Worcester Swimming Club has reached the final of the West Midlands Premier Division of the National Arena Swimming League for an unprecedented third consecutive year after a superb team effort at Derby.
With an outstanding victory under their belt from Round 1, Worcester travelled up to Derby for Round 2 to face City of Derby A, Redditch, Leamington Spa, Halesowen and Northgate, knowing that a second place finish would guarantee them a spot in the final. The winners and runners up in the West Midlands division will secure places in the prestigious National Arena A and B finals held in Cardiff, which brings together the top 20 swimming clubs in England and Wales.
Round 2 proved to be a two-horse race between City of Derby and Worcester, with both clubs pulling away from the others within the first ten events.
Worcester got off to a strong start to the gala, taking second and third places in the opening five events, with rivals City of Derby recording several maximum points.
Worcester’s first victory of the evening was delivered by the boy’s 13/u 4 x 50m medley relay quartet of Daniel Day, Sam Hartley, Will Gearey and Louis Doyle, and the Club didn’t have to wait long for its second win with the Men’s Open 4 x 50m Medley team of Sam Hall, Anthony Redfern, Robin Williams and Joel Smith powering to maximum points.
After the ten events, City of Derby was in the lead with 55 points, with Worcester back in second on 48 points and Leamington third on 34 points.
David Annis, one of many promising youngsters in the club, never looked troubled in the boys 11/u 50m backstroke, taking the victory in 36.41. Will Gearey then added another first place, winning the boy’s 13/u 100m breaststroke on the touch in 1.13.89. Jenny Gearey ensured back-to-back wins for Worcester, with a dominant display in the girl’s 15/u 100m back in 1.07.25. Daniel Day made it win number six for Worcester, easily winning the boys 13/u 100m backstroke in 1.09.68 by a clear margin, while Matt Richards won the boys 15/u 100m fly in 1.01.16, timing his finish to perfection.
After 18 events, Derby had extended their lead over Worcester to 9 points, with both clubs now pulling away from the other four teams – Derby on 96 points and Worcester on 87.
Megan Annis stormed to victory in the girl’s 13/u 100m fly in 1.10.26, while Gearey claimed his second individual win taking the boys 13/u 100m fly in dominant fashion in 1.03.42. Anthony Redfern claimed Worcester’s final individual victory on the night, powering his way to win the Men’s Open 100m free in 51.82.
With just the team relays left after 42 events, Derby remained comfortably in the lead on 215 points and Worcester back on 191 in second, with a clear gap to third place of 42 points. Worcester was judged edged into second place in four of the relay events, with many going right to the last stroke. However, in one of the most nail-biting races of the evening, Worcester claimed a memorable victory in the Men’s Open 6 x 50m freestyle beating City of Derby. Redfern, Smith, Hall and Williams were joined by Richards and Ben Holmes to end the gala on a high, over-taking City of Derby in the last two legs in very a close finish.
The final standings were:
City of Derby A 255
Aimee Monks, Issy Wilkinson, Ciara Mahanta, Bryony Lowe, Olivia Eggleton, Milo Reed, Adam Rutter, Michael Agoston, Rebecca Yates, Lauren Annis, Georgia Hill, Olivia Fletcher, Charlotte Hall, Sophie Davis, Matthew Redfern, Matthew Thomas, Aaron Cook, Kai Gooden-Morris, Amber Harrison, Lucy Clayton, Hattie Goff, Sophie Pettit, Yasemin Tayar, Maisie Lyons, Harvey Lloyd, Brodie Willetts and Isaac Shepherd.