West Norfolk Swimmers have again descended on Sheffield over the course of the last two weeks for the ASA National Open Water Championships, British Summer National Championships and ASA National Swimming Championships to compete against the most talented swimmers from across the UK.
The competition began with the ASA National Open Water Championships on Sunday 24th July at Rother Valley Country Park, after the recent warm weather the water was a balmy 24oC with calm conditions in the morning for Lucie Peck, Sam Rose and Jenny Read to tackle the 1.5km all performed brilliantly particularly Sam Rose at his first National event where he finished 4th in the boys 13 years, Lucie finished 11th in the girls 13 years and Jenny 16th in the girls 14 years. As the wind picked up and rain threatened in the afternoon Nathan Wells was swimming the gruelling 5km where he paced himself well throughout to finish just behind the lead pack in an excellent 8th place.
The action moved to Ponds Forge Swimming Pool and after a day of training on the Monday it was the turn of Molly Lee, Natalie Coogans and Sam Peck to join Nathan Wells at the British Summer Championships. Nathan was first up with the 400m Freestyle where a seasons best (sb) swim in the heat put him into the final that evening where he swam a lovely paced race and a personal best time (pb) of 4.00.30 to finish 7th in the 17/18 years. Sam was next up in the 100m Breastroke where he returned to form finishing 17th in the 16 years in a seasons best time of 1.07.69. The girls 50m Breastroke saw Molly and Natalie open their campaigns both finishing just off their best times with Molly agonisingly close to the final in 11th (34.69) in the 15 years and Natalie 14th (34.50) in the 19 and overs.
The girls returned to the pool on Wednesday for the 200m Breastroke event, Molly finished strongly in 19th place (2.47.24) again just outside her best time but gaining valuable experience in her first appearance at British Nationals. Natalie produced a pb in the heat of favourite Breastroke event to qualify for the final that evening where she attacked from the start to finish 7th and steal another pb (2.34.09) to break her own County Record for the second time in the day.
Thursday was a mammoth day for Nathan Wells with the gruelling 400m IM followed by the 1500m Freestyle but taking it one event at a time he attacked it with his usual steely determination to secure a pb (4.32.98) in the 400m IM, qualify for the final that evening and break the County Record which had previously stood for 33 years. In the afternoon Nathan turned his attention to the 1500m and swam a beautifully paced race to pb by 14 seconds (16.03.11) and finish 5th. 11 hours after arriving at the pool that morning Nathan raced the 400m IM final, after such a brutal day of racing he couldn’t quite match his time from the morning but fought all the way to finish in an admirable 9th place and earn a well-deserved recovery day on Friday.
Sam Peck returned to Sheffield on Friday to compete in the 200m Breastroke, a pb in the heat saw him qualify for the final that evening where determined to improve again he attacked the race and got his reward with another pb (2.25.34) to finish 6th. Nathan was back again on Saturday to race the shorter 200m IM where a sb (2.10.03) wasn’t quite enough for a final but moved him up the rankings.
Sunday, the final day of British Nationals saw Nathan swim the 200m Freestyle and finish 13th (1.54.57) narrowly missing the final, closely followed by the 200m Backstroke where he swam a pb (2.07.64) to qualify for the final that evening where he finished 10th to end an excellent week. Natalie and Molly had the 100m Breastroke to finish the week, Natalie finished 15th (1.14.32) while Molly qualified for the final that evening (1.15.40) where she finished 9th to end her week on a high.
The following week was the ASA National Championships where Sam Peck contested 4 events in the 16 years age group. First up was the 400m IM where Sam swam a pb to qualify for the final in the evening where another pb (4.45.60) saw him take the silver medal in a close finish. In the 200m IM Sam again swam to a pb in the heat to qualify for the final which was hotly contested but a further improvement on his best time (2.13.89) was enough for Sam to grab the bronze medal. Sam had two events on the final day of competition, finishing 10th in the 200m Butterfly with a pb (2.15.78) and qualifying for the 50m Breastroke final in a sb time where another sb (31.31) won him the silver medal, a fantastic end to a brilliant twelve days of competition by all the swimmers.