Polly is Top Girl at West Norfolk open meeting

West Norfolk Swimming Club held the 2023 edition of their annual open meet at Alive St James Swimming Pool.

Supported by sponsors Alive Leisure, the prestigious event drew competitors from across Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire to the Blackfriars’ Street venue to contest seven different age categories and the chance to secure regional qualifying times.

Almost 1600 individual swims took place across 28 events running from Saturday afternoon, into the evening before resuming again early on the Sunday morning.

West Norfolk1 (63233618)
West Norfolk1 (63233618)
West Norfolk 2 (63233620)
West Norfolk 2 (63233620)
West Norfolk 3 (63233622)
West Norfolk 3 (63233622)

After the two days and four sessions of competition, the overall trophy for Top Boy was awarded to Kameron Baker from the City of Peterborough – also securing the honours for Top Visiting Club – whilst West Norfolk’s Polly Anderson narrowly beat team mate Olivia Bradford to the award for Top Girl.

In the pool, West Norfolk’s Purple Army delivered an impressive performance once again, demonstrating the club motto: “train hard, race easy”.

No-one showcased this better than one of the youngest swimmers at the weekend.

Valeria Soldatihhina, 10, claimed a gold medal in every one of the 11 events she raced.

Also in the 10-year-old category, Den Vojevoda secured gold for his 100 metre backstroke along with six silvers and a bronze.

Elizabeth Litvinenko took home three silvers and four bronze medals while Leo Harrington’s 200 backstroke also earned a gold medal to accompany a silver and two bronze medals.

Joshua Norris and Kieran Jackson each took home a silver and bronze medal and Alexandra Cerps earned a well-deserved bronze medal for his 100 metre butterfly.

For the 11 year olds, Anderson won 12 medals, nine of which were gold, and Harry Clarke showed he meant business with nine golds and one silver.

Gold medals also went to Logan Greenwood and Arya Richardson.

Calum Wallace and Nellie Chadderton each took home four medals while Lexi Foster won two silvers and Ignas Smulkys took bronze for the 50 backstroke.

The 12-year-olds bagged a total of 33 medals between them, including seven golds, three silvers and two bronzes from Olivia Bradford.

Ruby Baxter claimed two golds, three silvers and two bronzes from Ruby Baxter, while Adam Jackson and Rejus Mazeika each contributed four medals and Samuel Liddell and Toby Turner added another three.

For the 13-year-olds, Alexander Pattison topped the table with seven golds and two bronzes. Golds were also earned by Theo Ryan, Ashton Busby, Belle Ringwood and Milly Johnson.

Further contributions came from Calleigh Welham-Smith, Callum New, Cory Hill, Florence Collison, Ruby Steward Brown and Thomas Elsdon took the medal tally up to 39 for the age group.

The 14s-and-over had an equally successful meet.

Eloise Collins claimed gold in eight of the nine events she swam and Sarah O’Brien finished the weekend undefeated in seven outings.

Benjamin Tennant, Jamie Wilson and Tobias Oglesby each earned five golds and there were high medal counts from many others, including Wiktoria Marcinek who medalled in 12 out of 13 events, Kye Harrington medalling in 11 out of 12, Erin Woodrow with nine and Esmie Kidman with eight.

The event was made possible by an army of volunteers who run the event under the excellent leadership of event promoter Amanda Bellamy.

Volunteers were kindly kept fed and watered throughout thanks to the generous support of Renegade Spudz, Priors Butchers, of West Lynn, and Karina the Community Champion at Gaywood Tesco.

Thanks also go to additional event sponsors Manor Farm Fishing Lakes and the Belle Vue Guest House.

A raffle was run throughout the weekend to support the club’s ongoing fundraising activities.

Prizes were kindly donated by local businesses: King’s Lynn Model Shop, Collison Cut Flowers, GBC Construction, Church Farm, of Stow Bardolph, The Majestic Cinema, Smudge Creations, Alive Corn Exchange, WaffleOpolis, Sweet Treats, Sandringham Hall, Morrisons, Farm Foods, AP Race Clinic and Outdoor Swimwear.