National Arena League 2017
Final Round | 9th December 2017 | Dagenham
On a chilly Saturday afternoon The Leander Team set off for Dagenham to compete in the final round of National Arena League. After two previous rounds of jostling for position in the NAL First Division, this match-up between the top 8 teams would decide who was to take the spoils and claim automatic promotion to the NAL Premier Division.
A strong Bishop’s Stortford team ensured the Leander sinews remained taut all night – after event 42 Leander was leading by a slender 5 point margin. Anaconda and Dunmow were close behind, alternating positions as one event succeeded another. With the adrenaline coursing, the final set of relays saw Leander extend the winning margin to a decisive 13 points. Leander had won the NAL First Division for 2017! We will be a Premier Division team next year! It was nerve-wracking for the team and the coaches, but with victory came relief and huge satisfaction. Again we avoided DQs, a fantastic achievement at a very tense meet, especially by our younger and less experienced swimmers.
36 swimmers competed in the final round. There were:
- 15 PBs in individual events
- 10 relay teams swam best times in this round
- 4 new Age Group and one Open Club records were broken.
- Leander came first in 9 events, second in 8 events, third in 8 events.
Unbeaten swimmers and teams across all three rounds:
- Kirstin in 100 Fly
- Saskia in 50 Breast
- Sonny in 50 Free
- Girls 11 & Under Free Team
- Girls 11 & Under IM Team
- Boys 15 & Under Free Team
Our ‘most valuable swimmers’ came from our youngest age group (11&Under) scoring most points for the club across all three rounds in individual and relay races. The swimmers were Sonny (61.75 points) and Saskia (59 points). Sonny swam up in the 13 & Under relays in the second round. For their fantastic achievements Sonny and Saskia were selected to collect the winners’ trophy for Leander.
To achieve this outstanding success in the National Arena League it takes a huge team effort. As many as 40 swimmers participated across all three rounds this year and all made their individual as well as their team contributions to this outstanding success. This result is also down to the dedication and skill of all of our Leander coaches; it is moments such as these that they work for all year and we congratulate them on the results they have helped to achieve for the club. And thanks also go to all our wonderfully supportive Leander parents!
This victory marks an important stepping stone. Leander is clearly inspiring a new generation of younger swimmers and is working towards becoming a leading competitive club in the region. This has been the team objective and it is now becoming a reality.
The final results and league results are below – the top two promoted teams will compete in the NAL Premier Division in 2018:
- Leander 52
- Bishop’s Stortford 47
- Dunmow Atlantis 45
- Anaconda 44
- Bexley 40
- Harrow 38
- Greenwich 34
- Saxon Crown 32
Our first foray into competing in the National Arena League was in 2014. Placed in the 2nd Division, Leander came 5th overall. The following year we went a step better: 2015 saw Leander secure promotion to Division 1 as we were crowned Division 2 Champions. In 2016, only our third year in the NAL, a fantastic third place gave us the confidence to realise we could compete with the best.
This year our goal was to gain promotion to the Premier Division and we achieved this in style: Leander were unbeaten in all 3 rounds of the competition and were confirmed Division 1 Champions for 2017. This progress has been hugely impressive and the rapid march through the divisions over a short time clearly shows the wonderful progress and development that has been taking place at Leander Swimming Club over the past 4 years.
Leander were the host for the last round so a huge thank you to all our volunteers for your time and effort and for your contribution to a memorable experience.
The top 16 clubs from London and the region are await us next year in the NAL Premier Division. We will be upping our game in preparation..!