PERSHORE Swimming Club members have enjoyed a flying start to 2015, winning the John Neale Trophy Gala at Redditch on Saturday.
Pershore’s young squad held off a late challenge from home team Redditch to secure their first silverware of the year, eventually winning by over 15 points.
Martha Cross launched Pershore’s challenge on the evening, producing a 43.66 (personal best) in the girls’ 10/u 50m freestyle, while James Heeks managed a fantastic second place in 40.96.
Grace Styler swam hard for third place in the 9-year 25m breaststroke, clocking 30.33, whilst Andrew Thorner produced a huge PB of 29.15 in the boys’ event.
Pershore did not have to wait long for their first win, as the girls’ 11/u 4x25m medley team held off the challenge of Kingsbury for maximum points in 1.20.09.
The boys’ medley team could not quite match the girls’ performance, but still managed a useful fourth place in 1.26.00.
Jasmine Franks produced victory number two for Pershore, winning the 12/u 50m backstroke in 42.89 (PB), whilst Hamish Cross picked up the team’s first speeding ticket of the night with a massive PB of 40.08.
Jasmine Hoskins also secured maximum points, easily winning the girls’ 10/u 50m breaststroke in 53.86 (PB), whilst Robert Thorner snatched fourth in the boys’ event with a 1.00.63.
After the first ten events, Kingsbury held the lead on 40 points, with Pershore back in second place on 36 and Redditch third on 35.
Both the girls’ and the boys’ 9-year-old 4x25m medley teams found the going tough, with the girls taking fifth place in 1.53.08 and the boys taking third in 1.35.67.
The girls’ and boys’ 11/u 4x25m freestyle relay teams performed slightly better, both securing much-needed second places in 1.09.92 and 1.12.42 respectively.
Win number four came from Holly Winkley in the girls’ 12/u 50m fly, producing a new PB of 41.31, and Kieran Cooper made it back-to-back victories by winning the boys’ event in 38.88 in another massive PB.
Good efforts from the girls’ and boys’ 10/u 4x25m medley relay added more points to Pershore’s challenge, with both snatching silvers in 1.30.35 and 1.27.82 respectively.
Hoskins than produced her second win of the evening with a superb victory in the girls’ 11/u 50m backstroke in 43.50, while Max Aris pinched fourth with a 47.49, just outside his previous best time.
After 20 events, Pershore had hauled back Kingsbury to take the lead with 80 points, pushing Kingsbury back into second on 72 and Redditch staying in third on 69.
Franks was soon back in action, again producing an outstanding performance to take gold in the girls’ 12/u 50m breaststroke in 45.99. Ronan Williams took fourth in the boys’ event, producing a new PB of 50.77.
More maximum points were claimed by the girls’ 10/u 4x25m freestyle team, whilst the boys’ equivalent took third in 1.22.54 to keep the team’s challenge for the trophy going strong.
Lauren Annis, swimming up an age group in the 11/u 50m fly, managed a fantastic third place in 45.67, while Oliver Smith also managed third in the boys’ with a new PB of 46.67.
Annis then went one better in the 12/u 50m freestyle to take second with a 36.05, with Williams third in 36.46.
After 30 events, Pershore had managed to keep the lead with 131 points, with Redditch moving into second on 127 and Kingsbury nearly out of the running in third on 111.
Another dominant win by the girls’ 8x25m freestyle in 2.22.95 helped extend the team’s lead, which was essential as David Annis unfortunately picked up the team’s second speeding ticket in the 10/u 50m backstroke, going too quick in 44.46.
Gabriella Barry managed to keep within the speed limit and in doing so also scooped a useful victory in the girls’ 10/u 50m backstroke in 45.88.
Lily Mullen, one of several new faces to the competitive scene, claimed fourth in the girls’ 9-year 25m freestyle, while E Stanley produced a new PB to come fifth in the boys’ event.
Pershore’s relay teams then enjoyed consecutive victories in the girls’ and boys’ 12/u 4x25m freestyle, touching the wall in 1.03.49 and 1.01.76 respectively, and the boys’ 8x25m team also won in 2.22.31.
Hoskins made it a hat-trick of wins to complete a great night, winning the girls’ 10/u 25m fly in 19.94 (PB).
Luke Drayton, another new face, showed no sign of nerves to snatch fourth in the boys’ 9-year 25m backstroke in 27.19 (PB).
With just three relays remaining, Pershore found themselves seven points clear of Redditch and, barring disqualifications, favourites for the trophy.
Pershore finished the job in style, with all three relays teams taking victory, with first places for the girls’ 12/u 4x25m medley (1.10.56), boys’ 12/u medley (1.15.62) and mixed 8x25m freestyle in 2.17.21.
The final standings were Pershore 210 points, Redditch 193, Kingsbury 188, Blythe 176, Bromsgrove 141 and Stratford 126.
Pershore’s head coach Tom Naughton said: “What a great way to start 2015, with another trophy. We handed competitive debuts to several swimmers and they all performed tremendously.”