With Derby & Notts being in the bag the Green Octopus’ focus quickly shifted back towards home and third of four most special events in our calendar; the Junior Gala.

Before we get started on the amazing swimmers and the wonderful performances they all put in we must first applaud all of the volunteers, officials and parents who not only made the day what it was but also for enduring the stifling heat at the High School Pool. June + 20 degrees + central heating being churned out through all of the blowers? Ouch.

We’ve said before that the Junior Gala is a celebration of everything that is great about our club and Round 3 2019 was no different. Especially when you can call on two current national swimmers to be timekeepers too who, just a few months ago were part of the same group of swimmers waiting to take part.

Many new faces in brand spanking new kits and Leander swimming caps with eyes and smiles as wide as the pool belied any nerves that might have been held. Groups of friends who hadn’t seen each other ages (some hours, some perhaps a day) caught up on the latest gossip and events over shared sweets and a confusion over what events they were swimming and when.

Many of the new class of 2019 had a point to prove too. There were PBs to be chased down for the first time too. They wanted to show their parents, their coaches and their friends how quicker they’ve got since the last time they’d raced and they were going to set records.

Worries about DQ’s surfaced again alongside questions as to how you do a backstroke turn and what order is the 100M IM. Swimmers still caught up in conversations were called again and again and again to take their places in the line up.

Younger siblings following in the footsteps of their older brothers and sisters took centre stage and the pride of the parents growing once again. Of course the kids are alright, they handle it much better than us older ones.

In the pool there were some stand out performances. Lilly Flint being an absolute pocket rocket with a turbocharged smile gave her all in all events. Erica Kjaergaard and Sian Hedley showing the leaps forward they have shown in training over recent weeks.

Eli Moodley making his debut and showing why he’ll be chasing big brother Kris down before too long. Floss Bailey with some pitch perfect breaststroke and Frances Hodi upholding tradition in the Butterfly.

Immy Buxey and Isla Mitchell continued their great progress too alongside Ava Cummings and Eve Horsley. And Luke Marsden continued the great form seen in club galas and open meets recently with a portfolio of powerful swims to show he’s truly back after serious injury a year ago.

Regardless of the heat, the cacophony of joy from all of the swimmers and the collective experience they’ve gained would create a tear to be dried from the most cynical of eyes. All of the next generation were brilliant and their collective drive, spirit and aptitude was a lesson to us all.

Every Junior Gala is a reminder why we encourage our kids to swim and why NLSC is blessed to be a small part of their journey. Happy, happy days.

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swimming, Junior Gala