Place in top national finals for club:
Cambridge swimmers scooped the trophy in Division one of Speedo’s London League – and clinched themselves a place in the National A final, alongside the country’s top clubs.
The squad beat favourites Ipswich into second place, leaving the England captain Karen Pickering’s team with a slot in the National B finals.
Cambridge put in an inspired performance clocking up 193 points to Ipswich’s 187, with Ealing on 181, West Suffolk on 178, Hillingdon Borough with 176 and Hatfield with 132 – but the contest proved nailbiting for supporters and swimmers alike as positions changed constantly early in the competition with the teams so closely matched.
Cambridge came into its own at the end of the gala, held at Enfield in North London, with the squad leading on points for the final 12 races. And, with the trophy in reach, the team finished with a flourish, storming into first place with a five second lead in the final event, the Men’s Open 6x2L freestyle relay, as Ipswich trailed in fourth. The last event provided a perfect ending, the resounding response to Ipswich’s opening first place.
Winning through to the National A finals makes history for the club – the highest Cambridge had achieved in the National Speedo League to date was a slot in the B finals last year, and 14th position in the country overall.
Head coach Tim Westlake said: “Despite the fact that we were up against some of the best swimmers in the country, let alone the area, I was confident we would do well. We have a very strong squad and all of them played a valuable part in winning the trophy, from the youngest right through to the most experienced competitors.
“If I had to pick one out, I couldn’t. Every single member of the team has demonstrated the dedication, commitment and determination it takes to put Cambridge on a level with the rest in the country.
“We’ll have a short break over Christmas, with a well deserved rest for the swimmers, and then it’s back to work – with a firm eye on April!”
The team will travel up to Sheffield to compete at the 50m Ponds’ Forge pool at the end of April 2003 – the remaining seven teams in the A final have not yet been announced.