Worcester’s swimmers rounded off their 2014-15 season in superb style with some outstanding performances at the revamped National Summer Championships.

2015 saw British Swimming introduce a new competition structure culminating in a split British and then Home Nations Championships…. within each event, the fastest 20 swimmers in the UK invited to compete at British Championships, the next 20 quickest to English, Welsh or Scottish meets.

After a string of excellent results in the March-May qualifying window, 7 individuals and 1 relay team from Worcester took up their invitations to test themselves against the best in the country… and proved very much up to the task.

Lucy Clayton continued her improvement this year with another Personal Best time at the British Championships. Competing in the 16’s 50m Breaststroke, she recorded a splendid 34.63 but narrowly missed the Final by a mere 0.43, finishing a hugely creditable 14th and the confidence that she can go even faster next year.

At the “Home Nations” events, though, Worcester swimmers made a real impact.

The first of these competitions would be the Welsh Championships held in Swansea from 23rd to 29th July where 12-year olds Olivia Fletcher and Matt Richards took part in 12 and 13 events respectively in the 13/under age group, showcasing their talents across a wide range of strokes/distances and enjoying massive success.

Olivia qualified for 10 Finals and although fractionally outside the medals in several events, did secure an impressive Bronze in both the 50m Freestyle and 50m Breaststroke plus a well deserved Silver for her superb 1.03.47 in the 100m Freestyle.

Matthew was on fire, setting Personal Best times in every event… often in the Heats and then again in the Finals! He picked up 5 medals, two Bronze in the 100m Butterfly and 200m Individual Medley plus 3 Silver in the 400m Individual Medley, 50m Butterfly and 50m Backstroke, just 0.30 and 0.12 seconds off Gold in the two sprints events.

The English Championships followed from 4th to 9th August in Sheffield and there the Worcester swimmers truly excelled, with 100% Personal Bests, 100% Finals, 3 medals and a new British record!

Worcester’s para-swimmer Becky Redfern reduced her own 100m Breaststroke British Record in the S.13 visually impaired classification to an incredible 1.20.56, winning Gold in the Multi-Classification event and setting herself up for a tilt at qualification for Rio next year.

Another medallist in the Breaststroke events was Sam Hall. Competing at his first national championships, the 15-year announced himself by qualifying for both the 100m and 200m Finals with big PB’s which he then lowered again in the Finals! Whilst he had to settle for 6th in the 200m Final, a storming final 25m saw Sam grab a Bronze in the 100m Final in 1.11.01, with just 0.34 seconds separating 5 swimmers at the touch!

The Club’s other Breaststroke specialist James Marsh was on the PB trail too and in the 18/over age group, made his first ever National Final as well… his excellent 2.28.01 securing a fine 8th place, a great reward for all his hard work and dedication.

Worcester’s other senior swimmer Robin Williams was certainly not to be outdone though! The 25-year old recorded two Life Time Bests in the 100m and 50m Butterfly Finals and although he had to settle for 5th in the 100m Final, he won an amazing Silver in the 50m event, just 0.04 behind the winner in a simply stunning 25.17.

And the fortnight of competition was rounded off brilliantly by the Men’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay team of Mike Adair, James Marsh, Robin Williams and Anthony Redfern. Having secured their spot at the Championships from the Regional meet in May with 4.06.41, the guys went 3.58.99 in the Heats and then 3.57.60 in the Final! Cheered on by many of the Club’s swimmers/parents watching on the live internet feed from Sheffield, they each set PB’s splitting 1.03.30, 1.05.90, 55.67 and 52.73 respectively for the Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly and Freestyle legs, finishing a tantalising 0.38s off the 3rd placed team from Hatfield.

Head Coach Mark Stowe was delighted: “These swimmers work incredibly hard to hone their skills and get in the best possible shape for these Championships so to see them perform wonderfully well was a real pleasure, I’m thrilled for each and every one of them”.

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