Team Luton May Long Course Open Meet

On Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th May 2016, nine Hoddesdon swimmers travelled to Inspire, Luton to compete in the Team Luton May Long Course Open Meet, a Level 1 National Qualifier event.

Poolside warm up 'with a twist' from Matteo and Ralph

Libby Dunford (13), swam the 100 Free in a LC PB time of 1.02.91 to claim Gold, came 2nd in the 100 Fly (1.10.92), 50 Back (33.63, LC PB) and 50 Free (28.92); she also achieved Bronze in the 50 Fly in a time of 31.04.

Lily Merrett (13), achieved Gold in the 800 Free in a LC PB of 9.54.10 which she swam in a very consistent and convincing way. She also came 3rd in the 50 Back (34.04) and 4th in the 400 IM (5.41.97, LC PB) and 200 Fly (2.49.56).

Marco Tontodonati (13), secured 2 Silver Medals in the 50 Breast (38.99, PB) and 400 Free (5.01.27, LC PB) and a Bronze Medal in the 200 Free (2.25.53). He also achieved 4th place in the 50 Free (30.19, LC PB) and 200 IM (2.40.17, LC PB), and came 7th in the 100 Free in a LC PB of 1.07.66.

Libby, Lily and Marco will return to Luton in 2 weeks time to compete in the Age Group East Region Championships 2016.

Matteo Tontodonati (15), swam all backstroke distances coming 5th in the 100 back (1.07.80), 6th in the 200 Back (2.26.81) and managing to get into the water just in time to swim the 50 Back (32.08, 9th) after a very stressful ‘run to the correct lane’ (he was assigned the wrong lane). He also swam the 100 Fly (1.10.14, 11th), 200 Free (2.15.69, 11th), 50 Fly (31.14, 12th) and 50 Free (28.27, 13th).

Lucy Hinks made a great return to competitions after being injured, securing a 6th place in the 100 Back (1.18.29, LC PB) and 18th place in the 50 Fly (35.83, PB).

Chris Smith (20), achieved a 7th place in the 100 Breast, which he swam in a time of 1.10.32.

Bella Parkus (11), swam PBs in both her races: she came 7th in the 100 Back (1.28.41) and 9th in the 50 Fly (40.10).

Ralph Davies (15), achieved 9th place in the 50 Free (27.77, PB), 12th place in the 200 Free (2.16.83, PB) and 15th place in the 200 Back (2.38.32, LC PB).

Grace Harvey (18), who has Cerebral Palsy and swims in the S7 category for Backstroke and Freestyle, swam a 25 secs PB in the 800 Free (12.05.62); she also swam the 200 Back in 3.20.66.

Coach Manuela Teti said: “It was a weekend of tough competition with many top level competitive clubs attending. It was an excellent opportunity for our swimmers to work on different competing areas which they managed to do brilliantly, focussing on the process and skills, mental toughness and team spirit. And I would like to say a big thank you to Lily, who stayed with me during the long waits on Sunday and assisted me in stroke counting one of the races!”

Posted on 16th May

Regional Success for Hoddesdon Swimmers

The first part of the Summer Regional Competition was held over the Bank Holiday weekend at the UEA Sportspark in Norwich, on 30th April, 1st and 2nd of May 2016. This Competition brings together the very best swimmers in East Region, which comprises Norforlk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Hertfordshire.

Qualifiers for this event were Christopher Smith (Open Age Group), Amy Godsave (Open Age Group), Matteo Tontodonati (15 years age group) and Ralph Davies (15 years age group).

Competing on Saturday 30th April were Matteo in the 50 Backstroke (30.86) 6th and 400 IM (5.26.04) 13th, Amy in the 50Freestyle (27.31) 2nd and Chris in the 100 Breaststroke (1.08.43)3rd.

These swims qualified them for the Finals in the evening.  There was a great atmosphere at the Finals sessions, which helped the swimmers raise their performances for the races. Matteo swam an excellent PB in the final of the 50 Backstroke (30.83) to finish 5th, bettering his placing from the heat and missing out on 4th place by one hundredth of a second!

Amy competing in the Open Age Group for the first time, confirmed her second place and Silver Medal in the 50 Freestyle (27.01), an excellent swim for her as she is busy revising for her GCSE exams. Chris Smith swam a season’s best in the 100 Breaststroke, (1.07.92) to claim a second Silver Medal for Hoddesdon in the open age group, beating the Bronze medallist by a few hundredths of a second with an excellent finish.

Amy Godsave

Day 1 completed with 3 finals and two silver medals – excellent work from the Hoddesdon Team.

Day 2 saw the arrival of Ralph Davies (15 years Age Group) to join Matteo, Amy and Chris. The Heats went well with Chris qualifying for the Finals in the 200 Breaststroke (2.33.73) 6th, and 50 Breaststroke (31.30) 6th, Amy in the 100 Freestyle (59.52)2nd and Matteo in the 200 Backstroke (2.26.54) 8th. Ralph Davies swam a fast 50 Breaststroke in a time of 36.77.

The Finals in the evening session saw Chris achieve a 6 second PB over his original entry time in the 200 Breaststroke to claim a very well deserved Bronze in a time of  2.30.56.  He swam the 50 Breaststroke in a time of 31.15 to finish 5th.

Chris Smith

Amy swam the final of the 100 Freestyle in a time of 59.88 to finish 4th and Matteo bettered his position in the 200 Back final from 8th to 7th with a swim of 2.26.44.

Matteo competed in the 200 IM and 100 Backstroke on day 3, completing the 200 IM in a time of 2.33.14 and finishing 11th overall in his age group. He swam 1.06.67 in the 100 Backstroke Heat to finish 5th and guarantee a place in the final.

He improved his time in the final with an excellent swim of 1.05.99 finishing in 5th place.  Matteo swam at a consistently high standard throughout the weekend, especially in his favoured Backstroke events.

Matteo Tontodonati

Mary Wright, Head Coach of Hoddesdon SC commented “I was very proud of all four swimmers who attended. I am convinced there is much more to come from all of them in terms of performances and I look forward to working with them to achieve their goals. “


Posted on 9th May

Grace Swims in Para Trials - April 2016



British Para-Swimming International Meet

Tollcross International Pool, Glasgow

Saturday 23rd April to Wednesday 27th April 2016


Grace travelled to Glasgow with coaches Lee Dorman and Mary Wright and mum Jackie Harvey to participate in this prestigious event, which was also the selection event for the Paralympics in Rio this summer. Grace, a pupil at Presdales School in Ware has cerebral palsy and competes under the Categories S7, SM7 and SB6. As a result of her performances, Grace not only broke her own British Record in the 200m Individual Medley on the last day, but also consolidated her position as the Number 2 in her Classification Group in Great Britain.

Grace qualified for the International Meet in no fewer than seven events. This is a very prestigious event in the Para calendar and attracts swimmers from all over the world. Ellie Simmonds and Jessica Jane Applegate, stars of the 2012 Olympics were there together with many more stars from Para Swimming. After completing her Classification Review and a training swim on the Friday, Grace took to the pool to compete on Saturday morning in the 100m Freestyle and 100m Breaststroke. Her first swim in the 100m Freestyle of 1:15.37 knocked a second off her Personal Best Time (PB) and ranked her 8th overall with 735 British Disability Points (BDP) and guaranteed her a place in the final. A very strong 100m Breaststroke swim (1:55.45) resulted in a PB and 556 BDP and again secured a place in the final that evening.

Tollcross International pool, Glasgow

There was a great atmosphere for the finals that evening, where Grace further improved her time in the 100m Free (1:15.32), 737 BDP, and knocked a further 2 seconds off her 100m Breaststroke (1;53.46) to increase her points score to 586. These swims left her ranked 9th and 15th respectively across the multi classification groups.

Sunday saw Grace competing in the 100m Backstroke where she equaled her PB with a time of 1:32.70. She finished 13th with a total of 681 BDP.

On Monday 25th April, Grace competed in the 50 Butterfly, where she swam an almost identical time in both Heat and Final – Heat 40.68 (574 BDP) Final 40.74 (572 BDP). Grace finished 5th overall across all classifications in this event, and once again swam a 1 second PB.

The grueling 400m Freestyle took place on the Tuesday and Grace smashed her PB in the Heats by 6 seconds with a time of 5:41.78. This gave her 674 points and meant she finished in 6th place overall. She matched her Heat time in the Final with another excellent swim to consolidate her position.

Grace in the swim down pool, coached by Lee

The morning of last day of Competition saw Grace competing in the Heats of the 50m Freestyle and 200m IM, where Grace currently holds the British Record with a time of 3:17.78. The 50m Freestyle went well, with Grace swimming on her PB, finishing in 15th place with 682 BDP. Her 200 IM did not go so well as there was little time for recovery between the two races. Grace knew she could do better in the 200m IM, and so elected not to swim the 50m Freestyle in the Finals session so she could concentrate on the 200m IM. This turned out to be a good decision. As Grace stormed down the Breaststroke leg, it became apparent she might break her own British Record, and the crowd got behind her to help her through to knock 3 seconds off the Record with a time of 3:14.19. This earned her 652 BDP and was a fantastic ending to an excellent meet for Grace. 

Mary Wright said “We would like to thank ‘TeamLuton’, and particularly Head Coach Pete Woodbridge for all his great coaching, help and support to Grace over the last couple of years. We have no doubt this has contributed to Grace’s success. Grace herself is definitely a star for the future in British Para-Swimming, and has worked hard for all she has achieved”

Grace enjoying time with friends after her race

Disability Swimming Head Coach at Hoddesdon Swimming Club Janet Warrington said: “We are all very proud of Grace who has had a brilliant meet in Glasgow.  Grace has worked extremely hard in training and her preparation for this competition has perfect.  We all completely believe she will represent Team GB one day in an International Event in the near future.”

Posted on 6th May

Head 2 Head Gala - LTLC Cheshunt (23/04/2016)

Saturday 23rd April 2016 saw Hoddesdon SC swimming in a 'friendly' gala with Cheshunt SC at the Laura Trott Leisure Centre, Cheshunt.  The gala mirrored the Hertfordshire Swimming Leagues Peanuts Gala (Division Two).  The competition was extremely close, and lots of fun!  The final result was split by just one point - with Cheshunt SC being the winners this time round.  

The full set of results can be found here.

Posted on 2nd May

Grace Harvey CP Swimmer of the Year 2016

Grace Harvey ‘CP Swimmer of the Year 2016’


Grace Harvey (17) pupil at Presdales School, Ware travelled to the new long course (50m) swimming pool in Nottingham (Harvey Hadden) for the Cerebral Palsy National Championships on Sunday 3rd April 2016.  The National Championships use the British Swimming classification and British Disability Points system to award winners.

Hoddesdon Swimming Club’s Grace Harvey, who has the classification S7, SB6, SM7, is currently on the British Para Swimming Wold Class Podium Potential Programme and the Hertfordshire Talented Athlete Programme.  Grace competed in five events on the day; winning all five events bringing home five gold medals.

The afternoon concluded with the organisers awarding the ‘Swimmer of the Year’ cup to Grace for an outstanding year which included breaking 10 British Records.

Results at the Nationals were as follows:  100m Freestyle 1:17:24; 50m Breaststroke 51:05 (10 sec pb); 100m Backstroke 1:33.48; 200m Freestyle 2:49.95 (17 sec pb); 100m Butterfly 1:40.18 (20 sec pb).

Janet Warrington, Disability Swimming Head Coach at Hoddesdon SC said This event is a brilliant competition for Grace to practice her race skills in preparation for the Paralympic Trials in Glasgow in three weeks.”

She is now focussed on what she needs to do and where she needs to be in three weeks.  We are all very proud of Graces achievements so far and very excited about the future.”

Posted on 4th April

Excellent third round finish from Herts Major League Team


The Major League Team arrived in good spirits to swim the last round of the Herts Major League, to bring the Senior Team Galas to a close for the season.

Our Boys team was weakened somewhat by illness and other commitments, but it was nice to see Matt Williams joining the Open boys’ Team home from Uni and his training with Plymouth Leander. Several Boys were taken ill on the way to, or during the Gala, but the Team were amazing and showed real versatility, grit and determination by covering all the events bar one. Special mention must go to Charlie Brown, who stepped in to the Under 12 Team, having only just turned 9 and swam two very good 50m freestyle races. What a star! Also of star status was Carly, stepping into the Open 100 Breaststroke slot at very short notice, and the Under 14 boys team of Marco Tontodonati, Dominic McCarthy, and Elias Baluch who swam multiple races at short notice.

First places were achieved by Amy Godsave, Open 100 Free (1.00.30), Open 100 Butterfly (1.05.21); Matt Williams Open Butterfly (58.45), Libby Dunford U14 Butterfly (1.08.31) and U14 100 Freestyle (1.03.92), Lily Merrett U16 Backstroke (1.11.89) and U14 Backstroke (1.11.81), Dominic McCarthy U14 Breaststroke (1.22.31) and U14 100 Backstroke (1.15.68); the Open Freestyle Relay Team of Amy (26.95), Hayley Warrington (28.93), Libby Dunford (29.03) and Carly Bays (29.49); the U14 Freestyle Relay Team of  Libby, Lily, Amy Bishop and Ellie Godsave (1.59.81) and the Under 14 Medley Team, Lucy, Ellie, Libby and Amy (2.20.93)

Second Places were achieved by Ryan Brewster in the Open Freestyle (58.20), Matt Williams in the Open 100 Backstroke (1.01.33), Chris Smith in the 100 Breaststroke (1.07.85), Carly Bays in the Open 100 Backstroke (1.11.30) Matteo Tontodonati in the U16 100 Butterfly (1.07.14), Ellie Godsave in the Under 14 Breaststroke (1.26.05), Libby Dunford in the U16 Breaststroke (1.24.52)and the Mens Open Freestyle and Medley Relay teams of Matt, Chris, Paul O’ Doherty and Ryan (1.55.37 for medley, 1.44.73 for Freestyle) The Womens’ Open Medley Relay Team of Carly, Hayley, Amy and Lily were also second (2.14.05)

The three third places went to Matteo Tontodonati in the U16 100 Backstroke (1.07.96), his brother Marco Tontodonati in the U14 100 Freestyle (1.06.58) and Ellie Bostock in the U12 50 Freestyle (37.47)

There were 13 Individual Personal Best times and 13 Relay Personal Best Times, which was exceptional in view of the number of races some of these swimmers had. Please see the results for full details.

Mary, Manuela and the Coaching Team would like to thank Marcello as co-ordinator and all the Officials who have loyally helped out with the officiating – it is great to see some new faces on the Team, please keep up the good work, and there is always room for more, so if you are interested, please let us know!  We would also like to thank all those Parents who gave up their time to help with the hosting duties and stewarding duties, and all those parents who have given up their Saturday evenings to drive their swimmers to and from the various venues, and of course to support the Team.

And last but not least I would like to thank the swimmers. What a fantastic, talented bunch of swimmers we have! They have swum under difficult conditions this year, but next year will be better for you all! Under 12’s you now have the Peanuts League to look forward to, details coming shortly!

Mary Wright

Head Coach

Results here

Posted on 4th April

Watford Regional Qualifier Open Meet

12th & 13th March 2016


A Team of 11 swimmers travelled to Watford last  weekend to participate in the Watford Regional Qualifier.  There were some excellent PB’s from the Team and out of 66 swims over the weekend, 44 were PB’s and there were 14 Gold, 5 Silver and 7 Bronze Medals, and 23  of the swims were of Regional Qualifying Standard.

Isobel Short, 11 years of age, achieved PB’s in all her races : 50 Backstroke (44.01) 10th, 200 Breaststroke (3.58.23) 9th and 50 Breaststroke (51.95) 9th

11 year old Bella Parkus was 5th in both the 200 IM (3.15.50)a 6 second PB and 50 Backstroke (42.21) a 1 second PB, and was 4th in the 400 Freestyle, where she paced herself really well to knock 23 seconds off her time (6.05.21)

Mollie Downes competing in the 13 years category qualified for the 50 Butterfly where she achieved a 2 second PB (39.18) 16th and the 50 Free (36.86) 24th

Lily Merrett (13 years) achieved the Regional Qualifying Standard in all her 5 events , claiming Gold medals in 100 Freestyle (1.05.90), 200 Freestyle (2.18.81), 200 Butterfly (2.38.34) and 400 IM (5.32.75) and a Bronze medal in the 200IM (2.37.84)

Libby Dunford (13 years) competed in 8 events and achieved Regional Qualifying times in all eight, winning Gold Medals in the 50 Freestyle (28.36), 50 Backstroke (32.79), 50 Butterfly (30.33), 100 Backstroke (1.10.11), 200 Backstroke (2.29.07) 200 IM (2.30.37) and 400 Freestyle (4.48.54) and won a Bronze in the 50 Breaststroke (37.08)

Jessica Callaghan (15 years) achieved a 5 second PB in her 200 IM(2.50.83) to finish 5th,  a 1 second PB in the 50 Butterfly (33.94) to finish 5th, and a 3 second PB in the 200 Freestyle (2.30.36) to finish 9th. She also finished 4th in the 100 Backstroke (1.16.30), 5th in the 50 Backstroke (35.72) and 10th in the 50 Breaststroke (44.96)

Alex Tate (13) also achieved some excellent PB’s over the course of the weekend, including a 10 second PB in his 100 Backstroke (1.18.04) where he finished 6th and an 18 second PB in the 200 Freestyle (2.29.72). He also achieved PB’s in the 50 Freestyle (30.71), 100 Freestyle (1.06.89) 50 Backstroke (36.68) and 50 Breaststroke (40.60), giving him a Personal Best time in every event entered.

Marco Tontodonati (13 years) achieved Regional Qualifying times in 7 out of his 8 events. He also won Gold medals in the 400 Freestyle (4.52.07) a 5 second PB, the 100 Breaststroke (1.24.35) and the 50 Backstroke (33.93), Silver medals in the 200 Breaststroke (2.59.47), a 5 second PB, and 200 IM (2.38.94), a 2 second PB. He achieved a further PB in the 50 Free (29.75) 4th, and was 5th in the 200 Freestyle (2.22.57) and 6th in the 50 Breaststroke (40.50)

Dominic McCarthy (14 years) achieved his first Regional Qualifying time in the 200 Breaststroke (2.57.04) where he finished 4th with a 6 second PB. He obtained Bronze medals in the 200 IM (2.42.15) and 50 Backstroke (34.45), and achieved PB’s in 400 Freestyle (5.14.20) where he finished 4th, the 200 Freestyle (2.27.20) where he finished 10th and 50 Breaststroke (37.86) where he finished 4th. He also finished 7th in the 100 Breaststroke (1.24.62) and 4th in the 200 Backstroke (2.40.99) and 6th in the 50 Freestyle (30.77)

Matteo Tontodonati (15 years) competed in 8 events over the weekend, achieving  a Regional Qualifying Time and Silver in the 400 IM (5.12.51) , and a Regional Qualifying time and Bronze in the 200 IM (2.25.46). He achieved a further Bronze in the 200 Freestyle (2.11.34), also a PB, and he also achieved a PB in the 400 Freestyle (4.45.03). He was also 6th in the 50 Breaststroke (37.32), 6th in the 50 Freestyle (27.86) and 50 Backstroke (30.42) and 9th in the 100 Freestyle (1.02.12).

Ryan Brewster (17) achieved some excellent PB’s over the course of the weekend, particularly in his favoured Breaststroke. Ryan picked up 2 Silver medals in the 200 Breaststroke (2.43.91), a 2 second PB, and the 200 IM (2.25.53) a 4 second PB. He also picked up a Bronze in the 400 Free (4.39.97), a 4 second PB. He also achieved PB’s in the 100 Breaststroke (1.15.81) 6th, the 200 Freestyle (2.11.04) 4th, 50 Free (26.99) 7th and the 50 Breaststroke (34.94) 7th. He also came 6th in the 100 Freestyle (58.66)

Head Coach Mary Wright said: “ All the swimmers who attended this meet have worked really hard in training this season, so it is really fantastic to see so many of them achieve their personal goals. We have a great work ethic at Hoddesdon, and these swimmers deserve their achievements. It was a well run meet with some very fast swimming from across the Region, making our swimmers’ achievements all the more amazing”

Coach Manuela Teti commented: “All our swimmers had a very good meet, with achievements in different areas of their goals set for this season. They are ‘focusing on the process’ and, as expected, this is proving an excellent strategy. Keep up the good work!”



Posted on 20th March

Herts Major League Round 2

Once again we were hosting this Gala, and the Coaching Team would like to thank all those Parents who supported the Club by taking on the Hosting Duties, some supported as Officials and others as Recorders, Announcer, Refreshments, Door and Raffle, and Stewarding. Without Parental help these League Galas could not take place, so new parents, please keep up our Hoddesdon tradition of volunteering to help whenever you can at these events.


The swimmers also had an uphill battle against some of the strongest teams in the League. Unfortunately we had many swimmers out of action due to illness and injury, but many were given the opportunity to show just what tough competitors they are, and how well they can perform even under considerable pressure.


Our youngest age group, the Under 12 teams of Tom Ahmed, Thomas Brown, Sam Reynolds and Sam Nouroozpour and Bella Parkus, Molly Cobbold, Isabel Hinks and Isobel Short all swam extremely well to achieve some excellent personal best times. These young swimmers were swimming against teams who were at least a year older than they are, so with all the improvement they are making they are sure to do well next year!


The Under 14 Age Group not only swam their own events, but covered many of the swims in the Under 16 and Open age groups. With multiple events it was not possible for them to achieve Personal Best times. Their consistency was amazing and is proof of how hard they work in training and how strong they are becoming.  Well done to Alex Tate, Dominic McCarthy, Marco Tontodonati, Charlie Cole and Elias Baluch for all their hard work. Marco and Dominic both placed third in the 100 Freestyle and 100 Backstroke respectively.

Libby Dunford, Lily Merrett and Ellie Godsave deserve to be joint swimmers of the Gala. They swam so many races, and were consistently outstanding. Well done girls! Well done also to Lucy Hinks in that age group, who also had some great swims! Lily, Libby and the girls U14 freestyle relay team won the only 1st places on the night, and came 3rd in the Medley Relay.


Under 16 and Open swimmers all swam well and helped to keep the Team going, with special thanks to Martin Godsave who saved the day by helping out with the Open Relays – and swimming a personal best time as well! Well done Ryan Brewster, Matteo Tontodonati, Ralph Davies and Paul O’Doherty, and to Emily Price and Carly Bays. You all did a great job! Carly was placed 3rd in the Open 100 Backstroke and Matteo was also 3rd in the U16 Backstroke.


The next Round is on 2nd April, so all swimmers and parents please make sure this date is in your diary, as it is just after the start of the Easter holidays! Lets hope we have a healthy team who are free from injury!


Full Results available here.

Posted on 6th March

Herts ASA County Championships 2016 Presentation Evening

Six Hoddesdon swimmers were invited to the Herts ASA County Championships Presentation Evening on Wednesday 10th February 2016.

During the event awards were presented to those swimmers who finished the County Championships within the first 8 places in their respective age group and to the first 3 classified in the Championships (Open age group) and Junior Championships (15yrs and under age group).

Hoddesdon SC came 3rd in the Girls Top Club Championship and was represented on the night by Libby Dunford, Lily Merrett and Georgie Pryor.

Libby Dunford (13) won the Girls 13yrs Age Group Championship and also achieved 1st place in the Junior Championship in the 50 Fly and 50 Free. In the Junior Championship she also came 2nd in the 100 Fly and 3rd in the 100 Free.

Lily Merrett (13) came joint 3rd in the Girls 13yrs Age Group Championship and won Bronze in the 50 Fly Junior Championship.

Georgie Pryor (17) won Championships Gold Medals and Trophies in the 100 IM, 50 Fly, 50 Back, 100 Free and 100 Fly. She also came 2nd in the 50 Free and 100 Back.

In the Boys section invited to the Presentation Evening were Chris Smith, Marco Tontodonati and Matteo Tontodonati.

Chris Smith (20) achieved Championships Silver Medals in his two favourite events, the 50 Breast and 100 Breast.

Marco Tontodonati (13) won the Boys 13yrs Age Group Championship.

Matteo Tontodonati (15) won Bronze Junior Championship Medals in the 50 Back and 100 Back and achieved 8th place in the Boys 15yrs Age Group Championship.

Coach Manuela Teti said "The Presentation Evening was shining with the Hoddesdon colours blue, red and white. We are so proud of all our swimmers that attended Counties this year and we know that many more have the potential to qualify in 2017; keep up the hard work everybody and, most of all, enjoy your journey!"

Posted on 14th February

Herts ASA County Championships 2016


As a result of changes to the British Swimming Structure, Hertfordshire ASA County Championships were moved to January and February, commencing on January 23rd and finishing on Sunday 7th February. The qualifying times and method of qualifying also changed this year, as did the programme of events, which was branded a “New Dawn” by the organisers. Despite the many changes to the competition, Hoddesdon swimmers proved themselves up to the challenge, and all of us at Hoddesdon Swimming Club should be proud of their achievements.

Several swimmers who qualified for the Championships were unable to take part due to illness or injury, and we wish Kayleigh Perry, Amy Bishop, Lucy Hinks and Ben Hunt a speedy recovery.

For those swimmers who were able to take part a fantastic three weeks of swimming fast was ahead of us with many Personal Best times (PBs) smashed and a very large quantity of medals won by the Hoddesdon Team.

The first weekend was dedicated to 100 sprints, the second to 50 sprints and 200m events and the third to long distance events. This year, it was decided to swim finals for all 50 and 100 events, so any swimmers making the final did exceptionally well, making them one of the fastest 8 swimmers in the County in their Age Group. In addition, there was a final for the fastest eight swimmers across all age groups, called the Championship Final.


Libby Dunford (13) had an excellent County Championships, with no fewer than 10 gold medals across all distances and events and achieving 11 Regional Qualifying Times. Libby won gold in the 100 Butterfly (Heat 1.08.98 and Final 1.08.97), 100 Backstroke (Heat 1.11.44 and Final 1.10.95) 100 Freestyle (Heat 1.02.33 and Final 1.02.55) and 100 IM (Heat 1.12.53 and Final 1.11.42), and in the 50 Free (Heat 28.64 and Final  28.49), 50 Butterfly (Heat 30.80 and Final 31.00) and Backstroke (Heat 32.98 and Final 32.71) . She also won Gold in the 200 Free (2.16.24) and 400 Free (4.47.03) and 200 IM (2.34.38). She achieved Silver in the 200 Backstroke (2.32.05) and was 4th in the 50 Breast final (37.67) and 800 Freestyle (9.55.98).

Georgie Pryor (17) competed in her last Hertfordshire County Championships as she will be leaving for University in September. She was competing in the 16+ age category, and won 8 Gold and 3 silver medals. Gold medals were achieved in the 100 Butterfly - Heat 1st 1.04.24 Championship Final 1st (1.02.86),  16+ Final 1st (1.04.11), 100 Freestyle Heat 1st (58.14), Championship Final 1st (58.21) and 16+ Final 1st (59.27). She also won the 100 IM - Heat 1st (1.06.63) and Final 1st (1.06.60). She came second in the 100 Backstroke Heat (1.04.61) and 2nd in the Championship Final (1.05.63) and 16+ Final (1.07.08). In the 50m events, Georgie achieved Golds again in the 50 Backstroke - Heat 1st (29.56) and Final  1st (29.72); 1st 50 Fly Heat (28.00) and Final (28.14), and 2nd 50 Free Heat (27.24) and Final (27.04). We wish her well with her future studies and sporting endeavours.

Grace Harvey (17) attended the Championships as part of her preparation for the British Para-Swimming Trials in Glasgow in April. Grace, who competes in the SM7, S7 and SB6 categories, is on the British Swimming Podium Potential Programme and attended to work on her 200 IM, where she holds the British Record, and her 100 Backstroke. Grace swam 1.32.14 in the 100 Backstroke and 3.19.47 in the 200 IM. She declared herself very happy with both results.

Chris Smith (20), a student at Hertfordshire University, competed in his favoured 100 and 50 Breaststroke Events. Chris came second in the 50 Breaststroke Heat (30.82) and won the Final (30.69), came second in the 100 Breaststroke Heat (1.07.92) and Championship Final (1.07.08) and won the 16+ final in a time of 1.08.85.

Marco Tontodonati (13) also achieved 11 Regional qualifying times during the Championships and three Gold medals 100 Freestyle (Heat 3rd 1.05.53, Final 1st 1.04.14), 200 IM (2.40.71) 200 Freestyle (2.18.97), four Silver 100 IM (Heat 1st 1.14.52, Final 2nd 1.14.45) 200 Backstroke (2.36.58), 400 IM (5.44.52) and 400 Freestyle (4.57.10) and two Bronze medals in the 50 Freestyle (Heat 3rd 30.30, Final 3rd 29.81) and 100 Breaststroke (Heat 3rd 1.24.50 and Final 3rd 1.23.17). He also finished 4th in the 100 Backstroke (1.13.47) and 50 Backstroke (33.88) and 200 Breaststroke (3.04.38), 6th in the 50 Breast (39.56), 7th in the 50 Butterfly (35.25) and 9th in the 100 Butterfly (1.21.50).

Lily Merrett (13) competing in the same age group as team mate Libby, achieved no fewer than 14 Regional times over the 3 weekends, saving the best swim till the last day when she swam the gruelling 800 metres in a time of 9.43.74 to win the Gold medal. Lily also won silver medals in the 100 Butterfly (Heat 2nd, 1.09.81 and Final 2nd 1.09.55), 200 Butterfly (2.42.33) 50 Butterfly (Heat 2nd 31.71 and Final 2nd 31.74) and 50 Backstroke (Heat 2nd 33.14 and Final 2nd 33.31). She came 4th in the 100 Backstroke (1.13.10), 100 Freestyle (1.05.38), 200 Backstroke (2.38.72) 400 IM (5.29.30) and 400 Free (4.50.03), 5th in the 50 Free (29.66), 7th in the 200 Free (2.20.74) and 8th in the 50 Breaststroke (39.50)

Matteo Tontodonati (15) although struggling with a virus, achieved 3 Regional Times in his favoured Backstroke at 50, 100 and 200m and achieved three Bronze medals in the 100 Backstroke (Heat 3rd 1.05.51, Final 3rd 1.05.36) 100 IM (Heat 4th 1.08.06, Final 3rd1.07.09) and 50 Backstroke (Heat 3rd 30.63, Final 3rd 30.36). He also finished 4th in the 200 Backstroke (2.22.53), 6th in the 200 Breaststroke (2.51.01), 9th in the 100 Breaststroke (1.20.40), 400 IM (5.17.00), 50 Breaststroke (36.70) and 50 Butterfly (30.16), 11th in the 100 Freestyle (59.39), 200 IM (2.29.79) and 200 Freestyle (2.14.16), 13th in the 50 Freestyle (27.83) and 15th in the 100 Butterfly (1.09.11)

Ellie Godsave (14) achieved a Bronze medal and her Regional Qualifying time in the 50 Breaststroke (Heat 3rd 38.25, Final 3rd 38.40), and made the finals in both the 50 Freestyle (Heat 5th 29.77, Final 5th 29.85) and 100 IM (Heat 8th 1.15.45, Final 8th 1.14.57) She also finished 16th in the 50 Butterfly (34.05). All swims were Personal Best times.

Dominic McCarthy (14) qualified for 11 events this year, made 2 finals and achieved 10 Personal Best times across all events. He made the Final in the 50 Breast where he finished 7th (38.39) and the100 Breast 8th (1.24.89). He also finished 10th in the 200 Breaststroke (3.03.77), 11th in the 200 Backstroke (2.39.32) and 200 IM (2.42.09), 12th in the 50 Back (34.72) and 100 Back (1.13.53), 13th in the 100 IM (1.17.13), 16th 50 Freestyle (30.66), 17th 100 Freestyle (1.06.00) and 19th 50 Butterfly (35.14). Dominic showed how much potential he has to do very well in the future.

Ralph Davies (15) also qualified for 11 events and achieved Personal Best times in 10 of them, again achieving a place in the 50 Breaststroke and 100 Breaststroke Finals. He finished 7th in the 100 Breaststroke Final (1.20.10), having dipped under the 1.20.00 in the heats. He also finished 7th in the 50 Breaststroke final (35.84), 10th in the 100 IM (1.10.63) and 200 Breast (2.56.88), 13th in the 50 Butterfly (30.80), 14th in the 50 Freestyle (27.95), 16th in the 100 Backstroke (1.09.68), 100 Butterfly (1.09.63) and 100 Freestyle (1.01.52), 18th in the 50 Backstroke (32.53) and 19th in the 200 IM (2.33.27). Again Ralph is definitely one to watch for in the next couple of years.

Young talented swimmers in the form of Bella Parkus (11), Charlie Cole (12) and Molly Cobbold (10) achieved some great swims on their visits to the County Championships.

Bella qualified in 4 events and achieved Personal Best times in all 4. She finished 5th in the Backstroke (3.04.70), with a 9 second PB, and made the final of the 100 Backstroke with a swim in the Heat of 1.28.67, improving to 5th position in the Final (1.29.23). She also finished 8th in the 100 IM (1.31.04) and 15th in the 50 Freestyle (36.44)

Charlie qualified in the 100 Backstroke, where he finished 15th in a personal best time (1.27.68), 12th in the 50 Butterfly (38.48) and 9th in the 50 Freestyle (33.22), another PB.

Molly made her first appearance at Counties, but I am sure we will see many more from her in the future. She swam the 50 Backstroke in the 10/11 Age Group, finishing 10th (42.59), but was the fastest 10 year old in the competition.



On Sunday 7th February the Championships came to a close with a series of Age Group Relays. This provided a fabulous and exciting end to Counties and saw different swimmers in action. Despite illness and injury, the Hoddesdon Teams swam really well, and we are proud of all of them – Paul O’Doherty, Ryan Brewster, Scott Carpenter, Elias Baluch, Mollie Downes and Ellis Burroughs all swam really well alongside team mates Chris Smith, Matteo Tontodonati, Marco Tontodonati and Alex Tate, Libby Dunford and Lily Merrett.

Mary Wright, Head Coach said “This was a very successful Championships for those of our swimmers who achieved the County qualifying times. Although one of the smaller clubs in Hertfordshire, we have come away with an impressive number of medals, Regional Times and Personal Best times, and I am delighted for the swimmers who have put in so much hard work to achieve this result”.

Coach Manuela Teti said “We all approached Counties 2016 with curiosity and uncertainty as to what to expect from the new format. We believe that the new schedule of events proved much better than previous years and competition was very tough but exciting. Our swimmers not only were competitive with fast swims, but also showed excellent swimming skills in the water and perfect behaviour and team spirit on poolside. We are all very proud of all of them!”


Posted on 9th February

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