Fourteen of West Norfolk’s Swimming Club’s senior swimmers travelled to Luton between the 5th and 7th November for the East Region Short Course Championships. The prestigious event was making a welcome return to the fixture list, having been absent in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Short Course Championships differ from the Regional Long Course Championships, usually held in the latter half of the season, in that they are held in a 25 meter rather than a 50 meter swimming pool. As such, faster times are usually seen due to the increased number of turns.
Esmie Kidman started proceedings on Friday evening, achieving a new personal best time in the women’s 800 meter freestyle.
Saturday opened with the men’s 200 meter Individual Medley (IM) and a hat trick of personal bests from Robert Addis, Freddie Laws and club captain Joe Wells, whilst Nathan Wells swam a season’s best time to make the final, where he ultimately brought home a 4th place finish.
The day’s freestyle events saw more positive results for the West Norfolk men, with Addis and Joe Wells taking further personal bests along with Tobias Oglesby and Tom Ball in the 50 meter event, whilst there were season’s best times for Nathan Wells, Sam Rose and Zack Campbell-Maughan. The same six swimmers then contested the 200 meter distance, again all achieving either personal or season’s best times. In the 400 meter event, both of the Wells Brothers brought home season’s bests, with Nathan Wells finishing in 3rd place to secure West Norfolk’s first medal of the weekend.
A gruelling Saturday programme for Leah Wightman saw a season’s best in the women’s 200 meter Butterfly and a personal best in the 400 meter IM, before reaching the final of the 200 meter Backstroke, where another personal best swim resulted in a 5th place finish.
There were further season’s bests for Sarah O’Brien and Molly Lee in the 100 meter Breaststroke, with O’Brien edging out Lee by 0.38 seconds to make it into the final, before following it up with personal bests in the 100 meter IM and 50 meter Butterfly later in the day.
When it was the men’s turn to take on the 100 meter Breastroke, Addis and Laws each swam personal best times, with Laws making through to the final where he finished 6th. Both were in action again for the 50 meter Butterfly, alongside Ball, Oglesby, Campbell-Maughan, Rose and Joe Wells, with the septet swimming four personal bests between them.
The 100 meter Backstroke saw Addis and Oglesby take personal best times and season’s bests for Campbell-Maughan and Nathan Wells, with Wells going on to better his time in the final.
The second day concluded with relay events – Oglesby, Joe Wells, Lee and O’Brien teamed up for an 8th place finish amongst the 16 teams in the mixed 4 x 50 meter Freestyle, before Wells was joined by his brother, Campbell-Maughan and Addis for a 9th place finish in the men’s 4 x 50 meter Freestyle.
Sunday’s proceedings commenced with the men’s 50 meter Backstroke, with Nathan Wells progressing onto the final, where a personal best swim of 25.97 seconds took him to second place, kickstarting a run of medal winning performances for the club throughout the day.
The 200 meter Breaststroke then followed for both men and women. In the men’s event Freddie Laws achieved personal best times in both the heats and the final to take a silver medal of his own. O’Brien and Lee returned to the water for the heats of the women’s event, joined by teammates Olivia Skittrell and Kacie Cooper, with Skittrell achieving a personal best time and O’Brien advancing on to the final.
Wightman was back in action in the 100 meter Butterfly with a season’s best time, following it up with a personal best in the 100 meter Backstroke before concluding her programme with the 200 meter Freestyle on Sunday afternoon.
The men’s 100 meter Butterfly saw personal bests for Oglesby, Addis and Joe Wells, a feat the latter two repeated shortly afterwards in the 100 meter IM alongside Laws. Nathan Wells advanced to the final in the same event, where he gained himself a further medal, another bronze.
The following event saw Wells complete his clean-sweep of podium places by taking victory in the 400 IM to become regional short-course champion.
The 100 meter Freestyle saw personal bests for Addis, Oglesby and Tom Ball, an achievement Oglesby later repeated in the 200 meter Backstroke.
The 50 meter Breaststroke saw a personal best for Laws in the men’s event and season’s bests for Lee and Cooper in the women’s event. Lee’s time was enough to take her through to the final where she ultimately finished 4th.
Sunday’s relay events saw the 4 x 50 meter mixed medley team of Oglesby, Lee, Joe Wells and O’Brien finish 8th of 16 teams, whilst the 4 x 50 men’s medley squadron of Nathan Wells, Laws, Joe Wells and Addis came home an impressive 5th ahead of high quality opposition including the City of Peterborough and the City of Cambridge.
Speaking after the event, West Norfolk’s Head Coach Sarah Vanderloo said “The return of the Regional Short Course Championships in their usual place on the calendar was particularly welcome after a turbulent eighteen months. I’m particularly pleased by the number of personal best times achieved by our swimmers at this event which is a testament to their hard work in recent months”.
Picture 1: Left – Right: Sam Rose, Joe Wells, Zack Campbell- Maughan, Freddie Laws, Nathan Wells, Robert Addis, Tobias Oglesby, Sarah O’Brien, Molly Lee, Leah Wightman, Olivia Skittrell, Esmie Kindman, Kacie Cooper.
Not Pictured: Tom Ball
Picture 2: Nathan Wells with his trophy for becoming East Region Short Course Champion in the men’s 400 meter Individual Medley.