KINGSBRIDGE Kingfishers Swimming Club put on a show to remember on Saturday July 6, as part of a busy day of sport on Quayside. While the Skate Jam provided the atmosphere outside, the balcony of the Quayside Leisure Centre swimming pool was arguably noisier, filled with over 100 spectators shouting for their teams.

A full spectator’s gallery watches the beginning of a backstroke race
A full spectator’s gallery watches the beginning of a backstroke race (Contributed)

The visiting clubs joining Kingfishers in the inaugural President’s Shield, named after long-standing Club President Mel Jeynes, were Devonport Royal, Exmouth, and Dinnaton, as well as Cornwall’s number one team Caradon Kraken.

South West regional medallist Chloe Morris got the ball rolling for the hosts in the opener and was then backed up by Oliver Douglas who came second in the boy’s race.

The medley relays came next, with two boys and two girls in each age group teaming up to race four legs of 50 metres. Dinnaton began to assert their authority in the older age groups and pulled ahead, with Kingfishers in a close battle for second with Devonport and Caradon.

On debut for Kingfishers, George Stone, Romy Stephenson, Daniel Carrick, Rory Lennon, Mike Douglas and Toby Morris all competed strongly with the majority swimming PBs.

Luna’s Library were one of a few local businesses to support the gala, donating sets of books and sweets that were won by Exmouth and Dinnaton swimmers.

Other prizes ranged from free family entry to the South Devon Maize Maze to an afternoon tea for four at the Salcombe Harbour Hotel, with Oliver McKinlay as the Kingfisher to collect one- a skate helmet donated by The Trading Post.

Oliver McKinlay was the only Kingfisher to win a sponsored Hot Heat
Oliver McKinlay was the only Kingfisher to win a sponsored Hot Heat (Contributed)

As the racing continued, Kingfishers won an excitingly close boys mixed-age freestyle relay, and they began to pull clear in second. Every point mattered, and at one stage Kingfishers had closed the gap to Dinnaton to within 20 points, but the guests from Ivybridge pulled away towards the end to become the first-ever victors of the President’s Shield.

The captains of Dinnaton were handed their shield, donated by property management company Coastal Concierge, to huge cheers from their swimmers and supporters. The gala had been set up to provide a significant challenge to the fast-improving Kingfishers swimmers, but they surpassed expectations to finish in second.

Caradon pipped Devonport to third whilst Exmouth brought up the rear and all were a credit to their respective clubs.

Kingfishers would also like to place on record their thanks to the lane sponsors for the day: Salcombe Shepherd Huts, Tally Ho! Coaches, John Taylor Flooring, Dan Wills Carpentry and Joinery, and Fika Coffee House. Also, to the team and young lifeguards who helped the day run smoothly.

This season will conclude with a trip to Devonport’s Sizzler Open Meet at the Life Centre and plans for 2024/25 are already in progress.