PERSHORE Swimming Club took a young squad of eight to the Aquae Sulis Spring Grand Prix in Bristol’s 50m pool at Hengrove Leisure Centre and two of their swimmers managed to get amongst the medals, whilst the rest produced long course personal bests throughout the weekend.
Aquae Sulis is one of the most popular Level One meets in the calendar, attracting entries from top age group competitors from all over the UK including Millfield, City of Bristol, City of Birmingham, Royal Wolverhampton School and University of Bath. The Grand Prix comprises results from two open meets, with the first having been held in November 2014.
Will Gearey and Simon Sweatman battled it out in the boys’ 12-year-old age group, with Gearey eventually winning the coveted overall Top Boy award and Sweatman claiming a fantastic third place overall.
Leading the Top Boy competition after the first Grand Prix in November, Gearey (12) produced a sublime eight long course personal bests in Bristol and bagged four medals against strong opposition to win the prestigious Grand Prix title.
His best performance came in the 100m fly in which he produced 1.10.96 – a three-second PB – to claim the silver medal and rise to number two in the UK end of year long course rankings for 12-year-old boys.
He then snatched bronze in the 200m IM with 2.36.50, another PB (third in the UK rankings) and two more third places came in the 50m breaststroke (39.77 PB) and 50m freestyle (28.94) – his freestyle time earning him the top spot in the UK rankings.
In his other events, Gearey was edged into fourth places in the 400m freestyle (4.53.01 PB) and 200m breaststroke (2.59.61 PB), fifth in the 100m backstroke (1.15.25 PB) and sixth in 200m backstroke (2.38.53 PB).
Sweatman (12) was also in excellent form, winning three silver medals and a bronze as well as producing a string of long course PBs that sees him rise in the UK end of year rankings for 13-year-old boys.
Sweatman produced a new PB of 28.61 in the 50m freestyle to win a silver medal which saw him rise to ninth in the UK rankings.
He ensured back-to-back silvers in his favoured 100m and 200m backstroke with some powerful displays, clocking 1.12.77 and 2.34.85 respectively, and his 200m backstroke earned Sweatman a top 25 ranking spot.
Sweatman then produced a six-second PB in the 400m freestyle (4.47.62) to win the bronze medal, which also ensured a top 25th UK ranking. Despite producing a PB in the 100m fly (1.12.42), Sweatman was just edged into fourth place to complete a superb weekend programme.
Jasmine Franks (10), making her competitive debut at a Level One meet, showed no signs of nerves and was another swimmer showing good form.
Franks managed five top ten finishes in the girls’ 9-10 age group, which was a fantastic achievement for a debut. Her best performance came in the 50m fly, in which she produced a massive long course PB of 38.32 to snatch fourth place.
Top ten finishes also came in the 50m freestyle (34.87), 50m breaststroke (47.17), 200m freestyle (2.55.89) and 200m IM (3.11.78 PB). She also clocked 3.23.64 in the 200m backstroke and 42.72 (PB) in the 50m backstroke.
Megan Annis (11) snatched five top ten finishes in the highly competitive girls’ 11-12 age group and nine long course PBs. She also achieved Midland Qualifying Times in all the 50m events.
Annis produced massive PBs in the 200m backstroke (2.45.65) and the 100m fly (1.21.69) to secure eighth placed finishes, going one place better in both the 50m freestyle (31.33 PB) and 50m backstroke (36.53 PB).
PBs also came in the 200m IM (2.51.34), 100m breaststroke (1.31.56), 50m breaststroke (41.74), 200m freestyle (2.39.54) and 100m freestyle (1.10.40).
Patrick Heeks (11), looking to add to his current MQT tally, looked strong in the longer distance events and moved nearer to the required times in several events.
Competing in the boys’ 11-12 age group, Heeks’ best performance was the 100m fly, hitting the wall in 1.20.09 (PB) for a top ten finish.
He also produced long course PBs in the 200m IM (2.52.63) and 200m backstroke (2.49.82) and also swam 1.20.76 in the 100m backstroke 1.20.76, 48.50 in the 50m breaststroke and 33.44 for 50m freestyle.
Alexandra Barry (11) produced eight long course PBs and also edged closer to her first MQT for 2015. Barry’s programme included PBs in the 200m IM (2.54.75), 200m freestyle (2.30.56), 50m freestyle (32.02), 50m fly (35.71), 100m backstroke (1.19.72), 100m breaststroke (1.35.25), 100m freestyle (1.09.87) and a top ten finish in the 50m backstroke (36.53).
She also produced good swims in the 200m backstroke (2.50.83), 100m fly (1.31.92) and 50m breaststroke (46.74).
Naomi Marsden (12), who has already secured MQTs in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke and 50m freestyle, was hoping to lower her times but was just outside her previous PBs.
Marsden managed excellent seventh placed finishes in both the girls’ 11-12-year-old 100m and 200m backstroke events, clocking 1.15.38 and 2.43.91 respectively. She also swam in the 200m IM (2.57.57), 50m breaststroke (43.44) and 50m freestyle (31.86).
Isobel Cumming (12) produced a superb swim in the 100m freestyle, knocking over two seconds off her PB with a time of 1.13.89. Cumming swam hard all weekend, producing a series of good times including 200m IM (3.02.65), 200m backstroke (2.57.81), 200m freestyle (2.43.25), 50m backstroke (40.42) and 50m fly (38.57).