EVESHAM’S Will Gearey produced a series of strong swims to win five gold medals at the 2017 ASA West Midlands Swimming Championships in Coventry.
Competing against the best age group swimmers across the region including Birmingham, Coventry and Mercia, Prince Henry’s High School pupil Gearey dominated in his target events and his performances also moved him up the UK rankings in the national qualification period for the British Summer Championships.
Worcester Swimming Club’s Gearey is targeting at least six events at the British Summer Championships, with hopes of reaching the finals in the fly and freestyle events in July.
Gold medals for Gearey came in the boys’ 14-year age group in the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 100m butterfly and 100m backstroke.
He added silver in the 50m backstroke and bronze medals in the 200m individual medley and 200m freestyle.
In the 50m freestyle, Gearey qualified through heats with ease, putting down a 26.42 which placed him into the final as fastest seed. In the afternoon final, Gearey was hoping to sub 26 seconds in a 50m pool for the first time and did not disappoint.
Powering away from the blocks, Gearey proved too fast for the field, clocking a new PB of 25.77 and a time which now puts him second in the UK rankings for the event.
It was a similar story in the 100m freestyle, another key target event for Gearey. In the heats, he produced a PB, touching the wall in 56.73 to again go into the final as fastest seed.
Gearey was hoping for a sub-56 seconds in the final to move him up the rankings for the British Summer Championships. In the final, Gearey quickly developed a lead over his rivals, turning at the 50m point with a body-length lead.
He then powered away from the field in the last 50m to win gold in another small PB of 56.73 – a time which moves him up to fifth in the UK rankings.
Gearey also dominated in the 50m and 100m fly, looking strong in both events. In the 50m fly heats, Gearey qualified comfortably with 28.39 to go into the final fastest and nearly a second-and-a-half quicker than then second placed competitor.
In the final, Gearey led from the gun, starting well and quickly finding his rhythm to win gold in 28.03 which, whilst not a PB, was his quickest time in the qualification window in 2017.
He is now tenth in the 50m fly UK rankings and should easily qualify for this event at British level.
In the 100m fly, Gearey produced a comfortable 1.04.52 to reach the final as number one seed, knowing he would need to go faster in the afternoon.
In the final, Gearey produced another dominant display, again taking the lead at the start and adding to his lead. By the 50m point, he was already two body lengths up on his nearest rival and then powered down the last 50m to clock 1.02.99 for his fourth gold medal.
His last gold medal came in the 100m backstroke on the final day. With his backstroke performances below par during the rest of the championships, Gearey was not expecting too much in this event.
However, he produced a good heat swim of 1.06.82 which was on his PB to surprisingly qualify for the final in first position. In the final, Gearey certainly did not have it all his own way and he found himself back in third at 50m.
Digging deep, Gearey was still lying third with 25m to go but somehow managed to find another gear, moving up into second with 10m left and then a final push saw him snatch the gold in 1.05.85 in a new PB.
In the other events, Gearey produced small PBs in the 50m backstroke (31.16) final to take silver, with bronze medals also coming in the 200m freestyle (2.06.75) and 200m individual medley (2.23.42).