Merry Christmas

Wednesday 23rd December 2020

2020 has been a year that we will never forget with so many challenges and changes. Looking back over the news, just for Orpington Ojays, reminds us of the ups and downs that we have come through. 2021 will soon be here and there is no telling what it has in store for us. Like 2020 though, I'm sure Orpington Ojays will be ready and able to come together, physically or virtually, and positively, creatively and inclusively deal with it all. Merry Christmas everyone, have a lovely and safe time.

2020 reminder

Sue Hancock

Wednesday 25th November 2020

It is with great sadness that we hear of the passing away of Sue Hancock on the morning of the 24th of November. Sue volunteered so many of her hours to Orpington Ojays whilst her daughter Shauna and son Cameron swam. Sue was our Treasurer for nine years between and 2007 and 2016; a job she did with passion and skill. She was part of the team that worked so hard and successfully to give us a strong financial base to help the club withstand difficult times. Our thoughts are with her children and family and we wish them all our love and support.

November Newsletter

Monday 23rd November 2020

Here is the November newsletter with information from Swim England and our committee plus details and stories of what our team have been up to.

Taking a break from the pool

Monday 2nd November 2020

In the continued world battle with Coronavirus, swimming is shutting down for at least a month from Thursday 5th November. It is down to all of us to continually play our part to help everybody in the local, national and the world population. Whilst group activities are not permitted, you can still exercise outdoors with your household or alone with one person from another local household at arms length. (Best to check first though as guidelines are reviewed and updated). From UK Government "to exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place - with the people you live with, with your support bubble or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household (children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside)." Whatever you do, stay safe and stay sensible.

National Restrictions from 5 November

The Return to the Walnuts

Thursday 8th October 2020

On Monday 12th of October we will be returning to our home pool. Swimming hats are now compulsory at the Walnuts. Please don't forget your hat! You will not be able to swim without one. Please don't rely on being able to find or buy one once at the Walnuts. If you don't have your own, please borrow one so you know you have one to wear for your session. The new timetable for each squad is available from the Information menu, so please take a look to see when you are training. As with the summer training we had, the Walnuts training will not be the same as it was. Please watch the video from our captains who have again done a great job of explaining and show what you need to know. Please follow this instructions carefully so that we can continue to enjoy the use of the Walnuts pool. 🏊‍♂️Swimmers must swim ready arrive 10-15 minutes before the session. 👪Spectators are not permitted, unless the swimmer is under the age of 8. 🙅‍♀️Do not enter poolside by climbing over the wall. 👜No belongings can be kept on the seats. If you are having trouble with the video please try on a non iPhone device or click on the YouTube link.

YouTube version of video

Last Open Water Event of 2020

Sunday 27th September 2020

For most, also the first. On a grey, windy and cold 27th September, TriSwim organised a 3.2k end of season event. It wasn't advertised as a race, but when the hat and goggles go on... The swimmers were released into the water in groups of three to swim the course 5 times. Masters swimmers Matt Steere and Steve Morris were joined by ex Orpington and Orpington Ojays swimmer Iain Jameson and new comers to the outdoors Sam Ryan, Ellie Brown and Blythe Jolley-Ellis from Top Squad. With wetsuits and the club silicone hat underneath the event hat for extra head warmth all the swimmers entered the water quickly and settled in for the 3.2k swim. Ex Top Squad swimmer Justin Strover was on a safety kayak and was a welcome sight on each lap. All our swimmers swam brilliantly, using the techniques they had been practicing through the summer and made their way through the field of swimmers, even lapping some of them. Results are not available, yet, but we believe that Matt Steere won the event, followed by Iain Jameson probably in third, then Sam Ryan closely followed by Steve Morris in fifth, then Blythe Jolley-Ellis and Ellie Brown also with top ten places. Congratulations to all the swimmers who entered and thank you to TriSwim who organised the little end of season event. Photos will be added to the gallery on Monday (28th)

Victoria's relay team swims the Channel

Wednesday 16th September 2020

Massive congratulation to Vicky from Masters squad who put the work in and completed the challenge of being part of a relay team to swim the channel. She swam three times in the crossing and was the swimmer who landed on the French coast! Here is her story from her Facebook post. "Re-wind to Autumn 2018, I had just placed third in the UKBFF masters bikini competition, sadly my dad passed away the same week (but got to see me raise my 🏆 . A week after my show, I swam 1K in the Serpentine in memory of my best friends sister. I swam in a wetsuit and the water temperature was 19’s hard to comprehend now, but my body frame was 3 stone lighter .. to cut a long story short I learnt that body building is not conducive to open water swimming (even with a wetsuit I suffered from mild hypothermia). This and copious amounts of googling ‘when does hypothermia set in’ what are the risks and can it be life threatening .. led me to develop a massive fear of open water swimming. Prior to this event I had held no fear and had contacted Aspire who raise money for people with spinal cord injuries wanting to know if I could attend the assessment centre for a channel swim. "I had been given a date for the assessment but decided after this event and not having processed my dad passing properly, this was a stupid idea. I contacted the Aspire organiser Andrew to say I couldn’t attend. Andrew must of known I had unfinished business even if I didn’t at the time and said you can attend the assessment next year .. yeah alright I thought, pushed it to the back of my mind and got on with work and caring for my mum. "Fast forward a year and I received an email from Andrew asking if I was still interested in taking part in a channel relay swim. My head said NO, but I ended up saying Yes, having not swam since the Sepentine, I thought I’ll make my excuses soon to opt out ...once I’ve worked out what they were! "Now the thing with doing a sporting event for a good charity ...Is you have a Why, and having that why and knowing you are helping others makes it a lot harder for you to cut and run. I’m also someone who likes to face their fears and I didn’t want to let my fear of the cold put me off something, I used to enjoy. But even on the day of the assessment... I worked out I needed to leave at 0800 hrs to get to the assessment on time... at 0755 hrs I was still smoking a cigarette deciding to go or not to go. I even rang Laura Joanne Roberts to ask if she thought I should go.. we both came to the conclusion I should go to at least find out about the process if I didn’t I might regret it. "I attended the well ran assessment day and listened and took notes.. and of course swam. I remember hoping that I hadn’t got a place.. then I could tell myself well I would have done it if I made the cut 😂. "At work I received the news that I had secured a place.. and promptly decided I should take myself to Hamstead Heath ponds and do a few laps ..I took my wetsuit and by chance channel 4 were filming an open water documentary .. not wanting to be the only person in a wetsuit on TV I did a very fast lap of the pond in skins and climbed out. iT dawned on me that this was going to be a slow process of overcoming my fear of the cold. Being all or nothing in approach I ditched my jumpers walked round in T-shirt’s, tore off the bedclothes ran cold baths and thought I was the next Wim Hoff and accomplished nothing but a cold 🥶 . "I was lucky enough to meet the most chilled out man in NATO who soon became my training partner (Kev) we started attending parliament hill lido for swims and giggles (who knew temps of 6 degrees would make me laugh). I think the first time we went we did a length and thought we were ice swimmers ! Kev forgot his towel and stepped into a what he thought was a warm shower but turned out to be a cold one when he didn’t warm up 😂 "Trips to the beach became a regular feature on the agenda albeit for ten minute swims -all I could manage without being scared of losing my dexterity - more Googling! I decided to rejoin Orpington Ojays Masters squad which was the club I swam for in my childhood .. I gradually developed some endurance and even managed to move to the middle lane, it was great seeing some familiar faces but I never got as far as the elite lane home of Kirsten Iddiols-Bunclark and Steve Morris. "I was now armed with the fact I could swim for an hour with out stopping which was nice!. Aspire have an excellent training programme in place which comprises of three boot camp type weekends at Dover Harbour .. (we had since learnt who our team mates were and looked forward to more bonding .. after our first meet in London). "Covid 19 hit and we were faced with the reality that we wouldn’t be able to have the scheduled weekend training sessions and at times with changes in regulations we were unsure if any crossings would take place at all. Coupled with the closure of swimming pools I reverted to pounding the pavements and attempted to retain my new found cardiovascular fitness (I had given up smoking at this juncture) by running. Apologies Bromley council for any cracks in the pavement. "After the lock down restrictions were lifted myself and my training buddy went to various beaches and slowly ...very slowly increased our cold water acclimatisation and fish and chip consumption ! The next challenge was to achieve our two hour qualifying swim in less than 16 degrees before July. Surprisingly the day before the non planned attempt I had only managed 30 mins. To say i was pleased was an understatement! "I roped my mum into writing me session plans to follow ..she said at 80 she didn’t remember how to d them until she went to bed and she had a dream about what to do and remembered 💖 although I think she may have thought I was Jo Mullins as they were tough ! "From various training venues I met some amazing people Joanna Wood who had me in stitches and of course made excellent lemon drizzle cake Aaliyah Roughley said it was better than mine ! "Due to Covid planned fundraising events were shelved but I was overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone who donated thank you. Sadly my mum passed away during the pandemic but being a swimming coach, I like to think she had my back in the channel yesterday particularly when I landed in the dark with tinted goggles on (school girl error)😂on fraggle rock! "This post is now taking on a life of its own .. so if you have read this far and not fell asleep well done! This has been an amazing journey...having the privilege of raising money for an amazing charity, meeting my awesome team mates Jill Hill Andrew Short Neil Young Chris Lovett Luke Collins Dave and boat leader Catherine Hamilton-Plant. The budgies Sarah Hicks Dani Cameron Caroline Rudge Gemma Bloor @Joanna Wood. "Big thanks also to Tracey Edwards for telling me to Breath and Jackie Singleton for Dog sitting Sue Sheeres for the offer of accommodation. He says I could have done it without him ..but I suspect training wouldn’t have been half as much fun without Kev and I thank him for his patience, wit "And listening to all of fears associated with this challenge 💖."

Vicky's JustGiving Page for Aspire

Gina Wins in the Sea

Monday 14th September 2020

Congratulations to Gina from Masters Squad, who travelled to Folkstone at the weekend to compete in the Channel Triathlon. It was her first time competing in the sea and thankfully she had nice calm waters. Gina finished first in her category and the females and was thirteenth overall in a time of 01:30:49. Sadly trophies were not being handed out due to coronavirus but she got a lovely medal.

Lauren competes in the Dock2Dock

Saturday 12th September 2020

Lauren Bond today competed in her first open water competition, the 1.5k race at Royal Victoria Dock by the Excel Centre in London. Like many of our swimmers, Lauren tried out open water when the pools closed and training was put on hold. All the pool training over the years once again paid dividends and Lauren finished 2nd in the under 20's category, which she is well under, and 4th place across all age groups. A fantastic debut performance in a new world of swimming; congratulations and well done.

Dave Barnes Volunteer Award Winner

Sunday 6th September 2020

It is with great pride and joy that Steve Morris has won the prestigious Dave Barnes Volunteer Award Winner award from Swim England London. From "This award recognises a volunteer who has shown commitment to volunteering at their club, county, region or nationally. Their volunteering is making a positive impact and this volunteer is a great example of a role model for others. "Steve became a member of Orpington Ojays in 1980. He is a Master swimmer he also competes in open water. Recently, he has supported swimmers who have been trying open water while the pools have been closed, advising on equipment and even writing an introduction to open water for the club website. He runs the club shop, website, twitter account, club email accounts, and he photographs all our teams. He attends open and league events supporting our swimmers on poolside and is a natural in motivating the children and improving their self-esteem. He is a revered role model to our members and their adults. We can’t remember a time when he has not put the swimmers at the centre of any decision or action. He has been brilliant throughout the recent pandemic, uploading regular training videos on behalf of the coaches and helping the club captains organise online social events to keep the swimmers in touch with friends. Lastly many years ago, Orpington Ojays found themselves in an exceedingly difficult situation and the club was thought lost. Past members report that it was Steve who took the reins of a flailing club and steered it through, refusing to let the club die and he clearly succeeded because Orpington Ojays is here today. He has provided our members with a club that is competitive, but at its core, a friendly nurturing environment that allows swimmers to progress, form lifelong friendships and to enjoy the glorious sport of swimming. Of course, he plays all of this down, which is why we do not think there is a more deserving Ambassador for the Sport, Swim England and for our Club than Steve Morris." Well deserved and well done Steve

August Newsletter

Wednesday 12th August 2020

Attached is the August Newsletter with a statement from our chairman David, D of E, Returning to swimming and more.

Return to Training

Sunday 26th July 2020

Please watch this video from our captains about what to expect as we return to training this week. Thanks to them for producing, directing, starring and editing. Great job. Venue & Times: Eric Liddle Sports Centre in Eltham This opportunity gives us exclusive use of the pool and has been booked from Monday 27th July from 10.20 to 12.20 every Monday to Friday. The times have been split into 2 session each an hour long. This includes entrance & exit from the centre and pool. The actual swimming times will be slightly shorter. Squad Schedule & Coaches: We have tried to schedule as much time for every squad as we can. The more we book in, the firmer the dates become. The Committee have been working with our main coaches to ensure every session is covered by at least 1 fully qualified Level 2 and experienced coach. We have done this to ensure the swimmers are not rushed back into training. There will be a full training schedule built around the squads, providing consistency across the days and will be aimed at getting swimmers back up to the correct levels of fitness and technique. In line with the Covid guidance (see below) we have capacity for only 6 swimmers per lane. Covid Guidelines: In the second attachment (Eltham guide) we have enclosed a copy of the Covid-19 guidelines that you should read and become familiar with. As you can see, Orpington Ojays and Eric Liddle have been very thorough and we are going above and beyond the Swim England guidance to ensure the safety of our swimmers and members. We have every confidence that these guidelines will give the best protection against the spread of infection while swimming. Booking Process: The process of getting back into the pool means we have a few Covid related forms to complete. As per the enclosed – without these forms being returned prior to swimming – you will not be allowed to swim. Therefore it is imperative you complete and submit both of these forms ASAP. Again, if the forms have not been submitted you will not be allowed into the pool. There is a separate booking form for Masters Squad. Can you please complete one form for all of the sessions you wish to attend across the 5 weeks and submit it. Cost & Payment: The cost is £4 Per session. You can book as many sessions for your squad as you wish. Once the schedule has been confirmed we will then confirm your booking and then seek payment.

Covid-19 and Risk Awareness Declaration
Masters Booking Form
Pre-training Covid-19 health survey

Canary Wharf

Saturday 18th July 2020

Congratulations to Matt Steere and Gina Charleton for competing in one of the few open water events around at the moment on Friday 17th of July. The event consisted of multiple waves to keep swimmers apart and then all the times are ordered to determine the winner. The course was a 1600m (1 mile) swim at Canary Wharf. Matt made the call that he could complete a wave and be back and ready to swim again, so he entered all three available waves; the first setting off at 06:30! Matt therefore finished 2nd by just four seconds, but then lined up again, and then again, so he also finished 6th and 7th overall. Gina took the later wave, getting another hour of sleep and she came in 29th out of 104 entries. Well done to you both, and great to see some competitions returning.


Thursday 16th July 2020

I’m sure you were as pleased as the Committee to hear the Government’s confirmation that they have given the green light for pools to reopen for training. While this is fantastic news we are still at the mercy of the actual pool providers, whether that’s one of the school pools we use, Crystal Palace, Eric Liddle Sports Centre or MyTime. As of writing we know the school pools will not be used over the summer school holidays, Crystal Palace is closed for some much needed refurbishment and MyTime have still not announced when they will be reopening. However – we have been working closely with Eric Liddle Sports Centre (Eltham) and we have managed to secure a 5 week booking of their pool starting 27th July 2020! This opportunity gives us exclusive use of the pool and has been booked from Monday 27th July from 10.20 to 12.20 every Monday to Friday. The times have been split into 2 session each an hour long so that we can give everyone a chance to train over the 5 week period. There will be a much more in-depth message sent to every squad which gives more information on the times and which squads are scheduled when. And, more importantly an update on our very comprehensive Covid-19 guide and the measures we will have at every session of swimming. As we have the opportunity to return as many swimmers to the pool as possible we would like to confirm that the voluntary contributions are no longer required. We would like to thank everyone who has supported Ojays over the last few months. We really do appreciate your support. When we have a better idea of the full return to training then we will advise you that the subs should be reinstated and what they will be. Once again, thank you for your support and we hope to see as many as possible book into the training sessions… Thanks and regards David Ryan Chair – Orpington Ojays

Captains for 2020-21

Wednesday 1st July 2020

The captains have been selected for 2020-21. Well done and thank you to all who applied and congratulations to our new captains and vice captains.


Tuesday 16th June 2020

Regrettably we have to announce that our Head Coach, Sergio Catania will not be returning to OOJSC when we are able to resume training. These are challenging and unsettled times for us all and consequently we have all had time and opportunity to reflect and re-evaluate. Now that Swim England have released their guidance to return to the pool The committee are working hard on our own strategy for that. We will ensure that all sessions are covered by our very competent coaching team. As soon as we have more details on what the return to swimming will look like for us as a club we will communicate with you. In the meantime we wish Sergio the best for the future and thank him for his years of service to our club.

Eve Powis

Monday 4th May 2020

It is with great sadness that we hear that our ex head coach Eve Powis passed away in hospital on the 3rd of May at the age of 82. Eve started coaching with Orpington Swimming Club in 1982 taking a widths squad. Two years later with just 19 swimmers she founded and was head coach of Orpington Juniors Swimming Club, known verbally as O.J.’s and when this club merged with Orpington Swimming Club Eve became the first head coach of Orpington Ojays Swimming Club, which she held for many years. Eve's qualifications for teaching and coaching included ASA Preliminary Teacher, Teacher, Advanced Teacher, Assistant Club Coach and Coach and in 1997 Eve was awarded by Bromley Council the Coach of the Year award. In 2008 she was awarded the Jack Petchey leader award for outstanding work with young people. At the age of 65 she stepped down as head coach but not ready to retire completely she took over Gold squad until she was physically unable to continue. She was a phenomenal coach, enabling swimmers to reach their potentials with one swimmer making it to the Common Wealth Games after winning Gold at Nationals in the 100m and 200m 12 years old Breaststroke. Like all head coaches she was determined and persistent in her vision and passion for swimming and success. This is also evident in the fact that a number of her swimmers still hold our club records. Our thoughts are of thanks and gratitude to Eve for all she did and achieved and of compassion and condolences for her family; her daughter recently returned to our club in our Masters Squad.

Pass the Pull Buoy

Monday 27th April 2020

With no training and no competitions to keep us busy we decided to make a little video as a way of saying hello and to see some of our team. Enjoy. 😁

Pass the Pull Buoy, on YouTube

Club Quiz

Saturday 18th April 2020

Our club captains have videoed a quiz which has been uploaded to YouTube. The video goes live at 7pm this evening if you would like to play. All you need is a pen and paper, and probably the pause button to give yourself a bit more time to answer. Enjoy.


Steve makes 40 years

Tuesday 7th April 2020

Today, 7th April 2020, marks Stephen Morris’ 40th year as a member of the club, according to his ASA membership date anyway. Steve has swum in every squad during his time, and was one of the co-founders of Masters squad with his Best Man, and our most captained swimmer, Simon Mullinger. Over the years Steve has helped out in a number of roles. He has been Social Secretary and Chairman, he has developed and maintained our website since 2001, he has run our club shop for over 10 years, he has been a chaperone on the October camp since 2013 along with his wife Kerry and in February 2014 he qualified as a Level 1 Coach to help out all squads when necessary. After watching Keri-anne Payne swim in the Great North Swim, Steve tried open water swimming in July 2012 at Leybourne Lakes and has since represented the club in many races alongside a handful of other Masters squad swimmers who he has talked into trying out non chlorinated water. These include lake, river and sea swims, some at night, with distances up to 10k. His most recent pool racing was the European Masters event held at the London Aquatic Centre in 2016.

Helping Out

Friday 3rd April 2020

Here at Orpington Ojays, our team take pride in helping wherever we can; and so we would like to say a big well done to our parents in the front-line in the battle against Covid-19. Gold Squad parents Bernie and Andre Maganagan, mum and dad to Andrew and Aaron, both work at the Princess Royal University Hospital in Locksbottom. Bernie is a senior staff nurse on a Covid ward, and Andre is a team leader in anesthetics and scrub, redeployed as standby for patient intubation. They sent out an appeal via the club officials for more personal protective equipment for their medical colleagues; and we answered. Wendy Peel, mum to Max and Eve in Top squad, got in touch with a connection at Harris Orpington and asked the school if they had any goggles. The staff there got busy donating three crates of goggles, two boxes of masks and one of gloves. Wendy asked if her number could be passed round to other schools and she was soon busy picking up donations of boxes of sterilised goggles, 400 aprons, masks and a 5l tub of hand sanitiser, from Harris Bromley, Ravens Wood and Hayes schools. Kevin and Myra Brown, parents to Ellie in Top squad, secured a donation of gloves, and Amanda Jackson, mum to Top squad swimmer Samantha, donated some protective visors. The equipment has all now gone to help protect staff at the Princess Royal University Hospital while they continue their vital work. What an amazing effort from everyone involved! And it’s still ongoing, so if anyone can help in anyway – there is a particular need for aprons - please email and we can put you in touch with the right people.

Princess Royal University Hospital

London Spring Championships

Wednesday 18th March 2020

Sophia and Samantha both attended the London Spring Championships at the London Aquatic Centre representing Orpington Ojays. The girls both had ups and down swims but we had a Bronze Medal from Sophia O’Neill in the 200m Backstroke and we had some great pbs from Samantha Jackson in the 200M Breaststroke and 50m Freestyle. Well done to both girls.


Tuesday 17th March 2020

Monday 16th March was Damian's last coaching session with Orpington Ojays. Damian has been a very popular coach with our club for almost five years and has coached most of the squads at some point, and was interim head coach for a short period. Before becoming a coach, Damian was a swimmer himself, joining the club as a young child in the late 80's and swimming up through all the squads. You can see some his early results from the competition menu which goes back to 2002. Damian's experience in the pool and on poolside has prepared him for his new opportunity at Erith & District Swimming Club as their head coach. Congratulations Damian on your new position and we look forward to seeing you again at future competitions.

Charity Meet

Thursday 12th March 2020

On the 7th and 8th of March Orpington Ojays co-hosted the annual charity meet with our friends from Erith & District Swimming Club. It was great to see so many swimmers taking part and lots of parents helping to run the event. Orpington Ojays had record numbers of competitors this year – 74 swimmers in 380 events who achieved many PBs, medals and rubber ducks. We finished second on the medal table achieving 44 golds, 26 silvers and 34 bronze medals. It was a full-on weekend filled with successes, joy and laughter. Thanks to all involved for making this a great event. It wasn’t just the swimmers who had a successful weekend. Congratulations to officials Mandy Jackson, Gary Spicer, Rid Stevens and Jeremy Ellis who passed J1, Myra Brown who achieved her J2, and Wendy Peel, who passed her timekeeping assessment. Big thanks are also due to the parent volunteers who stepped up to help make the day run smoothly, especially Myra Brown and Michelle Frisby. We also had swimmer volunteers Sam Ryan and Samantha Jackson, Ellie Brown who combined swimming with volunteering, and Ben Langdown, Amelia Frisby and Ellie Harden who gave all the volunteers much needed support, too. We always need more parent volunteers at galas, so if you didn’t help this time, please consider it for next time. Well done to everyone for their great efforts.

Kent Relays

Thursday 5th March 2020

The last event of the 2020 Kent County Championships took place on Saturday 29th February with the team relays event. Orpington Ojays celebrated its most successful performance in recent years, making seventeen out of 20 finals and showing the depth and breadth of talent within the club. Swimmers participating included Aaron and Andrew Magcanan, Xian Ming Li, Joshua Hill and Samuel Spicer in the Boys 12&Under events; Charlotte Bloodworth, Charlotte Field, Ava Hickey and Nabilah Ismail in the Girls 12& Under events; Vaatsalya Swarup, Thomas Barrett, Louis Taylor and Samuel Ryan in the Boys 13/14 events; Sophia O’Neil, Joella Binns, Amie Lawrence, Grace Tume and Lauren Bond in the Girls 13/14 events. Older swimmers competing in the Junior events included James Yuen, Harvey Bushby-Knight, Ben Langdown and James Somerville-Cotton and for the Girls Juniors Hannah Strover, Lilli-Mae Cooper, Samantha Jackson, Blythe Jolley-Ellis and Ellie Brown. Our Senior open swimmers included Club Captains Max Peel and Alice Leng, Vice-Captain Abigail Leeves, Ellie Harden and Daniella Shipley, who returned from university to compete. Special recognition goes to Sam Ryan and Samantha Jackson who did their team-mates proud by swimming in many age-group events including the mixed relays and Senior events, digging deep to give their best. Congratulations to James Yuen, Joella Binns, Grace Tume, Samuel Spicer and Ellie Brown who all competed in their first Kent County competition! The Girls’ Junior 200 Free team and the Women’s Open 400 Free team both made the podium, achieving Bronze medals. The remaining final results were one 4th, four 5ths, five 6ths, two 7ths and three 8th positions. Thanks to all the swimmers, parents cheering from the gallery, and coaches who had a very busy day organising the swimmers, and to Mark Leman for the photos. Fantastic results from a great team!

Photos from Mark Leman
Results from the Kent Swimming website

Josh is chosen for County Development

Wednesday 26th February 2020

Congratulations to Joshua Hill, whose performance in the recent Kent County Championships has won him a place on the 11-year-old county development pathway. Josh, along with the other top 11-year-old boys and girls in Kent, will be taking part in three training camps during the year. He’ll be given some top coaching in the pool and some fun land-training sessions too. Well done, Josh! It’s a great achievement.

Presentation Evening

Monday 10th February 2020

Swimmers, coaches and parents from Orpington Ojays donned their gladrags on Friday evening to celebrate the last year at the annual Presentation Evening. It was a lively evening with lots of laughs as awards and trophies were handed out for the swimmers’ achievements in the club champs, and throughout the year. All the swimmers who took part in the club champs got an award, and there were trophies for the top performers. There were some special awards, too. Nabilah Ismail scooped the Martin Fowler trophy for giving the best at training and galas. Vaatsalya Swarup took home the Powis trophy for showing great promise. Zoe White was awarded the Wendy Westpfel trophy for masters, and Joshua Hill was so pleased with his Jill Ivory Memorial trophy for most promising potential, that he didn’t let go of it all evening Sophia O’Neill took the Jo Mullins trophy for being the top u14, and Sam Ryan took the John Daniels trophy for all-round excellence. In the Crofton & Guides trophy for performance during the year, Samantha Jackson was awarded the girls’ trophy and Aaron Magcanan took the boys’ trophy. Aaron’s brother Andrew won the head coach trophy, along with Charlotte Field and James Yuen was given the Commitment trophy for his performance in training and galas. Committee member Myra Brown was a very deserving recipient of the Ruth West trophy for contribution to the club, and Andrea Richardson, our tireless membership secretary scooped the Derek Robinson trophy for a committee member who has made a significant contribution to the club. Last year, the club introduced a new trophy in memory of masters swimmer Meg Forbes, who passed away in 2019, aged just 28. It’s to reward someone for trying something new, or facing a challenge and this year was given to Gina Charleton. Masters swimmer Gina has recovered from a nasty accident on her bike earlier this year and has got back to full fitness showing real determination. Once the awards had been given out, it was time for the fun. Everyone enjoyed the game of Heads and Tails, which revealed that many of us know very little about swimming trivia, despite spending so long in or next to the pool! The coaches then took on each other in the Battle of the Coaches with the kids all cheering them on wildly. Gold squad coach Sam Gaster scooped the prize to come out top – by a massive margin. Sergio and Damian are likely already in training for next year! It was a fabulous evening of celebration and thanks must go to social secretary Zahida Parveen for organising it all so brilliantly, to Martin Scobie for stepping in as photographer, and to Julie Strover for rising to the challenge of organising all the trophies.

All the photos from the evening are here

Kents Weekend 3

Wednesday 5th February 2020

The first weekend in February was the third and final round of the Kent County Championships at Crystal Palace. We were proud to have 28 Orpington Ojays swimmers competing in a total of 74 events. Ready to swim fast once again were: Aaron Magcanan, Abigail Leaves, Alice Leng, Amelia Frisby, Amie Lawrence, Andrew Magcanan, Ava Hickey, Ben Langdown, Blythe Jolley-Ellis, Carys Bond, Charlotte Bloodworth, Charlotte Field, Ellie Harden, Eve Peel, Hannah Strover, Harvey Bushby-Knight, James Somerville-Cotton, Joshua Hill, Lauren Bond, Lilli-Mae-Cooper, Louis Taylor, Matilda Barrett, Max Peel, Samantha Jackson, Sam Ryan, Sophia O’Neill, Vaatsalya Swarup, and Xian Ming Li. It was another successful weekend in the pool for our swimmers. We started with Samantha Jackson finishing 4th in 200 IM and Sam Ryan winning silver in 400m freestyle. Joshua Hill followed with a 4th place in both the heat and final of 50m fly with a 3-second PB from his converted entry time. And another good PB and a fantastic performance saw Sam Ryan achieving another silver in 50m fly. In the fastest event of the championship – 50m freestyle – Samantha Jackson managed to gain a place in the final and achieved 6th overall in her age group. There was an early start for the first of the Sunday sessions with Joshua Hill and Sam Ryan each achieving another fourth in their age group for 200 individual medley, swiftly followed by Amie Lawrence who came 8th and Samantha Jackson who came 5th in the girls 400m freestyle. In the afternoon our swimmers tackled the boys 50m backstroke and girls 50m butterfly, where we saw Samantha Jackson achieving 8th, Aaron Magcanan finishing 6th, Joshua Hill gaining another silver medal and Sam Ryan another gold. All great swims and PBs. The evening session included girls 50m breaststroke and boys 50m freestyle where there were many more PBs. Charlotte Field achieved a 2-second PB and a bronze medal, and Alice Leng made the final where she came 6th. Joshua Hill achieved 4th place in the 50m freestyle, and Sam Ryan improved his position from third in the heat to take gold in the final. It was a great championship with our swimmers giving their best in every race. We enjoyed three weekends of great swims, hard work, PBs, banter and laughter. Orpington Ojays finished this year’s Kent County Championships with six gold medals, six silver medals and two bronze medals, which placed us in 8th for the boys, 17th in the girls and 11th overall in the medal table. We also had five 4th places, six 5th, four 6th, six 7th and seven 8th places. This saw us in 8th in the boys table on points, 14th in the girls, and 13th place overall. Well done to all the Orpington Ojays swimmers and coaches for another successful Kents! And thank you as always to the parents, officials and volunteers who helped make this year’s competition run smoothly. Photos used with the kind permission of Mark Leman @leman_mark

Photos from all three weekends

Kents Weekend 2

Monday 27th January 2020

Orpington Ojays swimmers were at Crystal Palace last weekend for the second round of the Kent County Championships, working hard to make their coaches and parents proud once again. This weekend the swimmers were taking on 400 IM, 100m and 200m back and 100m and 200m free. Sam Ryan opened the first session with a silver medal and an amazing 11 second PB in the 400 IM. Next up was the girls 100m backstroke, where Sophia O'Neill finished 7th and Hannah Strover 8th in their finals. Then it was time for the boys 200m freestyle with Sam Ryan achieving another silver medal. After a short break and warm up we were back with the boys 100m free. Achieving finals and PBs were Andrew Magcanan (8th), and Joshua Hill (5th). And there was a podium for Sam Ryan, who finished first and achieved PBs in both his heat and the final. Billy Birchmore also made the podium, achieving another gold medal to add to his collection. Hannah Strover achieved 8th place with a well-paced swim in the 200m backstroke in the last event on Saturday. Sunday began with the girls 400m IM. Well done to our three girls for achieving a place in the hardest event of the programme and for pushing themselves to perform well. Some great swims saw Amelia Frisby come in 9th and Charlotte Field in 7th. Samantha Jackson made the podium and finished 3rd. In the boys 100m backstroke we saw a strong swim from Joshua Hill who finished 5th, and there was another gold for Sam Ryan and Billy Birchmore Both Joshua and Sam also swam well in the 200m back when Joshua came 5th and Sam made the podium again with another silver medal. Well done also to Max Peel who achieved 7th place in the 17+ 200m backstroke. The weekend also saw many other great swims by Ellie Harden, Aaron Magcanan, Xian Ming Li, Vaatsalya Swarup, Charlotte Bloodworth, Ben Langdown, Matilda Barrett and Blythe Jolley-Ellis. Congratulations to all swimmers for another successful weekend full of great races, PBs and banter. Thanks also to the parents and officials who helped the events run smoothly. Photos used with the kind permission of Mark Leman @leman_mark

Kents Weekend 1

Tuesday 21st January 2020

On the 18th of January our team travelled to the London Aquatic Centre to participate in the first weekend of the Kent County competitions. The event included 100m and 200m breaststroke and fly for boys and girls. The poolside was busy with many swimmers participating in this event and Orpington Ojays managed to cover a good corner to sit and enjoy the competition. New faces were welcomed in Kent circuit: Aaron and Andrew Magcanan, Dylan Cosgrove, Vaatsalya Swarup, Carys Bond, Lily-Mae Cooper. The weekend ran smoothly with swimmers showing a good competitive spirit accompanied by a great team support and cheering. While the weekend progressed Orpington Ojays proved to be worthy opponents with their performances across all our swims which were well paced and around pbs. Well done to our athletes competing: Carys Bond, Ava Hickey, Matilda Barrett, Amie Lawrence, Charlotte Field, Samantha Jackson, Alice Leng, Amelia Frisby, Lily-Mae Cooper, Andrew Magcanan, Aaron Magcanan, Joshua Hill, Dylan Cosgrove, Louis Taylor, Ben Langdown, Vaatsalya Swarup and Sam Ryan, At the end of the two days Orpington Ojays came home with Sam Ryan holding two great pbs and golds for 100m and 200m fly, Billy Birchmore matching his pb obtaining a gold in 100m fly. Charlotte Field achieving fourth in the final improving again on her previous pb swam in the heat. Charlotte also achieved 5th in 200m Breaststroke. Fifth also for Joshua Hill in 100m fly with 7 sec pb on his entry time. Congratulations also go to Matilda Barrett 6th in 200m fly, Samantha Jackson in 800m free and Alice Leng in the final of the 100m breaststroke finished 7th. Ava Hickey was 8th in the 200m fly and Samantha Jackson was 8th in the 15 200m breaststroke. Well done everyone! Photos used with the kind permission of Mark Leman @leman_mark

Tudor League

Sunday 19th January 2020

Orpington Ojays went to Beckenham Spa in good spirit for the first round of the Tudor League where we came a respectable 5th. We had a total of 7 1st places and a lot of good swims from everyone. Well done to all the swimmers that competed for the club and a massive well done to all the swimmers who attended there first gala for the club. Thank you to all the captains, helpers on poolside and all parents who came along to support.


Monday 6th January 2020

Well done to all our swimmers who, on the first weekend of the year, competed in the Icebreaker at the new Dover pool. It was great to see the team spirit and support from our swimmers. Great attendance with some mixed results but a few pbs just after the Christmas break and many good swims. Official results to follow.