Pioneer 79 Swimming Club swimmers began the season with a fantastic turnout at Broughton Baths, Salford, for the 54th City of Salford Swimming Club’s Potential Olympians meet.
Pioneer 79 took a squad of 25 swimmers, ranging in age from nine years old to 23, to face some tough competition from the other top North West clubs.
This was to be a fun, but serious competition, with races being held over two days.
There were some fantastic swims over the two days of competition, with many personal best times being set. At this stage in the calendar, swimmers are not expected to achieve PBs due to the type of training being undertaken, but to be even close to these times is an achievement.
During the two days, each swimmer can accumulate points for themselves and their club, which contribute toward the award for overall top boy and top girl at the meet as well as the top visiting club award.
Points are awarded for the top six finishers, and at the end of day one, Pioneer 79 were lying in top position but were unaware of the actual points total, a deliberate ploy by the organisers, to promote an intense competition.
One of the highlights of the weekend for the children was when head coach Michael Wilson took to the pool in the 100m breaststroke. In the final heat of the event he was up against clubmates Richard Eccles and Connor Makin. At the 50m stage, it was anyone’s race with Michael touching just in front but at the 75m stage, Richard just edged ahead.
With a fantastic underwater stroke off the turn, Michael pulled in front, taking gold by just 0.03 of a second. Connor finished just behind, in fourth.
At the end of the weekend, Pioneer 79 swimmers took home a phenomenal 74 medals (30 gold, 23 silver and 21 bronze) and were subsequently announced as top visiting club with 592 points.
Their next rivals were Aquabears, some 208 points behind, this was a fantastic achievement.
Pioneer’s medallists were: Izabel Forrest (1 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze), Olivia Nicholls (5 G, 5 S, 1 B), Natasha Rogan (6 G, 2 S, 2 B), Ellie Perris (2 B), Martha Smith (2 B), Meghann Leaver (1 B), Alice Harding (1 B), Niamh Robinson (7 G, 3 S), Charlotte Britland (1 G, 4 S, 1 B), Connor Roberts (3 S, 1 B), Joseph Murray (2 G, 1 S), Adam Silvester (2 S), Declan Charnock (1 G, 1 S, 1 B), John McKavett (3 G, 2 S, 3 B), Richard Eccles (3 G, 1 S, 2 B), Thomas Gilroy (1 B), Michael Wilson (1 G).
In the top female swimmer rankings, Pioneer 79 had three finishing in the top 10, Niamh Robinson (fourth, 57 points), Olivia Nicholls (second, 59) and the winner of the trophy, 10-year-old Natasha Rogan (60 points). This was a perfect end to a fantastic weekend for the club.
Pioneer 79 will be back in action this weekend at the North Lancashire Championships in Blackpool.