A RECORD eight Pershore swimmers compete at the Midlands Age Group Championships in Coventry from Saturday for two weekends.
They will face the best competitors from nine other counties, including the cities of Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester and Nottingham.
Pershore head coach Tom Naughton said: “I’m very proud of all the swimmers going to compete at Coventry and, for a club of our size, it is a fantastic achievement.
“We know it’s going to be extremely tough to get among the medals with the standard of the competition.
“However, I’m sure Pershore will surprise people as we usually do.”
Patrick Heeks, the youngest of the team at 10, tackles the championships for the first time and is ranked top five for the 100-metre and 200m backstroke. He won his first county gold medals this year and received a Worcester county call-up.
William Gearey, 11, has qualified for the 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle, 100m and 200m backstroke, 100m and 200m breaststroke, 100m butterfly and 200m and 400m individual medley.
He hopes to challenge for medals in the freestyle and backstroke events. County swimmer Megan Annis is a district newcomer in the 100m backstroke.
Breaststroke specialist Isabella Woodcock, also 11, aims to go one better after 100m silver at the regionals in 2013.
Simon Sweatman, 12, swept the board with 16 golds at this year’s county championships and bagged a 100m district freestyle bronze last year.
He competes in the 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 100m and 200m backstroke and 200m and 400m individual medley.
Naomi Marsden and regional first-timer Amy Weston, also 12, have qualified for the 100m backstroke with the former ranked county number one in the 50m.
Beth Carter, 14, will tackle the 100m breaststroke.
Meanwhile, several Pershore youngsters made competitive debuts at the Stourbridge level three open meet in Wolverhampton with 42 personal bests and two gold medals.
Jasmine Hoskins secured her first gold in the girls’ nine years 50m backstroke in 46.36 seconds for a big pb.
Hoskins also produced pbs in the 50m freestyle (40.79), the 50m breaststroke (1.01.99) and 100m individual medley (1.52.69).
Marsden won the 12 years 50m breaststroke in a pb of 43.63.
Owen Kirby was close to grabbing a podium finish with strong performances in the boys’ 10 years age group.
He recorded five pbs with fourth in the 50m backstroke (45.78) and fifth in the 100m individual medley (1.42.99) as well as the 50m freestyle (40.63), 50m breaststroke (55.35) and 50m butterfly (51.42).
Caitlin Yates finished fourth in the girls’ 10 years 50m breaststroke in 51.44 and bagged pbs in the 50m backstroke (47.23), 50m butterfly (50.49) and 100m individual medley (1.45.04).
Jamie West produced pbs in the boys’ 13 years 50m freestyle (38.59), 50m backstroke (43.79), 50m breaststroke (45.40), 50m butterfly (53.41) and 100m individual medley (1.40.11).
Other pbs went to 10-year-olds Alex Bryne in the 50m freestyle (44.44) and 50m butterfly (58.33), Hazel Clay in the 50m backstroke (56.05), 50m breaststroke (1.00.11) and 100m individual medley (2.00.25), Suzanne Capewell in the 50m freestyle (50.23), 50m backstroke (57.15) and 50m breaststroke (1.04.76), Sophie Thomas in the 50m breaststroke (53.23), 50m butterfly (52.38) and 100m individual medley (1.47.34) and Max Aris in the 50m backstroke (47.17) and 50m butterfly (51.42).
For those aged nine, Alice Gregory beat her record in the 50m freestyle (47.04) and 50m backstroke (52.11), Tamara Marsden in the 50m butterfly (55.53) and 100m individual medley (1.47.33), William Mullen in the 50m freestyle (47.16), 50m backstroke (54.22) and 50m breaststroke (1.09.68) and Robert Thorner in the 50m breaststroke (1.11.48) and 100m individual medley (2.17.29).