12th October 2010

Atlantis hosted on Saturday night, the opening gala in the National Arena Swimming League South Division 1 (East) series.  The young Atlantis team – resplendent in their now traditional black and yellow “warpaint” - comfortably took second place behind Thanet, the perennially strong Kent Coast outfit.  The team was cheered on by a packed and vocal home crowd who - with the visitors’ supporters – generated a fantastic atmosphere inside the Pavilions.   

The final scores were: Thanet 1st (231 points); Atlantis 2nd (198); East Grinstead 3rd (179.5); Black Lion A 4th (168); 1066 Swimmers 5th (135.5) and Redhill & Reigate 6th (135).  The result leaves Atlantis in 4th place in the 18-team division.

This is Atlantis’ best ever start in the division.  Last year the Club could only manage a 4th place in the opening gala and will be looking to push on from this result to improve on last year’s overall league placing of 8th.

Thanet were always going to offer tough competition, with a squad containing 11 national swimmers and a boys section that secured 6th place overall in the National Age Group Championships.  

Atlantis – this season without previous league stalwarts Jonny and Howard Blyth – handed no less than 13 National League debuts to Naomi Clarke, Leah Clarke, Eleanor Morris, Beth Britton, Aimee Davies, Tegan Jenkins, Duncan Smith, Josh Shapland, Andrew Kershaw, Ben Stevens, Joe Nehme, Jess Matlock and Issy Harrod.

The climax to the evening, which brought the crowd to its feet, came in the penultimate race, the 6 x 50m girls’ Open Freestyle Relay.  The Atlantis team of Issy Dunlop, Ella Windle, Louisa Clarke, Beth Hundleby, Bex Lobley and Katy Harris fought out an exciting duel with East Grinstead; senior girls’ captain Katy Harris rounded off the evening in style by overhauling their Sussex rivals in the final few metres to win the race by a finger-tip.     

Team Manager Andy Lobley said: “I couldn’t have asked for more from the swimmers tonight.  It was a really great team performance.  We had to ask many of the younger swimmers to swim up an age group; they dug in and didn’t look out of place at all.  There was a great spirit of togetherness throughout the squad”.

In the next round on 13th November, also at the Pavilions, Atlantis meet East Grinstead again, a strong Chelmsford team who finished 3rd last season (just missing out on promotion to the Premier Division), and Southend-on-Sea, White Oak and Beckenham B, who all finished below Atlantis in the table last year.  Atlantis will be taking nothing for granted this time around in their push to be in the top group for the final gala in December.      

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