PERSHORE Swimming Club hosted and won the second round of the 2017 PGL league – the first club gala to be held at the impressive new pool in Perdiswell, Worcester.
On this special evening Pershore were pitched against some strong opposition Cheltenham, Northgate (Bridgnorth) and Oldbury but the home swimmers rose to the challenge to enjoy a successful night.
The PGL league is developmental and as such ‘speeding tickets’ are used to ensure less experienced swimmers get the opportunity to compete, giving coaches potential headaches as they have to pick a team that will swim as close to the times as possible.
Often the swimmers defy past performances and swim phenomenal new personal bests in the heat of battle and the speeding ticket is therefore the swimmer’s ultimate accolade as they have beaten the coach’s expectations, but there are no points for the team.
The first few races of the 60-race gala were fast and furious and the Pershore SC team took four speeding tickets in the first five races.
There were ten speeding tickets on the night for Pershore including: Caitlin Yates (13) 50m fly 33.69; Ollie Smith (12) 50m backstroke 38.01; Isobel Fairchild (11) 50m backstroke 39.36; Lewis Cribbin (11) 25m breaststroke 20.31; Millie Thomas (9) 25m freestyle 17.95; Josh Heeks (9) 25m breaststroke 23.52 and 25m fly 18.88; Frankie Barry (8) 25m backstroke 21.18; Sophie Thomas (13) 50m breaststroke 40.84; Ethan Stanley (11) 25m backstroke 20.07.
The team then started to put points on the board and overall Pershore achieved 20 first places, 16 second places and 11 third places out of the 60 races.
Pershore SC race winners included: Olivia Weaver (11) 25m breaststroke; Caitlin Yates (13) 50m backstroke; Ellie Williams (11) 25m freestyle; Isobel Fairchild (11) 50m breaststroke; Catherine Rendall-Baker (11) 25m fly; Toby Stanley (10) 25m freestyle; Holly Underwood (10) 25m freestyle; Ollie Smith (12) 50m freestyle; Natalija Kelly (9) 25m backstroke; Luke Betteridge (13) 50m freestyle; Mia Underwood (9) 25m fly. There were multiple relay team wins also.
It was a dogfight up to the very last two races with Pershore and Cheltenham competing for the overall win.
The final two races were the cannons featuring two swimmers of each age group – nine, ten, 11, 12 and 13/14 – swimming one length each.
The boys’ 10x25m cannon team of Josh Heeks (9), Ioan Underwood (9), Harry Barnett (10), Jack Porter (10), Ethan Stanley (11), Lewis Cribbin (11), James Heeks (11), Daniel Chalk (12), Luke Betteridge (13) and Alfie Brown (13), swam furiously but were pipped to victory by Northgate, however there was a crucial disqualification for Cheltenham.
It was then left to the girls’ cannon team to secure the win. The team of Millie Thomas (9), Mia Underwood (9), Jess English (10), Holly Underwood (10), Catherine Rendall-Baker (11), Ellie Williams (11), Alicija Kelly (11), Isobel Fairchild (12), Caitlin Yates (13) and Izzie Cumming (14) were superb, touching five seconds ahead of Cheltenham to win the race and take the overall gala victory.
Final positions were: 1st Pershore 151 points; 2nd Cheltenham 147; 3rd Northgate 125; 4th Oldbury 118.
After two rounds of four Pershore sit in joint fourth place. The top eight qualify for the final in June. Pershore are looking well placed to make the final but will need to work hard in the last two rounds.
Other team members in the gala were: Jack Porter (9), Ronan Williams (13), Ella Webley (12), Holly Styler (12), Kian Baker (11), Sophie Thomas (13), Tara Smith (12), Andrew Thorner (11), Calum Edwards (11) and Grace Styler (10).