Norwich’s fantastic four earn a place at 2018 British Swimming Championships

City of Norwich Swimming Club head coach Alex Pinniger with (from left) Megan Pye, Jessica-Jane Appl

City of Norwich Swimming Club head coach Alex Pinniger with (from left) Megan Pye, Jessica-Jane Applegate, Nathan Woodrow and Sacha Thomas, who have all qualified for the British Championships in Edinburgh come March. - Credit: Archant

A quartet of City of Norwich swimmers have a chance to impress on the national stage after booking their place at this year's British Championships in Edinburgh.

Sacha Thomas, Nathan Woodrow, Megan Pye and London 2012 Paralympic champion Jessica-Jane Applegate will all represent City of Norwich Swimming Club at the Edinburgh International Meet in March, where successful results will open up selection to international events – all with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics already flickering on the horizon.

'We're all looking forward to seeing how they perform,' said City of Norwich head coach Alex Pinniger.

'Next week our squad will travel to Cyprus for a warm weather training camp, where they'll be working hard towards their individual goals. It will be great preparation for Edinburgh and the swimmers will be in peak condition.

'I am proud of them and I'm sure they will do very well, enjoy it and learn so much from the incredible experience.'

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Great Yarmouth's two-time Paralympian Applegate, now 21, will be the busiest of the quartet – competing on every day of the meet across six events: 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle, plus the 100m butterfly.

'I can't believe I have got in, it's like a dream come true,' said Applegate, who has competed in the S14 classification for swimmers with intellectual disabilities.

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'I have competed at numerous British Championships before but that was when they were able-bodied and Para-events combined. So to have accepted entries as an able-bodied swimmer is just amazing.

'I don't care if I come last. The fact is I got in…although I will be trying my very best not to come last. I'm far too competitive not to give it my all!'

At 14 years old, Norwich youngster Thomas will be the youngest of the quartet as she also takes on the 100m freestyle.

'It's such a massive event that it is quite scary but I know we are going as a team and we will support each other,' she said.

'It's also exciting to be with not only the best in the county, but some of best international swimmers out there.'

Fellow Norwich 14-year-old Woodrow will compete in the 100m and 200m butterfly, as well as 200m and 400m individual medleys.

'I am really excited and I'm hoping to meet some international superstars,' he said. 'I've raced at national level before but this is a whole new ball game. I'm hoping to improve my position on the British rankings and really enjoy the event.'

As for Pye, the Norwich 15-year-old who will race in the 50m backstroke and butterfly added: 'My goals are to stay calm and relaxed. I get a little over-excited sometimes but I know if I can channel my excitement into my races, I will do well and make my family proud.

'I hope to improve my position on the rankings database and now I know I've done it once, I want to get even more slots next year.'

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