Twenty two Worcester swimmers travelled to the new Commonwealth Games pool at Sandwell for the West Midland winter short course championships on 4/5th November, the first major event of the new season

As always, the standard was very high – especially in the Senior age group with a powerful University of Birmingham squad raising the bar – but the Worcester swimmers excelled, each and everyone performing with distinction

Star of the show was Bella Hoare who did a hugely impressive double, winning senior Gold in both the 1500m and 800m Freestyle.  Her 1500 was a beautifully paced race, leading from the start, and knocking 15 seconds off her Personal Best Time to bag her first senior title at this level.  Even more impressive though was her 800 on the second day – definitely tired, she had to dig deep to win her second Gold medal, by just 1.15s, in a really gruelling race.

Whilst there were no other Senior medals won, many swimmers made 16+ Finals, notably Ben Gooch (100m Backstroke, 50 & 100m Butterfly), Alice Davison (50m Butterfly), Jasmine Kilmartin (200m Backstroke) and Grace Ciancio (200m Breaststroke).

It was in the Junior (15/u) races where Worcester truly excelled, racking up 4 Gold, 3 Silver and 3 Bronze medals!

Theo Rogers won 6 of those, including 2 of the Gold medals, showcasing his talent/speed beautifully.  After a “nearly day” on the Saturday – having to settle for the minor medals – he was on fire on the Sunday, winning both the 50m Butterfly and Backstroke with perfect swims to finish narrowly – 0.22 and 0.12 seconds respectively – ahead of high class opposition

Worcester’s other Gold medalists were Asha Mahanta and Dylan Lewis – both of whom produced stunning Personal Best times to not just top the Podium but also earn qualification for English winter nationals.

Asha produced a typically brave swim in the 100m Butterfly, attacking from the start, her awesome 1.05.40 shaving 1.4s off her previous best, whilst Dylan – at 14, a year younger than most of his rivals – was silky smooth in winning his 100m Backstroke, also brilliantly knocking 1.4s off his PB.

And in one of the most exciting races of the Championships, Brecon Westwood took a well deserved 2nd place in the Junior 200m Breaststroke Final.  Lying 4th for much of the race, a blistering last 50m saw her just sneak past the swimmers from Stoke and Leamington, smashing 2.5s off her PB to win an awesome Silver medal.

Although off the Podium, there were also excellent Junior Finals swims from Grace Ryder (50m and 200m Breaststroke) plus 13-year old Tarek Bluck who finished an amazing 4th in the 100m Freestyle.

And there were many other excellent swims from the rest of the Worcester squad – with lots of PB times – well done to one and all: Hana Duncan, Isabelle Thorn, Prudence Goodison, Martha Colville, Alex Hayes, Abigail Haldane, Carmen West, Emily West, Lottie Richardson & Henry Hoare.

Attention now turns to English winter short course Championships, just before Christmas.  Good luck to Worcester’s 6 superstars who have qualified: Grace Earp, Bella Hoare, Asha Mahanta, Ben Gooch, Theo Rogers and Dylan Lewis