Dereham’s Aris earns big haul at Norwich swimming championships

Dereham swimmer Marcella Aris enjoyed a bumper weekend at the recent Regional Winter Championships, held at the UEA Sportspark, in Norwich.

The 15-year-old, who represents St Felix School and is coached by Sue Purchase, won five gold, two silver and five bronze medals over the weekend.

She got off to a flying start in the 200 metres freestyle, clocking two minutes 5.44 seconds in the heat and going on to set a Norfolk record in the final – 2:04.13.

Aris then set best times in the 400 individual medley and the 200 backstroke and helped her 4x200 freestyle relay team to medal. On day two she continued her good form by setting a personal best time in the 200 IM – following this up to PB in the gruelling 800 metres freestyle to win the junior gold medal.

Aris finished a busy morning by anchoring home her 4x100 medley relay team to a bronze medal place. The teenager saved her best for her blue riband event – the 400 freestyle – in a keenly fought race she took on Yasmin Bithrey from Hatfield.

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Bithrey was in fine form, having won the senior 100 and 200 metre titles and in the closing stages it was a straight fight between the two.

Aris won a thrilling duel to take the fold in 4:16:24 – beating the Eastern Region age group record set two years previously by Commonwealth Games competitor Anne Bochman.

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Aris' main goals this season are to carry on her recent impressive displays in Norwich and perform to her maximum ahead of the British Championships in March and qualify for the European Junior Championships in July.

She receives funding from the Norfolk Sports and Cultural Foundation, which is a body that supports both young talented athletes and artists on the road to the London Olympics in 2012.

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