Chichester Cormorants swimmers are celebrating their best-ever finish in the National Arena Swimming League.
A mighty effort saw them end the campaign in fifth place.
Is it better to be the best of the worst or the worst of the best?
After good results in rounds one and two, the Cormorants qualified in eighth place for the finals in the division and had to swim against some of the best clubs in the south.
They were up against Walker Tigers flown from Jersey, Chalfont Otters, Wycombe, Didcot, Worthing, Windsor and Farnham.
Adding to the pressure, CCSC were asked to host the event at Southampton Quays – no mean feat for a small club with very few qualified or experienced officials.
Who would have predicted the final outcome of the 2014 National Arena League?
Chichester’s final position in the previous competition was 14th, which was very satisfying having come last in the two years before that.
The target this year was to finish in the top three of the B gala but following the outstanding performance in round one in which Chichester came fourth, and round two, the bar of expectation was raised higher.
Team coach Phil Rayner asked the question: “Is it better to be the best of the worst or the worst of the best?” The latter was the obvious answer from the swimmers and spectators.
It was another fantastic all-round performance with 23 personal-best swims recorded from 50 events. This helped the club gain fifth place overall, a great end to the year.
Sara Pezzutto and Sam Hotchkiss, club captains for 2014/15, collected the fifth-place pendant on behalf of the team.
Outstanding individual performances from Pezzutto, third in the 200m individual medley 100m butterly; Jessica Rayner, second in 50m breaststroke; Ed Richardson, third in 100m breaststroke; Jemina Laurence second in 50m backstroke and first in 50m freestyle; Seb Hadnett first in 50m backstroke and second in 50m butterfly and Olivia Spink third in 50m butterfly.
The swimmers came second in the nine-11 boys’ and girls’ freestyle and medley relays and third in the under-13 boys’ medley relay.
There were several fourth places for the individual swimmers on the night.
There has been a huge improvement in the overall performances of the club’s swimmers during the past year and although there is still much to do it was a very rewarding performance for all at the club.
Special thanks must go to the volunteer coaches and poolside helpers.