West Norfolk Swimming Club members thrive at major championships
West Norfolk Swimming Club members defied their small club status with an outstanding few days at the British Swimming Summer Championships and Swim England National Summer Meet.
The club, nicknamed the ‘Purple Army’, were represented by a record 14 swimmers at Glasgow and Sheffield and they didn’t disappoint after returning home with a handful of medals and a string of fine individual performances.
Head coach Sarah Vanderloo said: "The number of swimmers qualifying for Nationals this year is testament to the work ethic of the members of our club.
“We are a relatively small club, who once again have shown that we punch above our weight. Our unofficial motto is ‘It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog that counts’.
“It’s fair to say that my swimmers have plenty of fight, and I’m proud of their achievements.
“We welcome new members of all ages and abilities, and anyone considering joining should get in touch via the club website.”
Swimmers were grateful to receive club branded Nationals shirts and hoodies, kindly provided by sponsors, including JL Roofing Ltd.
Sam Rose, 16, began in the 400m freestyle in a personal best time of 4.14.41 before Freddie Laws, 16, finished 11th overall with a pb in the 100m breaststroke.
Molly Lee, 18, and Roxanne Uys, 20, both raced the 50m breaststroke, finishing 19th and 18th respectively in their age groups.
Lee went on to compete in the 200m, achieving her best-ever Nationals time for 20th and was ninth in the 100m breaststroke after racing faster in the final than the heat (1.14.18 compared to 1.13.89).
Sarah O’Brien, 22, raced 100m breaststroke. This was her first time at British Nationals and saw her swim her second fastest time ever.
Finn Ryan, 20, raced 400m individual medley, swimming a time of 4.42.21 f or 19th.
Linked swimmer Nathan Wells, 21, raced into the open final of the 400m freestyle and was eighth on the first day. Over the rest of the week, Wells swam 100m and 200m backstroke, placing 16th and 15th and 400m IM, finishing seventh in the final in a time of 4.30.65.
He also swam the third leg of the Men’s 17/over 4x200m freestyle relay for Loughborough University for silver.
Freddie Laws then raced the 200 breaststroke, swimming a PB time in the final (2.23.56) which was also a Norfolk junior county record.
Despite missing a medal place by 0.23 seconds, Laws’ fourth spot was the best placing the club has had at British nationals.
The action then moved to Ponds Forge, Sheffield, on the Wednesday for the Swim England National Summer Meet.
Ellie Mei Shepperson, 16, and Roxanne Uys, 20, both competed in the same heat of the 100m breaststroke.
Shepperson entered as 19th seed in the 16yrs age group and finished 14th, while Uys raced into the final in ninth place.
Sam Rose, 16, raced the 50m freestyle, entering with a time of 25.40, coming 11th and missing out on a place in the final by 0.13 seconds.
Brother and sister Sam, 19, and Lucie Peck, 16, both raced the 400m individual medley.
Sam smashed his entry time to go through to the men’s open final as second seed with a five-second PB time of 4.39.08
Not to be outdone, Lucie knocked a second off her entry time to go into the women’s 16 yrs final as fifth seed.
In the finals, Sam bagged a bronze, matched just four races later by sister Lucie.
On the Thursday, Sam Rose and Nathan Wells raced in the same heat of the 200m freestyle, securing places in their respective age group finals as fifth and first seeds.
Ellie Mei Shepperson and Luke Bryan, 18, then competed in the 200m breaststroke events.
Shepperson rounded off her Nationals debut with a respectable 16th place while Bryan secured a place in the final as fifth seed.
Sam Rose entered the 1500m as sixth seed, but swam a 32-second pb, finishing in 16.43.55 to take gold.
After a couple of hours rest he was back for the 200m final, knocking another second from his PB and finishing a very close fourth.
Nathan Wells left it to the last 15 metres of his 200m final to secure the lead and the gold medal.
Luke Bryan rounded the day off for WNSC, with another PB for eighth in the men’s 18/over 200m breaststroke.
On the Friday, Finn Ryan set a one-second pb swim in the heats, to go into the final of the men’s 18/over 200m individual medley where he knocked off a further second to finish sixth.
Sam Rose and Sam Peck raced the same heat of the 800m freestyle. Rose finished in a time of 8.50.71 in the men’s 16 yrs age group, while Peck’s time was 8.42.86 in the men’s 18/overs.
Both finished fifth in their age groups.
Leah Wightman, 14, and Lucie Peck both raced the 200m butterfly, gaining final spots in their respective age groups with Wightman, who won her heat in style, clocking a big pb.
Ellie Mei Shepperson, Freddie Laws, 16, and Sarah O’Brien, 22, all swam the 50m breaststroke, with Freddie and Sarah making the final.
Peck rounded her morning off with the 1500m, finishing in a pb time of 18.24 for seventh.
In the butterfly finals, Wightman (another pb) and Peck swam 2.26.50 and 2.30.73 to finish fifth and ninth respectively.
O’Brien finished 10th in the women’s 17/over 50m breaststroke, before Freddie brilliantly collected a silver medal in the men’s 16 yrs 50m breaststroke.
The Swim England National Open Water Age Group Championships took place at Thrybergh Park, Rotherham, on Monday.
Sam Rose, Callum Stedman and Lucie Peck went over 5km, the first events of the day.
Rose and Stedman finished 15th and 17th in the men’s events, in 1.01.11 and 1.03.06, whilst Peck finished in ninth place in the women’s event in 1.06.34.
Esmie Kidman made her Nationals debut in the 2km in the 13 years age group, finishing 20th. Unfortunately, Harry Sharpe, 14, who qualified to race the 3km event was unable to attend.