Local girl Erin O’Meara makes a splash at regionals

Erin O’Meara was the star of the 15-strong Watford squad at the Regional Championships in Luton over the Bank Holiday weekend.

O’Meara kicked off things on day one by reaching two finals, the 200m individual medley (IM) and the 200m breaststroke. Seeded No 1 for the breaststroke, O’Meara bettered her personal best from the heats by a further two seconds to win gold with a time of 2:49.11. She had precious little time to celebrate, as she had to jump straight back into the pool, finishing fifth in the medley.

O’Meara added to her medal tally on day two, collecting silver in the 400IM and just missing out on bronze in the 100m breaststroke by 0.2 seconds. The same margin denied her the same medal in the 50m breaststroke final the following day, but she did have the consolation of twice beating her PB.

Devesh Kapoor marked his first regional meet by reaching four finals, winning a silver in the 200m fly and smashing his PB by a whopping five seconds. He finished fourth in the 100m fly.

Ketan Rach went through the full of range of emotions. He missed out in the 100m breaststroke final in a sudden-death swim-off but sadness turned to joy when he made the final of the 100m backstroke, finishing sixth. He finalled again, this time in the 100m backstroke, where he finished fifth in a new PB.

Ben Green went into the final in top form, having set personal bests in six of his seven previous races and he reached the finals of the 50m back and breaststroke. He went into the backstroke final as the seventh fastest but shaved 0.35s off his PB to finish fifth. He repeated the trick in the breast, setting a new best time to touch the wall in eighth.

Eleanor Williams finished sixth, one place behind her clubmate O’Meara, in the 50m breaststroke final, setting a new PB in the heat. Issy and Jess Williamson reached finals on day one, Jess, 11, swimming brilliantly in a field of 12-year-olds in the 200m IM to come home in sixth. Issy made the final of the 50m fly, finishing seventh in a time of 31.31s she was thrilled with.

Francesca Peccei and Freya Witheat, a talented all-round athlete, posted two very respectable times in their 50m freestyle races, 30.45 and 30.22 respectively. Harriet Clements competed in her first ever regional race and her first competitive race in a 50m pool. Drawn in lane 8 she gave it her all for 75m before tiring a little and posting a time of 1:19.27.

Nathanial Olayomi and Lewis Shayler, meanwhile, will wonder what might have been had they not been injured. Olayomi managed two swims but Shayler wasn’t able to make it at all.

“Over the whole meet Watford swimmers produced some scintillating racing and you all should be very proud of yourselves for both your swims and how you conducted yourselves poolside,” read a club message. “You are all a credit to the club. Give yourselves a massive pat on the back and a big round of applause.”