FIVE WEST NORFOLK SWIMMERS QUALIFY FOR OPEN WATER NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Whitlingham Broad was once again the venue for the Swim England East Region Open Water Championships on Sunday 21st July.
The long day of competition served as both the County Championships for Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, as well as providing the qualifying opportunity for the National competition for age group swimmers over varying distances.
A day of glorious weather with bright sun and light breeze offered almost perfect conditions for the 465 swimmers taking part.
The youngest competitors were aged 11, and the oldest was 78 year old Mike Read MBE, former ‘King of the Channel’, who swam both the 3km and 5km distance events.
West Norfolk Swimming Club had a record number of 19 entrants across the range of distances and performed outstandingly across the day.
The first event of the day was the 3km distance.
Harry Sharpe (14 yrs) 3rd place regionally, securing a place at the National competition, and 1st spot in the county.
Meda Vitginyte (15 yrs) was 5th and Robert Addis (15 yrs) was 2nd in Norfolk
Next up was the novices event, over 1km.
In the youngest age group, 11/12 yrs, Rhys Burrell took County silver and Jack Sharpe county bronze.
Over the same distance, Erica Charters (13/14yrs) secured gold and the county trophy and Amelie Dockerty (13/14yrs) metalled bronze in the county. Jack Drage (15/16yrs) also took bronze in his age group.
There were six West Norfolk Swimming Club athletes competing in the third event, over 2km.
Josh Parker (12 yrs) won gold in his age group in the County, and Olivia Skittrell (12 yrs) took bronze.
In the 13 years age group, Esmie Kidman came 2nd Regionally, earning a place in the National Championships, and was 1st in the County. Team mate Sophie Doig narrowly missed a medal place, finishing 4th.
Alice Page finished 5th in the county in the 15/16yrs age group while Kayleigh Venables (20/24yrs) finished 3rd in the region and 1st in the County.
The last event of the day was the 5km race, seen as the swimming equivalent of a half marathon. Three swimmers qualified for the National competition.
Sam Rose, 16 yrs, finished in 1st place regionally, and in the Open age group for the county. Team mate Callum Stedman (16yrs) finished third in the region, second in the county and will be off to the National completion too.
Lucie Peck (16 yrs) completed the ‘PurpleArmy’ hat trick of 5km national qualifiers, finishing 3rd in the region and 1st in the county.3rd Regional.
Jake Lammas (17/18yrs) took the county bronze medal, and Joe Read (17/18 yrs) finished 4th in the region and silver medalist in the county.
One of the WNSC Open Water Coaches Cheryl Rose said ‘Nineteen is a fantastic number of competitors for our club. The swimmers all performed really well, drawing on the training they’ve been able to undertake thanks to our close relationship with Kings Lynn Tri Athlon Club, training with them at Saddlebow on Saturday mornings. Particular thanks must go to Jess Cunningham and Alistair Doig from the club for their support which is always above and beyond the call of duty. I’ll look forward to continuing on Saturdays for the rest of the summer, and welcoming new members to come and join us.’
The National event will take place on 5th August, although the venue has yet to be confirmed. The first choice site, at Rother Valley Country Park, Rotherham, is currently closed whilst tests are carried out following the recent discovery of the potentially toxic blue-green algae.
Callum Stedman, Lucie Peck,Sam Rose, Jake Lammas. (5km) and Joe Wells.
Pic 2 Joe Read (5km)
Kayleigh Venables, Sophie Doig, Essie Kidman, Olivia Skittrell, Alice Page & Joshua Parker (2km)
Pic 4 Jack Sharpe, Rhys Burrell, Jack Drage, Amelie Dockerty, Erica Charters (1km)
Pic 5 media Vitginyte, Harry Sharpe, Robert Addis (3 km)