There was face paint, banners, flags, team mascots in full costume and even a full drum kit at a top sporting event last week.
A football match, maybe? No, this was the National Championships ‘B’ swimming final in Cardiff that saw Ealing SC represent London as its sole representatives after qualifying meets involving 450 teams nationwide.
Ealing rose to the occasion to finish a creditable eighth and improve on last year’s showing in the competition reserved for the UK's top clubs ranked 11-20.
The west Londoners produced two outright winners in the carnival atmosphere. Eleven-years-old Pietro Lombardo swam a personal best (PB) 38.43s to pull clear in the 50m breaststroke. In the 15 and under age group, Lucy Thornton triumphed in the 100m fly with a season’s best 64.12.
Ekaterina Avramova and Callum Barrett both took second in their respective open 100m back event, with Callum’s 57.75 a new club record and the first Ealing swimmer to break the 58 sec barrier.
In a seriously fast field, the men's 6x50m freestyle relay took third and Erin Nabney, Tudor Puszet and Cain Franci-Webster all added valuable team points for fourth place.
In the boys 15/under age group Bryce Puszet took second in the 100m back. Jahrel Murphy touched for third in 100m fly and, joined by Miles Clark and Joe Kelly, the boys grabbed another third again.
Jason Mahmutogli’s 30.92 PB was good enough for third in the 11/u 50m free despite being a year younger than most of the competition.
Ealing head coach, Dave Heathcock said: “The difference in some events was less than a second between first and fifth.
“We swam faster in more events that we did last year, and this is reflected in our improved position.
“To make this National Final proves once again that Ealing SC remain in the top 20 clubs in the whole of the country.”
Final points: Sheffield 367, Cardiff 341, Swansea 300, City of Oxford 296, City of Liverpool 293, Northampton 252, Thanet 247, Ealing 234, Preston 216, Boldmere 205.