Sam clinches a gold but still wants to swim faster.

Sam our lead coach  lead by example by competing himself in the Scottish National Short Course Masters & Senior Age Group  Championship and what a competition  he had! The event took place at Tollcross Park Leisure Centre Glasgow , under the auspices of Swim Scotland and  swam three events in the 35-39 masters age group category.This was Sam’s first competition in over two years.

His best result by far was his 200m freestyle in which he came first in a time of 2.12.72 – a full two seconds ahead of his nearest rival.

Sam was also runner up in the 400m freestyle. scoring 4.50.73 but explained that it was a hard fought race.

“This was a tough race for two reasons. I had done the 100m only 20 minutes before this race and its never easy to use two different energy systems in two very different races.” However, after he swam the 100m, Sam had very mixed emotions and although he came sixth he was, on the other hand, happy for now  to record his second best time ever of 1.00.51 He now wants to go on and break a minute over the distance. “I know that I’m capable of it and I will have another chance when I compete again in October” added Sam. 

John Holden


My first open water swim

The event was part of my mums Ironman distance triathlon and was held at the National Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrpont, Nottingham. I was swimming with lots of adults and older children. When I was going up to the start the weather was quite cold but they said the water was warm and they didn’t lie, the temperature was very warm, like getting into a bath. When we started you had the option to dive or sit and slide in, I dived off the side in to the dark green water.

I could just about see my hand as it entered the water. It was cold at the beginning but got so warm. I had to swim 1.2 miles, the water was very choppy. The big orange buoys were difficult to see, but I looked forward every 6-8 strokes and this kept me going in a straight line. The whole time I was thinking about how I was going to feel great after the swim. It was hard work and tiring however, I felt awesome and refreshed and I would do it again and I will. I was so happy to come second in the under 16 age group, I never knew I could swim that fast for so long. I would encourage others to do an open water swim if they get the chance, it is a great experience and one that I will do again.

July 2021




The Club got their first taste of competition for a long while at the “Midsomer Madness” competition held at the UEA promoted by the City of Norwich Swimming Club and under the auspices of Swim England’s Covid Regulations which meant no spectators were allowed. A pity, as they would have seen Vikings enter 72 individual races, resulting in 61 best times and 16 top three finishes.
Noah Buchan of Beeston Regis, won the 100m freestyle in 1:22.29.ahead of his Viking team mate, Michael Sayer from Holt who went 1:26.45. However, this was not enough for the two ten year olds respectively as they both made more trips onto the podium. Noah was runner up in the 50 metre freestyle with his 38.87 and a third place in 54.64 over 50 metres breaststroke. Meanwhile, Michael was a runner up again this time in the 50metre backstroke scoring 43.05
Esme Seaman, 11, was very brave to attempt the 200 Individual Medley long course. Esme finished in a creditable 10 place but with an outstanding twenty-two seconds improvement ahead of her entered time, subsequently hitting the pad in 4:15.0. In the seniors, Harry Hudson 15, from Stalham, broke a minute in the 100m freestyle in 58.71 finishing fifth, and later went onto break 30 seconds in the 50m with 26.52 respectively. Harry finished fourth after facing fierce competition in both races
Full credit and thanks for representing the club to our other members who took part, Ruby Tracy, Sophie McKee, Masie Fagan, Jimmy Margree, Jess Seamark, Isaac Buchan, Chloe Jackson, Izak Hamilton, brothers George and Zak Edridge and the leadership of our club captain Katy Coleman. At the conclusion our Lead Coach Sam Watts said
“I’m really pleased with everything we did over the weekend. Let’s keep this up and keep working hard.”
John Holden



Vikings Trio Rise To Challenge

North Norfolk Viking Swimmers, Romilly Hammond, aged 13 Isaac Buchan 12 and his younger brother Noah,10 “swam the channel” in a relay tandem swim in Beeston Hall School pool, where all three attend; raising money for much needed club funds. The trio took the plunge as early as 7am and finished at 7-05pm covering the 22 miles distance channel swimmers have to complete between England and France. They were supported by fellow club members who also swam with them at various stages. Club Captain Katy Colman, Michael Sayer, Amiyah Hawes, masters Mark Claxton, Julie Coleman Sarah Buchan Spike Buchan and Lead coach Sam Watts, who also did a stint in the pool. At the conclusion he said:
“ This is the first real club event for us since the lock downs began and It brought the club together. I would like to congratulate Romilly, Isaac and Noah for their endeavour especially as they had to battle against the cold and rain and thanks to all the supporters and helpers who came along to cheer them on.”






The North Walsham Community Shop have providing us with a new training clock. This will benefit every swimmer who attends club training at the Victory. The advantage of this clock it is portable, meaning it can be place anywhere in the pool to benefit the different squads starting at different ends in addition to the permanent clock already fixed. At the hand over of the clock, Annie Abbs and Veronica Cooke, trustees of the Community Shop said:
We are really pleased to provide this training clock which will help the Viking swimmers. Our funds come entirely from the sale of public donations and this is just the sort of project that our volunteer-run charity exists to help” Club Captain, Katy Coleman replied with
“On behalf of all the swimmers, I just wanted to simply say ‘thank you’ to the Community Shop for the clock. This will be a great advantage to us all in our training for which we are all truly grateful.” as she received the clock on behalf of the Vikings.

John Holden



Grant From Watling Charity Provides Opportunity to join Vikings

The Club has been  awarded a small grant from Norfolk’s  Geoffrey Watling Charity to assist us with their project, Swimming Opportunities For All.(SOFA) This created vacancies for new members either to join the club or for parents to enroll youngsters in the “Learn to Swim” program at Aylsham High School. However, the response has been so positive that there are no more places at the time of writing but hopefully more places will be available as the COVID restrictions ease The cash boost will make swimming more accessible for more youngsters to benefit and enjoy extended free taster and  try outs.  Sarah Buchan, Club Chairperson explained the significance of receiving the grant.

“We would like to thank the Geoffrey Watling Charity for their kind assistance and we value any financial help which enhances a safe, healthy outlet for youngsters in our immediate community.”

The Vikings took the plunge in the middle of April immediately after the government eased the second phase of lock down but their over 18s will have to be a little more patient because they cannot get back in the swim until May.

Meanwhile, Vikings’ Lead Coach Sam Watts is wasting no time and has a distinct focus and a clear progression to the Vikings’ return

“Like all, we hope we are moving out of the last lock down in stages. Therefore, we too will introduce a staged approach towards building up fitness, bringing back proficient technique and develop stamina again before working on any real speedwork.”

John Holden


How far do you have to swim to cross the English Channel and how much would it cost you for an attempt? The distance is twenty-two miles and the average cost today is about two and a half thousand pounds. However, its not so daunting for three brave members of our club, Romilly Hammond (aged 13) and brothers Isaac (12) and Noah Buchan (10) respectively. They will attempt the distance in the Beeston Hall School Pool on Saturday 15 May covering 1,770 lengths, over twelve to thirteen hours in a relay tandem swim. The Vikings hope to raise the same two and half thousand pounds for their much needed funds through this endeavour, the launch of their “Just Giving Page” and other projects this coming summer. 



Leah and Isaac setting the pace as Vikings return to competition


Competitors from North Norfolk Vikings Swimming Club participated in their first virtual competition since March and the first part was contested at the Victory Pool on Sunday when all events were over the same, 200m distance in Swim England’s National Level X Racing. This a nationwide club time trial giving club members the chance to compete against swimmers from across the country, to rejuvenate their racing skills and to try to make it onto the Level X Racing Leader boards!


Meanwhile, friendly Viking rivalries were also inevitable right from the first event, the Individual Medley where competitors swim all strokes. There was no doubt about the fastest here, seventeen year old Paston six form college student Leah Harris who led from the gun finishing in an impressive   2:36.37 from Club Captain Katy Coleman. However, Leah had an ironic  challenge later when her coach Sam Watts and masters swimmer Spike Buchan were time trialling in adjacent lanes in the Freestyle.  After an even 150m it was Sam who who moved ahead of Leah and provided an exciting close finish; not against Leah but Spike, who hit the pad in   2:18.89  a split second ahead of Sam. All three recorded creditable individual times which should put them in contention for the leader board in their respective categories.


In the junior heats, the ever improving Nelson Yarbo made no mistakes in 3:33.32. and there was a pleasant surprise from Bailee Beighton of the development squad who competed well and carried off the distance untroubled. There was a sibling rivalry, again in the junior section, between George and Zack Edridge also in the freestyle. Zack led for most of the distance but George made an outstanding come back on the last 50m. However, Zack just held on to record a fater time of  4:15.95  in an exciting finger tip finish. Emily Brighton and Esme Seaman, took the consolation places


It was an almost identical scenario  when the Edridge brothers met again, this time in the breaststroke. It was Zack fractionally ahead of  George in 3:57.09 and in the corresponding girls’ event, Romilly Hammond, who attends Beeston Hall School, achieved the fastest time of  3:43.06 from Madeleine Wicks and Emily Beighton respectively. In the backstroke it was Romilly again with  3:36.27 with Emily as runner up.


The first evening concluded with the Butterfly and full credit must be attributed to both, Katy Coleman and Isaac Buchan. It is a demanding event and although not a race as such between the two, both competed well against the clock. Katy “was pleased” with her  2:49.37 and Isaac who is five years her junior went 3:50.62 after him being the fastest boy in the backstroke scoring 3:16.00 and the  Individual Medley with 3:16.03


The concluding part of Swim England’s Level X took part again at the Victory Pool and had no fewer than twenty-one swimmers competing and the club set its swimmers the ultimate challenge in what many Olympians believe to be the “blue ribbon event: “ the 4 X 100m Individual Medley,(IM). Sixteen continuous lengths of the victory pool displaying ability on all four strokes. It was the ever present Leah Harris although she admitted that this was her first 400 IM as it was for Kay Coleman and Isaac Buchan. Leah was clearly the fastest in 5.28.45 and creditable times were recorded for Katy and Isaac respectively.


After an exciting encounter in the 200m freestyle, during part one of Level X, the trio of Sam Watts, Spike Buchan and Leah were drawn again in adjacent lanes and joining them for this 100m event was fifteen year old Harry Hudson. It turned out to be  the swim of the evening. On the last 25m it was clear it was going to be between Sam and Spike again but last week’s  positions were reversed as Sam was first home by just under two seconds from Spike in 1:02.31 with only respective marginal time differences between Harry and Leah.


In the 50m Freestyle, there were no fewer than eighteen competitors trying for a place on the leader boards. The fastest time in the masters was  28.32 achieved by Spike and in the seniors,30.0 by Harry Hudson. In the girls trial it was Leah Harris in 30.39 from Katy Coleman respectively. Both eight year old  Reuben Seaman and new comer, ten year old Bethany Brooks made the most of their opportunities in the event displaying solid performances whilst gaining invaluable experience.


Bethany did well again in the 50m butterfly as did Aylsham High School student Amy-Rose Thomas who surprised a number of people when she demonstrated an adroit technique proving to all the significant improvement she has made not just in the butterfly, but all strokes when she had earlier swam in the 100 IM. Gresham’s student, nine year old Michael Sayer also displayed how well he too had improved, especially on his freestyle.  Harry Hudson swam fastest in these two senior respective events achieving 36.21 and 1:11.84. from eleven year old Isaac Buchan and his nine year old brother Noah who swam well in no fewer than seven events.


In the breaststroke Ruby Tracy was outstanding in the 100m and by far the fastest in the girls with her 1:30.38 from Romilly Hammond.  However, Ruby did not have it all her own way as in the 50m it was Leah Harris in 40.90 ahead of Ruby. Sophie McKee, Esme Seaman and Maisie Fagan also made a positive contribution to this and other events; all of whom are undoubted prospects for the future. The boys 100m corresponding event had the ever present Edridge brothers with Zack being two tenths of a second ahead of George in 2:06.03.


Just after the swimming concluded, Club chairperson Sarah Buchan, who also swam in the trials, explained


“ The performances just proved how much potential there is in the club and everyone was excited to be competing again. Its a shame that we could not have any spectators in due to covid restrictions.”


Meanwhile, the swimmers wait patiently for for the Level X rankings to be issued.



                    Chair’s report 2020

Well where do I start with this year? It started so well with a great show at Counties followed by a fantastic display by our younger swimmers bringing home a raft of PBs and medals at the development gala. And then as we all know, Covid restrictions hit. During lockdown we had fortnightly quizzes and weekly land training via teams to keep up the Vikings spirit.

It has been heartening to see the enthusiasm and dedication from the swimmers during lockdown and also on return to the pool. We were fortunate to be able to return immediately to the pool through using Beeston Hall School. The relationship with Everyone Active at Victory Pool has continued to benefit Vikings. Through lockdown I had weekly calls with their area manager and was able to guide and influence the pool into allowing us as much pool time as possible and show them that swimming can be undertaken in a safe Covid way. We now have more pool time than before, at times that benefit us and allow for optimising training. However, this has come at a cost and like most businesses Everyone Active are now starting to charge full price and for extras such as antiwave ropes and blocks for training and the Level X time trials. So it does mean that for the time being, usual ropes must be used and blocks are still not allowed.

In order to achieve returning to the pool with the pool time allocation we had been given we had to look at the way our squads were set up. This is why we have gone from 4 squads to 3 and some children were moved around. Each child was assessed by Sam and the coach they had had previously, alongside the requirements of the squad and the aims. Swimmers of course will still be moved up when it is appropriate for them. I know for some children they may have been disappointed but undertaking training in the wrong squad can put enormous stress on a young athlete’s body, so they must be in the right squad for their ability and development.

The learn to swim continues to grow at Aylsham and I have run three successful courses for adults which has brought in extra income for the club. John is working on fundraising, so far we haven’t been successful but we will keep trying. Please remember to use easy fundraising for online purchases as the club really does benefit from this and it soon adds up.

I have been having discussions with North Norfolk District Council about being the partner for their Academy programme. This programme is run across 5 different sports and this year swimming has been added. We have been invited to visit schools across North Norfolk to identify children who have the potential to succeed in swimming but because of parenting or financial issues are prohibited from pursuing swimming at club level. We will work with the child, Everyone Active and NNDC to give them access to the club which will not only be of benefit to the child but will help boost our numbers and we will receive income for these children. Covid dependent, we will start this in January 2021.

Financially, the club is looking a little better than it was last year so please help us where you can with easy fundraising and raffles etc.

Following the learn to swim programme at Beeston Hall his summer we asked Roxanne if she would like to join us as a coach and thankfully she said yes. Roxanne predominantly coaches Squad C and Development. I have had to take a step back from coaching due to work commitments but we have consistent coaches in Sam, Guy and John who continue to coach our swimmers working on technique and increasing stamina, ready for competitions.

So, to sum up, I feel that the club is still turning the corner from some years ago but is in a much better position. There are some local clubs who have lost a lot of swimmers over Covid due to other interests taking over and pool providers not being as accommodating as Victory. It is starting to support itself financially, now has a great coaching team, led by Sam who is continuing to develop all the swimmers, we continue to build links and pathways with other clubs and we still punch well above our weight with regard to top times and medals for the small club that we are.

With the introduction of the Level X time trials we can really see where we all are as swimmers and help us set goals for the coming year. Counties at present look likely to be held in May, with Regionals in June. Under what format these will be, we do not know at present. There may be an opportunity for some galas next year but we will have to wait and see. Until then, we will continue to train to be the best we can be when we return to racing properly.

Finally, I would like to thank all of their committee for their hard work over the year and the support that they have given me and the swimmers. The committee are still looking for some squad reps and a fixtures secretary so please do come forward if you feel you can help as a smaller committee means more work for everyone.

There is still a long way to go, and who knows what the next year will bring, but hopefully with your support we will continue to be better and achieve more than we thought possible.






Vikings Swimming Club looks to positive future

North Norfolk Vikings Swimming Club held their Annual Presentation of Awards and AGM on Saturday. (virtually) Club Chairperson Sarah Buchan, reported that the club had returned to training with renewed vigour when restrictions were lifted and the swimmers are hungry to get back to competing as soon as possible. This comes as no surprise because under the auspices of lead coach Sam Watts, proportionally results at competitions have been excellent; namely at the Norfolk County Championship, the Warwick Thompson and the County Development Gala held just before lock down at the beginning of the year. In the masters section, Mark Claxton competed at the World Cold Water Masters Championships in Slovenia where he achieved 2 bronze medals a 4th place and a 6th place respectively..

As the “lock down” restrictions were lifted in the Summer, the club committee took effective action to ensure there was a safe, covid compliant transition and wasted no time in increasing and rejuvenating swimming by launching their SOFA Project (Swimming Opportunities For All) using Beeston Hall School Pool before they returned to the North Walsham and Aylsham pools respectively on their reopening. This proved very popular with more people joining the club either to learn to swim or squad training.

The future looks positive too and shortly they will be staging a Level X Meeting at the Victory Pool in North Walsham facilitated by Swim England. The competition is best described as a virtual endeavour whereby swimmers compete mainly against the clock, as opposed to competitors and the times are recorded nationally. It will take place over three separate sessions as soon as the Victory re opens.