King’s Lynn swimmers make splash at county championships
The largest-ever team from West Norfolk Swimming Club took part in the Norfolk County ASA and Age Group Championships during the first three weekends of January.
Held at the Sportspark in Norwich, the County Relay Trophy and Championship Relay Gala was also held on the middle Sunday of the three weekends.
For the first time these events took place in the 50m pool, with some younger swimmers experiencing the Olympic length facility for the first time in their races.
The purple-hatted athletes of West Norfolk Swimming Club’s ‘Purple Army’ featured heavily in the medal and trophy presentations.
A host of swimmers achieved personal best times across a range of events so early in the season which bodes well for upcoming competitions at all levels.
Alongside the personal bests, WNSC swimmers notched up a number of record swims too.
Oli Kenny, 20, who competed in the Deaflympics in Turkey last summer, broke his own British record with a time of 1.03.81 in the 100m backstroke, finishing third overall.
He also set an English record in the 50m freestyle with 25.34 seconds.
For the first time a medley skins event was included in the programme, where there were cash prizes for the top two boys and top two girls.
Lucie Peck qualified for the girls’ event, as did Roxanne Uys who finished third.
Joe Wells, Luke Bryan, Sam Peck, Oliver Kenny, Finlay Ryan and Nathan Wells took up six of the eight lanes for the boys.
Nathan Wells won, beating Sam Peck into second place.
The 2018 County Championships also marked the end of an era, with last year’s senior captain Jake Hall finishing his competitive career.
Hall, who has been a great role model to many younger swimmers, will continue to train, on a much-reduced schedule with the masters squad.
West Norfolk SC finished second overall in the relay gala, with a rare appearance in the water by head coach Sarah Vanderloo, who put in a strong leg to assist the West Norfolk girls C team.
The 13/14 year old boys 4 x 50m team of Sam Rose, Freddie Laws, Robert Addis and Tom Ball won their event, before their older colleagues Nathan Wells, Alex Florence, Luke Bryan and Oli Kenny won the 17 and over version.
The 4 x 50m freestyle relay was also won by West Norfolk SC with a team comprising Oli Kenny, Finn Ryan, Luke Bryan and Nathan Wells.
The two wins for the older teams were made all the sweeter by new county records.
A number of WNSC members were also presented with awards marking milestone numbers of times they have been selected to represent Norfolk in inter-county competitions.
With only two or three such competitions each year, the awards reflect consistent dedication and commitment to supporting Norfolk County ASA.
Abigail Whiting and Nathan Wells received gold awards, marking their achievements in having represented the county at 16 different events in the pool.
Ryan Sykes, Findlay Ryan and Sam Rose picked up bronze awards for eight such selections.
Leah Wightman collected her county colours and bronze award (four and eight selections respectively), while Robert Addis, Jacob Isle, Molly Lee and Roxanne Uys also collected their county colours.
The event was very well supported by volunteers and officials from across the county, including a large contingent from the club.
Swimmers, spectators and the County ASA are very grateful for their assistance, as without such backing the championships could not take place.
n See results panel on the right for full list of medallists from the championships.