LEDBURY & District ASC swimmers set their new year off to a flying start with a brilliant team effort in the first round of the Wyvern League.

Following a week of intense training and preparation the commitment and determination of the squad was evident throughout the gala and resulted in 75 per cent of the swims producing new personal best times.

It was a very exciting night for the new nine-year-old relay swimmers, Rose Parsons, Caitlin Clark, Alice Parsons, Charlie Green and Chris Leitch who joined Patty Holloway, Lucy Stokes, George Parsons, David Middleton and Joe Bloxsome to swim confidently and win both their freestyle and medley races.

George Parsons also swam a superb one length breaststroke to win the 10 years event.

With a change of age categories this year Annabelle Wilce, Chloe Watson and Rhys Davey had to tackle the 15/u, 100m events against much bigger and older competitors. Undeterred they were determined to keep with the race for as long as possible, all recording new personal best county qualifying times. Chloe was the winner of the butterfly event and with a fast freestyle is now less than a second off her Midland District time.

One of the best swims of the gala was also in the 15/u age group when Thomas James demonstrated the power of determination in the four length breaststroke. Leading at the halfway mark it was sheer willpower that kept him holding off both the strong Monmouth and Worcester swimmers to take the touch with a splendid five second personal best, just short of his county time. Also gaining maximum points with winning swims in the breaststroke events this time over 50 metres, were Luke Rycroft and Charlie Scott Wilson (13/u) and James Middleton (11/u).

Thomas Stokes was as anticipated a key member of the team showing versatility and good form with winning swims in the backstroke, butterfly and freestyle 11/u events. Swimming butterfly in the younger age group over one length of the pool, George Bennion was disappointed to be placed second by the judges having recorded the same time as the Worcester swimmer. He was determined to make amends with the freestyle and emerged a clear winner with a fast 16.14 secs.

Throughout the gala the three top clubs, Worcester, Monmouth and Ledbury, gradually pulled away from Cwmbran and Chepstow and the relays produced some fierce competition and fast swims as each team battled for top points.

The 10 and 11 years Ledbury teams consisting of, Thomas Stokes, James Middleton, Patrick Blake, Bradley Smith, George Parsons, George Bennion, David Middleton, Charlie Green, Liam Almond and Chris Leitch were victorious in both their Medley and freestyle events whilst the 10 yrs girls, Caitlin Clark, Amber Watson, Olivia Hunt and Lucy Stokes were triumphant in their freestyle event and Arron Almond, Luke Rycroft, Rhys Davey and Richard Jones successful in the 13/u medley race.

Added to the success of the nine year old teams Ledbury won nine of the 21 relays and were runners up in seven of the others.

Despite their best efforts Ledbury were seven points adrift at the conclusion of the gala with Worcester 265, Ledbury 258, Monnow 227, Chepstow 142, Cwmbran 139.

Captains were Rachael Lea and Mark Hinton. The next round will be swum at Monmouth on the January 31.

Information regarding the club is available via the website, www.ladasc.f9.co.uk