Ten intrepid West Norfolk Swimming Club members took part in the ASA East Region Open Water championships, held at Whitlingham Great Broad, Trowse, writes Simon Rose.
Around 400 hardy swimmers of all ages from Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire raced over distances from 800m to 5km.
After registration the swimmers were issued with brightly coloured hats and briefed on race etiquette. Numbers were written on arms, legs and chests and the swimmers were divided into race ‘waves’.
The first race, held over a 3km course, saw four WNSC swimmers taking part. Jenn Read (15) was Norfolk’s fastest in the 12-16 group, finishing 9th for region in 44 min 15 sec. Rachael Johnson (15) was 4th in Norfolk and 17th regionally. Ella Farnsworth was 5th for Norfolk and 25th regionally. Kayleigh Venables (18) was Norfolk winner and 6th regionally in 17/18 group.
The 800m had 90 swimmers competing, aimed at open water novices.
Harry Sharpe (12) won the region in a time of 11 min 15.73 sec.
Team mate Meda Vitiginyte (13) was third for Norfolk and 14th for region in the ladies 13-14 group.
The busiest 1.5km event featured 150 swimmers.
West Norfolk’s Lucie Peck (14) finished first for Norfolk and third regionally in 20 min 25 sec, for the 12-16 ladies group. In the boys event Samuel Rose (14) came first in the region, in 19 min 55 sec.
By finishing in the top three, Sam and Lucie both qualified for Nationals to be held at Rother Valley Country Park, South Yorkshire on Monday.
The final race involved 50 swimmers in one wave over 5km. West Norfolk’s swimming brothers Nathan (19) and Joseph (17) Wells, tackled this gruelling event. Joseph finished 17th in the region, and Nathan first for Norfolk and third regionally in 1 hour 58 sec. Nathan’s performance also earned him a well-deserved place at Nationals at the end of the month.
Huge congratulations go to all West Norfolk’s swimmers for tackling open water swimming which presents many different challenges to normal pool competition.
The club wishes Sam, Lucie and Nathan every success at Nationals shortly.
During the day at Trowse, presentations were made to the top swimmers in each category by the ASA East Region president, Ian Knight, and National ASA president elect, Richard Whitehead.