Four young swimmers from Worcester Swimming Club grabbed podium places including two gold medals in the long distance events at the Worcestershire County Championships at Redditch this weekend.
Matthew Richards (14) and Will Gearey (13) won gold medals in their respective age groups in the 1500m while Kai Gooden-Morris snatched silver in the 15-year age category. Rebecca Yates, just 12, added to the medal tally for Worcester picking up a fantastic silver in the girls 800m.
Richards was in excellent form, dominating his race from the start and proving far too strong for his local rival from Pershore. At the half-way stage of the gruelling 1500m (60 lengths), Richards looked comfortably in control and up by almost 25m on his nearest age-group rival. He then continued to push hard in the back 750m before hitting the wall to take the gold in 17.57.19 and a huge personal best by over 23 seconds.
Gearey managed to defend his title that he’d won in 2015 although his time was some way off his personal best. Gearey, who joined Worcester from Pershore SC in October, took first place in 18.51.01 for first place with a steady race pace, eventually winning by eight seconds from his rival from Stourbridge who put in a late surge.
Gooden-Morris was edged into the silver medal in his age group, clocking 18.55.02 and again just slightly outside his personal best.
In the girl’s 800m event, Yates was competing in her first long distance County Championships, but showed no sign of nerves. Taking it out strong from the gun, Yates powered to the silver medal in 10.44.93, knocking half a minute off her previous personal best in the process.
Other swimmers producing good performances but just outside the medals in fourth places included Oscar Van Vuren (aged 17) in the boys 1500m and Sophie Pettit (aged 12) and Jennifer Gearey (aged 14) in the girls 800m.