THERE were plenty of new faces on the podium for Pershore at the Soundwell County Qualifier Open Meet held in Gloucestershire, as several swimmers won multiple gold medals, set new personal best performances or picked up prestigious speeding tickets.
The annual Soundwell Gala, aimed at developing swimmers’ experience to open competitions, operates a speeding ticket system for times breaking a certain set limit.
Lauren Annis (9) picked up a bronze in the 50m breaststroke (50.03), while Oliver Smith (10) bagged his first ever gold medal with a determined performance in the 100m fly (1.48.99).
Cameron Leach (10) is finding form at the right time in the run-up to chasing County Qualifying Times (CQT) for 2015. Leach took first place in three events, winning gold medals in the 100m breaststroke (1.47.97), 400m IM (7.12.8 8) and 400m freestyle (6.16.30). He then added silver in the 200m breaststroke (3.52.63) and bronze 50m fly (43.67) for an excellent weekend’s racing.
In the 10-year-old girls, Caitlin Yates was another swimmer in excellent form. Yates won gold in the 200m IM (3.24.89), plus silver medals in the 200m freestyle (2.59.94) and 200m backstroke (3.20.57) before completing her weekend with bronze in the 100m backstroke (1.36.84).
Sophie Thomas (10) was another Pershore swimmer getting on to the podium for the first time. Thomas showed great strength in the 200m backstroke (3.24.96) to win bronze and also powered her way to third places in the 50m backstroke (43.97) and 100m freestyle (1.23.39), producing several PBs and edging nearer towards CQTs.
In the boys 11-year-old age group, Owen Kirby was unlucky not to take gold in the 200m breaststroke, producing a good time of 3.45.65 and just being edged into second. Kirby managed a trio of podium finishes, with third place finishes in the 50m freestyle (37.66) and also the 400m freestyle (6.06.85) – both massive personal bests.
Jamie Saunders was another battling for medals in the 11-year age group, producing an excellent series of performances that rewarded him with five medals and several CQTs. Saunders looked in great shape in winning gold in the 100m fly (1.29.74) and he also braved the gruelling 200m fly to win in 3.14.29. He added a third gold in the 50m backstroke (41.31) and then two second places in the 200m backstroke (3.04.97) and 200m freestyle (2.52.49).
Kieran Cooper (11) picked up a collection of speeding tickets in most of his races throughout the weekend, but did manage to win gold in the 50m fly (40.10) and bronze in the 100m fly (1.38.68).
Ronan Williams (11) had a busy weekend programme, coming away with seven top three finishes. Williams scooped three golds in the 100m freestyle (1.19.67), 100m backstroke (1.26.41) and 50m freestyle (35.90). He then also won silver in the 200m IM (3.15.89) and bronze medals in the 50m backstroke (41.71), 200m backstroke (3.11.92) and 50m fly (43.88).
Hamish Cross (11) was another picking up several speeding tickets but managed to keep within the limit in the 100m breaststroke to win silver in 1.41.49.
Charlotte Downey (11), another to fall foul of the speeding police several times, managed to win four gold medals and produced numerous PBs during the weekend. Downey won gold medals in the 100m fly (1.29.56), 200m backstroke (2.59.67), 50m breaststroke (45.21) and 200m breaststroke (3.28.02).
Macey French (11) continued to show impressive improvements across all strokes, winning four medals including one gold medal. French produced a 39.73 in the 50m fly to snatch gold, then added silver in the 400m IM (6.34.63) and two bronze medals in the 100m breaststroke (1.40.75) and 50m backstroke (40.49).
Isobel Cumming (12) won gold in 50m fly (37.72) with another dominant swim. Cumming also scooped a trio of bronze medals in the 200m freestyle (2.37.30), 200m fly (3.32.02) and 400m freestyle (5.29.72) and was unlucky not to add more podiums.
In the 13-year-old age group, three Pershore swimmers contested many of the medals. Amy Cooper (13) won three gold medals, taking victory in the 100m fly (1.17.87), 400m freestyle (5.14.82) and 200m IM (2.48.05). She also took silver in the 200m freestyle (2.29.86) and 200m backstroke (2.49.21) plus third places in the 200m fly (3.11.67) and 100m backstroke (1.19.33) to complete her haul.
Hannah Simister (13) bagged a gold medal, with her victory coming in the 50m breaststroke (41.46). Simister, who was in excellent form all weekend, then added three bronze medals in the 50m freestyle (33.11), 200m IM (2.58.54) and 100m freestyle (1.11.60).
Amy Weston (13) grabbed a handful of medals, powering to first places in the 50m fly (35.03) and the longer distance 200m fly (3.02.86) and having to settle for silver in the 100m freestyle (1.11.55) and 50m freestyle (32.97). Weston was another swimmer who picked up numerous speeding tickets.
Callum Sanderson, competing in the 14-year-old category, not only bagged five medals but joined the exclusive sub-30 club for 50m freestyle. Sanderson’s sole victory came in the 400m freestyle (5.06.51) with a massive 20-second PB. He then added silver in the 50m freestyle, dipping under the 30-second barrier for the first time with a 29.82. Three bronze medals also came in the 100m freestyle (1.06.53), 100m backstroke (1.17.79) and 200m IM (2.46.65).
Jasmine Taite (14) grabbed four medals in the girls 14-year age group with a string of powerful swims. Gold medals were won in the 50m fly (34.46) and 50m backstroke (36.20), with a silver in the 100m fly (1.23.09) and bronze in the 200m freestyle (2.32.14) completing her weekend programme.
Other Pershore swimmers just outside the medals, producing PBs or getting speeding tickets included Max Murray (9), Robert Thorner (9), Tamara Marsden (9), Martha Cross (9), Ella Webley (9), Jasmine Hoskins (10), Amelia Gearey (10), Hazel Clay (11), Suzanne Capewell (11), Melissa Radley (12), Naomi Marsden (12), Helena Leach (13) and Chris Vizard (12).
Pershore’s head coach Tom Naughton said: “There was some really impressive swimming from the whole squad and it’s great to see new faces making competitive debuts.
“Although the medal haul was great, it was actually most pleasing to see so many of our swimmers receiving speeding tickets!”