WORCESTER BAG MEDALS AT 2019 COUNTIES
Worcester Swimming Club enjoyed a strong start to their 2019 WCSA County Championship campaign in the long-distance events, coming away with numerous age group medals and senior county title for Olivia Fletcher.
With the Championships taking place across three weekends in January and early February, Wolverhampton Central Baths played host to the 800m and 1500m events.
First event saw male and female competitors tackling the 1500m. Star performance went to Fletcher who powered to victory in the ladies 1500m with an excellent time of 17.42.36. Going out hard from the start, Fletcher never looked troubled by the opposition, winning the event by over 20 seconds from her second-placed rival to win the Senior County title for the first time.
There was also gold for Bryony Lowe, who has recently moved back full-time to Worcester SC, in the 14-year-old age group, with Lowe touching the wall in first place in 18.53.56. Heather Castle claimed bronze in the girls 17 years and over age group, finishing in 18.45.83 and only ten seconds off the silver medal. Lucy Sadler was unlucky not to pick up a bronze medal, edged into fourth place in the girls 15-year age group.
In the boys 1500m event, William Thomas won gold in the boys 12-year-old age group, with a winning time of 22.22.84. Club Captain, Aaron Cook, pushed eventual gold medallist Patrick Meggitt from City of Hereford all the way in what proved to be an exciting race. Cook finished strongly to win the silver medal in 17.13.51.
The afternoon session saw some of the competitors back in action in the shorter 800m distance.
There was gold for David Annis in the boys 13-year age group, putting in a superb swim to take victory in 9.30.68, almost a minute ahead of his second-place rival from Wyre Forest.
Thomas had to settle for bronze in the Boys 12-year age group, pipped in the last 25m by team mate William Pridden for silver. In one of the closest finishes of the day, Pridden claimed silver with 11.23.74, with Thomas touching in third in 11.24.99.
Daniel Kearley and Jack Sweeney were battling it out for medals in the 15-year age group, with Kearley finishing ahead of Sweeney. Kearley snatched silver in 9.46.15, with Sweeney not far behind in 10.02.96 in third.
Cook was again edged out by Meggitt in the 17 year and over age group. In another enthralling race, Cook matched Meggitt stroke for stroke for most of the race, with Meggitt only pulling away at the end to take gold. Cook clocked 8.51.23 for silver.
In girls 800m, Lowe bagged yet another gold in the 14-year age group to finish the weekend with a brace of medals. Lowe never looking troubled in her race, putting in a tremendous effort to win in 9.57.52.
Sadler put her morning 1500m swim behind her to show real strength of character in the 800m. Sadler held off a late challenge from her Redditch rival to snatch a superb bronze in 10.15.74 in the 15-year age group.
The final medals for Worcester came in the girls 17 years and over category, courtesy of Madeleine Hoare and Castle. There was nothing to separate the two swimmers for 775m, with the race coming down to a sprint finish and being settled by the narrowest of margins. Hoare won gold on the last stroke, touching in 9.55.47, with Castle having to settle for silver in 9.55.65.
Other swimmers in action for Worcester including Bethan Stokes (11.14.39), Lydia Cooper (10.40.41) and Madeleine Fox-Haskins (10.05.57) who all swam well but finished just outside the medals.
The second weekend of the Counties will see the action move to Worcester – the first time that the County Championships have been held at the new Perdiswell Pool.