Six Worcester swimmers qualified for Swim England’s Home Nations, held at Ponds Forge in Sheffield in the first week of August, with five winning medals.
Louis Doyle, making his debut at Home Nations, was the pick of the bunch, winning gold in the 50m backstroke and bronze in the 50m free. Doyle’s first event was the boys 15-year-old 50m freestyle, qualifying for the final (25.35) in third place in a new pb. Doyle couldn’t quite manage to better his pb in the final, but his swim was good enough to win bronze in 25.41. In his strongest event, Doyle was hopeful for gold in the 50m back and he duly delivered. In the heats, Doyle again qualified in third (28.77), just 0.01 off the fastest time. With an excellent start and great underwater work in the final, Doyle powered to victory in 28.60 to secure a fantastic gold medal.
Daniel Day, who medalled twice at Home Nations in 2017 in backstroke, was hunting a medal in the 200m free and 50m free this time. In the heats of the 13-14 age group, Day produced a 2.05.56 (pb) to qualify sixth. In the final, Day went for it from the start, going out hard in the first 100m to be right up with the top three. He managed to hold his form on the back 100m to touch in 2.03.48 (pb) to win a well-earned bronze. In the 50m free, Day swam 26.00 to qualify strongly in third place, and in the final, ducked under 26 seconds for the first time to bag a brilliant bronze in 25.96.
Charlotte Hall bagged Worcester’s fourth medal in the ladies 17 and over category in the 50m fly. In the heats, Hall was a little off the pace to qualify in eighth with 29.37. However, Hall saved her best performance this season for the final. Swimming in one of the outer lanes, Hall managed to produce an incredible swim of 28.84 to snatch bronze by 0.10 seconds, making up for the disappointment of finishing fourth by 0.08 seconds in 2017.
Lauren Annis was another making her competitive debut at home nations. Annis’ improvements this year have been remarkable, and she qualified in the girl’s 14-year 50m backstroke. In the heats, Annis produced a huge pb (31.89) to qualify ranked sixth. Later in the final, Annis swam on her pb to touch the wall in 32.04 and a superb eighth.
Older sister, Megan Annis, also qualified for the 50m backstroke, competing in the 15-year-old age group. She swam slightly off her personal best, clocking 32.01 to narrowly miss out on the final.
Will Gearey was aiming to add to his silver medal from British Summer Championships the week before. Competing in the boys 15-year-old 100m fly, Gearey knocked over a second of his pb, to qualify for the final in sixth (1.00.28). Looking to go sub 60 seconds in the final, Gearey produced another pb (1.00.13) but wasn’t enough to get onto the podium finishing sixth.