12th October 2009

Atlantis, the Horsham-based competitive swimming club, headed off down the M20 to take part in the first National Swimming League Division 1 Gala in Dover on Saturday evening. 

This year the National Swimming League is being sponsored by swimwear company Arena, who have replaced Speedo.

Atlantis – forced to field a weakened team missing some key senior swimmers - faced some tough competition against Dover Lifeguards, Sevenoaks A, Erith & District, Elmbridge Phoenix and Dartford & District.

The team responded with a gutsy all-round performance with many younger swimmers forced to “swim-up” an age group.  It was a closely-fought and exciting contest with the final placings in doubt until the last race.  In the end Atlantis secured 4th place with 185 points, just 5 points behind third-placed Sevenoaks and 14 points behind Elmbridge, with Dover out in front with 222 points.

The gala saw the return to competition of Atlantis Junior Boys Club Captain Howard Blyth after a long lay-off.  Despite lack of training time, Howard showed his class, flying home first in the 100m breast in a time of 1.14 secs.  Other notable performances included 12 year-old Olivia Winter, who swam a 31sec 50m freestyle split, and helped out with the u 15 girls relay team and Matt Fulcher, making his League debut, who swam well in the u 15 boys’ freestyle relay.   The girls 9 – 10 year-old relay team of Yasmin Hooker, Jade Stocker, Ella Windle and Kate Windle (the youngest member of the team at 9, also making her debut) showed they were a cut above the competition, scoring crushing victories in both the freestyle and medley relays.  Katy Harris won the 100m open backstroke, Issy Dunlop took both the Open and U 15 breasts and Yasmin Hooker the 50m 9-10 backstroke. 

Chief Coach Bill Penny said: “I knew this would be a tough first gala.  I thought the whole team responded well and pulled out some great swims.  Our aim this season is to consolidate our position in the division and this result gives a chance of doing so”.

The result leaves Atlantis lying 10th in the division of 18.  The second round takes place on 14th November.  Atlantis will be at home at the Pavilions for this gala and they will need to be at their best – they face three of the current top four in the division (East Grinstead, Dover – again – and the Orpington Ojays).         

Further Information: Andy Lobley: 07801 676269 or Andrew Dunlop: 07710 352023