Following some superb individual performances at Norfolk County Championships, West Norfolk’s swimmers turned their attention to capturing the prestigious Relay Gala title recently. The Club demonstrated its ability to translate individual successes into team glory, proving to be the top relay club in Norfolk.
Such is the depth of talent at the Club, Coach Sarah Vanderloo was able to take ‘A’, B’ and ‘C’ teams to compete at UEA in Norwich, thus giving many inexperienced swimmers a chance to taste top level relay competition. A total of seventy four swimmers represented West Norfolk, ranging in age from nine to thirty one years. Opposition was stern, in the form of Norwich Swan, UEA Norwich, Dereham, North Norfolk Vikings, Diss and Thetford.
A long and eventful evening’s swimming drama unfolded in the 50 metre pool, in a highly charged atmosphere. Relay swimming lends itself to exciting viewing, with a great night’s entertainment provided by the competing clubs. Swimming over the long course distance is routine for the older swimmers, but for some younger ones these were unchartered waters. Nine year old Millie Laws had a baptism of fire in her first ever gala for the club, doing herself proud in gamely tackling her races with great determination. Josh Gray made a welcome return on a weekend break from university studies, along with long time team mate Alex Murray.
In the boys 11/12 yrs freestyle, Alex Hall, Iasonas Emmanouel, Freddie Laws and Robert Addis swam superbly to take West Norfolk’s first win. Robert then joined forces with Zachariah Oglesby, Luke Bryan and Jake Lammas to secure victory in the boys 13/14 yrs freestyle.
It was a great achievement for West Norfolk to then win both the Mens and Womens Junior freestyle relays, with the trophies being presented half way through the evening’s proceedings. The combined speed of Archie Holman, Zack Campbell-Maughan, and new Club members Oliver Newton and Morgan Reed, here showed their dominance. In the Womens event, Abbie Whiting, Hannah Brown, Sophie Empson and Elise Sorrell shone to take maximum points.
The Open Mens and Womens freestyle trophies also went to West Norfolk. Sparkling swims from Elliot Legg, Josh Gray, Ryan Sykes and Nathan Wells took the Mens race comfortably. Elise Sorrell and Abbie Whiting teamed up with new member Siobhan Casey, and Sarah Vanderloo to score yet another first place.
The evening produced many personal bests, strong performances by all three West Norfolk teams, and fantastic entertainment for the Club’s appreciative supporters. Camaraderie showed throughout the night, along with the characteristic team spirit which is always in evidence. Elated and exhausted the team travelled home, pausing for the traditional ‘burger break’, and taking the coveted County Relay shield to enjoy pride of place in the trophy cabinet at St James Pool.
1st West Norfolk 139 points; 2nd Norwich Swan 131; 3rd UEA 126; 4th Dereham 93; 5th N N Vikings; 6th Diss 63; 7th Thetford 60