The first-ever licensed swimming competition at the RiversMeet Gillingham was held on 22 and 25 June in the form of our L4 time trials. More than 50 NDTSC swimmers aged from nine to 16 swam against each other in mixed HDW heats in all four 50-metre events – butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle – in their regular training slot on Tuesday; then in five 100-metre events on Friday evening (pictured), including the individual medley.

The meet was granted a Level 4 license by Swim England, amd we submitted a Covid-oriented risk assessment as part of our application.

Of nearly 140 event personal-bests in the Rankings system before our first session, no fewer than 107 were bettered over the two days. Even allowing for about a year and a half of physical growth, this surely proves that neither our swimmers’ fitness nor their competitive spirit has been eroded by the pandemic.

Aside from the blizzard of PBs, we were all so impressed – with the 100-metre events – by many of the younger swimmers who could only just complete the distance at pace, battling their way up to the finish at the deep end, and the way in which those who ‘lost’ their heats by the widest margin got the loudest cheers.

We’re now hoping to send some Performance Squad swimmers to the South-West Festival of Swimming at Millfield on 24 and 25 July.