EIGHT young swimmers from Pershore competed at this year’s British Gas Midland Age Group Championships held at Coventry’s 50m pool and produced a string of personal bests across the two weekends as they battled hard against some of the top swimmers in the region.
William Gearey, competing in the 11-year-old age group, achieved top ten placing in nine events including a silver medal in his favourite 100m freestyle and also came fifth in the overall BAGCAT ranking points.
Gearey produced a new long course PB of 1.05.41 in the 100m freestyle to secure the silver medal which takes him to second in the UK end of year rankings.
In the 200m IM he went into the heats ranked fourth and swam 2.43.64 to secure his place in the final. Although he did not manage to improve his qualifying time, Gearey swam to fourth in the final of the 200IM in 2.45.02.
In the longer distance medley event, he clocked a new PB of 5.46.41 to take another fourth spot and again just missed out on the medals.
Gearey also notched up several other new long course PBs including 2.26.04 in the 200m freestyle (sixth), 2.43.13 in the 200m backstroke (sixth), 1.28.80 in the 100m breaststroke (seventh), 1.17.97 in the 100m fly (seventh), 3.10.14 in the 200m breaststroke (ninth) and 5.10.12 in the 400m freestyle (ninth).
Simon Sweatman, competing in the 12-year-old age group, also produced several good results throughout the weekend and some new long course personal bests.
Sweatman’s best placing came in the 100m backstroke, which saw him grab eighth position with an excellent time of 1.13.72. Battling hard against some very strong age group opposition, Sweatman also secured numerous top 20 placings, posting 1.16.30 in 100m fly (14th), 2.39.35 in the 200m backstroke (18th), 2.41.71 in the 200m IM (19th) and 5.43.94 in the 400IM (20th).
He also recorded 1.06.09 in the 100m freestyle, 2.44.55 in the 200m freestyle and 5.43.94 in the 400m IM.
Patrick Heeks, competing in the ten-year-old age group, produced a couple of strong performances in his first district championship. Showing no signs of nerves, Heeks grabbed two top ten finishes in the backstroke events, producing a 1.22.48 in the 100m backstroke (9th), despite a small slip at the start, and then went on to record a 2.52.20 in the 200m backstroke to claim tenth place.
Heeks will be looking to add more qualifying times in 2015 as he will still be able to compete in the ten to 11-year-old category.
Megan Annis, another newcomer to the district championships, was gunning for medals in the girls 11-year-old 100m backstroke. Despite having to contend with a faulty start and a restarted race, Annis kept her cool and produced a massive long course PB of 1.20.99.
Isabella Woodcock, a silver medallist in the 100m breaststroke in 2013, produced a 1.31.93 in the heats which was a little outside her current PB but enough to secure her a top 20 position in the girls 11-year-old age group.
Naomi Marsden produced an excellent swim in the girls 12-year-old 100m backstroke, powering down the first 50m and then bringing it back strongly to clock 1.16.58.
Marsden, who swam at the 2013 championships, found herself achieving 16th place.
Amy Weston also swam in the 12-year-old 100m backstroke and produced a new long course PB of 1.19.89 as she also looked strong.
Beth Carter, who recently joined Pershore from Evesham and competed in the 14-year-old age group, started well in the 100m breaststroke. Carter produced a strong first 50m leg and was leading her heat at the turn, touching the wall in 1.23.17.
Tom Naughton, Pershore’s head coach, commented: “The standard of competition at the Midlands is just below national and I’m extremely proud of all our swimmers.
“Every one of them fought hard to produce new long course personal bests and they certainly flew the flag proudly for Pershore. I’m sure they’ll all learn valuable experience from this which will come in useful at the next long course competition.”