RETURNING to Bridport for the final round of the Jurassic League, Tornadoes of South Dorset secured a fourth victory to complete a clean sweep to claim the title.
Blandford, Ilminster, Heron, Wincanton and hosts Bridport were determined to stop them, and from the outset it was clear the gala was going to be a closely-fought event with all six teams performing well.
Tornadoes got off to a slow start with only two first places – Jenny Scott (girls’ open 50m butterfly) and Ciaran Richards (boys’ 16-and-under 50m backstroke) – in the opening 12 races.
This meant the Portland outfit were in second and trailing Bridport by two points at the end of the first section.
However, the next dozen races proved to be much better for the Tornadoes as they won five and picked up another six top-three finishes.
Josh Frampton (14u 50m butterfly), Rebecca Beal (open 50m breaststroke), Niall Laming (open 50m breaststroke), Emily Robinson (14u 50m breaststroke) and the girls’ 10-and-under medley relay team of Phoebe Jones, Molly Frampton, Bethany Firth and Lizzy Gant were those finishing first.
These results saw the Torn-adoes take the lead overall, 10 points ahead of Heron.
Seven victories followed in the next session as the Tornadoes took control of the gala, leading by 21 points from Heron after 36 events.
The seven winners were Starr Sams (16u 50m butterfly), Richards (16u 50m butterfly), Kirsty Holmes (14u 50m freestyle), Charlie Samouelle (14u 50m freestyle), the mixed open medley relay squad of Jenny Scott, Beal, Laming and Samouelle, the mixed open freestyle relay team of Richards, Beal, Laming and Scott, and the 10-and-under girls (Jones, Frampton, Firth and Gant) who repeated their medley relay win in the freestyle race.
The fourth section of the gala was extremely close and produced just one victory for the Tornadoes by the girls’ 14u freestyle relay quartet of Holmes, Eleanor Smith, Rob-inson and Emma Perkins.
The Tornadoes showed their resilience in this section and backed up the victory with nine top-three finishes – three of the 14-and-under girls swam up in the two 16-and-under relays and secured second places in both.
With all these solid performances, it left the Tornadoes going into the final session of the gala with their 21-point lead intact and an overall victory in sight.
Of the final 11 races, six were won by Tornadoes’ swimmers to ensure a 24-point victory on the night, with Heron second and Bridport third.
The six winners were Firth (10u 25m butterfly), Scott (open 50m backstroke), Sams (16u 50m freestyle), Samouelle (16u 50m freestyle), the girls’ 14u medley relay team (Holmes, Perkins, Robinson and Smith) and the mixed 10x25m freestyle cannon squad (Firth, Aaron Griffin, Perkins, Harry Hutchinson, Holmes, Josh Frampton, Sams, Richards, Scott and Laming).
Victory in this final round meant the Tornadoes had won every gala in the Jurassic League to claim the title, a feat that coach Chris Beal was delighted with.
He said: “The team has worked so hard and just got better at each round, and the last round saw many of the best swims. It was a fitting way to bow out of the league.”
To finish off the proceedings in the swimming pool, and so the swimmers could have some entertainment, there was a freestyle relay involving the coaches which proved to be a close-run thing.
Heron just beat the Tornadoes’ quartet of Rebecca Beal, Ian Hooper, Starr Sams and Nigel Holmes into second.
During the gala, another 29 personal best times were achieved by the following swimmers: Reb-ecca Beal, Josh Frampton, Jess-ica Gale, Aaron Griffin (2), Harry Hutchinson, Niall Laming (2), Phoebe Mills, Luke O’Dowd (2), Chloe Perkins, Emma Perkins, Ciaran Richards, Emily Rob-inson (3), Charlie Samouelle (8), Starr Sams, Jenny Scott and Eleanor Smith (2).
Anyone wishing to join Tornadoes of South Dorset to either learn to swim, swim competitively, or access extra training should contact the club secretary via tornadoessecretary@ btinternet.com to arrange an assessment.