Great Yarmouth’s Winter Wipeout Gala, coming so close to Christmas, gives Norfolk swimmers their last chance to gain county qualifying times, and this added an extra level of determination to many of the swimmers competing in this fast paced, annual event. Hosted by Great Yarmouth Swimming Club and held at the Sportspark UEA pool in Norwich, the gala was well attended by swimmers from 11 different clubs, with the club who had travelled the furthest most definitely being the Exiles Malta, who’d flown over specially to compete. It was great for the swimmers to have some new faces to race against, and the Maltese team was given a very warm welcome.
Great Yarmouth had a large team of swimmers competing and had success across the age groups in both the girls and boys categories. Medals were awarded for the fastest 3 swims in each age group for each event. Some of the age groups – particularly for the girls – had over 20 swimmers in them, making achieving a top 3 placing a real accolade. What was particularly pleasing is that both our youngest swimmers and most senior swimmers won medals – Ava Patterson (9) took an excellent silver in the 100m backstroke and bronze in the 50m backstroke. Men’s captain Ryan Webb (17) had a very positive weekend, competing in additional events outside his usual sprint distances, he took gold in the 50m butterfly, 100m freestyle and 200m freestyle and silver in the 100m butterfly and 200m IM. Ladies captain Anna Duffield (16) also led by example, approaching each race with total commitment she took silvers in the 100m backstroke, 50m backstroke, 50m butterfly and 100m IM and bronze in the 200m IM.
Other excellent medal winning performances came from: Amelia Dibble (11), who in a busy weekend of racing achieved an impressive 5 gold medals (200m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 100m freestyle, 100m breaststroke and 100m IM) and 4 silver medals (50m breaststroke, 50m backstroke, 100m butterfly and 50m butterfly); Jasmine Coleman (12) swam strongly to win gold in the 100m butterfly and bronze in the 200m freestyle and 50m butterfly; Anna Pearce (14) showed her strength in the 200m butterfly by taking an excellent silver.
Oli Grimmer (13) and Rhys Jarvis (13) competing in the same age category had some great races, with perhaps the best being their 50m freestyle heats. Pushing hard, Oli dipped under the 30 second mark for the first time, always a milestone in a swimmer’s progression, clocking 29.93. Rhys, who swam in the following heat, was just behind him in 30.05, getting closer to the sub 30 with every swim. Oli also took a brilliant gold in the 100m freestyle, where he smashed his old pb, and bronze in the 50m backstroke. Rhys swam strongly in the 100m freestyle, taking a convincing bronze. Jacob Zandbergen showed his usual consistency of speed, and real determination in his races, winning 4 gold medals (50m backstroke, 100m backstroke, 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle) along with a bronze in the 50m butterfly.
The busiest swimmer of the weekend, as ever, was Nathan Pitman (14) who competed in every single boys event (16 in total over the 2 days). Showing real progress and improvement, he took gold in the grueling 400m IM and 200m butterfly along with the 200m backstroke and also took bronze in the 100m butterfly and 200m IM.
There were many other brilliant swims throughout the weekend, with, unfortunately, too many swimmers competing to name all individually. It was, however, great to see Mollie Medler back competing (and achieving new pbs) after an enforced time out of the pool earlier this year due to serious injury. Megan Smith also deserves a mention for smashing so many of her previous best times, and showing particular strength in the breaststroke and Melissa Duffield took a brilliant 8 seconds off her 400m freestyle (despite losing her hat mid-race) showing an emerging talent for the distance events. In total the club had 115 new pb times out of a total of 190 races and head coach Richard Every, who was poolside with the team throughout the weekend said “across the board I was really pleased with the performance and attitude of all of the athletes, with some of the less experienced ones performing brilliantly. I was proud to be the coach of our swimmers this weekend and look forward to great things in the future.”
Well done to all of the swimmers who competed, thanks to the coaching team, volunteers and officials for supporting the swimmers, and also huge thanks to the committee members who spent so long organising and running the gala. Thanks also to our event sponsor RWE (who owns operates and maintains the Great Yarmouth Power Station), who were kind enough to support GYSC in the running of this gala for another year.
Full results can be found at: http://www.gysc.org.uk/results/WinterWipeout/2018/