Wirral Metro squad celebrates successful season

Wirral Metro Performance Swimming Squad is celebrating a successful season after competing at the British Swimming Championships and English Nationals this summer.

Six squad members qualified to swim at nationals, which is a success in itself considering that the club was facing closure this time last year.

Three of the squad competed at British Championships, which took place at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield between 23 and 27 July.

Tash McDonnell and Gia Hothersall, both aged 16, competed in the 200m butterfly. Both girls swam strong races with personal best times, placing 17th and 13th in their age category.

The youngest squad member, 13-year-old Abbie Roscoe, made a number of finals in the age 13/14-year-old category. A top-class performance in the 200m freestyle final saw Abbie place 7th in her category, making her the fastest 13-year-old in Great Britain. She also placed 7th in the 200IM with another personal best swim.

Just a week later, the squad headed back to Sheffield for the English National Summer Meet. Abbie Roscoe continued with her speedy streak and was crowned National Champion in three events. She put on outstanding performances, which had the crowd out of the seats, in the 400 freestyle, 400 individual medley, and 200 butterfly, swimming huge personal bests to win the gold medals.

Teammate Lily Horton, 14, also put on an impressive performance in the pool. She set four new personal bests, making the finals in the 400 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke, finishing in 5th and 7th place in the country.

Petra Varga, 14, shaved a huge five seconds off her personal best time in the 200 breastroke and just missed out on a medal taking 4th place.

Following her strong performance at British Nationals, Tash McDonnell was back with another fast race for the 100 fly, swimming a personal best in the heat and once again in the final and finishing in 7th place overall.

Distance swimmer, Megan Pendleton, 16, swam a very impressive race in the 1500m freestyle placing her 11th in the country.

Wirral Metro’s Head Coach, Martin Brooks, said, “The athletes who represented Wirral Metro at the National championships have done themselves proud. Twelve months ago we nearly closed, now we have a core group who will inspire the next generation of swimmers across the Wirral.

“It goes to show honest work and creating a culture of excellence will always prevail against the negative obstacles put in our way over the last 12 months.

“From all the coaching team and staff at Wirral Metro, congratulations on your success, Wirral Metro is focused on creating an environment to allow each individual to be the best they can be, this season you have certainly shown that anything is possible, we are hugely proud and wish you a happy summer and further success next season.”

To qualify for these events is huge achievement in itself and places these swimmers in the top 1% of the nation. The squad train at Europa Pools in Birkenhead, putting in 15 hours of pool time every week plus strength and conditioning land-based work at The Unit Gym.

The club have produced a number of successful athletes including Freya Anderson and Cassie Wild who have competed at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games. Former Wirral Metro swimmer, Matt Harding, also competed in powerlifting at the recent Commonwealth Games.

With rising pool costs, and the impact of covid, the swimmers, parents and committee are constantly fundraising to ensure that swimmers on the Wirral are given the same opportunities as swimmers in other parts of the country.

With no funding available for competitive swimming on the Wirral, the club is looking for sponsors who can support them and keep providing these life-changing opportunities to get on the pathway to elite sport.

This season the national athletes were sponsored by Peel International Ltd. If you feel you could help the club in any way please email members@wirralmetro.co.uk Let’s help Wirral Metro to keep producing stars of the future from Wirral.

Main image: Coach Martin Brooks with the squad

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