Two records were broken at this weekend’s National Junior Para-Swimming Championships 2017. The event was funded by Swim England and delivered by the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS). Held at Sunderland Aquatics Centre on 24 and 25 June, the event provided young disabled swimmers with more competition experience and an opportunity to win medals against national rivals.
There was one British record for Kimberley swimmer Sophie Woodward, 13, in the S3 50m Butterfly (classification for people with physical impairments), in which she clocked 1:22:85. Meanwhile, Letisha Ellis, 13 and from Isle of Man, broke a GB deaf age group record for S15 50m Freestyle in 31.84 seconds.
This year’s partnership between Swim England and EFDS increased the opportunity for youth talent development. Swimmers were aged between 10-16 year olds and from all over the UK.
Nathan Carrington, who swims for York City swimming club, was celebrating after a fantastic weekend. The ten-year-old swims in the S15 class for swimmers, who are deaf. A very proud Dad, Dave, commented:
“Nathan had a great event- the highlight being smashing his personal best for 100m free by nearly seven seconds and earning himself a well-deserved gold medal. National events are especially important for young swimmers as it gives them a fantastic experience to make new friends and swim against different young talent.”
Janet Warrington, Disability Swimming Head Coach for Hoddesdon swimming club, took two swimmers to the championships, and said afterwards:
“This event is extremely important because it offers a chance for the young swimmers to practice their races, learn lessons, meet new friends and achieve. All of these factors improve their confidence and self-esteem. It increases their passion and determination to do well in their chosen sport.
“My swimmers both learnt some big lessons this weekend. Louise came away with three bronze medals and Sam with one!”
Lewis Rushton, 13, from Rykneld swimming club, won three bronze medals in his S9 class and improved all his personal bests. His Mum agreed with Dave and Janet:
“The more events he has competed at, the more Lewis has won and he has made lots of friends along the way. His confidence is up in the air after the weekend as he has performed so well and made even more friends! Also, a bit of competition from boys doing a little better than him has made him try harder and aspire to push for internationals.”
Jannine Walker, National Events Manager for EFDS, said:
“It was a fantastic weekend for all the swimmers and volunteers involved. For many taking part, it was the first time at a national event of this size and to see so many personal bests as well as a couple of British records broken just shows how important these championships are for their development. The support from Swim England, Everyone Active and SOS systems has been invaluable.”
Jane Nickerson, Swim England Chief Executive, said:
“We are very pleased to be able to support this event. It is important that all our talented young swimmers have the opportunity to compete in national championships.”
EFDS is a national charity that exists to make active lives possible. Established in September 1998, EFDS has a vision that disabled people are active for life. Working towards this vision, EFDS enables organisations to support disabled individuals be and stay active.
Sunderland City Council, Everyone Active and SOS systems also supported the event.
Full competition results are available online at www.efds.co.uk.