A statement of intent.
“A certain, usually specified, amount or number of something.”
“The standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something.”
“Nottingham Leander SC on Saturday, 26th October 2019”
With our Masters Squad ripping up the record books again at the British Masters Championships at Ponds Forge (quote A Thurston: “Rrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllllaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy!!!") as well as hoovering up an inordinate amount of medals, the scene was again set for the age-group squads to show what they could do in the second round of the Stage 2 League at Bramcote.
Ok. The basics.
Our A Team were just immense. A 98 point victory over CABSC, Arnold, Mansfield and Northern. Wow. Awesome. Just awesome.
It’s an unbridled joy to see such a talented bunch of swimmers perform collectively together in the same pool one after another.
To have Emma Erskine and Josh Skinner back home again in the famous green and white alongside Annie Pearson, Andrew Hall, Jess Collishaw, Henry Pawson and Will Soden-Barton. To see Finn Ellis, Henry Pawson, and Connor Byron rip it up in the U/14 boys with Giselle du Pont and Rosie Dickerson motoring too.
To have a cadre of swimmers including Daniel Oyaide-Nicholls, George and Ava Cummings, Heaven Harris-Burton, Kallum Quirke, Sophia Fidler complimented by the ferocious potential of Evie Johnson and the understated brilliance of Hannah Edwards. For it then to be back up by Nathan Chita, Ollie Coleman, Zak Hidle, Darren Milliers, Rebekka Hodi, Elissa Bowen to name but a few.
There aren’t words other than dominant, brilliant and inspirational. A symphony on display and the round of applause to everyone involved should be as long and lengthy as it is deserved. Full marks going into Round 3 and a healthy points advantage should hopefully see another hard-fought victory against a strong Sutton A Squad again.
But despite all of this (which is underselling their collective efforts massively – the scoreboard didn't flatter them) the main headline of the night was the B Team.
Save for a few Slidng Doors moments of tight finishes and a couple of DQ’s then you’d be reading about a Leander 1-2 on the night. A team won by 98 points; the B team finished 4th but missing out on second by a mere nine points.
Guts, heart and determination ran through the squad with many showing B was just a temporary letter and it’s a horrible term to use in conjunction with age-group swimming but the professionalism shown by them was as immense as their racing and their times.
From Gabriel Oyaide-Nicholls to Matt Fallon to Brad Francis to Same Coleman and Jonnie Lambert. To Charlotte Woodward still defying those retirement rumours and claims to Myleece Quirke rounding off her birthday week in style. To Hamza Tran and Paulis Gabrys stepping up to put a shift in and represent the water polo side.
To Edie Syrett, Emma Demandt, Katherine Hewing, Alex Tomlinson coming back from Nova duties alongside Aaron Johnson putting in a proper shift in his least favoured event. To Harriet Dickerson once again redefining just what giving 100% means and Lily Farrelly going from teaching butterfly to our development squads in the week to racing in back to back on Saturday night. And anytime Harrison Howes, Ben Sharp and Laurel Roberts Burrell are poolside then you know you’re getting smiles and effort by the bucket load.
To our youngest squad memebrs, including debutants Millie Jackson-Oates, Eva Biondi and Oliver Patrickson; of Oscar Ferrer and Edith Hewing making their 50M fly debuts so soon after their medlay relay legs (#bettheysleptwellSaturday) and Jack Mandeville and Tarun Belaguram there was just no quarter given. All of them made each Green Octopus walk out ten feet tall.
It’s usually wrong to pick out one swimmer (and apologies in advance for doing so) but the Iron Lady shift Evie Ferrer gave was inspiring. Not only did she just miss out on the touch in the 50M backstroke (to the aforementioned Hannah) but she also underpinned relay after relay chasing down those much bigger and much older than her in the process and being incredibly vocal cheering on both teams too.
Icing on the cake? Quickly ripping of her googles to give to a team mate on the blocks who own pair had snapped a few seconds before. Formula 1 mechanics don’t change tyres that quickly and probably don’t tell the drivers to just shut up and go fast at the same time too…
The collective group photo afterwards will live long in the memory as it captured the Leander way perfectly. All had swan hard. All had swum fast. And all had swum very very happy.
The scary thing is from such a brilliant all round team performance is the names of the talent that were missing from Saturday night. As a swimming club, Leander is currently blessed not just because of the depth of talent at our disposal but because of the fine people that talent just happens to be.
We claimed on Instagram that Saturday Night was set for a Green Octopus takeover of the old famous Bramcote baths. Job done.
Arena is next. #WeStillReady