Relay teams relish the chance to double up

Robbie Jones

A PULSATING night at the pool ended in double relay joy for Team Jersey.

After what had already been an exhausting evening’s action at Beau Sejour, in which Isaac Dodds and Robbie Jones had each won another gold to add to their increasingly impressive tallies, Jersey saved the best for last in the final two races of the evening.

For much of the women’s 4x100m relay, Jersey were locked in a four-way battle with the Cayman Islands, Faroe Islands and hosts Guernsey. The lead constantly changed hands. At the end of first 100m, swum for Jersey by Siena Stephens, the Cayman Islands held the slender advantage, but after Megan Hansford’s second leg it was the Faroese team who were in front.

Alana Woodhall’s third leg inched Jersey into first place – just ten-tenths of a second ahead of the Cayman Islands.

Fortunately for Jersey, if there was one person they wanted for this situation if was Gemma Atherley – who, at 25 years old, is the veteran of this Jersey swimming squad – and she duly brought it home for Jersey in a time of 3:51.19.

Atherley said: ‘I think the girls, from the start of the season, thought this was our relay opportunity and we really dug deep. Guernsey have some fantastic sprinters but maybe the 100m suited us a little more.

‘We are a really good team, we train really hard I think and we’re keen to keep the momentum going.’

There was barely time to catch breath before the final race of the night – the 4x100m medley relay, in which Jersey again locked horns with Guernsey.

Jones got Jersey off to a flyer in the opening backstroke leg, but Guernsey’s Ronny Hallett chased Thomas Deffains down on the second breaststroke leg to take the lead for the hosts.

By the end of Isaac Dodds’ third leg, Guernsey held a healthy – but not uncatchable lead. Over to Ollie Brehaut who, with 50m left of the race, had virtually wiped out Guernsey’s advantage, before he edged in front and held the lead to give Jersey another gold.

Jones said: ‘That relay was really fun. It was getting tight – we weren’t the favourites but we came through and took the gold.

‘I think today’s golds are going to give us some momentum, especially the girls as well – for them to get their first relay gold might bring out something special tomorrow so it is nice to see the medal table tightening up.’

Earlier in the night, Jones had won the 100m IM in a time of 56.59 ahead of Guernsey’s Hallett brothers and Dodds produced a dominant display in the 800m freestyle.

There were also silver medals for Atherley in the 200m backstroke, and for Brehaut in the 100m freestyle, while Jones added a bronze to his collection in the 50m butterfly and Luke Fleming secured third in the 200m backstroke.

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