Record tally as Plymouth Leander win Arena League final

Plymouth Leander scored a record 427 points at Cardiff International Pool to regain a National Arena Swimming League title they last won in 2015.

It was their eighth cup final win in 11 years and surpassed their previous record points tally of 422 from 2010.

They also built an 83-point victory margin over 2016 champions Guildford City, with 2017 winners Millfield a further 26 points behind.

Plymouth coach Robin Armayan, whose team included six swimmers from the 2018 Commonwealth Games, said: “It’s nice to see Plymouth Leander at the top again. We have such a great team.

“The league shows that swimming can be a team sport if you want it to be. All the swimmers are conscious of that and put themselves second to the team, which is great to see.”

Three Plymouth swimmers won age group awards – Finn Broekhoven for his 34.45 in the U12 50m backstroke, Hubert Gdaniec with 1:03.57 in the U14 100m backstroke and Honey Osrin for her 1:04.93 in the U16 100m backstroke.

Plymouth had to wait until event five for their first win but then made up for lost time, touching first in the next six and recording a total of 22 victories in the 50-race programme. They also won the Relay Challenge, based on aggregate times from the 16 team races, by 32 seconds.

Uniquely, only one league record fell in the cup final – to Plymouth’s U14 girls’ medley team. This contrasted with five records in the B final the previous day – a record in itself for the second-tier showdown.

Tatiana Belonogoff’s time of 1:08.99 in the women’s 100m breaststroke won her the prize for best female swim and was one of nine wins for Guildford City.

Plymouth were exceptional

Guildford coach Richard Garfield said: “We’re proud to be part of this competition and coming second against the best clubs in the country is a great honour.

“We had a young team – most of our swimmers were a year out of age. We’ll be stronger next year.

“Plymouth were exceptional. All credit to Robin and his team.”

Defending champions Millfield’s six winners included Will Mitchell, who was named top U16 boy for his 1:07.64 in the 100m breaststroke, and Astrid Hannah, whose 100m freestyle time of 1:01.02 won her the the U14 girls’ prize.

Fourth-placed Wycombe District’s James McFadzen collected the top male swimmer award for his winning time of 2:02.81 in the men’s 200m IM.

London League champions and 2006 national winners Hatfield marked their return to the finals with fifth place, only two points behind Wycombe.

Teamipswich’s six wins included two from Matilda Bogle in the U12 50m backstroke (32.80) and butterfly (31.34), and she was named top girl in her age group. Ipswich also won the best supporters award.

Three-time champions Stockport Metro, representing the North West League, came eighth with 249 points, 20 ahead of East Midlands champions City of Peterborough with West Midlands League winners City of Derby 10th.

Arena League A Final Results

1Plymouth Leander427
2Guildford City344
4Wycombe District267
6City of Oxford258
8Stockport Metro249
9City of Peterborough229
10City of Derby137