Horsham’s Atlantis Swimming Club broke their 20-year-long duck in the annual Puffin Gala in home waters on Saturday.
The weekend’s win saw the Pavilions in the Park-based club edge out Mid Sussex Marlins by just four points after a tense day of competition.
Held by East Grinstead at the Pavilions, due to its eight lanes which could accommodate teams from across Sussex, with the Marlins, Crawley, Beacon, Redhill, Littlehampton and Worthing as well as Atlantis and East Grinstead, the gala is for nine to 12 year olds with individual and relay races.
Atlantis had two eight-year-olds swimming in Alex Wilkie and Jacob Davis, along with some older swimmers competing for the first time and some more experienced competitors, it made for a great combination of a team.
A crowd of more than 250 packed out the spectator area and a busy poolside as some of Atlantis’ senior swimmers came along to add their support and help the younger ones prepare for their races in what was a great team effort all round.
And Atlantis had some superb performances all round, many excellent individual results and personal best times with wining races from Anna Templar (nine), and Robert Hartley (11), but it was the relay races where Atlantis consistently produced top three finishes which at the half way stage had Atlantis second behind Mid Sussex Marlins .
With 52 races on the night, the swimmers kept delivering and the excitement as every race counted towards the final result.
The Puffin Gala has been running since 1985 and Atlantis finally broke their duck edging out Marlins with the result in doubt until the end of the night.
Team manager Matthew Cumber said: “The swimmers were really buzzing and to win this gala for the first time in over 20 years is a credit to our youngsters.”