PERSHORE Swimming Club got the 2015 season off to a good start by coming home with a haul of 28 medals including 13 golds at the Stourbridge Crystal Open Meet at Wolverhampton.
One of the first and most popular competitive Level 3 galas of the year, Stourbridge offers swimmers the chance to achieve County Qualifying Times (CQTs) before the closing period.
Pershore’s 17-strong team produced a superb 68 CQTs and also three new MQTs (Midland Qualifying Times) as well as setting 38 personal best performances.
Twelve-year-old Chris Vizard was the team’s star performer across the weekend, winning four gold medals. Vizard, chasing hard to achieve MQTs for 2015, opened his account with a dominant win in the boys 12-year-old 200m IM, taking victory in 2.43.57.
He then added further first places in the 50m fly (33.13), 200m fly (2.51.82) and 200m freestyle (2.26.15) plus a silver in the 200m backstroke (2.43.78) and bronze in the 200m breaststroke (3.11.21). He was unlucky not to achieve MQTs but is now near to achieving the required times in several events.
Megan Annis (11) also put in a string of excellent performances, bagging herself several gold medals and also securing her first MQT of 2015 to book her place at the Midlands District Championships at Coventry in June.
Annis’ MQT came in the girls 11-year-old 50m backstroke in which she produced a massive PB to take gold in 35.37 and secure the required MQT. Annis then added gold in the 50m breaststroke with 41.38 and gold in the 50m freestyle (31.39) plus silver in the 50m fly (35.77) to complete a strong weekend’s programme.
Following his recent success at Wyre Forest, Patrick Heeks again showed he is a force to be reckoned with in the boys 11-year-old age group. Heeks also secured his first MQT of the year, winning gold in the boys 11-year-old 50m backstroke in 35.05.
He then added two further golds in the 200m backstroke (2.43.86) and 50m fly (34.87) with dominant performances as well as claiming four second places in the 200m IM (2.51.77), 200m fly (3.05.13), 200m freestyle (2.34.54) and 50m freestyle (32.27). Both Heeks and Annis are expected to achieve several MQTs in 2015.
Naomi Marsden (12), who has already achieved a MQT in her favourite 100m backstroke, pushed hard in the 50m backstroke to snatch both the gold medal in 33.28 and her second MQT of 2015.
Marsden was unlucky not to add more gold medals, being edged into second place in both the 200m backstroke (2.38.46) and 50m freestyle (30.53). Marsden should secure her MQT in the 200m backstroke and is one of the highest ranked swimmers in her age group in the West Midlands in the backstroke.
Jasmine Franks grabbed a brace of medals in the girls 10-year-old age group with a fantastic victory in the 50m freestyle (33.02) and silver in the 50m fly (38.94).
Caitlin Yates, also competing in the 10-year age group, produced a massive PB to win gold in the 50m breaststroke with a new time of 45.96.
Luke Perry (12) claimed second place in the 50m backstroke with a good time of 35.06 and he also took silver in the 50m freestyle with 30.76, moving closer to the magic sub-30 mark.
Kieran Cooper took bronze in the boys 11-year-old 50m breastroke in 44.88 and also produced a string of PBs during the weekend and older sister Amy battled to silver in the girls 13-year 200m fly with 2.53.39.
Other swimmers who competed at Stourbridge and produced personal bests but just outside the medals were Gabriella Barry (9), Cameron Leach (10), Lauren Annis (10), Tamara Marsden (10), Sophie Thomas (10), Alexandra Barry (11), Charlotte Downey (11) and Isobel Cumming (12).
Commenting on the team’s first outing of the year, PSC head coach Tom Naughton said: “It is always hard for the swimmers to produce personal bests straight after the Christmas break.
“However, I was really impressed with the attitude of all our swimmers and there were some very impressive performances.
“I’m delighted that Patrick and Megan have secured their first MQT of the year and am expecting many more swimmers to get them too. 2015 should be another record-breaking year for Pershore as we go from strength to strength!”