Worcester Swimming Club came runners-up in this year’s PGL Final held at Gloucester after one of the closest finishes for several years. Redditch just managed to hold off a tremendous effort by the youngsters at Worcester to lift the prestigious trophy.
The PGL League is aimed at younger, developing swimmers under 14 years and the perfect opportunity for up-and-coming talent amongst Worcester’s ranks to get their first taste of real competition. The league is unique in that it has strict time limits for individual and relay events, with speeding tickets issued for breaching these limits.
Eight clubs (including Worcester) battled it out in the final including Redditch, Wyre Forest, Haden Hill, Warley Wasps, Pershore, Bromsgrove and Northgate.
Cameron Leach got Worcester off to the perfect start, winning the boys 13/14 year 50m fly in 36.52, Katie Pettit also ensured maximum points with first place in the girls 11/u 25m breaststroke (22.50) and Lydia Cooper won the Girls 13/14’s 50m back in 36.14.
Worcester didn’t have to wait long for more maximum points, with the girls 12/u 100m medley relay team of Poppy Sawyer, Lucy Rogers, Betsy Richards and Tamara Marsden delivering first place in style.
After 10 races, Bromsgrove found themselves in the lead on 50 points, with Worcester and Redditch joint second place on 46 points.
Worcester maintained their position in the competition, with some good performances across the age groups. India Sherwood kept Worcester in the hunt for the title, winning gold in the girls 10/u 25m fly (20.18) and Lizzie Poole also claimed first place in the girls 11/u 25m fly (18.71). Lillie Sawyer made it a hat-trick of victories, storming to first in the girls 9/u 25m backstroke (22.20).
After 18 races, Pershore had climbed from fourth position to take the lead on 91 points, with Worcester retaining second spot on 87 while Redditch had dropped to fifth place.
Worcester were unlucky not to take further wins, with several swimmers just edged into second place in their individual events including Ciara Mahanta, Harry Guest, Ben Gooch and Carlos Gutierrez.
Worcester managed to keep the pressure on Pershore and moved into first place after 34 races, with Bromsgrove second on 167 and Redditch up to third place on 161.
The girls 11/u 100m medley quartet of Libby Nawarycz, Katie Pettit, Emma McKay and Hannah Alfrink proved too strong for the opposition to take first place, and the mixed 9/u 100m medley team of Harry Guest, Grace Ryder, Lillie Sawyer and Ben Gooch also secured gold.
The girls 11/u 100m freestyle relay quartet of Alfrink, Poole, Pettit and Mahanta powered to gold to make it two wins from two in the age group.
After 42 events, there was more change at the top, with Northgate now in the lead on 205, pushing Worcester back into second and Bromsgrove third. With just eight events remaining, there was only four points separating first and third, meaning it would go down to the wire.
Worcester’s final two wins came from the girls 10/u 100m freestyle relay team, with Sherwood, Tallulah Richards, Nawarycz and Erin Morris holding on to take maximum points, and the mixed 9/u 100m freestyle team of William Pridden, Lottie Richardson, Grace Ryder and Ben Gooch also produced a fantastic win.
Unfortunately, Worcester picked up quite a few individual and relay speeding tickets including Tamara Marsden (girls 12/u 50m back), William Pridden (boys 10/u 25m fly), Betsy Richards (Girls 12/u 50m free), Tallulah Richards (Girls 10/u 25m back), Amelia Gearey (girls 13/14 50m free) and Emma McKay (girls 12/u 50m fly) which meant zero points from these events.
Redditch timed their push just right, pilling on the points in the last eight races to snatch the trophy from Worcester, eventually winning by a clear margin.
The final points were:
Redditch 314, Worcester 287, Pershore 281, Northgate 266, Bromsgrove 265, Warley Wasps 227, Haden Hill 221 and Wyre Forest 204.
The full squad also included Nathan Redfern, Charlie Dixon, Harry Ryder, Lucy Beasley, Baeli Fern, Lydia Cooper, Harry Chandler, Carlos Gutierrez, Owen Kirby, Oliver Foster, Amelia Ciancio, Alice Lloyd, Carmen West, Jack Adams, Evan Rogers and Jacob Smith