Worcester Swimming Club enjoyed a fantastic medal haul at this year’s West Midlands Youth Championships held at Coventry’s international 50m pool, with four of its swimmers crowned regional champions. Gold medals were won by Eleanor Niel, Lucy Clayton, Sam Hall and Anthony Redfern, with the girl’s 4 x 100m relay team also breaking a long-standing County record.
Championship-debutant Niel qualified easily through the heats of the girl’s 15 year 50m breastroke in first place, before powering to claim regional gold in 36.79.
Sam Hall gave Worcester their second gold medal, with a dominant display in the 16 year 100m breaststroke. Hall also qualified for the final as top seed with a 1.12.55 before going even quicker in the final to claim gold in 1.10.97. Hall was unlucky not to make it a hat-trick of wins, being edged in silver medals in both the 200m IM in 2.22.11 and 200m breaststroke in 2.38.62. Hall is currently on course to make the British Age Group Championships in July in the 200m breaststroke
Breaststroke specialist Clayton also qualified comfortably for the girl’s 17 year and over 50m breaststroke final. Clayton looked in control from the gun in the final, taking the gold medal in 35.18 and another Worcester swimmer with her sights set on the British Championships held in Sheffield.
Redfern claimed four medals in the 17 year and over age group, with his best performance coming in the 100m free. Qualifying in third place in the heats, Redfern produced a massive performance to take joint first place in 53.57. He then added silver in the 50m free in 24.72 plus bronze medals in the 50m back in 29.18 and 50m fly in 26.41 to complete a successful weekend.
Harvey Lloyd, competing at his first Regional championship, showed no sign of nerves and was in superb form in the boys 15 year 100m breaststroke. Lloyd eased through the heats clocking 1.16.28 to place him as third seed. In the final, Lloyd turned in fifth place, before powering through on the final 50m to snatch the silver medal in a massive new Pb time of 1.15.56.
Charlotte Hall bagged a brace of silver medals in the girl’s 15 year old age group. Hall lost out on a gold medal by 0.03 in the 100m freestyle final, touching the wall in 1.02.97 to take silver. She then added a second silver medal in the 50m fly with a time of 30.62.
Charlotte Yates was another swimmer making her competitive debut at regional level and produced a series of strong performances and smashed five Pbs. Competing in the 16 year old age group, Yates secured places in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke finals. Yates took bronze in 1.20.79 in the 100m breaststroke and 2.56.85 in the 200m breaststroke to make it bronze.
Yasemin Tayar produced a superb swim in the 50m fly final to win her first bronze medal at regional championships with a time of 31.50.
In the team events, Worcester’s boy’s quartet snatched an excellent bronze in the 14/16 year 400m medley against much older opposition just behind Ellesmere and Halesowen. Matt Richards lead the team out in the 100m back with a quick 1.05.85, Sam Hall pushed hard on the breaststroke leg with a 1.11.48, while Aaron Cook produced a massive Pb on fly in 1.05.72 to hand over to Robert Latta on freestyle anchor freestyle to bring the team home with a 1.00.50.
The girl’s relay 400m medley team of Jenny Gearey, Olivia Fletcher, Tayar and Hall was just beaten into fourth place with a 4.45.61 but claimed a Worcestershire County relay record in the process.
Other Worcester swimmers competing at the championships included Kai Gooden-Morris, William Hadley, Matt Redfern, Sophie Davis, Hattie Goff, Sophie Groves and Ellie McGinnes who all produced Pbs and many managed to reach finals in their respective age groups.