POOLE head coach Robin Armayan has pledged that his team will come back fighting after pulling out of their National Arena League West first round gala due to a spate of illness and injuries.

The withdrawal means Poole will start their campaign in round two later this month with minus three league points – part of the penalty for pulling out along with a fine of up to £100.

The points deduction in turn means they are likely to be fighting to stay in the Premier Division come the final in December.

Armayan said: “Having worked so hard to get into the Premier Division, we are very disappointed. But we’ll be back and going for it in the second and third rounds, so if we do get relegated we’ll have nothing to regret.”

Poole’s first round casualty list included six of their top swimmers and they have also lost five others to university or other clubs.

Armayan said competing in the first round at Millfield would have meant swimming youngsters eight or nine times, often against much older competitors.

“That’s okay if it’s a couple of events but it would have been in many events,” he added.

“It was a hard decision but we had to consider the welfare of our younger swimmers. We didn’t want to put them in an awkward or embarrassing position.”

  •  Swim Bournemouth’s B team marked their first season in Division One with third place at Weston-super-Mare, where Kamil Kowalksi was a double winner. He took the men’s 100m medley and butterfly.

Other individual winners were Sophie Barratt in the 11/u fly, Eleanor Devine in the 13/u freestyle, Ben Wickens in the 15/u freestyle and Abbie Axe-Brown in the women’s 100m freestyle. Bournemouth also won four relays.

  •  Seagulls’ B team came third in their first-ever Arena League fixture, beaten only by former high-fliers Street and Chard.

Wareham Water-Rats and North Dorset Turboes were fourth and fifth in their Division Three gala at Exeter.

Round one results – Premier Division, Gala One (at Weston): 1 Plymouth 269, 2 Bridgend 175, 3 Seagulls A 174, 4 Nofio Sir Gar 162, 5 Keynsham 147, 6 Weston-super-Mare 117.

Gala Two (at Millfield, points adjusted): 1 Taunton Deane 244, 2 Millfield 186, 3 Exeter 155, 4 Swim Bournemouth A 146, 5 Swim Swansea A 141; Poole DNS (did not swim).

Division One – Gala Three (at Weston): 1 Newton Abbot 230, 2 Severnside Tritons A 207, 3 Swim Bournemouth B 193, 4 Clevedon 157, 5 Dawlish 140, 6 Nofio Sir Gar B 121.

Division Three – Gala One South (at Exeter, points adjusted): 1 Penzance 207, 2 Exmouth 203, 3 Oddicombe 187, 4 Wareham 149, 5 North Dorset Turboes 116; Bridport Baracudas DNS.

Gala Two South (at Millfield): 1 Street 248, 2 Chard 233, 3 Seagulls B 192, 4 Soundwell B 143, 5 Bishopworth 123, 6 Backwell 103.