TEENAGE Vale ace Will Gearey was in top form at the recent Amateur Swimming Association West Midlands Age Group Swimming Championships in Coventry as he came away with seven regional titles and secured an invitation to the prestigious British Summer Championships in July.
Gearey, who swims for Worcester SC, produced a series of outstanding performances to dominate the boys’ 13-year-old-age group as he won seven gold medals and four silver medals.
Looking to climb up the rankings during the new British and Home Nations qualification window, 13-year-old Gearey had his sights set on laying down faster times in several strokes to ensure his place at the forthcoming prestigious national events held in Sheffield.
Victories for the St Egwin’s Middle School pupil came in the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 100m backstroke, 50m fly and 200m individual medley and he came close to adding the 50m breaststroke and 100m breaststroke titles to his overall haul.
Qualifying as fastest seed in the 200m IM heats, Gearey took gold in the 200m IM final with a new personal best (PB) time of 2.24.22.
In the 100m freestyle he eased into the final with a PB of 58.35 and then went faster again in the final (58.24) to take the gold in dominant style, well clear of the field.
His 100m freestyle (long course) time puts him as number one in the UK (end of year rankings) for 13-year-old boys and second in the UK in the 50m freestyle (long course).
Gearey then added his third gold in the 50m backstroke, winning comfortably in 31.88. In the 50m freestyle heats Gearey qualified fastest again and never looked in trouble in the final.
Leading from the start, he powered to another gold in a new PB of 26.74 which was fast enough to secure his place at the British Championships in the combined 13/14-year age group.
It was a similar story in the 50m fly for Gearey who again eased through the heats in 28.64 as fastest seed and then won the final by a clear margin in 28.62 to qualify for his second event at the British Championships.
He is currently ranked number one in the UK for 50m fly (long course).
His narrowest victory came in the 200m freestyle in what proved to be a thrilling race, as Gearey and Biddulph’s Harrison Barber pushed each other stroke-for-stroke in the four-length race.
With Barber ahead after the first 100m, it came down to the touch and Gearey snatched the gold medal with his last stroke in 2.08.70 (PB) as Barber clocked 2.08.71.
In the 100m backstroke, after qualifying in third place, Gearey produced a massive new PB to snatch gold in 1.07.78 to complete a phenomenal gold medal haul for the youngster.
Gearey also added silver in the 400m freestyle with a new PB of 4.35.48 and was edged into second place on the touch in three events in the 50m breaststroke (36.23), 100m breaststroke (1.18.20) and 100m fly (1.05.48).
Gearey’s next major event will be the British Age Group Championships in Sheffield at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre at the end of July.
Ranked in the top 20 in the UK in the 13-14 age group, he will be competing in the 50m freestyle and 50m fly. He will also be competing at the English Home Nations Championships in August in the 100m freestyle and 200m individual medley.