West Norfolk swimmers help county to first Swim England East Region Inter County gala win at Norwich
West Norfolk swimmers helped the county to a famous and rare victory when the Swim England East Region Inter County gala took place at Norwich Sportspark on Sunday.
Norfolk County Amateur Swimming Association, hosted visiting teams from Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex and Bedfordshire.
Forty-three Norfolk swimmers, ranging in age between 11 and 23 years old, and belonging to City of Norwich, Dereham Otters, Diss Otters, Gt Yarmouth, Norfolk Viking, Norwich Swan and West Norfolk Swimming Clubs played their part in achieving a first-ever win for the county.
West Norfolk swimmers who played an integral part in Norfolk’s success were: Leah Wightman, Joe Wells, Nathan Wells, Tom Ball, Sam Peck, Sarah O’Brien, Freddie Laws, Molly Lee, Robert Addis, Sam Rose and Finlay Ryan.
A number of outstanding swims featured in the combination of 58 individual and team relay races.
The impressive Jim Henley memorial trophy has been held by various other counties since its introduction in 2006, including five times by 2018 winners Hertfordshire.
From the outset Norfolk and Suffolk performed well, and in the early stages, Cambridgeshire looked to be matching them, with Suffolk leading with 79 points to Norfolk’s 74 and Cambs’ 72 after 18 events.
By event 32, Cambridgeshire had dropped off whilst Norfolk and Suffolk were closely matched, 144 (Suffolk to 141 (Norfolk). Suffolk held onto the lead until event 42 when Norfolk edged ahead for the first time, 185 to 181. The top spot then changed hands repeatedly between Norfolk and Suffolk during the remainder of the gala;
After event 45, the places had switched, Suffolk having 198 points, now one ahead of Norfolk, and after event 49, the two were drawing on 212 points. Suffolk then edged back ahead, leading by seven points after 51 events, by five after 52, by seven after 53, by five after 54, by two after 55, Norfolk by two after 56 (242 vs 240), and by five after 57 (247 vs 242).
Despite Suffolk winning the last event, No. 58, Norfolk did enough to seal victory by just two points, 250 to 248.
Cheryl Rose, Norfolk ASA team manager, said: “It’s fantastic to have been able to select a team of swimmers from across the county who have come together to deliver such a great performance this year.
"This is my fourth year in this role, and year on year I have seen a real depth of talent develop across clubs in the county throughout the range of ages. These swimmers put so much into their training in what is a very competitive sport, and its brilliant to see them succeed at a county level.”