Congratulations Corey and Vicki!

Felixstowe Leisure Centre's Swimmers of the year

We wanted to round off 2022 with some good news stories. We asked all of our Swimming Teachers to nominate those distinctive, very special swimmers who deserved a bit of recognition.

They were asked to identify swimmers on our lesson programmes (children and adults) who have displayed positive attitudes, unyielding determination or, have put in efforts over and above their peers.  They may have overcome personal adversity or achieved something unexpected or challenging. 

Corey Bennett - Felixstowe Leisure Centre's Junior Swimmer of the Year 2022
Nominated by his teacher Julie Bilner

Corey joined my stage 5 class last December, the last swim week before Christmas break. He had just moved up from stage 4 and seemed happy enough not to swim close to the side so he swam in the middle of a large class from the deep end to standing depth.

After warming up well on his front and back we were doing breaststroke legs and his float got away from him and he panicked and became distressed. Corey was right in the centre of the pool, completely out of his depth and completely out of my reach so I had to perform a contact rescue which unfortunately becomes a spectacle when whistles are blown, teacher leaps in lifeguards assist! Poor Corey was very upset and embarrassed and felt he couldn’t carry on with the lesson even though we were playing some games later on. It didn’t help that there was now a two week break for Christmas, I really thought he wouldn’t come back in the new year. But he did. Very nervously and quite reluctantly!

I was so pleased with his mum for encouraging him to keep trying. And week by week his confidence returned and he has improved fantastically! He is a little fish under water and can dive beautifully! It’s an unspoken subject between us about what happened last year but I know he has wanted to impress me ever since by trying his hardest every lesson.

He progressed to stage 6 not long ago and is well on the way to stage 7 already! He could have so easily given up and not faced his fears but I’m so impressed and hugely proud of how he has progressed, he was my first thought for this nomination, he thoroughly deserves it.

Vicki Markham - Felixstowe Leisure Centre's Adult Swimmer of the Year 2022
Nominated by Seamus Bennett

Vicki has attended (evening) adult lessons week in week out for nearly two years, in all weathers, despite living several miles from FLC and having to get to the centre by mobility scooter. She has made huge progress, from being a complete non-swimmer barely able to get her face in, to now swimming a smooth front crawl with no aids.

These facts alone would make her a candidate for swimmer of the year - but the extra special thing about Vicki is how incredibly supportive she has been to all other adult swimmers who have come through the class, many of whom have been really nervous. Vicki has helped us achieve a lovely atmosphere in the lessons, with amazing progress made, and I know she has become a trusted friend to many of them outside the pool, with a supportive social network developed.

I look forward to seeing Vicki each week and helping her continued calm progress, newly-discovered love of the water and for her fellow swimmers.