31 Jan 2020

Starts and turns. Sounds like a ropey UK Garage duo from back in the day which if you’re now spending time and money trying to recreate your youth then you’ll probably find yourself at Butlins in Minehead with similar minded people quickly realising that in the cold light of day things probably weren’t as great as you remember. It sucks getting old.

However, let’s not have middle-aged regret blunt the awe-inspiring wonder of today’s youth. Leander wouldn’t have it any other way and especially not when our youngest age-group swimmers set about the first of 2020’s Notts ASA Stage 1 galas on Saturday.

Stage 1’s galas are a really safe and fun way for swimmers to Start their competitive swimming career and hopefully Leander can help Turn them into future champions with huge personal success. (See? Starts and Turns – thanks for staying with us here; appreciated.)

Leander’s history in the Stage 1’s is littered with success as we’ve won every round for many years back. But such history can weigh heavy on the shoulders.

Thankfully many of our Stage 1 swimmers are blissfully unaware of the history and its expectations and long may that continue. The Leander way is to swim happy and swim free and by all accounts the next generation have this common trait in spades – let them enjoy making their own history rather than trying to live up to memories of what was.

Normal rules applied with two teams sent out to battle in Sutton and Hucknall.

Team 1 were at Sutton taking on the best from Bramcote, Sutton, Falcon and Newark and saw Green Octopus debuts from Miranda De Ponte, Evan Hughes and Harry Skellern alongside some of our old seasoned veterans who are still under 12 years old.

This perfect mix of youth and experience saw over 75% of first and second places be secured on the night with 13 new personal bests. By all accounts the noise from team 1 was close to blowing the roof off, and especially when the winners’ trophy was awarded after securing a huge 25-point victory from Bramcote A.

Over in Hucknall Team 2 took to the water in the same style with a larger number of debutants in the famous green and white hats. The competition started out fierce and continued throughout with the top four places changing as much as a chameleon stuck walking past a Dulux colour chart.

It ebbed and flowed with special mentions for the 11-year-old boys and girls showed great leadership and support to the younger ones and were rock solid in holding the team together. And being a team means you have strength in relays which all of Team 2 had.

Individually, Phoebe Lumb defied her debut nerves and delivered a portfolio of fearless swimming; she’s one to watch.

Ditto Harry Ryan who, like many before him had a touch of the jitters and felt sick with nerves behind the blocks for his first race in Green. Natural fighting talent comes to the fore and he swam out of skin to win his 25m breaststroke. The smile and cheers afterwards make this whole sport worthwhile.

Maylis Misbah was soon challenging for smile of the night after crushing a 2+ second PB on her 50 fly. Isla Mitchell wasn’t going to be left out so she decided to follow suit and smash her fly PB by over 2 secs too.

And rounding of a trio of female butterfly success Isabella Parson-Loades who won her 50M fly by seven seconds and half of a length to chalk up another PB which would rank her 4th in UK for her age-group. Ouch.

Not letting big sister take all the glory, Harry Parson-Loades stepped up to deliver an iron-man shift to cover races for an absent colleague despite it being his debut. Similar iron-lady shifts were put in by Ava Cummings and Immy Buxey who also stepped up age groups not only to cover but to smash too.

Eventually the points levelled out with Radford taking the trophy and Team 2 being a very close third. But what a night and what memories have been made.

It’s another great start for the Green Octopus. Let’s watch them turn it into something special again because each one of us have got their backs.

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