Seventh heaven at regional competition delights Norfolk swimmer Nathan Wells

Young Norfolk Sports Academy swimmer Nathan Wells.

Young Norfolk Sports Academy swimmer Nathan Wells. - Credit: Submitted

In the latest of our updates from Young Norfolk Sports Academy members, swimmer Nathan Wells reviews his recent progress, including competing at the British Swimming Championships in Glasgow

The 18-year-old is a sixth-form student at Springwood High School in King's Lynn and competes for West Norfolk Swimming Club.

Wells reached two junior finals at the British Championships at Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow in April, which also doubled up as Olympic Trials, finishing fifth in both the 400m freestyle and 400m individual medley finals.

He also qualified for all 16 events of the Youth East Regional Championships held at the UEA Norwich Sportspark, demonstrating his all-round talent across the range of all four strokes and distances, going on to compete in 10 of the events.

The energy-sapping effort of heats and finals brought gold and regional titles in the 400m individual medley and the 1,500m freestyle, silver in the 200m backstroke (personal best), 200m individual medley, 100m backstroke and 400m freestyle, bronze in the 200m freestyle and new personal bests times in the 100m freestyle and 50m backstroke.

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I swam a gruelling total distance of 3,950 metres of races in the three days.

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The medals that I and the rest of my team-mates won managed to push the West Norfolk team up to seventh position in the medals table.

We were the highest-ranked Norfolk club at the Youth Regional Championships.

I would like to thank the YNSA. Since I've been part of the programme it's helped me to gain some amazing results including this season, achieving a lot of personal best times and qualifying for five events at the GB trials in Glasgow was a great achievement for me.

The vast array of lectures has given me valuable knowledge on how to best prepare for an event and how to perform well under pressure. I have been able to maintain a high level of performance because of the support from the whole team at the YNSA.

Talking with other top athletes on the programme who all compete at high levels in different sports and being able to discuss and compare experiences, some of which I have been able to relate to myself, has been very useful.

I would also like to thank my parents and my coach who's help and support has been invaluable and I wouldn't be at this level without them.

Applicants welcomed

As the YNSA comes to the end of its second year, applications from talented young athletes within Norfolk are being encouraged.

Between September 2016 and August 2017 the YNSA will run a lecture and workshop programme including aspects such as nutrition, goal setting, physical preparation, sports psychology, functional movement screening, support groups, injury advice, lifestyle management, athlete profiling, preparation to perform and media training.

The academy will also be working very closely with the new Norfolk Sports Academy, which is being set up by the University of East Anglia, to share resources and expertise.

Alongside the lecture programme the YNSA offers athlete support and mentoring, whether on a one-to-one basis or group session. The athletes themselves have been the stars this year competing in high-profile events in such places as USA, Belgium, Portugal, Spain and obviously the UK. One of the many success stories is Isla Rush signing for Matrix professional cycling team, alongside Laura Trott.

For full details, ahead of the July 22 application deadline, go to

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