Hertfordshire Counties weekend 1

Saturday 11th/Sunday 12th January 2020, The Venue, Borehamwood

On Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th January 2020 the first weekend of Swim England (SE) Hertfordshire County Championships took place at The Venue, Borehamwood.

The schedule for the first weekend of championships included 100m races and 200IM.


Hertford SC fielded a contingent of 12 swimmers: Ella Cannell, Ellie Sopala, Henry Roberts, Isla Cavill, Jack Blake, Joe Reynolds, Joshua Holland, Kye Parsonson, Laura Malagoli, Leonardo Malagoli, Matilda Tramontano Wells and Sadie Moore. Unfortunately, Neo Metz had to withdraw due to illness; I wish him to get well soon!


Matilda Tramontano Wells (11yrs), at her first County experience, was on great form. She swam the 100 free, clocking a PB in the heats (1;16.55), and qualifying for the final in 5th place, where Matilda improved her time, touching wall in 1;15.68 and coming 4th in the County. On the Sunday Matilda competed in the 100 breast, swimming in 1;42.89 (PB) and qualifying for the final in 6th place: a very excited Matilda, swam the final in 1;46.71 (8th). 

Ellie Sopala (12yrs), also at her first Counties, started her championships with a great swim in the 200 IM, clocking a PB in 3;09.18 and coming 14th in the 12yrs old (67th in the 10-15yrs category). She went on to swim a fantastic 100 breast, knocking down 4 seconds on her PB in 1;34.54, coming 7th and qualifying for the final, which she then finished in 8th place.

The two young girls were so excited that they literally danced their way into the 100 breast final!

Sadie Moore (12yrs), also at her first Counties experience, smashed the 200 IM shaving an impressive nearly 7 seconds off her PB (3;09.72) and coming 15th in the 12 yrs old age (68th in the 10-15yrs category). Sadie’s post-race comment was: “I thought, I am here, I’d better push… and I pushed so much!”… that is the spirit!

Laura Malagoli (13yrs) showed great grit and determination, swimming on Saturday with skiing injuries. Despite this, Laura nearly qualified for the 100 fly final, swimming in 1;21.10 (9th) and clocked a PB in the 100 free finishing in 1;10.14 (11th). She had to withdraw from her Sunday’s races, but I wish her to recover quickly for next weekend!

Isla Cavill (13yrs) swam an exciting 100 back, knocking 2.41 secs off her PB and finishing in 11th place in a time of 1;18.81. Isla is working hard on her frontcrawl and backstroke and her strokes are delightful to watch in terms of elegance and efficiency. Well done Isla!

Jack Blake (13yrs) competed in the 100 breast, clocking a time of 1;30.44 (PB) and coming 11th in the County: with hard work Jack’s dive has become one of his strengths and his breaststroke is very advanced for a swimmer of his age. Well done Jack, keep up the excellent work!

Ella Cannell (14yrs) also impressed in her 100 back race: she improved on her personal best by 2 seconds touching wall in 1;15.84 and coming 13th. Ella’s focus in training is translating in steady improvements in competition. Way to go!

Kye Parsonson (15yrs) swam a very convincing 100 back in a time of 1;10.14 (PB, 11th), showing a much improved body position. Kye and I had a fabulous post-race conversation and it was a great pleasure to watch him applying the feedback points into his next race, the 100 free which he swam with good underwater to touch wall in 1;04.07 (20th).

Henry Roberts (15yrs) impressed in his 200 IM where he swam fantastic fly and backstroke legs, and a more efficient breaststroke. Henry clocked a PB finishing in 2;44.84 and placing himself 15th in the 15yrs old. Great all-round work Harry!

Leonardo Malagoli (15yrs) swam the 100 breast in 1;25.62 to also come 15th in his age group: after a long Christmas break, Leo is working on refining his glide in breaststroke with already visible improvements. Well done Leo!

Joe Reynolds (15yrs) also competed in the 100 breast, one of his favourite events, swimming in 1;20.18 and coming 9th in the County. Joe was unwell on the day (it’s that time of the year, unfortunately!) and his feat is even more commendable, as, despite the illness, he didn’t give up and managed to come first reserve for the final!

Joshua Holland (17yrs) impressed in his 100 breast race, which he swam in 1;12.19, coming 11th in the open age group. Josh’s work on power is rapidly showing in competition: the focus and hard work allowed him to swim right on his personal best time just one week after the Christmas break. At senior level, this is a fantastic achievement! Josh also swam the 100 fly in 1;03.79 (15th).


I thoroughly enjoyed the first weekend of Herts Counties 2020: our swimmers are looking strong and will grow in strength in the upcoming weeks. Well done to all of them for their commitment, grit and racing skills. I am very much looking forward to the next days of competitions at this year’s County Championships.