Leicester Winter League 2015 Round 3 Report
On Saturday night an excited and nervous group of Team Ilkeston swimmers made the trip to Pingles Leisure Centre, Nuneaton for the final of the division two Leicester Winter League 2015. The team travelled on the team bus, JB Tours aka Team Ilkeston Tours, and the atmosphere before we even reached the destination was one filled with confidence after previously winning the past two rounds of the competition, meaning we were top of the league before swimming the final. In addition, since the first gala in January the team had successfully put together four consecutive league wins which is no easy task!
After reaching the final last year and coming agonisingly close to promotion we wanted this more than anything! We knew what we had to do and how to do it! We gave the team talk, knowing that they could create history to become one of the most successful group of swimmers the club has ever seen. During the week we talked tactics and prepared strategically to win the league. We knew that we wouldn’t have it easy though as there was some tough competition from all teams, especially the likes of Daventry and Leicester Neptune.
When we finally approached the venue, and after 101 questions, one being “are we there yet!?”, the team marched into the complex ready to race. On poolside the atmosphere was getting fiercer, but our swimmers stayed calm and relaxed. We looked professional as we began the team blood-flow and psyched each other up ready to race in front of a packed section of Team Ilkeston supporters!
The races began and we made off to a great start with some life time bests coming from the swimmers, the standard and quality was immense. 11/u Girls, 15/u Girls, Boys Open and Girls Open Free Relays all coming 2nd, 11/u & 13/u Free Relay Boys both coming 3rd, and a 1st from the 15/u Free Relay Boys!
Gold medal finishes came from; Charlie Palmer (100 Breast), Lewis Wright (50 Fly), Charlie Palmer (50 Fly), William Foster (100 Back), William Wright (100 Free), Lewis Brown (25 Free), Lewis Wright (50 Breast).
Silver medal positions came from; James Wright (25 Back), Jayne Stallion (100 Free), Daniel Sloan (100 Free), Lewis Brown (25 Breast), Elsie Vivian (100 Back), James Wright (25 Fly), Elsie Vivian (100 Breast), Daniel Sloan (100 Breast).
Bronze medal podiums came from; Leah Burgin-Rawson (25 Fly), Lauren Booth (100 Free), Emily Middleton (100 Back).
Then, into the final relays of the night the team were finishing strong up there in the top three positions. You could see they wanted it, the coaches couldn’t breathe, they were shaking, hair standing up on their arms, hearts pounding and struggling to shout as we could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Victory of the league was so close and we could almost touch it. Bouncing around on lane end, swimmers and coaches screaming as their team mates edged closer and closer to the end of the poolside in their races.
1st places from the 15/u Medley Relay Boys, then 2nd places for the 11/U, 15/u and Open Boys Medley teams, and 3rd places for the 11/u and the 15/u Girls Medley teams.
The final race of the night, the cannon, the ultimate race, the one that means the world to every swimmer! Leah Burgin-Rawson, Lewis Brown, Emily Reynolds, Lewis Wright, Lauren Booth, William Wright, Jayne Stallion and Dalton Smith all worked their socks off to bring Team Ilkeston home in second place in the cannon as we pulled away from other opponents.
It was a nail biter towards the end. Mathematically, we knew that we had won the league if we came second in the gala, but you can’t take anything for granted so we huddled together as a team and waited for the news of whether we would be facing the Division One of the Leicester League next season.
I’ve got to say that being inside that circle of unbelievably brilliant (words cannot describe how proud I am of them) swimmers is one of the most precious moments that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. THEN, the announcement came of the speakers for the final league table:
****League Points Total****
- Team Ilkeston - 46 Points
- Daventry - 44 Points
- Leicester Neptune - 43 Points
- Melton Mowbray - 41 Points
- Burton - 38 Points
- Market Harborough - 35 Points
- Wellingborough - 35 Points
- Leicester Penguins C - 29 Points
WE DID IT, we came second in the gala but because of the previous results and overall in the final we were CHAMPIONS OF THE LEICESTER LEAGUE DIVISION 2!
I’ve always dreamed of the club being promoted but until this day it hasn’t happened and to do it in the style we did was fantastic! You are all very special swimmers and I know I always say this but I am one of the luckiest people in the county to have the opportunity to coach you! The video shows what type of team we are…You have all grown from the average to Champions!
Finally, well done to all the coaching team, poolside helpers, everyone that helped on poolside in all three league galas and the parents for their support! Most importantly, well done swimmers, everyone that raced in the first, second and third round helped the team to achieve the title, without each individuals input to the team, we wouldn’t have achieved what we did!
All that is left to say now is……..WE ARE GOING UP, WE ARE GOING UP!