Congratulations Archie!

Ongar Leisure Centre's Swimmer of the year

After a challenging 2021 we wanted to round the year off 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. 

Archie Allen - Ongar Leisure Centre's Swimmer of the Year 2021
Nominated by his teacher Heather Butler

"I am putting Archie forward as my swimmer of the year as I feel he truly deserves it.

Before I explain why Archie deserves this award I’d like to tell you a little about this little boy called Archie Allen. As a tiny baby Archie’s parents noticed that he was predominantly using his left hand; the GP said Archie would probably just be left-handed. After a while it was clear that this was more than just being left handed and they were eventually referred to Great Ormond Street where Archie went through numerous tests. Archie was diagnosed with a condition called ‘neuronal migration disorder’.

If you can imagine a picture of a brain, which looks like a cauliflower around the edges of the brain; Archie’s left side of his brain has a smooth edge which is caused by abnormal migration of neurons. This disorder causes Archie to suffer with seizures which later were diagnosed as epileptic seizures.

When Archie was 2 years old he was put on medication for his disorder; however earlier this year Archie was told he could stop taking the medication. It has been 5 months since Archie stopped the medication now and he has had no seizures.

Archie’s disorder is classed as very mild but presents physical challenges that have been difficult and Archie needs to deal with on a daily basis. Archie has regular physiotherapy sessions to help with his disorder.

Archie’s parents say they have always encouraged him to do sports that require him to use both arms and both legs. Swimming is one of these sports and it really helps Archie to build strength and coordination.

When I started teaching Archie’s swimming lessons, he was in my stage 1 class and could only kick with one leg and struggled to hold a float. Archie is a very determined little boy, who is always very happy and never gives up on a task I give him in his swimming lesson.

After all his efforts and positive attitude in his swimming lessons Archie is now in my Stage 3 class and can swim 10meters kicking both legs and using both arms. I have seen a huge progress in Archie’s confidence and ability to use his arms and legs. It is a huge physical challenge but Archie never gives up and I am a very proud teacher.

This is why I have put Archie Allen forward for my “ Swimmer of the year”."