SWIMMING: Relay successes propel Abingdon Vale to title

Abingdon Vale captain Caitlin Wheatley proudly holds the Thames Valley Junior League B trophy, flanked by coach Bruce Rennie (left) and manager James Halfhead

Abingdon Vale captain Caitlin Wheatley proudly holds the Thames Valley Junior League B trophy, flanked by coach Bruce Rennie (left) and manager James Halfhead

First published in Sport

IT was a night of truimph for Abingdon Vale when they won the B final of the Thames Valley Junior League.

Making up for the disappointment of not reaching the A final, the Vale swimmers secured 22 race wins – including eight relay successes, five of which came in club record times.

Duel winners for Abingdon were Max Bolcato, with record-breaking times in the under 11 and under 12 butterfly, Daniel McNamara (free-style & breaststroke) and Oliver Hodgson (back & breaststroke).

Relay highlights included a record-breaking display from the under 12 girls medley team of Emma Costello, Charlotte Rowley, Yasmin Tajalli and Leonie Watson, who set the pattern for the final with victory in the first race.

Not to be outdone, the under 12 boys freestyle team of Hodgson, Oran Forrestal, Bolcato and Blaine Carpenter lowered a club record that had stood since 1993 by more than half a second.

The climax to the gala was the squadron relay, where Abingdon’s main rivals, Chalfont Otters, led for the first four legs.

But with the decibel levels increasing and the gallery rising to its feet, the Vale juggernaut got faster and faster with each changeover until Hodgson powered home to seal a great win.

Abingon Vale’s individual winners – Boys: M Bolcato (2), D McNamara (2), O Hodgson (2), B Carpenter. Girls: J Cooper Marcos, E Pearce, Y Tajalli, M Hijink, O Pilbeam, L James.

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