Worcester Swimming Club fought hard to finish a well-deserved third in Mercian League Final held at Rugby.

Facing stiff opposition from City of Coventry, Leamington, Blythe and Wombourne, the Mercian League format is for ages 10, 12, 14 and Open (age as at 14th July 2018) and an ideal competition for younger swimmers.  Worcester had qualified for the final in third place, following good performances in earlier rounds.

The first ten events were predominantly relays across the various age groups, with Worcester’s teams putting in tremendous efforts but finding themselves just being edged out of the top positions.  The men’s open 4 x 50m medley team of Robert Latta, Sean Mahon, Alex Jackson and Craig Strachan produced a superb second place.

And after ten events, it was Coventry in first place with 49 points, with Leamington just behind on 45 points and Worcester back in fifth on 30 points.

Worcester had to wait until event 12 for their first win, which came courtesy of Jacob Cutler in the boys 10/u 50m backstroke (38.56).  The team the didn’t have to wait long for more victories with Lydia Cooper producing a dominant swim in the girls 14/u 100m backstroke (1.13.84).  Caitlin Adair went out hard in the Ladies Open 100m fly, leading from the gun to storm to first place in 1.12.14.

There were second places for Asha Mahanta in the girls 10/u 50m back (40.88), Owen Kirby in the 14/u 100m back (1.12.61), Alex Jackson in the Men’s Open 100m fly (1.05.75) and Georgia Cooper in the Ladies Open 100m back (1.18.91) – all helping to get Worcester amongst the points.

After 25 events, Coventry maintained a slim lead in first place on 120 points and Leamington on 115 in second, while Worcester had now climbed to third on 94 points.

Grace Ryder claimed second place in the girls 10/u 50m breaststroke (45.41) as did Macey French in the 14/u 100m free (1.08.75).  Hannah Simister produced a personal best in the Ladies Open 100m breaststroke (1.24.25) to take the win and maximum points for Worcester.  Lauren Hill also won the Ladies Open 100m free (1.04.60) which rounded off a very strong performance from the team’s open swimmers.

After 40 events and with just the team relays left, Coventry had extended their lead in first place (198) over Leamington in second (173) and Worcester in third (148).

Worcester again found the opposition very strong in the relays.  As they had earlier, the Men’s Open 4 x 50m freestyle team of Alex Jackson, Craig Strachan, Alex Hughes and Robert Latta provided the team’s highest placing with second place behind Coventry.

The final standings saw Coventry pick up the trophy with 249 points.  Leamington were second (216 points), Worcester third (186 points), Wombourne fourth (171 points) and Blythe fifth (166 points).

Commenting on the result, Worcester’s head coach, Mark Stowe, said: “I was delighted with the effort of the whole squad throughout the three rounds…lots of great swims and wonderful team spirit…everyone giving their all for the team!”

The full squad competing also included Milly Hemming, William Thomas, Lottie Richardson, Harry Guest, Ruby Ingles, William Pridden, Amelia Gearey, Jack Sweeney, Daniel Thomas, Grace Ciancio, Archie Darby-Duffield, Lottie Martin, Leah Rowe, Lucy Keating and Dylan Lewis.