PERSHORE Swimming Club were back in action after the summer break at the weekend when a young team travelled up to Sheffield to compete in the Dukeries Open Meet in Ponds Forge 50m international pool against swimmers from Yorkshire and northern counties.
For many of the team it was their first time competing in a Long Course competition, with Pershore producing a string of strong performances to come away with over 15 podiums, top boy in the 11-year-old age category, several top ten finishes as well as smashing personal bests.
The most exciting performances were produced in the relay events, with Pershore getting amongst the medals in several age groups against strong opposition. With a couple of swimmers missing from the usual line-up in the boys 12/u team due to holidays, Pershore called up Ronan Williams (10) and Patrick Heeks (11) to swim up an age group in the 4x50m freestyle and 4x50m medley relays, with both seemingly unfazed by the older competition.
In the freestyle relay, Williams was on first leg, producing an excellent swim and keeping Pershore in contention, before handing over to William Gearey (11) who took the team up to first place with another powerful display. Chris Vizard (12) took over from Gearey on leg three, powering down the length and extending the team’s lead to around eight metres. It was left to Heeks, who has only recently turned 11, to bring home the team with a strong Worksop team chasing him down but he managed to hold on for gold in 2.13.28, winning by just over half a second.
In the medley relay, Pershore produced another strong display but this time winning with a much larger margin. Heeks led the team out on the backstroke leg, giving the team a solid lead, before Gearey took over on breaststroke and extended the team’s lead to five metres. Vizard produced an excellent fly on the third leg to extend the margin to around ten metres, before Williams finished off the win with an excellent freestyle anchor leg in 2.28.50.
The girls 10/u relays team of Jasmine Hoskins, Jasmine Franks, Lauren Annis and Alex Barry were also in superb form, coming away with a gold and bronze.
In the 4x50m freestyle, the quartet all swam well to power to a clear victory in 2.27.29 (1st). In the medley, Annis took the team out strong in the backstroke, handing over to Franks on breaststroke and Barry on the fly. Up against some formidable opposition, the girls held on to to third place with Hoskins bringing them home to bronze in 2.52.40.
There were also two bronze medals for the girls 12/u relay quartet of Naomi Marsden, Megan Annis, Isobel Cumming and Charlotte Downey. In the medley relay, strong displays by all four swimmers saw them snatch bronze in 2.32.89 in a very exciting and close race, with Downey holding on well to third on the anchor leg. In the freestyle, the girls also raced hard to take their second bronze in a time of 2.16.36.
Alex Barry (10) produced a series of excellent performances in the 50m sprint events, coming away with gold in the girls 10-year-old 50m backstroke in 41.55 and then grabbing third in the 10-year-old 50m fly in 38.03. Barry was unlucky not to make it a hat-trick of podiums, just being edged out in the 50m freestyle in fourth place with a time of 35.49, and also secured a top ten finish in the 50m breaststroke in 49.89.
Jasmine Franks (10) was also showing good form, with her best performance of the day being the girls 10-year-old 50m freestyle in which she took a superb bronze, ducking under the 35-second mark for the first time in a new long course PB time of 34.96. Franks was also unlucky not to grab a brace of medals, with fifth place in the 50m breaststroke, clocking 48.55 and only a few tenths off third place.
Three of the team’s nine-year-olds grabbed top ten finishes, with Lauren Annis grabbing the highest placing during the weekend. Annis took silver in the girls 9-year-old 50m backstroke with an excellent performance, producing a new PB of 42.18, and was close to grabbing two more medals in the 50m freestyle (37.49) and 50m breaststoke (51.55), finishing a close fourth in both events.
Amelia Gearey also secured her first top ten placing at a long course competition, grabbing seventh in the girls 9-year-old 50m breaststroke in a new PB of 54.57, and team-mate Tamara Marsden was tenth in the same event in 55.41 (PB).
There were golds galore for William Gearey (11), recording a clean sweep of victories in eight individual events. Gearey scooped golds in both the boys 10/11 and 11/12 age categories in 100m breaststroke (1.27.04 PB), 50m fly (33.01), 100m freestyle (1.05.15 PB), 50m backstroke (36.49), 100m fly (1.17.64), 50m freestyle (29.26 PB), 100m backstroke (1.17.68) and 50m breaststroke (40.80). He also won the coveted Top Boy award for his 100m freestyle event, which is one of the fastest long course times year in the UK by an 11-year-old.
Megan Annis (11) also got on to the podium, with a third place in the girls 10/11 100m breaststroke in new PB of 1.33.84. Annis also went close in the 50m fly (34.88) and 100m backstroke (1.21.37), coming fourth in both events, and also secured top ten finishes in the 100m freestyle (1.13.25), 50m backstroke (38.00) and 50m breaststroke (42.97).
Ronan Williams (10) – a novice to 50m competition format – was one of the stars of the weekend, snatching four top ten places in his individual sprint events and smashing PBs. Williams produced a 44.17 in the 50m fly, 43.44 in the 50m backstroke, 36.36 in the 50m freestyle and 53.51 in the 50m breaststroke.
Patrick Heeks, Chris Vizard, Naomi Marsden and Charlotte Downey also came close to snatching a podium place but had to make do with top ten finishes.
Heeks (11) in the 50m fly (37.92), 100m freestyle (1.13.35), 50m backstroke (39.12), 100m fly (1.29.67) and 100m backstroke (1.23.86), Vizard (12) in the 100m freestyle (1.08.20 PB), 100m fly (1.20.03 PB) and 50m freestyle (31.52), Marsden (12) in the 100m backstroke (1.18.63) and 50m freestyle (32.54) and Downey (11) in the 100m fly (1.32.55).
Other swimmers who produced PBs or narrowly missed out on top ten places in the individual races included Hazel Clay, Gabriella Barry, Olivia Howard and Isobel Cumming.