A sizable team from West Norfolk Swimming Club travelled across the East of England over the last few weekends, proudly wearing new team shirts provided by King’s Lynn firm Economy Flooring and their owner Barry Evans.
With events split between UEA SportsPark in Norwich and the Inspire Luton Sports Village, the prestigious Swim England East Region Championships made a welcome return to the swimming calendar for the first time since 2019 – meaning that West Norfolk had several swimmers qualifying for and competing in the championships for the first time, alongside more familiar faces.
It was some of said familiar faces whom formed West Norfolk’s quartet for the relay events. Tobias Oglesby; Freddie Laws; Joe Wells and Nathan Wells teamed up to take fourth place in the 4 x 100 Meter Freestyle before securing a bronze medal in the 4 x 100 Meter Medley.
In the individual events, both Laws and Nathan Wells secured regional titles. Laws struck gold in the 200 Meter Breaststroke, whilst Wells bagged a hat trick of victories in the 50 Meter Backstroke; 200 Meter Individual Medley and 400 Meter Individual Medley.
Oglesby contested four Individual finals across the championships, with a best finish of 6th in 50 Meter Backstroke. Joe Wells secured a personal best time in the heats of the same event before going on to claim five season’s best times across the rest of the competition.
Sarah O’Brien; Molly Lee and Zack Campbell Maughan also had appearances in the open age group finals.
O’Brien took 6th place in both the 100 and 200 Meter Breaststroke; a 7th place in the 50 Meter distance for the same stroke and an 8th place in the 200 Meter IM.
Lee swam a time of 1 minute 14.84 seconds to a fourth place finish in the 100 Meter Breaststroke, whilst Campbell-Maughan came home in 29.08 seconds to take 8th place in the Men’s 50 Meter Backstroke.
Distance specialist Esmie Kidman secured an impressive 5th place in the 1500 Meter Freestyle and 6th place in the 800 Meter Freestyle, which were both held on a ‘heat-declared-winner’ (HDW) basis. This means that rather than finals being held, swimmers final placings were determined by their times from the heats.
Rhys Burrell swam a hat trick of three personal best times across the championships in the 200 Meter Breastroke and 50 and 100 Meter Butterfly, whilst both Robert Addis and Jake Lammas came away with one personal best and two season’s best times each.
Nedas Tkacenko and Tom Ball both contested the 50 Meter Freestyle, with the former achieving a personal best and the latter also swimming in the 100 Meter Freestyle with a time of 57.92 seconds.
Olivia Skittrell and Pemberley Hornigold were both in action for the 50 Meter Breastroke, swimming times of 39.98 and 39.76 seconds respectively. Meanwhile Erin Woodrow swam a time of 29.87 seconds in her 50 Meter Freestyle.
Elyn Lauder and Chloe Bellamy each raced one 200 Meter event each. Lauder completed the Butterfly in 2 minutes and 43.42 seconds, whilst Bellamy swam a personal best of 2 minutes and 38.61 seconds in the Backstroke.
It was in the “Age Groups” segment of the competition for swimmers aged 14 and under that the majority of West Norfolk’s newer faces appeared.
13 year old Jamie Wilson, a ‘dual-membership’ swimmer for both Wisbech SC and West Norfolk, and 12 year old Alex Pattison both made big impacts.
Wilson took a silver medal in the HDW format 800 Meter Freestyle, 6th place in the 400 Meter Freestyle and 5th place in the 400 Meter Individual Medley, both with personal best times. Pattison joined his teammate in the two 400 Meter events, following Wilson home to a well earned 6th place in the medley.
The pair were also in action for the 100 Meter Butterfly, again setting new personal best times to qualify for the finals, where they then bettered their times once more as Pattison took 7th place and Wilson bagged himself a bronze medal.
The 200 Meter event for the same stroke saw Wilson make yet another final, where he capped off a stunning weekend with a second place finish to add another silver medal to his collection.
Like Pattison, Belle Ringwood and Milly Johnson also put in personal best performances in the 12 years and under age group.
Ringwood did so in the 50 Meter Freestyle; 100 Meter Backstroke; 200 Meter IM; 100 Meter Freestyle and 200 Meter Backstroke, whilst Johnson’s personal best performance came in the 50 Meter Freestyle.
Theo Ryan contested the 100 Meter Backstroke, swimming a time of 1 minute and 27.01 seconds.
14 year olds Kristina Sutika-Totlebena; Wiktoria Marcinek and Thomas James were also both in action with Sutika-Totlebena swimming a season’s best time in the 200 Meter Breastroke; Marcinek repeating the feat in the 200 Meter Backstroke and James achieving a personal best in the 200 Meter Butterfly.
Speaking after the conclusion of the final day of the championships on Sunday 8th May, West Norfolk Head Coach Sara Vanderloo commented “I’m absolutely delighted with our performance at the regional championships. It’s been particularly satisfying to see a number of younger faces take to the regional stage alongside their more experienced teammates for the first time and secure headline results of their own”.