PERSHORE Swimming Club sent a 21-strong squad to compete in the Stourbridge Open Meet at Wolverhampton and several new faces got amongst the medals and smashed personal bests.
This established development meet is a perfect platform for up and coming swimmers to get their first taste of competition, with medals being awarded to the top eight places in each event.
In the girls’ nine-year-old age group Gabriella Barry won gold in the 100m IM with a new PB of 1.37.04, while Martha Cross bagged herself a medal with sixth place in the 50m backstroke (47.41).
Luke Drayton, nine, who was competing in his first open meet, looked unnerved by the occasion, with his best performance coming in the 50m backstroke (50.85) in which he came fourth. Drayton also claimed his second medal of the gala with a seventh place in the 50m freestyle (44.15).
Also in the boys’ nine-year-old age group, Euan Kirby (nine) produced an impressive overall performance to snatch eighth place and a medal in the 100m IM (2.16.09).
In the girls’ ten-year age group, Amelia Gearey was in great form and another who bagged her first ever podium finishes.
Gearey’s best race was the 100m IM win in which she produced a seven-second PB to claim gold in 1.35.57. She then added three more podiums by winning silvers in both the 50m backstroke (43.72, PB) and 50m fly (42.98, PB) and bronze in the 50m freestyle (37.88, PB).
Oliver Smith (ten) was very close to taking a bronze medal in the 50m fly, just being edged into fourth place in 46.28. He then claimed another top eight spot in the 100m IM with a 1.44.60.
Caitlin Yates (11) just missed out on a gold medal as she claimed a superb second place in the girls’ 11-year-old 100m IM (1.27.56) and she also snatched bronze with another good performance in the 50m backstroke (39.81).
Emily Drayton (11) – another swimmer fairly new to the open meet circuit – showed massive signs of improvement with a strong swim in the 50m backstroke (39.73) to claim a well deserved silver medal.
Drayton was unlucky not to get on the podium for a second time, just being pushed back into fourth place in the 50m freestyle (35.10) on the touch.
In the boys’ 11-year-old category, team-mates Leo Rendall-Baker, Owen Kirby and Cameron Leach battled it out for the medals.
Rendall-Baker (11) produced an excellent 50m fly to take the gold medal in 40.80 and then added two further medals with a sixth in the 50m breaststroke (51.01) and seventh in the 50m backstroke (43.30).
Cameron Leach (11) managed two podium finishes, with his victory coming in the 50m backstroke with a great time of 41.25. He then secured a bronze medal in the 100m IM (1.29.76) and was unlucky not to make it a trio of podiums with a fourth place in the 50m breaststroke (49.92).
Kirby (11) also secured two podium places, with silver medals in both the 50m breaststroke (48.25) and 50m freestyle (36.32). He then added to his medal haul with fifth place in the 50m backstroke (42.80) and seventh in the 50m fly (45.67).
Isobel Cumming (12) proved to be too strong for the opposition in the 12-year-old girls’ age group, producing dominant performances in both the freestyle and IM events.
Cumming clinched successive golds with victories in the in 50m freestyle (32.58) and 100m IM (1.25.02).
In the older age groups, Helena Leach (13) produced a series of good swims, claiming eighth places in the 50m fly (38.52), 100m IM (1.26.09) and 50m backstroke (39.82).
Jamie West (14) pushed hard throughout the event, taking fourth place in the 50m fly (43.45), fifth places in the 50m freestyle (34.28) and 50m backstroke (40.69) and seventh in the 50m breaststroke (43.01).
Other PSC swimmers competing at Stourbridge who produced personal bests but just outside the medal placings were Max Murray (nine), Ella Webley (ten), Katie Christodoulou (ten), Elena Christodoulou (11), Tara Smith (11) and Suzanne Capewell (11).