Congratulations Tom!

Waendel Leisure Centre's swimmer of the year

After a challenging 2022 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. 

Tom Lavelle - Waendel Leisure Centre's swimmer of the year 2022

Nominated by Swimming Teacher, Rachel Parish

Tom has cerebral palsy which affects one side of his body. He has overcome many physical issues to get to where he is. He pushes himself and is immensely proud every time he achieves something.

Going into Stage 5 terrified him because he couldn't touch the floor, but he trusted staff and himself. His core strength and range of movement are improving with every session. He said 'I never thought I'd be able to do that ' after his first lesson in deep water. He can also now lift himself out of deep water which is a major achievement.

He is learning to adapt his stroke to fit around his ability. He is amazing. He isn't very confident in many areas and as a family what they can do is restricted because of Tom's condition. But, the pool is somewhere he can relax, excel, and push himself, as well as having fun with his family. He is physically and emotionally stronger because of swimming and he continues to amaze himself. Every time he is proud of himself nearly makes me cry too.

Swimming makes the world of difference to him, his family, and his life. Tom is definitely a swimmer of the year. He is always happy to be in the water and is always a polite well-mannered and totally positive child. Nothing beats him despite what he has to contend with. I am very proud of him. 

Well done Tom!