Worcester’s swimmers began the 2014 County Championships in fine style with a splendid 59 medal haul on the opening weekend of 1st & 2nd March.

Of the 16 events contested, the Club provided the prestigious Senior Open Champion in six… Halesowen next best with 4.

Tabitha Monkouse continued her excellent form and as in 2013, dominated many of the Ladies events winning 4 senior titles of her own: 100m Individual Medley, 50m & 100m Butterfly plus 200m Breaststroke… winning the last of these by a massive 6 seconds.

By contrast, claiming his first Senior title was James Marsh. Fresh from achieving his first National Qualifying Time at Sheffield in February, James swam superbly to take the Men’s 200m Breaststroke with a beautifully crafted race.

Also in the Men’s events, Robin Williams’ electric speed and tactical acumen saw him romp home in the 100m Butterfly, well clear of a high quality field, whilst special credit goes to Mike Adair… he had to settle for Bronze in both the Open 50m and 100m Backstroke but recorded great new Personal Best times in the Finals, his 59.68 in the 100m event his first time under the magic 1 minute barrier!

Encouragingly, Worcester picked up medals in all the age groups, with many of the Club’s youngest swimmers excelling.

Dual club swimmers Ellie Bainbridge and Alex Rosser-Barnet who both also train at Coventry were practically unstoppable in the 10/u age group… Ellie winning 4 Gold & 4 Silver including a brilliant 1st place in the 400m IM, over 40 seconds clear of her nearest challenger…and Alex an equally impressive 2 Gold, 4 Silver and 1 Bronze, the two Golds coming in his favoured Butterfly.

Also, in the 10-year old age group, Isaac Shepherd swam a perfect 50m Backstroke to be the only Boy under 40 seconds and take his first ever County Gold medal.

In the 11’s, there were medals galore.  For the boys, Matthew Richards picked up 2 Silver and 3 Bronze…albeit just as importantly, Midland Qualifying Times in the 400m IM and 100m Backstroke… whilst the Girls racked up an impressive 10 medals between them:
Olivia Fletcher was in sparkling form…winning 3 Gold, 2 Silver & 1 Bronze… plus two additional Midland QT’s in the 200m Breaststroke and 400m IM.  One of the events Olivia won was the 100m Butterfly… team mate Leyla Tayar finishing less than a second behind in 3rd for a well deserved Bronze medal.

In the same 11/u age group, Jenny Gearey showed real class in winning 3 medals, one of each colour, including Gold in the 50m Backstroke.  Her 100m Backstroke and 200m Freestyle were also outstanding Midland QT’s.

In the 12’s, medals proved a little harder to come by but Amy Owens (Bronze 50m Fly) and Sophie Davis (Silver 200m Breaststroke) reaped the reward for all their hard work.

In the 13’s, Josie Morris enjoyed another very successful County Championships, winning Gold in the 100m IM plus Silver in both the 400m IM and 200m Breaststroke. However, four other 13-year old Worcester girls won medals too, showing real strength in depth here…Alice Hayden Jones won Gold in the 200m Breaststroke, Hattie Goff a Silver in the 50m Backstroke plus Yasemin Tayar and Ellie McGinnes a Silver & Bronze medal respectively in the 100m Backstroke.

Other swimmers to really catch the eye were Lucy Clayton…her third in the 14’s 200m Breaststroke in an excellent Personal Best augurs well for the shorter 50m & 100m events next weekend…and Sophie Groves who swam a brilliant 50m Backstroke for 3rd in the 15/16 year old age group and a highly creditable 5th in the Championship Final.