It was a great result for Pioneer 79's ‘Marshall Mercedez Benz of Bolton’ sponsored Arena League Team at Blackpool this weekend, there were some great performances from the Pioneer swimmers throughout the evening with everyone giving 110%!
The Accrington based club have been involved in the Arena League for the last 15 years and, following some excellent results in the past, they have worked their way up through the Leagues and compete in the Premier League of the North West Arena League. The Arena League currently has 400 teams participating throughout the country, which is split into 7 Regions; East Midlands, London, North East, North West, South, Western and West Midlands. Each Division is then split again into 3 or 4 leagues with teams battling between themselves to gain places into the Premier League. Similar to football leagues, the top/bottom two in each of the lower leagues will be promoted/relegated each year, whilst the top team in each of the ‘Premier’ Leagues, after the ‘A’ Final in their Region, will then go forward and ‘battle it out’ at the Grand Final which is held at a different venue each year, usually in April.
The event consists of 2 preliminary rounds, followed by Regional ‘A’ and ‘B’ Finals (Round 3). The top 8 teams will compete in the ‘A’ Final, whilst the bottom 8 teams will compete in the ‘B’ Final. Places for these finals are achieved by adding the total number of points achieved in both preliminary rounds together, therefore, Pioneer 79 were in need of winning as many points as possible, to gain a place or two which would enable them to achieve a place in the ‘A’ Final.
After Round 1 which was held in October, Pioneer 79 were lying 9th overall out of 16 teams. For the second round of the Arena League for 2016/2017, Pioneer 79 were drawn to compete in Blackpool against Southport, Barrow, Preston, Blackpool ‘A’, Trafford Metro, Cockermouth and Horwich, with the remaining 8 teams in the Premier Division battling it out at exactly the same time in Macclesfield.
During the evening, the Pioneer 79 swimmers were outstanding as a team, cheering each other on and their impeccable behaviour on poolside. The first win of the night for Pioneer came in the 3rd event, the Girls 9-11 years 4x50m Freestyle Relay, it was a battle all the way to the finish with just 0.4 seconds between them and the eventual second placed team, Southport. Later in the evening, it was a similar story with the young team once again taking top spot from Southport in the 4x50m Medley Relay.
11 year old Katie Hale yet again had a couple of sensational swims, finishing 1st in the 50m Backstroke in 35.92 seconds, almost 2 seconds ahead of her nearest rival, and then went on to finish 2nd in the 50m Freestyle in what was another very close race, with the Southport swimmer just pipping her at the finish. 15 year old Elodie Smallwood was handed the tough job of swimming both her age group 100m Butterfly and the Ladies open 100m Butterfly, having been attempting to achieve an ASA Winter Short Course National Qualifying time in this event, she pulled out the swim of her life, finishing 2nd in the Open age group, in a time of 1.04.85, which was 0.15 inside the qualifying time. Unfortunately, on this occasion, frustratingly, as the event was not a registered meet, the time is not able to be used, however with the knowledge of being able to achieve the time, hopefully at the Stockport Metro Meet next weekend she will be in a position to achieve the time once again, good luck Elodie!
Other outstanding swims included Ethan Ramalli in the 50m Breaststroke, finishing 2nd in a time of 40.39, and also his 50m Butterfly swim where he finished 3rd in a time of 37.02, both of which were faster than his actual pb’s. 17 year old Arran Bostock also swam faster than he’d ever swam before, in both the 200m Individual Medley, 2.15.04 and then again in the 100m Backstroke, 1.00.17. 16 year old Meghann Leaver also had some outstanding swims, in the 200m Individual Medley – 2.22.15 and then again in the 100m Freestyle, 59.60, finishing 2nd in both events.
After 10 events, it was Preston Swimming Club who were in the lead on 61 points, Pioneer 79 2nd on 59 points and Southport 3rd on 55 points. At 18 events, the top 3 positions had changed, with Pioneer 79 and Preston now joint leaders on 104 points, and Southport just 1 point behind on 103. Over the next 16 events, the positions were swapping around race after race, however at the 34 events mark, Pioneer had taken the lead with 198 points, Southport just 1 point behind with 197 points and Preston 10 points behind them on 187. Over the final 16 events the positions were once again changing rapidly, but it was Southport who managed to take a small lead, and the final points after 50 events were:
1st: Southport 288
2nd: Preston 283
3rd: Pioneer 278
4th: Trafford Metro 227
5th: Cockermouth 210
6th: Horwich 184
7th: Blackpool A 172
8th: Barrow 151
On social media after the competition, parents from Pioneer 79 were posting what a fantastic evening they’d had, with the team pulling together like they’d never seen before. Swimmers and Coaches alike were extremely happy with their performances with many swimmers hitting times much faster than they’d ever previously swam! It was a nail-biting wait for the results to be fed through social media from the other half of the Premier League competition which was being held in Macclesfield, however, once all the points were in, it was there in black and white, Pioneer 79 Swimming Club had gained enough points and had made it through to the ‘A’ Final which will take place over the weekend of 10/11 December, finishing 2 places higher than they had been at the beginning of the evening, 7th overall!
Results overall after points from rounds 1&2 were added together:
1st - Liverpool - 353 + 338 = 691
2nd - Stockport - 353 + 260 = 613
3rd - Salford - 327 + 282 = 609
4th - Preston - 257 + 283 = 540
5th - Warrington - 274 + 265 = 539
6th - Southport - 228 + 288 = 516
7th - PIONEER 79 - 200 + 278 = 478
8th - Winsford - 222 + 206 = 428
9th - Trafford Metro - 198 + 227 = 425
10th - Cockermouth - 213 + 210 = 423
11th - Horwich - 174 + 184 = 358
12th - IOM - 168 + 182 = 350
13th - Blackpool - 165 + 172 = 337
14th - Satellites - 152 + 153 = 305
15th - Barrow - 147 + 151 = 298
16th - Prescott - 157 + 109 = 266
Pioneer 79 Swimming Club are extremely grateful to have Marshall Mercedes Benz of Bolton supporting the team as their Arena League Sponsors for the 2016-2017 season, and the team are proud to be wearing their Swimzi Arena League Team Kit bearing the company’s logo. We are eagerly looking forward to seeing how Pioneer 79 perform at the final in December. Good luck from everyone at Pioneer 79.
Website provided in support of the National Arena Swimming League. All opinions, statements and content are provided by the web master in good faith. Please advise of any errors or contraventions for rectification.
© 2018 The National Arena Swimming League