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West Norfolk swimmers excel at East Region Short Course Championships at Luton

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West Norfolk Swimming Club’s head coach praised the hard work of swimmers after a successful time at the East Region Short Course Championships.

Fourteen of the club’s senior members travelled to Luton for the prestigious event at the weekend having been absent in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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 18 months.

West Norfolk Swimming Club. (52984045)
West Norfolk Swimming Club. (52984045)

“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.”

The Short Course Championships differ from the Regional Long Course Championships, usually held in the latter half of the season, being held over a 25-metre format rather than in a 50-metre 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 metre freestyle.

Saturday opened with the men’s 200 metre 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 fourth-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 metre 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 metre distance, again all achieving either personal or season’s best times.

Nathan Wells. (52984040)
Nathan Wells. (52984040)

In the 400 metre event, both of the Wells' brothers brought home season’s bests, with Nathan Wells finishing in third spot 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 metre butterfly and a personal best in the 400 metre IM, before reaching the final of the 200 metre backstroke, where another personal best swim resulted in a fifth-place finish.

There were further season’s bests for Sarah O’Brien and Molly Lee in the 100 metre breaststroke, with O’Brien edged out Lee by 0.38 seconds to make it into the final, before following it up with personal bests in the 100 metre IM and 50 metre butterfly later in the day.

When it was the men’s turn to take on the 100 metre breaststroke, Addis and Laws each swam personal best times, with Laws making through to the final where he finished sixth.

Both were in action again for the 50 metre butterfly, alongside Ball, Oglesby, Campbell-Maughan, Rose and Joe Wells, with the septet swimming four personal bests between them.

The 100 metre 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 the relay events.

West Norfolk’s quartet of Oglesby, Joe Wells, Lee and O’Brien teamed up for an eighth place finish amongst the 16 teams in the mixed 4 x 50 metre freestyle.

Wells was then joined by his brother, Campbell-Maughan and Addis bagged a ninth place finish in the men’s 4 x 50 metre freestyle.

Sunday’s action commenced with the men’s 50 metre backstroke, with Nathan Wells progressing onto the final, where a pb swim of 25.97 seconds took him to second place, kick-starting a run of medal-winning performances for the club throughout the day.

The 200 metre 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 metre butterfly with a season’s best time and followed it up with a another personal best in the 100 metre backstroke before concluding her programme with the 200 metre freestyle on Sunday afternoon.

The men’s 100 metre butterfly saw personal bests for Oglesby, Addis and Joe Wells, a feat the latter two repeated shortly afterwards in the 100 metre 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 metre freestyle saw personal bests for Addis, Oglesby and Tom Ball, an achievement Oglesby later repeated in the 200 metre backstroke.

The 50 metre 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 fourth.

Sunday’s relay events saw the 4 x 50 metre mixed medley team of Oglesby, Lee, Joe Wells and O’Brien finish eighth of 16 teams.

The 4 x 50 men’s medley squadron of Nathan Wells, Laws, Joe Wells and Addis came home an impressive fifth ahead of high-quality opposition including the City of Peterborough and the City of Cambridge.

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