Victory in the First Round of the Sussex League.

17th May 2015

On Saturday 9th May, the Atlantis swimming team travelled to Hastings for the first round of this years Sussex League competition, to swim against Hasting's Seagulls and Mid Sussex Marlins. What had appeared initially as a routine fixture for the club was becoming an increasingly harder challenge for the club the nearer the gala came, what with several regular team swimmers unavailable to swim, and with the recent influx of experienced swimmers in to the Mid Sussex Marlins team, suddenly a routine fixture was looking like a real challenge for the club. Looking around as the teams warmed up, it was obvious that an intense night of racing was about to start, with both Atlantis and Marlins fancying their chances of winning the gala.

The evening started with the 100m IM races for the U/16's, U/14's and Open age groups and Lily Davies, James Hartley and Bex Barber got us off and running with good wins. The girls U/14 medley relay team then romped home and after the first 10 events we were in the lead, but only 3 points ahead of Mid Sussex Marlins, who were quite clearly fielding a stronger squad than in recent years.

The races continued with every one keenly contested by the Atlantis swimmers, but the Marlins and Seagulls were swimming well. The closeness of the competition and tension was clearly spreading to the packed gallery, as the usual vociferous Atlantis support was matched by a surprisingly loud Marlins crowd. The results were all close in the next few races and then Michael Pallister swam his first ever sub 40 second 50m breastroke to win, followed closely by Jacob Davis for a one two finish in the U/12's. Bex Barber then posted a sub30 second 50m freestyle followed by a James North pb to win the U/14's and after two strong IM relays from the u/16's we stretched our lead to five points after 20 events. With the race format of Sussex League, five points can be won or lost in a single race, and as the half way point of the evening approached it was obvious that a five point lead was far from comfortable.

With the excitement levels rising, the gallery was getting increasingly loud, and you would have been forgiven for thinking it was the final round of the competition! The races seemed to be getting closer and closer, and the Atlantis swimmers were really rising to the ever increasing challenge being presented by Marlins. In the U/12 girls backstroke Jess Glassford and Ellie Smith produced an impressive 1-2 to calm some nerves. This was closely followed by wins from Lily Davis (Open 100m breastroke) and Freya Fulcher (U/14 50m Fly) and then two very impressive U/12 medley relay swims. The girls team of Jess Glassford, Millie Weedon, Emma Morris and Jess Mace showed true class and obviously inspired the boys team of Harry Farr, Jacob Davis, Michael Pallister and Jamie Smith as both teams won comfortably. There were then many more very close races with wins for Beth Britton, Bex Barber, Ellie Smith and Michael Pallister and as we approached the final 15 races, the scores were announced, placing us 8 points behind Marlins! The whole atmosphere of the evening changed. The gallery changed with a real sense of urgency from the Atlantis crowd. The Marlins crowd suddenly grew louder. On poolside there was a real tension and a sense of camaraderie with the Senior swimmers rallying the younger ones and the coaches making last minute tactical changes.

So, the last 15 events were crucial, and Lily Davis and Lauren Pedel slammed down an Atlantis marker in event 41 with a 1-2 in the Girls U/16 100m breastroke. And then, boom, James Hartley and Dan Jones did likewise in the Boys to get Atlantis back into the lead. A great Girls Open Medley relay win by Beth Britton, Lily Davis, Lucy Lee and Natasha Golding was a great start to the final 11 events, 7 of which were relays. The Boys U/16 Medley relay team of Matt Boyes, Dan Jones, Joe Carter and Sam Hawkins won a thrilling race with a fantastic anchor leg from Sam which had all the team jumping up and down. They were followed by a fantastic win by  the Girls U/12 freestyle relay team of Jess Mace, Jess Glassford, Emma Morris and Ellie Smith.

Sussex League galas always finish with a squadron relay, and to be honest I have watched a few over the years, but I have got to say, this was the most exciting I have ever watched. Going into the last race of the evening, Marlins were 1 point ahead of Atlantis, and hence only needed to beat Atlantis in the squadron relay to win the gala, regardless of where Hastings finished. Well, turn up the volume yet again, the roof of the Summerfields Sports Centre was about to be lifted! First in Ellie Smith, then Michael Pallister and already Atlantis were in the lead, Bex Barber, James North, Lily Davis and Joe Carter, the Marlins were closing, Beth Britton gave Cavan Murphy a few meters and he blasted Atlantis home in first position with Hastings pipping Marlins for second place. So the evening ended with a comfortable (?) 7 point win for Atlantis.

Whilst there were some notable absentees, the Atalantis team were still outstanding and the club is so proud of all those that stepped up, swam up an age group and basically swam their heart out for the club. You were all brilliant! There were so many fantastic swims and I have only highlighted a few. For those who I have not mentioned, your swims were just as important as every single point won was important and contributed to the final result. The whole team should feel extremely proud of your achievement!


The Team (in order of appearance): Lily Davis, Lauren Pedel, James Hartley, Joe Carter, Rebecca Barber, Amelia Wright, Toby van der Hut, James North, Beth Britton, Andrew Kershaw, Cavan Murphy, Ethel Whyman, Issy Hooker, Ryan Gant, Nick Cooper, Sam Hawkins, Matt Boyes, Emma Harrison, Millie Weedon, Jacob Davis, Michael Pallister, Lucy Lee, Anya Elvin, Edward Hundleby, Daryan De Klerk, Gemma Cumber, Jessica Glassford, Ellie Smith, Harry Farr, Jamie Smith, Dan Jones,  Freya Fulcher, Will Carey, Emma Morris, Jessica Mace, Chloe Baker, Jarad De Klerk, Natasha Golding.

I have tried to record all swimmers and swims as accurately as possible but if my memory has failed me and there are any inaccuracies, please email me: