A 17-STRONG team of youngsters from Pershore Swimming Club competed in the Netherlands Invitational international meet in Eindhoven and returned with a phenomenal 16 podium finishes to their name as three age group records were smashed against swimmers from Belgium, France, Germany, Holland and Turkey.
The Pershore team, who had been sponsored by Worcester-based Mann Broadbent, came away with seven gold medals, eight silvers and one bronze medal as well as producing numerous personal bests across the weekend.
For several younger swimmers it was their first time competing at an official gala and for older swimmers in an Olympic size 50m pool.
The PSC boys, aged between ten and 12, were in dominant form in the 25m pool against their European counterparts, with the most notable performances coming from Simon Sweatman (12), William Gearey (11) and Cameron Leach (10).
Sweatman bagged five gold and one silver medal as well as crushing two previous meet records in the boys’ 11/12-year-old age group in a superb display of swimming across the weekend.
The weekend largely saw Sweatman and younger team-mate Gearey going head-to-head in the events in what proved to be a fiercely but very good spirited competition between the two Pershore boys.
Sweatman scooped gold in five of his eight events, producing a series of strong swims to win the 50m freestyle (28.52), 100m freestyle (1.02.83, PB), 50m backstroke (34.10 – meet record), 100m backstroke (1.11.91, PB – meet record) and 100m IM (1.13.52, PB). He added silver in the 50m fly in 32.43 seconds to complete a fantastic series of results.
Gearey won eight medals, bagging two gold and six silver medals. He won the 50m fly in 31.91 (meet record) and produced his first sub-40-second time to win gold in the 50m breaststroke (38.53). He then added silvers in the 50m freestyle (29.21, PB), 100m freestyle (1.03.22, PB), 50m backstroke (35.64), 100m backstroke (1.15.18), 100m breaststroke (1.26.31, PB) and 100m IM (1.14.39, PB).
Cameron Leach, competing in the boys 9-10-year age category, showed some excellent form in another strong set of swims across the weekend.
The ten-year-old secured two podium finishes and came close to making it a hat-trick of medals. Leach’s time of 36.77 in the 50m freestyle was enough to secure bronze and he then went on to produce 45.17 in the 50m fly to win a silver medal.
A host of other swimmers also competed in the short course meet in the 9-10 and 11-12 boys and girls events, including Alexandra and Gabriella Barry, Charlotte Downey, Amelia Gearey, Jasmine Hoskins, Naomi Marsden, Sophie Thomas and Chris Vizard who all produced great performances and smashed personal bests.
Both Marsden and Vizard secured top ten and top five finishes in a couple of events respectively and many of the other swimmers won at least one individual heat.
In the 50m long course pool Pershore had a team of five battling against top international swimmers and waving the flag proudly for the club. Helena Leach and Hannah Simister swam admirably in the girls 13-14 year age group and both produced an excellent set of results.
Leach produced the following performances – 50m freestyle (35.83), 100m backstroke (1.30.69), 50m breaststroke (56.92), 200IM (3.31.30), 200m freestyle (3.00.42), 100m freestyle (1.22.90), 50m backstroke (43.19) and 50m fly (46.63), whilst Simister recorded – 50m freestyle (33.83), 50m breaststroke (44.35), 200m freestyle (2.43.00), 50m fly (43.08), 100m freestyle (1.13.75), 200m IM (3.09.27) and 100m breaststroke (1.38.15).
In the boys’ 13-14 age group Jamie West made his 50m format competitive debut and Josh Sharratt was also representing Pershore. West performed as follows – 50m breaststroke (46.33), 200m freestyle (3.16.29), 100m breaststroke (1.48.54), 50m fly (52.71), 50m backstroke (45.77) and 100m freestyle (1.32.71), whilst Sharratt recorded – 50m breaststroke (47.96), 200m freestyle (2.42.23), 50m freestyle (34.03), 100m fly (1.31.68), 50m fly (38.80), 100m freestyle (1.17.53), 50m backstroke (41.99) and 200m IM (3.07.93).
In the girls’ 15-16 year group, Lizzie Vizard faced several international swimmers and, despite not being able to train as hard as normal due to injury, looked strong in her events. She clocked – 50m breaststroke (39.23), 50m backstroke (38.36), 200m IM (3.01.24) and 100m breaststroke (1.36.10).
Commenting on the results, Pershore head coach Tom Naughton said: “It was a great weekend of swimming and all the swimmers did the club proud. We’ve certainly put Pershore on the international swimming map for all the right reasons and we had several of the other UK clubs who had also travelled out there commenting on the performances of the club.
“It was great to see young Gabriella Barry handle the pressure so well on her competitive debut and I thought the older swimmers rose to the occasion well in the long course events.
“It was also nice to see Simon, Will and Cameron getting on the podium. We hope to be invited back next year and will be looking to improve on these results!”
William Gearey won a superb eight medals as he bagged two gold and six silver. (s)
Simon Sweatman (12) won five gold and one silver medal as well as crushing two previous meet records in the boys’ 11/12-year-old age group. (s)