My swimming journey: Becoming Vice Captain
I have been swimming for 4 years which is not as long as many others within the club, as I was a late starter. Unlike the normal journey of a swimmer at the club who goes through pods for 10 weeks then skills then transition into development and finally performance. I started in pods, but because I was 9 years old most of my age group were already in skills, so after 3 weeks I got moved. This also happened because I got picked for junior league by Charlotte who then coached me through skills and really showed me that the swimming club wasn’t just fun you had to work hard as well. Junior league is an event where over four different competitions different clubs swim against each other. In each age group you do relays and individual 50m races. This was what really drove my swimming and my motivation to get better, because like most people I wanted to be the best and win all my races either relays or individuals. I remember winning this event and going to the finals on a big bus with the whole team to Newcastle then Leicester the next year.
"I wanted to be the best and win all my races either relays or individuals."
Then we went to Hull which was my first proper race meet. Like most swimmers I was nervous, but I was especially nervous to the point a coach had to come round with me for every race all weekend, which may seem silly but it really helped me. From then I was more confident, and I kept getting better and better. Eventually my coaches started saying I was achieving county times. This didn’t mean much to me at the time but when the county championships came In January I was racing against the best in Lincolnshire in my age group.
I then realised that I needed to work even harder to compete with these swimmers. I then got moved into development under James who really made me the swimmer I am today. Instead of writing the sets on the board and just telling us to swim, he explained what we were doing. This helped me and all my friends at the club as we started to achieve more county times. Counties came round again, and this time I was in medal contention.
I always preferred to talk to my coach before I raced to ask how I should swim each race. When I should go fast, and when should I relax a little and get my energy back for the final 50. This was the first counties where I got a medal in the 50m breaststroke. It was me and my friend in the fastest two lanes and we were side by the side until the end, and I piped him by a fingertip and that’s when I got my first county gold. Then the same again next year with a gold in my 50m breast and lots of 4th places. This year I was focusing on regionals. This event was the next level up from counties and now I was racing the best in the east midlands. I did finish near to the bottom of every race but the atmosphere was so amazing it didn’t matter. I always knew that I was never going to be an Olympian but this was the level I reached and I am still at now and proud of myself.
"I now use my own experiences to help younger swimmers become the best they can be."
I have been given the honour of being chosen as junior vice-captain at the club. I now help coach younger squads and try and use my own knowledge to help younger swimmers become the best they can be. This club means so much to me, and I am thankful for everything the coaches have done and continue to do for me now.
"This club means so much to me, and I am thankful for everything the coaches have done and continue to do for me."
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