A 26-STRONG Pershore Swimming Club squad rose to the challenge to secure promotion to the Premier Division of the National Arena League.
The Pershore team, made up of swimmers aged between ten and 16, were one of six clubs competing for four places in the top flight at the Division Two finale held at Queen’s Leisure Centre in Derby.
Pershore went into the final in overall third place but were facing some daunting opposition including Rugby, Arnold (Nottingham), Belper Marlin (Derbyshire), City of Derby B team and Stratford Sharks.
The structure of the events is in two-year groupings – 10/11 years 13/under, 15/under and open (16-adult) classification.
Pershore swam impressively throughout the gala to steadily pick up points and achieve maximum races points.
There were individual wins for Hannah Woodcock (13/u 100m breaststroke, 13/u 100m freestyle), Alex Barry (13/u 100m backstroke and 15/u 100m backstroke) and Patrick Heeks (13/u 100m backstroke).
The team also clinched a first place in the female 13/u medley relay thanks to the efforts of Olivia Howard, Hannah Woodcock, Alex Barry and Emily Drayton.
As the gala progressed the tension was almost unbearable with Pershore moving up and down between third and fifth place with only a few races to go.
With such a young team and swimmers having multiple races, the last events were a real test for Pershore, but their 6x50m male and female open age groups swimmers held their nerve and Pershore clinched fourth place by three points with 159 points.
The final standings were: 1st Belper Marlin, 216; 2nd Rugby, 201; 3rd City of Derby B, 176; 4th Pershore, 159; 5th Arnold, 156; 6th Stratford Sharks, 137.
Pershore’s 2017 club captains Jaz Taite (15) and Callum Sanderson (15) were presented with the league finalists’ pennant.
Pershore’s final squad featured: Lewis Cribbin (11), Max Murray (12), Josh Heeks (10), James Heeks (11), Hamish Cross (13), Leo Rendall-Baker (12), Alfie Brown (12), Patrick Heeks (13), Chris Vizard (14), Luke Perry (14), Jamie West (14), Will Clarke (14), Josh Sharratt (15), Callum Sanderson (15), Annie Garrett (11), Bella Barry (11), Catherine Rendall-Baker (10), Alice Gregory (11), Olivia Howard (13), Hannah Woodcock (12), Alex Barry (13), Emily Drayton (13), Bella Woodcock (14), Izzie Cumming (14), Hannah Simister (15), Jasmine Taite (16).
Pershore will now look forward to winter 2017 when their squad will compete in the Premier Division of the National Arena League (West Midlands).