Worcester Swimming Club pulled off a huge win in Round 1 of the West Midlands Premier Division of the National Arena Swimming League at The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre in Rugby, beating one of the top seeded clubs.

In what proved to an extremely exciting and tense finish, Worcester claimed their first victory of the 2016 campaign beating City of Coventry ‘A’ by just three points. As well as facing stiff opposition from Coventry, Worcester was also drawn against several other top West Midlands’ clubs including Bilston, Chase, Sutton-in-Ashfield and Wolverhampton.

Worcester got off to a steady start to the gala, recording several third and fourth place finishes in the opening races. Worcester had to wait until the sixth race before taking their first maximum points, courtesy of a strong performance from the boy’s 13/u 4 x 50m medley relay team. The Club soon notched up two more wins in the relays, this time delivered by the boy’s 15/u 4 x 50m freestyle and Men’s Open 4 x 50m Medley teams.

After the ten events, City of Coventry was in the lead with 49 points, with Worcester back in second on 46 points and Bilston third on 33 points.

Will Gearey produced Worcester’s first individual win of the night, with a dominant swim in the boys 13/u 100m breaststroke in 1.13.91 and Aimee Monks also claimed maximum points with a strong performance in the girls 10/11 50m butterfly in 34.02. Daniel Day took first place in the boys 13/u 100m backstroke in 1.08.88, while Charlotte Hall powered to a win in the girls 15/u 100m fly in 1.07.71.

After 18 events, Coventry had extended their lead over Worcester to five points, with both clubs now pulling away from the other four teams – Coventry on 85 points and Worcester on 80.

Megan Annis edged out her rivals on the touch to win the girls 13/u 100m fly in 1.11.95, while Gearey claimed his second individual win taking the boys 13/u 100m fly by half a length in 1.03.98. Matt Richards kept the pressure on Coventry, with a superb swim in the boys 15/u 100m freestyle to take the win in 55.80, and James Marsh won the Men’s Open 100m breaststroke in a nail-biting finish with 1.07.07.

Worcester’s series of wins helped them to close the gap on Coventry, and at the half way stage, things couldn’t be closer with both teams on 110 points, and Bilston some way off on 88 points.

Harvey Lloyd added more maximum points for Worcester, producing a huge Pb to win the boys 15/u 100m breaststroke in 1.11.66 and Anthony Redfern claimed victory in the Men’s Open 100m freestyle with a powerful display in 52.40. And after 34 events and some fine performances, Worcester had managed to overturn Coventry’s lead and into first place by five points on 148.

There were also second places for David Annis in the boys 10/11 50m back, Jenny Gearey in the girls 15/u 100m back, Robin Williams in the Men’s Open 100m fly and Olivia Fletcher in the girls 15/u 100m free and 100m breaststroke plus Monks in the girls 10/11 50m back, Richards in the boys 15/u 100m fly and Megan Annis in the girls’ 13/u 100m freestyle.

With the individual races complete, Worcester retained a slender lead (182 points) over Coventry by just two points and it was all down to the team relays to settle the tie.

Coventry pushed Worcester all the way on the relays, taking four victories across the various age groups, whilst Worcester produced two excellent wins in the boy’s 15/u 4 x 50m medley and Men’s Open 6 x 50m freestyle races. Despite Coventry’s best efforts in the relays, they couldn’t close the gap on Worcester who recorded a historic victory over their bigger Midland rivals by just two points.

The final standings were:

Worcester 221

City of Coventry 219

Bilston 160

Chase 160

Sutton-in-Ashfield 151

Wolverhampton 138

The full team competing in Round One also included Michael Agoston, Sam Hawes, Milo Reed, Bryony Lowe, Maisie Lyons, Olivia Eggleton, Issy Wilkinson, Emma McKay, Louis Doyle, Isaac Shepherd, Georgia Hill, Rebecca Yates, Sophie Pettit, Lauren Annis, Matthew Thomas, Kai Gooden-Morris, Aaron Cook, Amber Harrison, Sophie Davis, Ellie McGinnes, Sam Hall, Joel Smith, Ben Holmes, Charlotte Yates, Sophie Groves and Hattie Goff.