PERSHORE Swimming Club sent a 25-strong squad aged between nine and 13 to compete in the 31st Dukeries Open at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge International 50m pool at the weekend and they returned from the Steel City with an excellent 23 medals and three age group top boy/top girl awards to their name.
Several new, younger swimmers secured places on the podium too and were also competing in a 50m pool for the first time, showing the strength of talent now running throughout the club at all ages.
During the event, there were several head-to-head races amongst Pershore team-mates, with Simon Sweatman (13) and Will Gearey (12) facing each other in four events in the 12/13 age group and sharing the spoils.
Jasmine Hoskins (10), Amelia Gearey (10), Alexandra Barry (11), Patrick Heeks (11) Naomi Marsden (13) and Chris Vizard (13) all produced excellent swim to claim individual medals, with Barry, Gearey and Sweatman claiming the prestigious Top Swimmer Award in their respective age groups.
In the girls’ ten-year age group, Hoskins was in superb form as she produced personal best times in all seven of her events. Hoskins’ form was rewarded as her best performance came in the 50m backstroke as she produced a massive new PB of 41.58 to claim bronze and a 2016 County Qualifying Time (CQT).
Amelia Gearey was also in great form, snatching a bronze medal in the 50m breaststroke in 47.91.
In the boys’ 12/13-year age group, Sweatman edged out Gearey in the 100m backstroke (1.07.82) and 100m fly (1.08.20) to claim gold medals and also stormed to victory in the 50m backstroke (31.75) in the 13/14 age group. Sweatman also picked up two more bronze medals in the 13/14-year-old 50m fly (30.16) and 50m freestyle (28.08).
Gearey fought hard to hold off Sweatman in the 12/13-year 100m freestyle, taking gold in 1.01.22 (PB), just ahead of Sweatman on 1.01.67 as they made it a one-two for Pershore.
Gearey also claimed gold medals in the 50m breaststroke (36.95) and 100m breaststroke (1.21.32).
Vizard gave Pershore another one-two, taking silver medal in the 100m breaststroke in 1.24.03, and Heeks picked up bronze in the 50m backstroke (35.68) in the boys’ 11/12 age group.
Both Vizard and Heeks were both unlucky not to grab more medals, as each finished in fourth position on several occasions.
Barry produced an excellent swim in the girls’ 12/13-year 100m freestyle to win gold in 1.07.24 and bagged a bronze medal in the 11/12 50m backstroke (35.70).
Marsden put down a great early-season marker in the girls’ 13/14-year-old 50m fly (32.39) to snatch silver and show she has the potential to get to the Midlands in this event in 2016 and she also took silver in the 50m backstroke (34.50).
Pershore also enjoyed success in the relay events, as the team’s quartet of Gearey, Sweatman, Vizard and Josh Sharratt won golds in the boys’ 14/U 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley, while the girls’ 11/12 200m individual medley team of Charlotte Downey, Jasmine Franks, Barry and Emily Drayton produced an outstanding effort to grab a much-deserved bronze medal by holding off strong opposition from the bigger Yorkshire clubs.
The team produced more than 80 PBs and 70 CQTs between them, with good performances also by Gabriella Barry, Hazel Clay, Isobel Cumming, Macey French, Annie Garratt, James Heeks, George and Olivia Howard, Cameron and Helena Leach, Tamara Marsden, Sophie Thomas and Caitlin Yates.
Pershore head coach Tom Naughton said: “Producing over 80 PBs is excellent for this time of year and hopefully bodes well for the forthcoming season.
“There were some fantastic swims throughout the squad, with notable performances from Emily Drayton, Jasmine Hoskins and Josh Sharratt who produced PBs in all events.
“It is also good to see George Howard, Annie Garratt and James Heeks entering their first competitive 50m gala.”