On Saturday 14th December, Worcester again played host, for Round 3 of the National League, sponsored by Arena. After narrowly missing a place in the prestigious Midlands Final, Worcester faced a rematch with the two other Premier Division teams, who also came tantalisingly close to reaching the Final.
In the previous round, Worcester tied with Long Eaton and beat local rivals Halesowen by 9 points but this time, the tables were turned with Worcester having to settle for third place. The final points were:
- Halesowen 210
- Long Eaton 199
- Worcester 195
- Bilston 186
- Hereford 156
- Calverton & Bingham 101.
It was a really close gala throughout, with little to choose between the top four teams and wins pretty evenly split.
Worcester enjoyed 10 first places with many of its leading older swimmers… Robin Williams (Open 100m Butterfly), Mike Adair (Open 100m Backstroke) and Tabby Monkhouse (Open 100m Breaststroke)… all delivering big swims to win. However, it was 11/u Matthew Richards who stole the show, bagging a brace in the 50m Freestyle and Backstroke, whilst Alice Hayden Jones and Lucy Clayton notched up hugely impressive wins in the 13/u & 15/u girls 100m Breaststrokes races respectively.
As always the Relays proved very successful for Worcester with the Club finishing 1st or 2nd in 11 of the 16 relay events, better than any other team. The 13/u & 15/u Girls in particular showed how it should be done! In the 13’s, Hattie Goff, Emily Stancer, Daisy Ellis and Josie Morris put in a brilliant team performance to win the 4x50m Freestyle relay… but it was the 15’s who really excelled. Sophie Groves, Lucy Clayton, Yasemin Tayar & Samantha Gearey romped home in the Medley Relay with Hattie & Emily then coming in for Lucy & Yasemin to snatch first from Long Eaton in the Freestyle Relay by just 0.3 seconds!
The only disappointment really was the lack of 2nd place individual swims, just 3 from Jenny Gearey (11/u 50m Backstroke), Megan Willets (Open 100m Backstroke) and Tabby Monkhouse (Open 100m Butterfly)… the swimmers just not converting enough of the very many 3rd place finishes into 1st’s and 2nd’s for the Club to turn a narrow points deficit around.
Head Coach Mark Stowe was pleased: “Having missed the Final, this was something of a ‘dead rubber’ but the swimmers still put in 100% effort with many fine performances. The attitude was great and those swimmers who rocked up for just one relay swim to support their Club, deserve special recognition/praise… thank you to James Allen, Jack Weston, Yasemin Tayar & Emma Lovesey.”