The South East Region Open Water Championships at Whitlingham Country Park in Trowse near Norwich on Sunday 22nd July. The event also included the individual county open water championships was extremely well supported with a huge number of cheering spectators enjoying the continuing hot dry weather.
Swimmers representing West Norfolk Swimming Club joined around 500 of their peers from almost 50 clubs to race events with distances between 1km, for the open water novices, through to 5km for the older and more experienced swimmers.
A top three regional place in the relevant distance offered a tantalising opportunity to qualify for the National Open Water Age Group Championships at Rother Valley Country Park near Sheffield on Monday 30th July.
The first event of the day was the 3km race, which comprise 2 ‘waves’ of swimmers setting off 10 minutes apart. Sam Rose (15 yrs) finished in first place in his age group, with a time of 41 mins 14 seconds, earning a place in the National event for the third successive year. Sam also took the county title in his age group and was the fastest Norfolk 3 km swimmer overall.
Lucie Peck (15) finished in 5th place in the regional event, taking the silver medal in the county age group with her time of 42mins 08 seconds.
Meda Vitginyte (14 yrs) finished in 27th place regionally and 8th in the county.
The second event of the day was the 1km ‘novices’ event, attracting almost 130 participants.
Joshua Parker took the bronze county medal in the 11/12 year age group, while team mates Robert Addis, Ethan Evans and Jack Drage completed the first of two West Norfolk SC purple army hat tricks of gold, silver and bronze in the boys 13/14 years county age group competition. Robert was the quickest Norfolk 1 km swimmer in the competition. Jack Woodhouse took the 5th county spot in the same race.
Oliver Shaw, 15 years, was the silver medallist in the county race for 15/16 year old boys.
Over the same distance, Esmie Kidman won county bronze in the girls 11/12 years event, with team mates Olivia Skittrell (11) and Sophie Doig (12) finishing 9th and 11th respectively.
Alice Page (14) and Elizabeth England (13) finished 6th and 7th in the county in the girls 13/14 years 1km race.
Next was the 2km distance event.
Harry Sharpe (13) won the boys 12/14 years age group regional race, in a time of 28 mins 16 seconds. In do so he secured a place in the Rother Valley National competition later in the month. Harry also took the Norfolk County gold medal and trophy.
Kayleigh Venables (19) took the Norfolk county silver medal in the women’s 17/19yrs age group.
The last event of the day was the two wave of the 5km race. Competitor ranged in age between 16 and 77 years. The overall winner, Henry Pearce from City of Peterborough finished in a blistering 58 minutes and 47 seconds, whilst the last swimmer to finish took just over 2 hours and 8 minutes.
Joseph Wells (19), finished in a time 1 hour 5 minutes 25 seconds to achieve Regional bronze and a qualification for the National event next week. Joe also took the County mens 17/19 year old title, and was the fastest Norfolk 5km swimmer overall.
In the women’s 5km event Jenn Read (16), Rachael Johnson (16), Ella Farnsworth (16) completed the second ‘purple army’ gold, silver and bronze county hat trick of the day.
Jenn, finishing in a time of 1:09:33 achieved a National qualification to complete a busy day at Whitlingham country park, as earlier in the day she and sister Rebecca had passed their assessments to qualify as British Swimming Open Water officials at Judge Level 1.
Head Coach Sarah Vanderloo said ‘Its great to see our swimmers taking part and doing so well in Open Water competition. This is the biggest entry we have ever had to the East Region competition, and to see so many County medalists and National qualifiers among our team is very satisfying. I must take the opportunity to thank Kings Lynn Tri Athlon Club for their support in allowing us to join forces and share training sessions over the summer. I am certain that it has helped our swimmers to take part with confidence and an understanding of the specific skills open water swimming requires.’
Sam Rose receives his East Region winners medal from Swim England President Mr Richard Whitehead
Robert Addis with his ER Bronze medal
Harry Sharpe with his ER Bronze medal
Jenn Read with her East Region bronze medal
Joseph Wells with ER bronze, Norfolk gold and Norfolk trophy
Josh Parker with County bronze medal