A SEVEN-strong team from Pershore Swimming Club aged between ten and 12 travelled to Bristol at the weekend to compete in the Aqua Sulis Grand Prix and came away with an excellent 29 podium finishes as many personal best times were smashed.
The competition – a Level One 50m format meet – attracts many of the best swimmers from the South West region and further afield including Bristol, Somerset, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Hampshire.
Hannah Woodcock (10) was in strong form, picking up two gold and three silver medals in the 10-year-old age group. Woodcock made it double good in the breaststroke, with excellent first places in both the 100m (1.35.43) and 200m (3.20.90).
She then added silvers in the 200m IM, producing a new Long Course PB of 3.04.88, and then swam a 39.24 in the 50m backstroke and 33.83 for the 50m freestyle for two further podium finishes. Woodcock also produced PBs in the 100m freestyle (1.14.32) and 50m breaststroke (46.27).
Simon Sweatman (12) picked up four medals with a powerful display of swimming in the boys 11/12 age group. Sweatman found he was going head-to-head in many of the events with his team-mate Will Gearey and the two Pershore swimmers shared the spoils.
Sweatman’s best performance came in the 100m backstroke, producing 1.14.68 to take the gold. He then added silver in the 400m freestyle with a 5.05.36 and two bronze medals in the 200m backstroke (2.37.11) and 50m freestyle (29.37). Sweatman enjoyed a good weekend, with strong performances in the 200m IM (2.46.04), 100m fly (1.17.48) and 50m breaststroke (43.64).
Gearey (11) was also contending for medals in the boys 11/12 age group. Gearey produced 14 long course PBs during the weekend and picked up two gold, six silver and two bronze medals.
The Pershore swimmer made it double gold in both longer distance events, winning both the 400m freestyle (5.01.77) and 400m IM (5.45.68). Second places were secured in the 200m IM (2.38.92), 200m freestyle (2.21.55), 100m freestyle (1.04.01), 100m fly (1.14.17), 50m backstroke (34.77) and 50m fly (32.35) and bronze medals in the 100m backstroke (1.16.35) and 200m breaststroke (3.07.21).
Megan Annis (11), Patrick Heeks (11), Alexandra Barry (11) and Isabella Woodcock (12) – all fairly new to the longer distance format competition – were also in sparkling form and smashed personal bests. All four were unlucky not to podium.
Annis, chasing 2015 Midland Qualifying Times (MQT), produced a series of excellent times including 200m IM (2.57.00), 100m freestyle (1.10.67), 100m fly (1.21.97), 50m backstroke (36.75), 50m breaststroke (42.40), 50m freestyle (31.88), 100m backstroke (1.19.50), 50m fly (35.37), 100m breaststroke (1.34.35) and 200m freestyle (2.44.49).
Barry, one of the many up and coming young talents within the Pershore squad, pushed Annis hard all weekend, also producing a very strong set of times.
Grit and determination
Barry showed grit and determination to produce times that included 200m IM (3.03.13), 100m freestyle (1.14.49), 200m backstroke (3.06.61), 100m fly (1.29.58), 50m backstroke (39.69), 50m breaststroke (48.60), 50m freestyle (34.78), 100m backstroke (1.26.96), 50m fly (37.09), 100m breaststroke (1.44.49) and 200m freestyle (2.45.10) as she moved closer towards achieving her first MQTs.
Heeks again continued to knock chunks off his previous times, with another promising performance over two days. Heeks was also chasing 2015 MQTs and should definitely make the qualifying times for next year.
Heeks’ times were 400m freestyle (5.30.61), 100m freestyle (1.10.77), 200m backstroke (2.52.65), 50m backstroke (37.20), 50m fly (38.14), 200m freestyle (2.37.44), 50m freestyle (33.74) and 100m backstroke (1.20.29).
Isabella Woodcock looked like she was hitting top form again in her favoured breaststroke with some promising times in the early part of the 2014/15 season. Woodcock was edged into fourth in both the 100m breaststroke (1.27.87) and 200m breaststroke (3.14.53), as well as producing new long course PBs in the 50m backstroke (39.88), 50m breaststroke (39.59) and 50m freestyle (33.96).
Pershore are hoping for another record-breaking year at the 2015 County and District Championships and the early form suggests the club are on track to smash previous entry levels.