EVESHAM Swimming Club enjoyed a successful Ross PGL final in which, having qualified for the event in eighth place, they finished the night in a very creditable sixth.
With Evesham occupying fourth place for much of the night behind eventual winners Worcester, runners-up Cheltenham and third placed Redditch, the end result could have made even better reading.
However, the relay races proved a step too far for the market town club, leaving head coach Andy Mabbett with something to think about for the future.
The event started brightly for Evesham as Rebecca Brown finished third in the 13/14-year-old 50m fly with a new personal best time of 37.72.
In the 12-year-old 50m backstroke Luke Funnell and Brodie Mabbett both finished third with times of 40:03 and 42:63 respectively.
This was soon followed by an emphatic win by the boys ten-year-old medley relay team of Sam Parker, Kieran Cooper, Oliver Foster and Jacob Goodall in a time of 1:22:64.
The girls ten-year-old medley team of Reka Varvedo Beaton, Sophie Pettit, Rachel Egan and Elysia Henley came second in a time of 1:23:12, just three hundredths of a second behind the team that came first. After the first ten races Evesham were sitting in second place behind Worcester.
Over the next ten races Evesham stayed in the running, with Eleanor Hamby producing a fine swim in the girls 13/14 50m backstroke with a new PB of 38:43 and Simeon Todorov – in his first PGL final – also setting a new PB in the nine-year-old boys 25m breaststroke with a time of 29:41.
The boys 12-year-old medley team swam ‘too well’, if there is such a term, as they picked up a speeding ticket in a time of 1:12:79.
James Carsberg finished second in the boys 11-year-old 25m freestyle with a time of 16:37, whilst Oliver Foster came third in the ten-year-old 25m fly with a time of 21.33.
For the girls Rachel Egan finished second with a time of 20:68 in the ten-year-old fly so, after the first 20 races, Worcester held the lead with Evesham sitting in a very creditable fourth.
The next 20 races produced some incredible swims, resulting in new PBs for some of the club’s PGL final debutants.
Elysia Henley set a new PB in the girls ten-year-old 25m freestyle (19:31) and Faye Castle did likewise in the nine-year-old 25m backstroke (23:83), giving her a second place finish, whilst Daniel Chalk produced one of the outstanding swims of the night in the nine-year-old 25m backstroke (23:23), which unfortunately earned him a speeding ticket. Without time limits he would have grabbed first.
The club’s experienced swimmers were not to be outdone by the newcomers, with Toby Vale taking first in the boys 12-year-old 50m freestyle (34:50 PB).
Emily May Sandals then recorded a PB in the girls 12-year-old 50m freestyle to finish third, Jonathan Tarring came second in the boys ten-year-old 25m backstroke (23:38 PB) and Sophie Pettit came first in the girls ten-year-old 25m backstroke (21:48 PB).
The last block of individual races saw Annie Green finish second in the girls 13/14 50m freestyle in a new PB of 33:78, followed by Rosie Denning setting a new PB in the girls 12-year-old 50m fly in a time of 41:54.
Alistair Witheford powered to first place in the boys 12-year-old fly in a time of 39:42. PGL final first-timer Sam Parker produced one of the other outstanding swims of the event in the nine-year-old boys 25m fly, smashing his PB with a time of 21:03, but unfortunately like Daniel Chalk in the backstroke he also picked up a speeding ticket for his efforts.
Kieran Copper rounded off the individual performances with first place in the ten-year-old boys 25m breaststroke with a time of 23:32 and, with 11 relay races to go, Evesham were still sitting in fourth place.
The 11-year-old boys team of Jonathan Tarring, Kieran Cooper, James Carsberg and Toby Vale finished third in their freestyle relay in a time of 1:08:63 and this was soon followed by the ten-year-old boys team of Oliver Foster, Harry Ward, Jacob Goodall and Kieran Cooper, who won their race, only to find they had produced a fantastic time of 1:08:68 which earned them a speeding ticket.
The boys 12-year-old team of Alistair Witheford, Toby Vale, Harry Ward and Luke Perry finished second, only 11 hundredths of a second behind winners Redditch.
These successes were then followed by some lower placed finishes as the depth of the other squads shone through with Evesham being edged into sixth place at the end.
Against such strong opposition Evesham still recorded five first places, seven second places and six third places, plus four speeding tickets, showing how far the club has come.
PGL rules mean not all swimmers who competed for the club in the rounds could represent the club at the final, which came as a disappointment to some.
As such, the club is keen to thank all of their 2014 PGL swimmers as well as the parents for their outstanding support. Swimmers will be thanked in person at the club’s summer barbecue in early July in recognition of their contribution to this year’s success.