PERSHORE Swimming Club members were celebrating after winning the club’s first trophy for years as they saw off competition from much bigger Midlands clubs including Stourbridge, Blythe and Swadlincote to win the Profab Shield Gala at Wolverhampton Central Baths.
The young team, aged between 11 to 14, notched up a stunning 18 victories on the night as well as swimmers achieving over 20 new County Qualifying Times for 2015.
The team got off to a flying start, with victories in the first three events. Holly Winkley opened Pershore’s challenge with an easy win in the girls 11-year 50m freestyle in 33.59 and Ronan Williams also notched up maximum points in the boys 11-year 50m freestyle in 35.77.
Isobel Cumming then made sure it was three wins from three with a clear victory in the girls 12-year 50m fly in 36.52. Josh Sharratt was unlucky not to take the win in the boys 12-year 50m fly, just being edged out into second in 36.93. Hannah Simister swam well in the 13-year 50m breaststroke for third place in 41.39.
Amy Weston, swimming up two age groups, produced an excellent time in the girls 14-year 100m backstroke, clocking 1.14.68 to grab second place, while Owen Leeks also snatched silver in the boys 100m backstroke in 1.11.52.
In the first of many relay events, the girls 11-year 4x25m medley (Ellen Cope, Charlotte Downey, Alexandra Barry and Winkley) looked strong to claim second in 1.14.68 and the boys 11-year team (Williams, Hamish Cross, Will Gearey and Patrick Heeks) went one better to secure victory in 1.12.22.
After ten events, Pershore found themselves in the lead with 70 points, with Stourbridge their nearest rivals back on 64 points.
Heeks, also swimming up an age group, was soon in action again in the boys 12-year 50m backstroke, producing a 37.11 swim to take second.
Jasmine Taite and Chris Vizard both grabbed second places in the 13-year 50m freestyle with times of 31.58 and 30.07 respectively. Jack Betteridge added further points to Pershore’s cause with second place in the boys 14-year 100m breaststroke and Megan Annis got the team back to winning ways, easily taking victory in the girls 11-year old 50m breaststroke in 41.54. Fast-improving Cross took second in the boys event in 46.88.
The girls 12-year 4x25m medley team (Cope, Downey, Naomi Marsden and Melissa Radley) teamed up well for third in 1.14.44, while the boys 12-year medley team (William Clarke, Gearey, Sharratt and James Thomas) managed second in 1.11.12.
After 20 events, Pershore had managed to extend their lead over Stourbridge to seven points, with Blythe back in third position.
Amy Cooper, who was making her competitive debut for Pershore, rose to the challenge and snatched silver in the girls 13-year 50m fly in 35.89. Simon Sweatman opened his account for the team with a dominant performance in the boys 13-year 50m fly, winning by some margin in 32.00.
Downey narrowly missed out on victory in the girls 11-year 50m fly with 38.72, whilst Heeks stormed to victory in the boys event in 38.28. Annis made it two wins out of two in her individual races with another excellent win in the girls 12-year 50m breaststroke, while Gearey clinched silver in the boys event in 39.52.
Pershore did not have to wait long for another win, this time courtesy of the girls 13-year 4x50m medley, with Marsden, Simister, Cooper and Taite proving too strong for the opposition with an easy win in 2.25.33. The boys team of Sweatman, West, Sharratt and Vizard could not quite match their achievement, taking third place in 2.28.40.
Weston grabbed second in the girls 14-year 50m fly in 35.97 and Betteridge was third in the boys event in 34.50. Olivia Howard provided one of the swims of the night with a fantastic victory in the girls 11-year 50m backstroke in 41.18 and Williams notched up win number two in the boys 50m backstroke in 41.24.
Pershore finished the individual events in fine form with three straight victories. Vizard stormed to maximum points in the boys 12-year 50m freestyle in 30.65, Marsden easily won the girls 13-year 50m backstroke in 34.91 and Sweatman clocked 33.53 to win the 13-year 50m backstroke.
With just the relays remaining, Pershore were on 208 points, with Stourbridge back on 196 and with it all to do.
Pershore secured four victories out of ten relay events, with wins coming from the girls 14-year 4x50m medley (Weston, Beth Carter, Cooper, Taite), boys 11-year 4x25m freestyle (Williams, Cross, Heeks, Gearey), boys 12-year 4x25m freestyle (Vizard, Thomas, Sweatman and Clarke) and girls 13-year 4x25m freestyle (Cooper, Weston, Marsden and Taite). The boys 14-year 4x25m relay (Ben Clarke, Drew Jones, Leeks and Calum Sanderson) were also unlucky to miss out on maximum points with a fine team effort.
The final standings saw Pershore claim the trophy with 348 points, ahead of Stourbridge on 324, Blythe 278, Swadlincote 259, Warley 193, Haden Hill 147 and Bromsgrove 147.
Pershore’s head coach, Tom Naughton, said: “What a great result for the club! I’m delighted for all the swimmers and this victory was thoroughly deserved.
“We led from the very first event and there were some great individual and team performances. This has been a long time coming and it’s a just reward for the hard work, commitment and effort from all swimmers!”