Worcester Swimming Club young stars shine,winning Golds and setting new Records
The weekend of 3rd and 4th October saw the English Schools Swimming Association (ESSA) 66th Inter-Divisional Swimming Championships take place in Leeds. This National competition sees school age pupils from across the whole of England representing their Regions.
Worcester Swimming Club were represented by Year 8 pupils Olivia Fletcher, Matt Richards and Will Gearey, who all represented the West Midlands Region (comprising Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Birmingham and the Black Country). The trio took part in the “Junior” section (for year 7 or 8 pupils) and were joined by swimmers from across the Region, as well as the “Intermediate” section (for year 9 or 10 pupils) and “Senior” section (for years 11, 12 or 13).
The weekend started off with Will taking Gold in the 100M Freestyle with an exceptional 58.72secs taking him under the magical 60 second barrier for the first time, and a new National Schools Record for the event. It also takes Will to the top of the UK rankings for 12 year old boys. A great start for our swimmers.
Next up was Olivia, who stormed to a new Personal Best (PB) of 5 min 14.35 secs in the fearsome 400M Individual Medley. This event sees swimmers doing four lengths of Butterfly, followed by four lengths Backstroke, four lengths Breaststroke and finally four lengths Freestyle. This excellent swim by Olivia saw her take the Silver medal.
The next event was Matt, also taking part in the 400M individual Medley. Matt had a stunning race, leading from the dive all the way through to the finish, to touch home in 5 min 00.26 secs for a huge new PB, Gold medal and a new National Schools Record taking him to the fastest time for a twelve year old in the UK rankings.
Will took back to the water for the 100M Butterfly, setting a new PB in 1min 07.75secs to place just outside the medals in fourth place. A very good swim but not quite quick enough for a medal on this occasion.
Next up for Worcester’s swimmers were the Medley Relays, where four swimmers each complete 100M in the four strokes. Olivia was first up with her teammates, completing the Butterfly section for the team in a very respectable 1min 11.13secs. The girls battled hard but were pushed back into fifth place on this occasion. Matt and Will were next up with teammates from Rugby and Hereford. Matt completed the Butterfly section in a very strong 1min 07.59secs and handed over to Will on the Freestyle who completed his section in another brilliant time of 58.80secs. The boys strong finish to the race saw them take the Bronze medal.
Sunday saw our trio take back to the pool. Matt was first up in the 200M Individual Medley. After his strong performance on Saturday Matt attacked this event, taking part in an excellent race with a swimmer from Kelly College for the South West Region through the whole race. Matt completed it in another strong PB of 2min 21.16secs to take Silver, missing out on Gold by only 0.03secs from the South West swimmer to secure the second fastest swim in the UK rankings for a 12 year old (behind only the winning time in this race).
Olivia then stepped to the blocks for her 200M Individual Medley. In this event Olivia dominated her competitors, leading from the start through to the finish, securing another fantastic PB of 2min 26.20secs for Gold and another National Schools Record for the youngsters, as well as taking herself to the top of the UK rankings for 12 year olds.
The final races of the weekend for our swimmers were the Freestyle Relay events, with four swimmers each completing 100M Freestyle. Will and Olivia would represent in these races. Will led off the boys event with another strong showing of 59.00secs setting a healthy lead for the boys which his teammates would not let slip and the boys finished in another 1st to take Gold. Olivia was second into the water for the girls team completing her leg of the Relay in a exceptional 60.10secs which was the fastest leg of the race for the West Midlands and helped the girls secure Bronze.
The trio therefore returned home with three medals apiece, an excellent return on their hard work throughout the weekend.
Worcester Swimming Club “away” swimmers, who live and train at the prestigious Ellesmere College in Shropshire, Ellie Bainbridge “Junior Girls” and Tazmin Pugh “Senior Girls” were also in attendance, with Tazmin winning two Golds in the 100M and 200M Butterfly events.
The end of the competition saw the Junior boys team win the trophy for Top Junior Team after strong performances all weekend and the Junior girls team secured third for the girls event. The Region finished in a very respectable fifth place overall.
Worcester Swimming Club Chairman Simon Richards was delighted for the youngsters. He said “To be selected to represent your Region in a national event is a huge honour. Our swimmers performed exceptionally well and proved their strength amongst their peers nationally with some very fast early season speed. We are all very proud of them and look forward to seeing what they will achieve now through the rest of the season.”
Awaiting copyrighted image from Eddie Rolmanis Photography