West Norfolk swimmers excel at British Championships in Sheffield


Freddie Laws and Nathan Wells were in record form as the four West Norfolk Swimming Club representatives enjoyed a great week at the British Swimming Championships in Sheffield.

The duo set new county records during the week as the Purple Army contingent rubbed shoulders with the cream of British swimming.

Opening day of the championships on Tuesday saw all four in action, with Molly Lee and Sarah O’Brien kicking off the women’s 50-metre breaststroke.

West Norfolk Swimmers (56065015)

Lee came home with a season-best 34.12 seconds, followed by O’Brien with a personal best 34.36 seconds.

Wells was in action in two events, with the season’s best in the 400m freestyle after a stellar 50m backstroke to claim the Norfolk County record with a personal best 26.87 seconds.

Laws was the fourth and final member of the West Norfolk contingent to hit the water, clocking a personal best of 1 minute and 5.21 seconds in the 100 meter breaststroke.

The day was a defining moment for the 18-year-old, swimming just five sets earlier than his boyhood hero, two-time Olympic champion and world record holder Adam Peaty – just over seven to the day after her first meeting with him.

Day two saw Wells and Laws continue their good form, with the former achieving a season-best in the 100-metre backstroke and the latter a personal best 30.10 seconds in the 50-metre breaststroke.

Day three was a lonely but action-packed day for Wells, being West Norfolk’s only swimmer in action as he contested both the blue ribbon 100m freestyle event and the grueling 400m individual medley.

This final event sees swimmers swim eight lengths of an Olympic-sized pool using each of four strokes (two lengths on each).

Wells delivered the best performance of the season in both, clocking 52.70 seconds in the freestyle and 4 minutes 35.16 seconds in the medley.

While swimming in the same event as his hero on day one might have been the highlight of Freddie Laws’ week, day four turned out to be even more enjoyable.

Swimming the 200-metre breaststroke, Laws clocked a personal best of two minutes 21.70 seconds en route to securing a place in that evening’s “Paris priority final”.

The final is held for swimmers born in 2001 or later and is named after the 2024 Games, which could offer top competitors in that age bracket a chance to make their Olympic debut.

Heading into the final, Laws was ranked seventh in the class and so found himself racing an outside lane, with any chance of a podium success being very remote on paper.

However, a strong start saw him battle through the middle of the pack in the first half of the race, before spending the remaining 100 meters gradually closing in on the leading trio of swimmers.

Pushing, the West Norfolk swimmer managed to speed up not one, but two of the top three to find himself in second place.

Laws held the position in a tight finish, clocking a time of 2 minutes 19.33 seconds as he bettered his personal best in the heats to secure a silver medal and a Norfolk County record for making good measure.

On Saturday, Nath-an Wells made his own appearance in the final evening session, earning a spot in the men’s 200-meter individual medley B final with the season’s best swim in the heats which he then improved upon again. finally.

Finally, day six saw Wells joined in action by Lee and O’Brien once again.

The former ended his week with a season best in the 200-meter freestyle and a personal best of 2 minutes 6.79 seconds in the 200-meter backstroke.

The women’s 100m breaststroke event saw the two competitors from West Norfolk separated by just a hundredth of a second, with Lee ahead of her teammate with a time of 1 minute 14.95 seconds to O’Brien’s 1 minute 14.96.


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