WORCESTER POWER INTO CONSECUTIVE NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE SWIMMING FINAL
Worcester Swimming made Club history again, securing a place in the prestigious National Arena League finals for the second year running. Worcester had qualified for the national B Final for the first time in the club’s history in 2018 and were hoping to repeat the feat for the 2019 finals.
The West Midlands regional final was held at Rugby on the 8th December, with Worcester drawn against the top five other clubs in the league which included City of Derby A, Boldmere A, Leamington Spa, Sutton-in-Ashfield and Abingdon Vale.
After the previous two rounds, Worcester were top of the league (on gala points) with Derby in second and Leamington third. Worcester knew that finishing first or second in the final at Rugby would clinch the club an historic place in the national finals again but up against fierce competition the challenge was not going to be easy.
Worcester got off to a perfect start, with Olivia Fletcher delivering the club’s first win and maximum points in the Ladies Open 200m IM, touching in first place in 2.21.16. Sam Hall, back from his studies at Cardiff University, nearly made it two wins from the first two races for Worcester, producing a brilliant PB to take second in the Men’s Open 200m IM (2.12.23).
With the standard of opposition very high, Worcester had to wait several races before taking another first place.
After ten events and the first set of relays out the way, Derby had a very slim lead (43 points) over Worcester in second (42 points), with Boldmere third on 32 points.
Onto the individual races across the age groups, with Megan Annis taking second in the girls 15/u 100m (1.09.54). Promising youngster Harry Chandler was on fire in the boys 10/11 50m butterfly, winning comfortably in 32.66 to boost Worcester’s chances.
Worcester didn’t have to wait long for another win, this time David Annis taking maximum points in the boys 13/u 100m back, with a commanding performance from start to finish hitting the wall in 1.09.23. Will Gearey never looked troubled in the boys 15/u 100m fly, also leading from the gun to in 1.00.91 with another commanding performance.
Jennifer Gearey was edged into second in the Ladies Open 100m back (1.06.91) adding more essential points to Worcester’s tally and keeping them in touch with early leaders Derby. Max Murray, who has recently joined Worcester, proved to be a great addition to the club, with a superb second in the boys 13/u 100m fly (1.07.69).
At the midway point, Derby (107 points) had extended their lead over Worcester (99 points) by eight points, with Boldmere chasing the two leaders in third on 92 points.
Will Gearey was soon in action again, this time in the boys 15/u 100m free – coming second in 54.63 and just touched out on the finish by his Boldmere rival. Tabitha Monkhouse stormed to victory in the Ladies Open 100m breaststroke in 1.12.99, easily powering away from the field to win in spectacular fashion.
Chandler bagged himself a brace of victories, taking his second maximum points of the night in the boys 10/11 50m freestyle (30.63) and Worcester’s only swimmer to win both of his individual swims.
Aimee Monks looked strong in the girls 13/u 100m freestyle, going out hard in the first 50m to win in 1.02.93, with a comfortable margin over the other teams.
Murray added another second place for Worcester, this time in the boys 13/u 100m freestyle (1.01.52) while Fletcher nearly had her second win in the Ladies Open 100m freestyle, just being edged out on the final stroke by City of Derby to clock 58.77.
With just the relays left to complete, the final was set for a nail-biting finish, although Worcester were going to need a massive finish to claw back Derby’s lead. Derby remained ahead on 135 points, with Worcester on 128 points and Boldmere chasing them hard for second and that all important slot in the national final.
The Boys 15/u medley quart of Louis Doyle, George Glover, Gearey and Daniel Day produced a dominant display on each leg to win easily and bag maximum points.
There were close second places for other relay teams including the Boys 10/11 4 x 50m medley, Boys 13/u 4 x 50m freestyle, Girls 13/u 4 x 50m freestyle and Men’s Open 6 x 50m freestyle.
Worcester finished the gala off in style, with a tremendous win for the Ladies Open 6 x 50m freestyle relay. Charlotte Hall, Fletcher, Madeleine Hoare, Jennifer Gearey, Josie Armstrong and Monkhouse proved too strong for the opposition.
The final standings were:
City of Derby A 208
Boldmere A 179
Sutton in Ashfield 147
Abingdon Vale 141
The result means that Worcester has qualified for the National Arena B Final at Cardiff in March next year, when they will be pitted against some of the biggest swimming clubs in the country.
Mark Stowe, Worcester’s head coach, said: “It was a wonderful team performance. Without exception, every single swimmer stepped up, swam superby and contributed to a thrilling result. I was delighted. Making the national finals last year was brilliant but as is so often the case in sport, it's sometimes harder to stay at the top than get there in the first place. Therefore, to repeat that achievement again this year is really pleasing...huge congratulations to all the swimmers, it's reward for all their hard work and dedication!”
Full team: Meghan Higgs, Amelie Forsyth-Ball, Grace Earp, Jessica Day, Jacob Cutler, William Pridden, William Thomas, Emily Clacher, Jessica Dobson, Emma McKay, Adam Rutter, Sam Hawes, Madeleine Fox-Haskins, Lauren Annis, Natasha Dobson, Naomi Marsden, Antony Redfern, Milly Hemming, Ciara Mahanta, Matthew Thomas, Bethan Stokes, Alex Farmer, Bryony Lowe, Kai Gooden-Morris, Libby Gooden-Morris and Beau Vaughan-Hawkins.
Dunstable Swimming Club have very much enjoyed competing once again in the National Arena Swimming League's West Midlands Division 2 gala's. Always great fun and extremely competitive, our swimmers particularly enjoy a banter bus for travelling to leisure centres, where they can enjoy each others company and always perform well as they did this year in Redditch.
DSC's swimmers have shown over the 3 rounds some extremely gutsy swims and this has been shown in a 3rd place, 2nd place and 4th place respectively over the 3 rounds.
Round 2 in particular was an unbelievable gala for DSC! Our team battled to no less than 15 1st places on that night, a real testament to the swimmers, coaches, parents and all other volunteers that are needed to compete at this level, and the sheer hard work to do so.
This is now DSC's second winter without a pool of our own due to a complete refurbishment of the current site. The swimmers have shown true talent and determination to seriously compete at this high level with fantastic results. A tight hard working committee has also ensured that training has continued in the many pools that we travel around over the many months it has taken. We are all very much looking forward to returning to our home pool in early spring 2019.
Thank you to all DSC swimmers that competed and did their best, for what is a high profile event. Thank you also to the organisers and supporters that make this event so well organised with over 10,000 swimmers competing all across the country on the same night!
DSC very much look forward to competing in National Arena Swimming League again in 2019.
For more information regarding Dunstable Swimming Club or to arrange a free trial contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
WORCESTER EYE-UP PLACE IN NATIONAL FINAL AGAIN!
Worcester Swimming Club made a strong start to their 2018 National Arena Swimming League campaign, with a dominant performance in Division One (West Midlands) taking maximum league points. The team produced a staggering 17 wins and 19 second places from 50 events.
With a tough-looking first round draw at Tamworth against Orion, Chase, City of Hereford, Braunstone and Long Eaton, Worcester’s squad knew that they needed to win the gala to stand a chance of repeating the club’s historic achievement of reaching the national final again in Cardiff.
Worcester didn’t have to wait long for their first victories, securing maximum points in three team relay events.
The team’s first win was delivered by the boys 9/11 years 4 x 50m freestyle relay team, with Harry Chandler, Jacob Cutler, William Pridden and William Thomas snatching victory in 2:11:32.
Another win soon followed, this time courtesy of the girls 15/u 4 x 50m freestyle relay, with the quartet of Madeline Fox-Haskins, Lauren Annis, Natasha Dobson and Megan Annis proving far too strong for the opposition, touching in first in 1:54:57.
The team’s third victory came in the Open category, with the ladies 4 x 50m medley team (Naomi Marsden, Tabitha Monkhouse, Charlotte Hall and Olivia Fletcher) storming to a clear win in 2:01:53.
After the first ten events, Worcester were on 51 points and already had opened a lead on their nearest rivals, Chase, back in second on 39.
Chandler claimed his first of two individual wins, with an easy victory in the boys 10/11 years 50m backstroke (35:42), while Louis Doyle powered to first place in the boys 15/u 100m back in 1:02:25.
Amelie-Forysth-Ball never looked troubled in the girls 10/11 years 50m fly, winning in style in 36:16, and Will Gearey dominated the boys 15/u 100m fly from the start hitting the wall first in 1:01:00.
After 26 events, Worcester had extended their lead, sitting in first place on 119 points, with City of Hereford moving up to second place on 98, with Chase down to third on 92 points.
In the girl’s 10/11 years 50m breaststroke, Grace Earp produced an excellent second 25m leg to win in style in 41:97 and maximum points, while William Thomas took the win in the boys 10/11 years 50m breaststroke in 42:38.
Max Murray, one of the Club’s newest additions, produced a superb debut performance in the boys 13/ u 100m fly, winning by a clear margin in 1:06:88. In the Ladies Open 100m breaststroke, it was a similar story with Tabitha Monkhouse winning easily in (1:13:76).
After 34 events, Worcester looked set for victory, continuing to pile on the points (160 points) over second-place Chase on 124 and Hereford back in third on 121.
Chandler ensured individual number two, with another excellent swim in the boys 10/11 years 50m free (31:67), and Aimee Monks looked impressive taking victory in the girls 13/u 100m free in 1:03:93.
Gearey also bagged his second individual of the night, just holding off a late challenge by his Orion rival, to win the boys 15/u breaststroke in 1:13:14.
And with the relays just left, victory for Worcester looked certain, barring a disaster, and it was more a question of how many points they could finish to secure a high league position.
Three more wins in the final team events helped their points tally, with the boys 13/u 4 x 50m relay team (Adam Rutter, Murray, Milo Reed and David Annis) winning in 1:59:22; the Ladies Open 6 x 50m free team of Hall, Fletcher, Madeleine Hoare, Jennifer Gearey, Josie Armstrong and Monkhouse bagged first place in 2:37:19; and the Men’s 6 x 50m free team (Joel Smith, Kai Gooden-Morris, Jakob Baker, Matthew Thomas, Gearey and Samuel Hall) finished the gala in thrilling fashion winning in 2:28:44
The final standings (after 50 events):
Long Eaton 136
Mark Stowe, Worcester’s head coach, said: “A fantastic overall team performance which puts us in a good position to challenge for the top two slots and hopefully another place at the national finals in April.
After Round 1, Worcester find themselves second in the Division One table just one point behind City of Derby A, and Round 2 has seen the club drawn against Radford, Arnold, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Bilston and City of Derby B up at Alfreton Leisure Centre.
Worcester’s Full Squad in Round 1:
Meghan Higgs, Jessica Day, Ciara Mahanta, Jessica Dobson, Emma McKay, Kieran Cooper, Daniel Kearley, Alex Farmer, Milly Hemming, Beau Vaughan-Hawkins, Bethan Stokes, Bryony Lowe, Harvey Lloyd, Libby Gooden-Morris and Cameron Leach.
© 2019 The National Arena Swimming League