By Liam Moakes Wednesday 12 September 2012 Updated: 12/09 19:03
MANY years of dedication were rewarded in spectacular style when Pershore Swimming Club clinched promotion to the Premier League at the 38th annual Nuneaton & District Junior Swimming League Finals at Wolverhampton - a feat witnessed by the Mayor of Evesham, Coun Robert Raphael.
The road to success in the league began only three years ago when Pershore entered the league in Division Three and immediately won promotion.
They then secured a high ranking in Division Two as they only narrowly missed a place in last year’s finals, but this year they won through to the coveted finals and converted it into winning promotion.
The club won their first trophy before racing had even begun by being named the best turned out team, with thanks going to the organisers of the ‘Pershore Olympic Ball’, held at Deer Park Hall near Great Comberton, and especially Richard and Emma Gill for putting the club’s name in the raffle.
First prize worth £500 went to Pershore SC and was spent on kitting out all the swimmers in the final in the club’s new colours.
There were 51 events and Pershore did not have to wait long for their first win, delivered by ten-year-old Abbey Park Middle School pupil Simon Sweatman in the boys 10-yr and under (10/u) 50m freestyle as he broke the championship league Division Two record with 31.15.
Pershore’s next victory came from Isabella Woodcock in the girls 10/u 50m breaststroke in 44.74. With a well fought for second place, Sweatman added another five points in the boys event, together with another 2nd from the 9-year medley relay. The team (4x25m) consisted of Sam Doyle, Luke Betteridge, William Gearey and Hamish Cross.
At this stage Pershore were sitting in equal third place and work still needed to be done to secure a promotion place.
Another two first places came from Tazmin Pugh in girls 12/u 50m butterfly in 31.31 (new Division Two record), together with the girls 10/u medley relay team of Naomi Marsden, Woodcock, Maisy Robertson and Daisy Tolley coming home in 1:15.65.
It looked as though Pershore had struck a rich vein of form and the 10/u boys medley team of Doyle, Sweatman, Josh Sharratt and Tom Bailey gained an invaluable five points and second place immediately afterwards.
Teamwork is the key
Magnificent teamwork brought Pershore home in first place in the boys 10/u freestyle as the team of Tom Bailey, Chris Vizard, Sweatman and Gearey clocked 1:05.91, only 0.4 outside the Division Two record.
Ten-year-old Tolley delivered a well deserved first place despite having to swim up an age group higher in the 11/u 50m fly.
This was followed in the girls 12/u 50m freestyle by another win and her second Division Two record of the day, beating the previous record of 30.21 which had stood since 2004 in a time of 28.84.
Ten-year-old Naomi Marsden - fresh from a week-long swim camp at the home of multi-Olympians at the swimming academy at Kelly College - put her top coaching to good effect by taking first place and setting a new 2-second PB in the girls 10/u 50m backstroke, whilst in the very next event William Gearey came home in the 9-year 50m freestyle in 36.51 to take the maximum six points. Gearey also broke a Division Two record for his 25m freestyle with 16.51.
A further win came from the 12/u freestyle team of Sweatman, Joseph Doyle, Jack Betteridge and Drew Jones, with Sweatman gaining maximum points again in the individual 11/u 50m freestyle.
By the two thirds stage of the final the club had climbed into second place but, with the gap to third place being only a few points, Pershore had to fight to the very end.
In the event they delivered, recording three second places featuring Marsden, Hannah Kenwright, Pugh and Louise Hird in the girls 12/u 4x25m medley and in the equivalent boys race featuring Owen Leeks, Betteridge, Jones and Doyle.
The final event was the 8x25m freestyle relay made up of one girl and one boy from each of the 9, 10, 11 and 12 age groups.
This comprised Megan Annis (9), Gearey (9), Tolley (10), Sweatman (10), Jasmine Taite (11), Sammy Whitehill (11), Pugh (12) and Leeks (12), with Pershore’s finishing total 199 points as they came second on the day.
With Isobel Cumming, Amy Weston, Rebecca Phillips, Charlotte Downey, Kate Sanderson, Jasmine Taite, Hannah Simister, Ollie Cross and Sammy Whitehill all playing their valuable part in accumulating points individually and in the relays, it was once again a true team effort from Pershore.
The strong Bilston team, drawing from a well populated patch and benefiting from plenty of swim time, finished on top with 241, with Cannock Phoenix in third with 195. They were followed by Northgate, Welshpool and Coalville.
After the first three rounds were added to the finals’ total, Bilston on 24 points took top place, again followed by Pershore just behind on 23 and Cannock on 22. Northgate took the fourth promotion spot to the Premier League on 18 points.
Pershore were awarded with their runners-up trophy, the best turned out team trophy, a relay trophy and a special mention of Tazmin Pugh’s two Division Two records and Simon Sweatman’s freestyle record as he collected the Division Two record trophy having made the greatest improvement on the previous record on the day.
PERSHORE once again did all they could in
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