Young Olympic swimming triallists storm to PBs

TWO local youngsters competed in the Olympic and Paralympic selection trials at London Aquatic centre last week – and both achieved personal best times.

Accompanied by their head coach Alex Pinniger, Jack Utting, 14, from Caister and who attends Caister High School was one of the youngest qualifiers at the event. Jack, who broke the 13 year olds 100m backstroke British rRecord last year was rubbing shoulders with the best of British wwimmers. The pressure was on everyone to perform at their very best but Jack didn’t let that faze him.

With an outstanding performance in the 100m backstroke, Jack smashed his own personal best, swimming it in 59.53. On Wednesday morning he was back in the pool again, with a strong race he finished just outside his personal best.

Meanwhile 15 year old Jessica-Jane Applegate from Gorleston who attends Ormiston Venture Academy was swimming in the S14 disability category. Jess stormed the pool on Saturday morning finishing with a PB and a place in the evenings finals.

The pressure was really on as it was the first round of trials for Paralympic swimmers, they were competing in an unfamiliar pool and it was live on BBC1’s red button! Jessica-Jane did not disappoint and anyone at home viewing can verify how electric the atmosphere was. She finished not only in first place within the Paralympic qualifying time but now holds a new British record.

Jess said: “I swam so hard I couldn’t feel my legs afterwards, they felt like they had turned to jelly.”.

To qualify for the Paralympics there are two rounds of trials, further classification assessments and then a selection process. The final team should be confirmed by May.

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Sunday saw Jess compete in the 100m backstroke where she also had a strong race and touched just outside her PB unfortunately not making finals in this event.

Jack link swims with Gary Jarvis (Great Yarmouth SC) and with Alex Pinniger (UEA City of Norwich SC)

Jess swims with Alex Pinniger under the UEA city of Norwich.

A spokeswoman for the youngsters said: “Thank you to all of the staff at the Phoenix pool in Bradwell for helping Jess out with some training sessions when she had some difficulties.”

Anyone interested in joining the UEA City of Norwich swimming club please contact Alex Pinniger at