SWIMMING: It proved to be a positive week for West Norfolk Swimming Club’s four representatives at the British Swimming Championships in Sheffield.
The opening day of the championships saw all four in action with Molly Lee and Sarah O’Brien kick-starting proceedings in the women’s 50 metre breaststroke. Lee came home in a season’s best time of 34.12 seconds, followed by O’Brien with a personal best time of 34.36.
Nathan Wells was in action in two events, with a season’s best in the 400m freestyle coming after an excellent swim in the 50m backstroke, which saw him claim the Norfolk county record with a personal best time of 26.87.
Freddie Laws hit the water, with a PB of 1.5.21 in the 100m breaststroke. The day was a landmark moment for the 18-year-old, swimming five heats earlier than his childhood hero, two-time Olympic Champion and world record holder Adam Peaty.
The second day saw Wells and Laws continue their good form, with the former achieving a season’s best in the 100m backstroke and the latter a PB of 30.10 in the 50m breaststroke.
The third day was action-packed day for Wells as he contested both the blue-riband 100m freestyle and the gruelling 400m individual medley, which sees competitors swim eight lengths of the Olympic-sized pool, completed using all four strokes. Wells delivered a season’s best performance in both, with a time of 52.70 in the freestyle and 4.35.16 in the medley.
Swimming in the 200m breaststroke on the fourth day, Laws clocked a PB of 2.21.70 seconds en route to booking ha slot in the Priority Paris Final – held for swimmers born in 2001 or later, and named after the 2024 Games, which could provide the very best competitors in this age range a chance of an Olympic debut.
Heading into the final, Laws was ranked seventh and found himself racing in an unfavourable outside lane.
However, a strong start saw him fighting in the mid pack in the first half of the race, before spending the remaining 100m gradually closing in on the leading trio of swimmers.
Pushing on, the West Norfolk swimmer accelerated past two of those in front of him to go second.
He held that position in a tight finish, clocking 2.19.33 to better his PB set in the heats, secure a silver medal and a Norfolk county record.
The fifth day of the prestigious event saw Wells make his own appearance in the evening finals session, securing a slot in the B final of the men’s 200m individual medley with a season’s best swim in the heats, which he later bettered in the final.
Day Six saw Wells joined in action by Lee and O’Brien as he rounded off his week with a season’s best in the 200m freestyle and a PB of 2.6.79 seconds in the 200m backstroke.
The women’s 100m breaststroke saw West Norfolk’s two competitors separated by just one-100th of a second with Lee pipping her teammate with a time of 1.14.95 to O’Brien’s 1.14.96.