27 Jan 2020

According to Wikipedia, Bilborough is a suburb of the city of Nottingham, England. The population of the City of Nottingham ward at the 2011 census was 16,792. Located just off the A6002 road is Bilborough College.

Bilborough has a high street called Bracebridge Drive containing a bank (Lloyds TSB), a butcher's shop, a Greggs, a library, Health Centre, Boots the Chemists, Hardware Store, Fish & Chip Shop, Post Office, General Store, Co-op store and Heron Foods. Bracebridge Drive also has a local pub, The Pelican. Opposite this is a garage which specialises in tyres and car washes.

Bilborough is also home to the Harvey Hadden Stadium, a well-known local sport facility with outdoor running track and athletics facilities.

What Wikipedia doesn’t tell you (well not yet, just working on that in our plans for world domination…) is how NLSC swimmers got on in the first weekend of the Notts ASA County Championships.

Once again Leander has sent the biggest squad of qualifiers (79) alongside the biggest number of individual swims (574) out of all the great swimming clubs from across Rebel County. It’s where our amazing home-grown and Nova-based talent come back together as one and swim as a collective with the biggest smiles, in the fastest times as the glory and achievement awaits.

But they’re not alone. They’re not individuals. For everything our swimmers have given to the club over the past year in the ASA Galas, Junior and National Swimming Leagues, this is our opportunity to celebrate them and support them in every inch of the championship 50M pool. And there’s nothing better knowing you’ve got a huge army of Octopus who’ve got your back all the way down that last killer 25M.

The funny thing is that this spirit never changes but the personnel, unfortunately, does. Yet always surprises you how much wearing that white hat with the green octopus means to a collective.

The laughter, the cheering, the tears, the comforting and support It touches that part of the soul that reaffirms so many good things and emotions that parents and ex-swimmers’ treasure. Memories, history and deep deep friendships are being made and being enhanced and when you look back as a very old person who’s lived a very full life you’ll remember those that were there for you and you for them in return.

Debutants such as Abby Seddon, Gisele De Ponte, Laurel Roberts-Burrell, Ermita Balnyte, Millie King, Darrens Millers and Emily Wright lined up against now-seasoned warriors such as Gabriel Oyaide-Nichols, Luke Derivan, Jess Li, Rosie Dickerson, Emma Demandt and Heaven Harris-Burton.

On a competitive side, the Octopus were rocked by a couple of big-name withdrawals due to injury. Josh Skinner and Andrew Hall are both walking, talking finalists and medallists so their absence is a loss to the championships and we wish them both a speedy recovery.

However, once the warm up was done, it was quickly Showtime with the girls 200M Fly.

If you remember that collective spirit, then it was epitomised in the first couple of heats. Lissi Bowen suffered what all Fly swimmers will face at some point, an unwanted and race-ending gob-full of water and Millie King a painful DQ. The whole squad ran around to protect and support their own in face of this disappointment. And how you react to adversity is a spotlight onto your character.

A few hours later, Lissi picked up the 100M Backstroke gold (her first of three over the weekend) and Millie won the 50M Fly the following day. Point proved.

Each and every one swam on point throughout day one. George Cummings kicked off the gold rush in the 13/u 200M Breaststroke by a cheeky four seconds which was followed by our ladies taking four out of the six available golds in the 100M Backstroke with a personal standout being Abby Seddon making her first final in 13/u age group in her Counties debut.

The medal rush continued early into Day 2 with Erno Lapis and Kallum Quirke picking up bronze and silver respectively in the boys 200M Free. Elissa Bowen. Ermita Belnyte and Heaven Harris-Burton then medalled in the girls 200M Breaststroke with more then coming from Elissa (again) and Leander stalwarts Rosie Dickerson and Jess Li in the 50M fly.

Into the afternoon and Lissi picked up her second gold in the 200M free with the her third kicking off a major gold rush in the 50M back. Evie Ferrer completed the 50M/100M double – don’t count her out from achieving the triple-double in the 200M later – as did Courtney Price in the open age group – ditto again and with golds for Jess and Rosie too. And to round off the day with perfect symmetry Erno and Kallum swapped medals with silver and bronze respectively in the boy’s 100M Free.

But truly the weekend belonged to one special talent in green; that being Evie Johnson. Since joining the Green Octopus Evie has led from the front in all the club galas and, alongside others, has brought a huge infectious smile and support to the whole club poolside. But in the pool, she can make the extraordinary look ordinary. Five golds and a silver in the 13/u age group builds on the benchmark she set last year and was only denied a clean sweep by the faintest of touches. Nova-based but truly one of our own she is something to celebrate.

But more so was the sounds of happiness, support, laughter and cheers that emanated from Leander corner and the stands over the first weekend. We swam fast and we swam happiest too. All in all, Harvey Hadden was a joyous weekend that celebrated the best of swimming in Rebel County and was turned Green as usual.

More please this weekend.

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