PERSHORE Swimming Club battled hard in the third and final round of the Nuneaton & District League to ensure their place in Division One for next season.
Going into the gala, Pershore needed to finish in fourth place or higher against strong opposition including Boldmere, Bilston, Stafford Apex, Hereford and Cannock to retain their status in the top flight, and the team delivered in style with some excellent performances.
Amelia Gearey delivered Pershore’s first top three finish, coming home in third place in the girls 9-year-old 25m breaststroke in 24.45 and a new personal best.
Naomi Marsden also produced a massive PB in the girls 12/u 50m backstroke, clocking a time of 34.26 to take second spot.
Simon Sweatman then added another second for Pershore in the boys 12/u 50m backstroke in a fast time of 33.61, while Hannah Woodcock continued to help the team’s cause with a well deserved second in the 10/u 50m breaststroke in 42.71.
The 9-year-old girls then snatched third in the 4x25m medley relay, leaving Pershore in third place overall after ten events behind Boldmere and Bilston.
Pershore then had a string of fourth places until the girls 10/u 4x25m medley team finally grabbed another podium finish with an excellent time of 1.17.79.
Megan Annis and Patrick Heeks – both showing great promise this season – then gave Pershore some more much-needed points, with Annis coming a close second in the 11/u 50m backstroke and Heeks producing a fine personal best of 38.13 to take third in the boys 11/u 50m backstroke.
The 9-year-old girls then added further points to the team’s total, with another excellent swim in the 4x25m medley relay to snatch second and five points. After 20 events Pershore found themselves back in fourth spot behind Bilston, Boldmere and Stafford.
The team had to wait until race 23 for their first victory as Isabella Woodcock – swimming up an age group – produced a very strong swim in the 12/u 50m breaststroke in 39.80 (PB) to take maximum points.
This was soon followed by a second victory as William Gearey produced a PB in the boys 11/u 50m fly to win in 32.64.
Lauren Annis was just edged out into second place in the girls 9-years 25m fly but still produced a PB time of 20.81. Annis went one better in the 25m backstroke, producing a dominant display to win in 20.42.
Simon Sweatman also produced a huge personal best, but despite his excellent time of 29.17 in the boys 12/u 50m freestyle he was also edged into second place. After 30 events and at the midway point, Pershore remained in fourth place on 94 points, with Stafford their closest rivals just ahead in third on 106 points.
Third places for the girls 8x25m freestyle and for Hannah Woodcock in the girls 10/u 50m backstroke in 40.17 and the 11/u 50m breaststroke 43.71 ensured the team did not lose ground on Stafford, while Jasmine Hoskins stormed to a superb second place in the 9-year-old 25m freestyle in a new PB of 17.20.
Victory number three was produced by the boys 12/u 4x25m freestyle relay team of Chris Vizard, Josh Sharratt, Sweatman and Gearey, clocking 57.80 and showing the form which recently won the county title.
Gearey also secured another individual win, taking the boys 11/u 50m breaststroke in a new PB of 40.42. There were also third places for Jamie Heeks in the 9-year-old 25m backstroke in 23.28 (PB), the 12/u girls 4x25m medley and boys 8x25m freestyle teams.
Charlotte Downey, Max Arris, Macey French and Sharratt all produced a series of personal bests but were unlucky not to secure podium places.
The final standings were Boldmere 264, Bilston 214, Stafford 179, Pershore 168, Hereford 126 and Cannock 117, which was enough to see Pershore retain their place in Division One for next season.
Pershore’s head coach Tom Naughton said: “A very pleasing performance from a young team and great to see the determination from all the swimmers. We battled hard to get into the top division and we were anxious to remain there.
“Everyone stepped up and delivered to ensure we got the result needed. 2014 has been a record-breaking year for the club and it continues to go from strength to strength across all ages.
“We can now look forward to the summer break and come back strongly at the back end of the year!”
Pershore SC’s achievements in the first half of 2014 include:
Worcester County Championship – 28 swimmers qualified and competed in 190 events (club record); 23 age group titles plus 26 silver and 16 bronze medals (club record).
Midland Age Group Championship – 8 swimmers qualified (club record); 1 silver medal; 7 call-ups in May to represent Worcestershire County at Three Counties Gala (club record).
Worcester County Relays – 3 age group titles (including one county record); 4 silvers; 1 bronze (club record).
Midland Open Water Championship – 1 age group gold.