THE ANNUAL Worcester County Relay Championships at Wolverhampton Central Baths were hugely successful for teams representing Redditch Swimming Club.
Redditch entered more teams than in recent years, with entries in every age group from 9-10 years through to the open category, with a further team competing in the masters events.
Every one of Redditch’s relay teams qualified for their respective finals and Redditch swimmers won seven medals – nine gold, three silver and five bronze – helping them to second place overall.
Redditch also captured the Joe Bradley Memorial Trophy which is presented to the top girls’ team on overall points at the end of the competition. Redditch had only won this trophy twice before – in 1984 and 1986 – beyond the memory of almost anyone at the club these days.
In the morning session, the mixed masters team of Laura Cranshaw, Paul Wilkes, Talia Mitchell and Adam Watson were Redditch’s first finalists and they got things off to a great start with a convincing victory in the 101-139 years (combined age) 4x50m freestyle final.
This win was quickly followed by a second, when Hollie Richmond, Lizzie Kingham, Alisha Stephenson and Amelia Rodd stormed to victory in the 15-16 years 4x50m medley relay in a record-breaking time of 2:02.63 – both a championship-best performance and a new county record.
Further golds in this session came from Redditch’s 9-10 years girls’ team of Hannah Osborne, Evie Rendell, Orla Power and Amelia Wise in their freestyle final, Rosie Ward, Anna Farr, Hannah Willis and Ashleigh Green, also in the freestyle event, and Cranshaw, Stephenson, Kingham and Rodd in the open freestyle final.
The time swum by the ladies’ open freestyle team (1:50.27) was another new championship and county record, lowering the previous best time by 2.5 seconds.
Also in a very successful first session, there was a silver medal for Redditch in the boys’ 11-12 years freestyle final (George Hastings, Riley Perry, Aidan Dawe and Brendan Colley), bronze medals for teams in the 9-10 boys’ freestyle (Bradley Steward, Elliot Wall, Stefan Troye and Max Davidson), 13-14 girls’ medley (Georgia Fisher, Emily Farr, Lauren Hartland and Evie Floate) and men’s open freestyle (Adam Watson, Jamie Chance, Ben Jones and Paul Wilkes) and fourth-placed finishes for the boys’ 15-16 (Ryan Crumpton, Charlie Davidson, Jamie Chance and Ben Jones) and 13-14 years (Aurelio Lencioni, Matthew Bell, Dan Holmes and James Mucklow) medley teams.
The great results for Redditch kept on coming after lunch as the mixed masters team (Watson, Cranshaw, Wilkes and Mitchell) added another gold in their medley final and then the 15-16 girls (Stephenson, Richmond, Rodd and Kingham) claimed their second victory, this time in the freestyle final.
Two further golds came from the 9-10 years girls (Power, Rendell, Wise and Osborne) and the open ladies medley team (Kingham, Cranshaw, Stephenson and Rodd) who again set a new championship record (2:02.14) and also bettered, by half a second, the county record posted by the 15-16 years girls in the same event in the morning.
Other Redditch successes in the afternoon session included silver medals for both the 11-12 girls (Green, Ward, Anna Farr and Willis), and 11-12 boys (Dawe, Colley, Hastings and Perry) medley teams and bronze medals for the 13-14 girls’ freestyle team (Hartland, Floate, Fisher and Emily Farr) and men’s open medley team (Chance, Wilkes, Watson and Jones).
Other Redditch finalists were the boys’ freestyle teams in the 9-10 (Troye, Wall, Steward and Davidson), 13-14 (Bell, Mucklow, Holmes and Lencioni) and 15-16 years (Chance, Davidson, Crumpton and Jones) age groups.
Redditch Swimming Club head coach Chris Britt was very satisfied with the club’s successes, saying: “It was good to be able to enter almost full-strength teams for every event this year and the results achieved greatly surpass any I have seen in my 18 years or so at the club.
“Winning the women’s championship trophy, finishing second in the overall championship, breaking championship and county records and winning 17 medals is a huge success in anyone’s book.
“This is a credit to our fantastic swimmers, who richly deserve this success and the many other great results achieved already this year.”