Stage 3 Galas, Round 2: Earning your stripes
Gary Player once said that the harder he trained then the luckier he became. Others have said that strength in depth is a much desired quality that underpins the successes of only the lucky few.
So on a weekend where our Masters enjoyed considerable success at the CABSC open meet, including Tony Taylor ripping it up in the 75-79 category, and where many of our Nova based swimmers took the City of Liverpool Level 1 open meet by storm NLSC could have suffered when taking to the water at Bramcote for the second round of the 2019 Stage 3 league.
Chasing Arnold SC by ten points after round one, NLSC sent forward a really strong squad on Saturday night overseen by Steph Breakspear-Handley, our Director of Swimming, and Jonny Higham, our Senior Squad coach, into battle against Arnold, Carlton Forum, Mansfield, Northern and Kimberley. And all of our swimmers were determined to show that NLSC remain part of that lucky few.
Throughout the night it simply rained personal bests, victories and high placings as the team came together and stepped up for each other. And when that happens, the Green Octopus roars.
Rebeka Hodi, Evie Ferrer, George Cummings, Katherine Hewing, Finn Ellis, Holly Lockton, Ollie Coleman, Bradley Francis and Chris Lambert all returned stunning swims that kept the scoreboard rolling along, stretching away from the others. PB after PB fell by seconds and the momentum never stopped.
The root cause of this was the collective but individual elements stand out. Jess Li giving her all until illness prevented her from carrying on which inspired both Sam Coleman and Holly Bramwell-ward to step up even further; ably cheered on by Jess returning to poolside to cheer the team on.
Toby Brown pulled out a remarkable 100M Breaststroke was one both for and from the ages.
Mia Lovell for simply being Mia Lovell especially when being told her final length of 100 Fly looked really strong to some incredulity. It’s a recommendation not get on the wrong side of Mia in the water polo but her smiling energy was infectious across all. If in doubt, be more like Mia and you won’t go far wrong.
Daniel Oyaide-Nicholls decided Saturday night was the right time to drop a supercrazy 100 Fly PB, beating his previous best from Round 1 by almost five seconds. Not to be outdone by his partner in crime, Ted Baily then took a similar chunk of time of his 100 Breaststroke PB too from his single race with his positive value from being poolside with the others shining through again.
But it was our captains for the night, Henry Pawson and Jess Collishaw, that truly led by example. Receiving their captain’s armbands earlier in the evening (green felt tip stripes around their arms with the promise it would wash off…) they grew into their roles.
Jess competing with injury came back time and time again to deliver for the team. Huge amounts of grit and determination show with a great example set. Henry just swam like somebody possessed as victories and PBs came together in perfect symphony throughout the night again and again and again. Stripes well and truly earned by both and a credit to all.
All of the relays were won by a distance; the quality stretching throughout and where Round 1’s Cannon was a race for the ages, this was a comprehensive full stop to the whole evening. First place on the right and in a great place to strike in Round 3 to defend out title once again.
This weekend was another celebration of the Green Octopus and of our strength in depth. For all of the performances on Saturday night we know we are lucky in that we could have changed many of the names at Bramcote with others not in Liverpool or elsewhere and still achieved this result.
Our strength in depth of our talent and spirit is what we are built upon. Swimming hard, swimming happy and winning (wherever we are) is what we do. And we’re really grateful to be in that lucky position once again.