Three more youngsters from Worcester Swimming Club were crowned Regional Champions at the 2016 ASA West Midlands Age Group Championships in Coventry at the weekend, helping the Club to one of its best ever medal tallies at district level.
Megan Annis and Matt Richards both claimed their first Regional titles with strong performances in sprint events, while Will Gearey added four more titles during another busy weekend of action.
Worcester bagged a total of 15 medals (6 gold, 3 silver, 6 bronze) during the second weekend of the Championships, bringing their overall haul to a staggering 28 medals across both weekends.
Annis struck gold in the girl’s 13 year 50m backstroke. Qualifying for the final in first place with a time of 34.27 in the heats, Annis held off a late challenge from a Boldmere rival in the last five metres, pulling out another massive Pb to snatch a superb gold in 33.68. She also made the finals of the 200m IM, 100m fly, 100m free, 100m fly and 50m breaststroke, producing an excellent all round performance in the Individual Medley to finish in fourth place in 2.40.42 and just outside the medals.
Richards, competing in the boy’s 14-year-old age category, left it to his last event of the Championships to win his first regional gold. Richards, one of the top seeds going into the 50m fly, qualified in third place with ease through the heats with a time of 29.20. In the final, Richards had a great start, getting into his rhythm quickly and despite being under pressure from a strong Chase competitor in the final 25m, held his nerve to take a brilliant gold in 28.48. Richards also made the final of the boy’s 50m free, producing another good swim to win the bronze medal in 27.40 and reached the final of the 100m back (1.09.95).
Gearey was again dominant in the boy’s 13 year-old age category, with victories coming in the 50m freestyle, 50m fly, 100m back and 200m freestyle. Qualifying in first place in the 50m freestyle heats, Gearey never looked in trouble in the final, leading from the start to power to gold in 26.74. It was a similar story in the 50m fly for Gearey, again easing through the heats in 28.64 as fastest seed and then winning the final in 28.62. His closest victory came in the 200m freestyle it what proved to be a thrilling race, with Gearey and Biddulph’s Harrison Barber pushing each other stroke-for-stroke. It came down to the touch, with Gearey snatching the gold with the last stroke in 2.08.70 (Pb) and Barber clocking 2.08.71. In the 100m backstroke, Gearey produced a new Pb to snatch gold in 1.07.78 and he also added silver in the 400m free with a new Pb of 4.35.48.
Worcester’s future looks very bright for the Club, with Daniel Day, Rebecca Yates and Louis Doyle securing podium finishes in the younger 11-12 year age category.
Day, one of several young talents coming through the Worcester ranks, was again in superb form on his championship debut. Day’s best performance came in the 200m back, with a hard-fought silver medal in 2.36.11. He then added bronze in the 100m back with another massive Pb time of 1.13.16, giving him a full set of medals in this discipline. His last event saw his produce a gutsy swim to take bronze in the 200m freestyle (2.21.16).
In the girl’s 11-12 year-old-age group, Yates produced another series of strong swims, adding two more medals to her individual haul. Yates came close to grabbing her first gold in the 50m back, beaten into silver on the touch in final with a 35.22. She then showed her overall potential, with a brilliant bronze in the 200m IM in a new Pb time of 2.42.50. She also made the final of 100m fly (1.20.45).
Doyle ensured Worcester had two swimmers on the podium in the boys 13 year old 50m freestyle, powering his way to bronze with a quick time of 28.46. He also made the final of the 50m fly but just outside the medals with 32.87.
In the girl’s 14 year age group, Olivia Fletcher was up against formidable opposition from City of Birmingham and Royal Wolverhampton, battling hard to get amongst the medals. Fletcher’s efforts paid off in the final of the 50m breaststroke, where she dug deep in the sprint to take bronze in 35.84. She also made the final of 50m back (32.91) and 100m freestyle (1.02.06). Team mates Jennifer Gearey and Amber Harrison also made the 50m backstroke final, clocking 33.16 and 33.30 times respectively.
Other Worcester swimmers who swam at the Championship included Sophie Pettit, Georgia Hill, George Glover, Aimee Monks, Lauren Annis and Aaron Cook – most of whom produced massive Pbs.
Worcester’s head coach, , commented: “Getting so many medals at this level is brilliant and reflects how hard all our swimmers train and prepare for events. We were up against some of the best age group swimmers in the UK so really pleased to have four new regional champions!”