Well done to everyone who swam at Dover for the last round of arena league!
Ojays finished 4th in the end after running 3rd for most of the evening but we just got pipped at the end.
There were so many great swims and pbs, including Bythe who won all 3 races and swam a 58s for 100m freestyle!
It was also good to see Ben Langdown return from university to support the team once again!
We finished 10th overall in our division.
Well done to all swimmers and thank you as always to our officials, TMs, coach and supporters.
Seven Golds and One Silver For Billy
Wednesday 30th November 2022
On November 19th and 20th at the K2 sports centre in Crawley, the first ever British Down Syndrome Swimming Championships were held.
Top Squad swimmer Billy Birchmore, who also swims with local club Sharks of Mottingham for people with classifiable disability, was in attendance and on top form. Billy won gold in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke, the 50m and 100m freestyle, and the 100m and 200m individual medley. He also won the silver medal in the 50m butterfly!
Billy, who is now 26, has swum for Orpington Ojays since he was a teenager and everyone at the club is very proud of his achievements in the pool. Billy paid tribute to his coaches when he won his medals.
He said: “I would like to thank my great coach at Orpington Ojays, Joe Gaster, whose help is getting me back to my best (there’s a bit to go yet!) and Callum Prout and Graham Gibson at Sharks who carry on Joe’s regime.”
Maidstone Winter Qualifier
Saturday 26th November 2022
Congratulations to all swimmers that competed at the weekend at the Maidstone Winter qualifier.
We were on top form again with 79 swims (around 40%) resulting in a personal best. Given all the recent PB's, the fact that these keep coming is simply an incredible achievment for the club.
This was our most successful gala this season with 15 of our swimmers gaining an extraordinary 40 new or improved Kent County consideration times, 7 of which were automatic qualification, so a huge congratulations to Aaron, Andrew, Ava, Blythe, Daisy, Finlola, Fotios, George, Lauren, Lucas, Samantha, Shekinah, Tanya, Vat and Zach.
Lots of our swimmers came away with money and a new water bottle for hot heats and an amazing 49 Medals were won by 17 swimmers.
Big thank you to coaches Sam and Joe, Team Mangers Jo and Mark with assistance from Emma and Caroline and all our officials.
Winter Regionals 2023
Thursday 10th November 2022
Congratulations to our Top and Platinum squad swimmers, Amie, Blythe, Caitlin, Charlotte, Daisy, Ellie, Grace, Hannah, Lauren, Nicco, Samantha, Sophia, Tania, Tom, Vats and Zach who qualified for the SE London Winter Championships held at Glass Mill Leisure Centre on the 5th and 6th December.
This gala is the first major event of the season with some tough qualifying times as it is split into only 2 age groups 16 & under and 17+. A great weekend was had by all, with a total of 16 pb's across 50 events. We had 13 finalists and came home with 2 Silver medals Samantha 17+ 200m Individual Medley and Blythe 17+ 100m Fly and 3 Bronze medals Samantha 17+ 200m Breaststroke and the 17+ 100m Individual Medley and Hannah 17+ 200m Backstroke.
Thank you to Coach Joe and Team Managers Julie, Sophie and Mark.
Thursday 10th November 2022
Congratulations to all 45 swimmers who participated in the EDSC and DDSC Fireworks gala on the 5th and 6th of November at Crook Log. We continue to go from strength to strength with an incredible number of personal bests yet again and half of our swimmers taking home a top 3 medal. It is wonderful to see swimmers improve gala after gala which goes to show the coaches hard work paying off across the squads.
Of the 211 events we participated in, 42% resulted in a PB and an incredible 54 (26%) in a top 3 medal position. That's despite the fact that a lot of our swimmers couldn’t make the gala having qualified for the Winter Regional Championships held on the same weekend. That didn’t stop Daisy, Grace, Lauren and Tania attending both galas, with Tania swimming 200m Breaststroke at Regionals on Sunday morning and coming back in the afternoon to take the Gold in the 100m Breaststroke.
There were some really great swims across the board but a massive congratulations go to Alice, Andrew, Ellie, George, Lucas, Nola, Max and Tania on achieving new or improved County consideration times. Of course, the only prizes anyone wanted to win were the little ducks for winning the heats…and we had lots of those too!
Well done again to the swimmers, and a massive thank you to our poolside team of coaches, managers and officials, and all the supporters.
Kent Devlopment Meeting 2022
Thursday 10th November 2022
On 22nd/23rd of October 2022 a number of our younger swimmers attended the Kent Development Meeting at Medway Park, Gillingham. This year it was a very relaxed gala, with less participating swimmers than usual and with Orpington Ojays taking 17 swimmers. It was a fantastic event as usual, with lots of good performances and hopefully some of our swimmers will have done well enough to get selected for the Kent Development camp next year.
We had 27 medals in total and a huge congratulations to those swimmers who swam PBs
Our notable swimmers who took home gold, silver and bronze medals were: -
Daisy Draper - 2nd 100m Fly
Ellie Gibbs -2nd 100m Fly, 3rd 50m Fly
Elliot Botten-Vanacore - 1st 100m Breast
Finola Barker - 2nd 50m Free, 2nd 50m Fly, 3rd 50m Back
Fotios Nikolopoulos - 3rd 50m Back, 1st 50m Free
Pragnya Vutukuri -2nd 100m Fly
A number of parents also stepped up to help with running the gala in various roles, and we were one of only 2 clubs commended for their support by the Kent ASA, so a really big thank you to all those who help make the event possible.
Beckenham Rising Stars
Friday 21st October 2022
Last weekend Ojays took 38 swimmers to Beckenham Spa for the Beckenham SC Rising Stars Gala. This was Beckenham’s first gala since before Covid and it was fantastic to be back in their super 8 lane 25m pool. With so many top-class clubs in attendance competition was fierce but Ojays certainly held their own with 59 (one third of all swims) recording a personal best. A big congratulations to all those who achieved new or improved county and regional level times.
An amazing 40% of all our swimmers came home with a medal – 4 Gold, 9 Silver and 17 Bronze, and a ton of 4ths and 5ths that came so close to the honours. There were so many other amazing swims and PBs so well done everyone that took part!
Shekinah Olatunji (1 Gold, 4 Silvers and 3 Bronzes)
Charlotte Field (1 Gold and 1 Bronze)
Hannah Strover (1 Gold and 1 Bronze)
Samantha Jackson (1 Gold)
Vaats Swarup (2 Silvers)
Lauren Bond (1 Silver and 1 Bronze)
Tania Tvardovska (1 Silver)
Ellie Gibbs (1 Silver)
Lucas Bond (3 Bronze)
Carys Bond (2 Bronze)
Zach Kirkman (2 Bronze)
Aaron Magcannan (1 Bronze)
Caitlon Tinker (1 Bronze)
Hannah McAvoy (1 Bronze)
Tom Barrett (1 Bronze)
As usual, our swimmers were impeccable and fantastic ambassadors for the club. Thank you to coaches Simon and Joe. TMs Jo, Julie, Lindsay, Mark, Shereen. Officials Amanda, Dave, Eoin, Mark and Claire. Special thanks to Dave for coming down to officiate without a swimmer (and missing Sam’s debut Mount Kelly gala in Plymouth …well done Sam too!).
County Development Pathway
Monday 17th October 2022
Congratulations to Lucas Bond on his selection for the 11 year old County Development Pathway.
As part of the Swim England national programme, the top 18 boys and girls are selected by the Kent ASA having swum in the 2022 County Championships and maintain a ranking in the top few in Kent.
Lucas, who represented Ojays in 6 events, and making the finals in 4 at this year's championships, has been ranked 4th in Kent for 50m freestyle and in the top 10 for breaststroke and backstroke consistently throughout 2022. He will be taking part in the first day of coaching within the programme at Strood on the 30th October.
A big congratulations from everyone at the club for this great achievement and we hope that this leads to more success for you and the club going forward.
Tuesday 11th October 2022
We hope you had a great time at the captains’ gala tonight. It really was third time lucky after two postpones.
There were lots of cheers as we all swam a number of fun races, including the t-shirt and egg and spoon (ball and paddle) relay. Some new rivalries were created, and we think a lot of new friendships too!
We ended the evening with a tense race between the captains, in which Blythe secured the win for her team, Blythe’s Barracudas.
Tuesday 11th October 2022
Well done to all our swimmers who competed at Arena National League on Saturday 8th October down in Dover. Lots of pbs, cheers and nail-biting relays with a couple of master swimmers drawn out of retirement. We came an amazing 4th against some tough competition, Sutton & Chean, Hastings, Erith & District, Dover and Beacon.
Well done everyone and looking forward to the next round; and thank you, as always, to our officials, TMs, coach and supporters.
Bromley Autumn Gold
Wednesday 5th October 2022
A massive well done to the 58 swimmers that took part in the Bromley Autumn Gold gala at Gillingham on Sunday 2nd October. We had a whopping 117 personal bests along with 9 gold medals, 21 silver and 17 bronze.
In the Fina points table we came second scoring 3497 to Bromley’s 6771 out of the 8 clubs that attended. Whilst that sounds like a big difference, accounting for the numbers of swimmers, we were averaging over 60 fina points per athlete to their 44, so overall an incredible performance; with a special mention to our leading points scorers Aaron Magcanan and Tania Tvardovska.
Our gold medallists were Lauren Bond, Tania Tvardovska, Samantha Jackson, Aaron Magcanan and Max Peel, but well done to everyone that brought home medals, PBs or simply swam their very best.
It was an early start and has probably broken the record for the longest ever single gala with warm up just after 8am and the gala finishing at 8pm. Thank you to everyone for bearing with our hosts who were beset with unfortunate issues throughout the day culminating with the starter system breaking down. Many of our swimmers were exhausted and persevered along with all our supporters up in the gallery. Our officials, team managers and coaches worked solidly without any respite and are a credit to the club and on behalf of swimmers and parents we thank you for your hard work supporting the club and swimmers. Everyone was impeccably behaved, supportive of each other and our Ojays spirit was on out show again and we had outstanding performances from every swimmer.
Thank you Ben
Friday 30th September 2022
Top squad had a lovely time at Pato Lounge on Thursday 22nd September, where we wished Ben Langdown, a top squad swimmer and bronze coach, good luck at Loughborough University where he is going to study aeronautical engineering.
We sent him off with a university survival kit and a few special gifts, so he doesn’t forget us.
Good luck Ben!
Vat's Jack Petchy and Good Luck Sam!
Saturday 10th September 2022
Top squad had a fun evening thanks to Vats and his Jack Petchy award in Creams on Monday night.
Ice cream and waffles were enjoyed, while we also wished Sam Ryan good luck on his new adventures at Mount Kelly.
Congratulations Charlotte and Sam in the English N
Monday 15th August 2022
Congratulations to Sam and Charlotte for both making the finals and then going on to get 2 amazing results. Charlotte coming 8th in England with an utterly brilliant swim in her first National event and Sam taking an incredible silver medal just 3/100th of a second off gold in an unbelievable nail-biting finish!
This rounds of an amazing year for the club and another proud moment for everyone involved. Well done to you both and of course our head coach Joe Gaster!
Sam Ryan takes Silver at the British Nationals
Tuesday 26th July 2022
Congratulations to Sam Ryan on taking the silver medal in the Mens 200m Fly 16 year old at the British Nationals at Ponds Forge, Sheffield.
This is an amazing achievement and a truly incredible swim...everyone at Orpington Ojays is so very very proud of you.
As we head into our summer break (25th Jul to 7th Aug) please spare a thought for Head Coach Joe and Top squad swimmers Blythe, Charlotte and Sam. They will continue to coach and train over the next few weeks as they have qualified for the British and English Nationals held at Ponds Forge swimming centre in Sheffield.
This is a fantastic achievement where they have the opportunity to swim against the best in Great Britan showing that practice and dedication (and good coaching) can take you to the highest levels of swimming.
At the British Nationals Sam has qualified for
• 50 Back swimming on the 23rd July (Heats at 1pm. Finals at 5pm)
• 200 Fly swimming on the 24th July (Heats at 1.45pm. Finals at 5pm)
• 100 Fly swimming on the 26th July (Heats at 12pm. Finals at 5pm)
Blythe has qualified for
• 200 Back swimming on the 26th July (Heats at 8.30am. Finals at 5pm)
At the English Nationals Charlotte has qualified for
• 200 Breast swimming on the 6th Aug (Heats at 9am. Finals TBC)
Sam has qualified for
• 100 Back swimming on the 8th Aug (Heats at 12pm. Finals at TBC)
Please keep an eye on TU, the website and our socials as the event, in the past, has been streamed live on YouTube. As soon as we know the link to watch live, we’ll publish it.
Congratulations on your achievement and we wish you good luck, swim well and we hope you enjoy the events!
Club Captains 2022/23
Thursday 21st July 2022
Congratulations to our new club captains, and massive thanks to our former captains.
Tadpoles Summer Splash
Wednesday 20th July 2022
A big thank you to all those swimmers and their families that attended our Summer Splash Gala last Sunday at New Addington. Although this was a fun event, full race conditions applied and our officials were out in force with stop watches at the ready. There were both 25m and 50m events and it was really impressive that most swimmers gave every event a go and set a time. Any swimmer that won their heat got a squishy of their choosing, with some swimmers gaining quite a collection by the end of the morning. Every swimmer that participated also got a special medal we had commissioned for the occasion. Everyone also took part in the fun relays with Lauren’s lane one team securing victory before we finished the gala with our usual Ojays chant.
Certificates will be handed out during training.
A big thank you goes out to everyone that volunteered their time - coaches Joe and Max (who came along especially to cheer on his former swimmers), captains and top squad swimmers, officials, team managers and helpers for the putting the whole thing together. It was lovely to see all the lovely smiles and our famous competitive spirit coming from all our future swimmers!
Next Tadpoles Gala will be December 11th!
On Saturday 9th July 2022, Orpington Ojays headed off to St Johns in Tunbridge Wells for the second round of the Kent Junior League.
This is a 44 event gala with a mixture of individual events and mixed relays in the categories 10, 11, 12 and 13 years of age for which we took a team of 18 swimmers with some attending their first league gala. We had some tough competitive clubs at the same pool but given everyone is racing virtually against all 14 clubs, the team had to work hard to set some great times and over all we came a virtual 10th place.
This now puts us in 7th place out of 14 with one more round to go.
Our notable swimmers in this round were
Daisy Draper who came 3rd out of 14 for the Girls 13/U 200m IM
Shekinah Olatunji for 3rd place out of 14 for the Boys 12/U 100m Breast
Lucas Bond who finished 2nd overall for the Boys 11/U 50m Free
but also a number of excellent 4th place results overall for the team and some great swims throughout the evening.
Well done to everyone who took part and we look forward to the final round on September 24th – Save the date!
London Youth Games Aquathlon Sunday 3rd July
Monday 4th July 2022
Two top squad swimmers (Hannah Strover and Ellie Lewis) plus former member (Olivia Magee-Brown) pulled on their Ojays swim hats and competed at the LAC for team Bromley.
Ellie swam 200m and ran 1km achieving an impressive gold on her first outing in the event. Hannah and Olivia swam 400m and ran 3km coming in bronze and silver positions respectively.
Team Bromley over all age groups claimed team silver. Excellent event with tough competition at an iconic venue.
Well done girls.
Matt Wins at Bewl Water
Monday 4th July 2022
Congratulations to Matt Steere from Masters squad who won the 5km open water swim at Bewl Water yesterday. The race was in choppy conditions and had an Australian style exit of the water after each 1km lap. Matt won the event in 1 hour 14 mins and 11 seconds. Steve Morris, also from Masters, and former club member Jess Page, finished in joint 6th both recording a time of 1 hour 24 minutes and 42 seconds. Another former OOJSC club member was Chris Cook, who won the 10k race in 2 hours 42 minutes and 38 seconds.
Big Congratulations to everyone who participated in the Tudor League this year.
Aaron Magcanan, Aarya Bhardwaj, Abigail Fraser, Alice Crawford, Andrew Magcanan, Ava Hickey, Ben Langdown, Benjamin Farthing, Carys Bond, Charlotte Field, Chloe Doyle, Daisy Draper, Eisen Lagasca, Ellie Brown, Ellie Gibbs, Ellie Lewis, Emilia Dartford, Emily Coote, Faith Wellard, Felicity Bridle, Finola Barker, Fotios Nikolopoulos, George Farthing, Hannah Strover, Henry Shepherd, Jake Dimarucut, Lauren Bond, Lily-Mae Cooper, Luca Nistor, Lucas Bond, Macy Hillman, Max Ballard, Mia Lorenz-Lin, Michael Li, Niccolo Cavasino, Oliver Steel Squires, Philip Kozins, Pragnya Vutukuri, Sam Gaster, Samuel Olatunji, Shekinah Olatunji, Thomas Barrett, Thomas West, Vaatsalya Swarup, Vyom Shetty, Yana Ballard, Zachary Kirkman.
We brought home a trophy and the league shield for the first time in the club's history, and both are now being displayed in the club trophy cabinet. Our positions improved with each round.
Round 1 - 5th, Round 2 - 2nd, Round 3 - 1st, Round 4 - 1st, Round 5 - 1st
In round 5 we had some fantastic swims that saw us take a close but early lead in the first half of the gala. We held on and eventually came joint 1st place with Bexley with an incredible seven 1st place victories and fifteen 2nd places.
Well done to all our brilliant swimmers and notable swims to those who took first place
Individual 1st places
Ellie Gibbs (10y Breaststroke), Luca Nistor (10y Breaststroke), Lauren Bond (Open Backstroke) and Lucas Bond (12y Backstroke)
Team 1st places
Boys 12y Medley - Ben, Fotios, Shekinah, Lucas
Boys 14y Freestyle - Aaron, Samuel, George, Fotios
Mixed Freestyle Squadron- Alice, Luca, Faith, Fotios, Daisy, George, Ellie Brown, Zach
Thank you to Coach Simon, Team captains, all our officials and volunteers and families for your wonderful support.
The Tudor League shield is dedicated to John Bullet. John was the head coach of Eltham Swimming Club back in the 1980's. He is the incredible man who taught and coached and made it possible for an eleven year old boy to swim the English Channel; something that is no longer allowed at that age. Now an adult, the story has been written by the boy himself, Tom Gregory, and is a must read for anybody interested in swimming or what it takes to achieve something so amazing. A fellow swimmer mentioned in the book, Justin Palfrey, also swam at Orpington Swimming Club. He also swam the channel a year after Tom, aged 18.
Matt and Steve from Masters squad, once again made their way down the M20 J4 to Leybourne Lakes on Wednesday evening for the first Ocean Lake Tri Aquathlon of the year. Matt and Steve have attended these events for numerous years now; and Matt has never lost.
The first one of the year was no different. Matt led for the start and finished with a commanding lead.
Matt completed the 1500m swim in 20mins 27 seconds, and Steve was 3rd out in 23mins 4 seconds. Between our two was an Ocean Lake Tri member who Steve managed to overtake on the 5km run, but was sadly also overtaken by the 4th place swimmer. Matt completed the 5km run in 21 mins 29 seconds which includes transition! He won the event by almost 5 minutes which is incredible considering all of the other eight athletes are all from triathlon clubs.
This is a wonderfully friendly and small event, and ideal for anyone wanting to try an open water and run event. Splash 'n' Dash. You can choose 750m or 1500m swim followed by either a 2.5km or 5km run. There is one a month on a Wednesday evening in May, June, July and August.
Congratulations to Matt and Steve.
Last weekend saw our senior swimmers head to their Regionals at the LAC. We enjoyed an array of success in PB’s and medals! Over both the senior and youth regionals, we achieved 3 gold, 4 silver and 5 bronze medals including a 2nd place for our girls 17+ 4 x 200 medley team and a 3rd place for the girls 14-16 4 x 200 freestyle relay team. Our swimmers also achieved a further 21 finals.
Well done to every single one of you who competed, you should be nothing but proud of yourselves!
Gina joins GB Team Age Group Squad
Saturday 9th April 2022
Congratulations to Gina from Masters squad who has qualified for the 2022 European Standard Distance Triathlon Championships! That is a 1.5km swim (45 lengths of the Walnuts), 40km ride and 10km run.
Her journey to this achievement began in 2013, and the first steps were not enjoyable. In fact she said she hated it. She entered a triathlon at White Oak having once cycled 22km, and thought she could run 6km off the bike without having ever tried to run off the bike (her 10km PB was 58mins). She completed that sprint tri in 1hr 50mins.
However years of club training builds resilience, perseverance and stamina and the understanding that there are no short cuts.
Returning to the White Oak triathlon in 2018 she won her age group in 1hr 18mins.
With her massive improvements in performance she aimed to qualify in 2019 but sadly was knocked off her bike by a car whilst cycling to work and suffered injuries. Then it was 2020 so that was that.
Now it's 2022 and her dream has come true. Gina will be heading off to Poland at the end of May to represent her country.
Tudor League Round 3
Tuesday 29th March 2022
Expectations were high following on from our 2nd place result in round 2 and with some brilliant swims we able to secure first place overall. With 10 wins and 16 second places, it was our strongest performance to date, and with the support of our team captains and an unparalleled team spirit there was no stopping team Ojays! The night culminated in the 8x25m squadron relay which turned out to be the most exciting race of the night, hard-fought and neck-and-neck into the last leg with Nicco Cavasino bringing the team home in 1st place by just 1/10th of a second.
Thank you to Coach Nick, Team Managers Jo and Julie, our club officials Andre, Darren and Mark and the support of family and friends for an amazing night of swimming.
Friday 18th March 2022
The first weekend of Regionals saw our Youth swimmers achieve a pool of success at the K2. We had four finalist swims with Henry achieving a 3rd place in the 200Brs and Charlotte achieving 4th in the 50Brs. Best of luck this weekend to Aaron, Andrew, Charlotte, Carys, Daisy, George, Henry and Shekinah who will be competing in the 2nd weekend at the LAC.
Thursday 3rd February 2022
This weekend gone was our second in the Kent County Championships. After the success of the previous weekend, Orpington had a hard act to follow but did so again! We had 5 top 8 medals, a gold in the 200 IM for Billy Birchmore and a gold in the 200 Fly for Sam Ryan. Sam also won the Junior shield which is phenomenal!
Also, congratulations to Lucas Bond and George Farthing who have both been selected for the Kent development meet
Well done Orpington, last weekend of Kent’s coming right up…
First weekend of the Kents
Wednesday 26th January 2022
The Saturday and Sunday just passed saw some of our swimmers head down to Dover for the first weekend of the Kent County Championships. It was a slightly different feel with no spectators allowed due to covid, however, with the online streams, many of us were tuned in and supporting from home.
The Kents is one of the biggest individual competitions of the year and have recently been notably harder to qualify for with the ridiculously good standard of swimming in Kent. So firstly, well done to all those who qualified! If you didn’t quite make it this year, keep working hard, be disciplined and most importantly, listen to your coaches…
Over the first two days, we saw plenty of good swims, PB’s and 5 finalist swims! We must however give a few special mentions ; Charlotte Field achieved a silver medal in the 14 years 200 breastroke, Henry Shepard achieved a gold in the 12 years 200 breastroke ( at his first ever Kents ! ) and Sam Ryan got gold in the 16 years 200 Backstroke. Absolutely fantastic achievements and doing everyone proud! For a club of our size, this is a brilliant start to the weekend, well done all!
Tudor League Round 1
Wednesday 26th January 2022
It is so nice to see the league galas starting again after the pandemic, especially the Tudor League.
This friendly league fields all the club’s younger and developing swimmers. Although, it is friendly it does not mean that we were any less competitive and eager to win!
The Tudor League is made up of Dartford, Erith & District SC, Eltham Stingrays, OOJSC, Greenwich Royals, Bexley SC, Tonbridge, and Sevenoaks. Only six clubs were able to attend in this round, and Tonbridge and Sevenoaks were sadly missed.
The OOJSC swimmers were enthusiastic and prepared to swim fast and cheer on the team. I am sure we were the loudest teammates and spectators! To start off the event we had an 8 x 25m butterfly relay where Ojays came in fifth.
As the night continued swimmers swam in relays and individual races pushing themselves as hard as they could to gain points. To finish was the final relay event – the 8 x 25m freestyle relay – where every swimmer swam their best, while all other swimmers cheered on around the pool. OOJSC came fourth. In total Orpington Ojays scored enough points to come in fifth place.
Even though we had some time penalties for being too fast, there were many personal bests, close finishes and amazing swims by everyone. Thank you to Simon our platinum coach, our team managers (Julie Stover and Luanna Vervega), and our officials (Mark bond, Eoin Hickey, Dave Ryan, Myra Brown, Cat Lewis). Well done to everyone who swam and cheered while looking smart in our club kit!