasons.

Atlantis was lying in 6th place, just 2 points behind the leaders Dover Lifeguards, going into the final gala at the Crook Log pool in Bexleyheath.  The gala was desperately close from start to finish with 5 of the 6 teams still in with a chance of winning or securing promotion right up to the final sequence of races.

Atlantis got off to a good start and after 10 events were in joint 2nd place with Bromley, just 1 point behind Croydon.  After 18 the Club had slipped to joint 3rd and were still in 3rd position after 36.  The swimmers with a supreme effort clawed their way back into contention and with just 10 events to go were handily placed in 2nd equal position with Chelmsford, 5 points behind the new leaders Bromley.

The final set of relays proved decisive with the Atlantis relay teams excelling.  This allowed Atlantis to pull clear of Chelmsford and to come within touching distance of Bromley.  It was a fast, furious and nail-biting finish with little to choose between the teams at the final touch.  The final standings were: Bromley 1st (188 points); Atlantis 2nd (185 points); Chelmsford 3rd (182 points); Dover Lifeguards 4th (178 points); Croydon 5th (174 points); Black Lion of Gillingham 6th (136 points).

Next season Atlantis will be rubbing shoulders with the cream of South East swimming including Guildford City, Beckenham, Windsor and Amersham in the 18-team Premier Division.

A delighted Bill Penny said: “I always felt we had a chance against 5 other equally matched teams. My swimmers excelled themselves tonight and I’m very proud of them all, including those who swam in the two previous galas, but didn’t get a swim tonight.  They’ve all made a fantastic contribution to securing this promotion.  We have now planted our flag on the mountain-top.  It will not be easy to keep it there, but we intend to do everything we can to do so and to really put Horsham on the swimming map”.