PERSHORE Swimming Club were given a hard draw in round one of the Worcester Winter League at the weekend, as they found themselves up against some of the county’s biggest clubs including Redditch and Halesowen, but they managed to secure a creditable third place.
Looking to repeat last year’s performance when they secured a place in the Worcester Winter League A Final, Pershore could only manage third spot despite a brave effort from the whole team.
The mixed 11/u 6x25m medley relay team got Pershore off to a good start, sealing an excellent second place in 1.45.26 and only just being beaten by Redditch.
Jasmine Taite took fourth in the 15/u 100m freestyle in 1.07.80, while Callum Sanderson produced a new personal best time of 1.05.32 to also take fourth in the boys’ 100m freestyle.
Naomi Marsden secured another second place for Pershore in the girls’ 13/u 100m backstroke in 1.14.73, while Simon Sweatman produced the team’s first maximum points by winning the boys’ 100m backstroke easily in 1.11.17.
Amy Cooper, only 13, was entered in the ladies’ open 100m fly and produced a fantastic effort for fourth in 1.18.36. Angus Jones pushed hard in the men’s open 100m fly, producing a personal best of 1.12.20 against some very strong, national swimmers.
Pershore did not have to wait long for two more victories, with Megan Annis and Kieran Cooper both securing maximum points. Annis dominated the girls’ 11/u 50m freestyle from the start, winning comfortably in 31.01, while Cooper also looked strong, touching in first place in 32.91.
After ten events, Redditch had built a comfortable lead with 53 points, with Halesowen in second with 44 and Pershore on 43 points.
Amy Weston snatched silver in the girls’ 13/u 100m fly in 1.16.02, while Sweatman made it two wins from two by smashing his rivals with a 1.10.19 by nearly 10 seconds.
Alex Dobell produced a PB in the ladies’ open 100m backstroke with a 1.17.46 and Jones battled hard again with a 1.13.13.
Annis was another swimmer celebrating double wins, taking the 11/u 50m backstroke in 35.10 and producing a new PB on the way and a Midland Qualifying Time (MQT).
Patrick Heeks grabbed second place in the boys’ 50m backstroke, just outside his PB, clocking 36.63.
Amy Cooper was back in action in the 100m fly again, this time in the 15/u event. Cooper produced a 1.20.19 to take third place, while Chris Vizard also managed third in the boys’ 100m fly with 1.14.28 (PB).
Hannah Woodcock (10) swam up several age groups in the girls’ 13/u 100m breaststroke, showing her competitive spirit to take third place and a new PB in 1.32.42. Will Gearey stormed to an easy victory in the boys’ 100m breaststroke, producing an excellent time of 1.21.91 (MQT).
After 20 events, Redditch had extended their lead on 103 points, with Halesowen on 89 and Pershore only two points back on 87 points.
Alexandra Barry made it four wins on the night for Pershore, producing a massive PB of 34.86 to win the girls’ 11/u 50m fly. Heeks took his second silver of the evening in the 50m fly, touching the wall just behind his Redditch rival in 35.80.
Hannah Simister was third for Pershore in the girls’ 15/u 100m breaststroke in 1.29.57, while Jack Betteridge claimed fourth in the boys’ event in 1.25.96. Michael Evans produced a 1.03.60 in the men’s open 100m freestyle and also 1.28.63 in the 100m breaststroke.
Woodcock, despite producing her first MQT of the year in the girls’ 11/u 50m breaststroke with another PB in 42.22, was pushed into second spot by a strong Redditch swimmer. Kieran Cooper could not make it two victories from two but still managed an impressive second in the boys’ breaststroke in 45.51.
Weston and Sweatman, both swimming up an age groups, took third and second in the girls’ and boys’ 15/u 100m back respectively. Weston produced a new PB of 1.13.12, while Sweatman hit the wall in 1.10.77.
After 30 events, Redditch looked unstoppable on 159 points, while Halesowen had managed to open up a bigger gap on Pershore with 134 and 126 points respectively.
Marsden grabbed second place in the girls’ 13/u 100m freestyle in 1.09.99, while Gearey dominated the boys’ 100m freestyle with another MQT in 1.02.70 and winning by a clear margin.
Alice Hall completed Pershore’s individual performances with a 1.29.05 in the ladies’ open 100m breaststroke.
With just the mixed relays left, Pershore had unfortunately too few events left to claw back second place from Halesowen.
Determined to finish the event strongly, Pershore’s 11/u mixed 6x25m freestyle team took the fight to Redditch with an amazing win in 1.32.39.
The 13/u mixed 6x25m freestyle team also produced a phenomenal effort, winning their event in style in 1.25.03, beating both Redditch and Halesowen comfortably.
The 15/u relay team battled hard for fourth place, while the open team found themselves up against formidable opposition.
The final positions were Redditch 212, Halesowen 175, Pershore 166, Oldbury 140 and Perry Beeches 95.
Pershore’s head coach, Tom Naughton, said: “This was always going to be a tough test for our young team and the draw could have been kinder.
“However, I cannot fault the effort from the whole team and they did the club proud, especially against much bigger clubs. We’ll hopefully receive a slightly easier draw in round two to give us any chance of getting to the A Final!”