Our 2022 winners
Meet our swim and gymnasts of the year
Over the last 12 months, our centres across the country have seen some fantastic achievements, heard many inspiring stories, and contributed towards some major causes.
We have been particularly blown away by the hard work, dedication, and progress of our swimmers and gymnasts. To put this into perspective, our teachers nominated a grand total of 370 individuals for our annual awards!
With so many winners in our eyes, narrowing down our nominees was incredibly difficult, but we got there in the end and truly believe that these three people are absolutely worthy of their titles.
Drum roll please…
Junior Swimmers of the Year – Sonny, Libby & Darcey Carver
'A family whose swimming routine took them through tragedy'.
Sonny, Libby, and Darcey Carver are three siblings on our swim programme that have been coming to our centre for several years. All three children started in Adult and Child, with Libby, the oldest, now in Synchro, Darcey in Stage 3, and Sonny in Stage 1.
Sadly, their father passed away last year, and mum still brings all three children every week. This tragedy has been life-changing for the family, particularly at such a young age, and swimming has remained a constant routine for them.
Every week the children try so hard to take everything in their stride and never give up.
The experience of these three children represents how swimming lessons give people power beyond the pool – an opportunity to take some time away to focus on something different and bring happiness to their lives through learning. Their sheer perseverance during such a pivotal time is worthy of us splitting one award into three!
Gymnast of the Year – Thomas King
'Pursuing his passion in the face of adversity'.
Thomas has half a heart and has had a tracheostomy for the last couple of years. After numerous emails from his parents concerned about Thomas’ disability and whether he would be able to take part, his passion to give gymnastics a go led him to visit the centre for a trial session.
Despite being unsure about his performance, he took part and got on really well! With a few rest breaks intertwined, he was able to keep up with all the other children in the class. Unfortunately, with further uncertainty surrounding whether he could take it up long-term, he did not continue to pursue it after the initial session.
The same coach taught a gymnastics session for a monthly community group visit and Thomas was in attendance. She commented on his performance at the centre:
“He was one of the few that expressed an interest in taking part and he showed some great skills. After having a lengthy conversation with his parents, they were persuaded to let Thomas give it another go. He has been taking part in gymnastics lessons ever since and is one of our top attenders! Showing a great deal of improvement without letting his disability affect his confidence and determination to learn. Recently his confidence has improved greatly as the hole in his throat has closed, giving him more determination to learn more and to continue attaining his awards!”
Thomas’ experience – from an improbable passion to working around his needs to make the impossible happen – is simply a reminder to never give up on your dreams, challenge the norms, because anything really can be possible.
Adult Swimmer of the Year – Jordan Anderson
'A journey to confidence after being paralysed'.
Jordan’s determination, commitment and perseverance is something that was noticed by his swimming teacher from the very first lesson they had together.
Jordan describes his journey since leaving hospital as a paraplegic on 18th June 2021 and starting to learn to swim:
“I didn’t have much confidence. I decided I wanted to start swimming but was nervous about swimming with my SCI. When I started swimming with Tanya, my confidence grew. I quickly went from using loads of floats to just using one. When I went on holiday with my family, I swam independently. When I got back, I started swimming without any floats, working on being able to sit up. Swimming has made a huge improvement to my confidence and independence."
We believe everyone, no matter their age or ability, should have the opportunity to learn to swim. Each of our learners have obstacles to overcome, whether it’s a particular movement, a disability or simply finding the motivation to get to the centre on a cold winter evening after school.
Jordan’s experience as a paraplegic put him in a position that made it much harder to learn. His sheer determination to overcome adversity and put in the hours and effort to achieve his dreams is inspirational beyond words.
If you or someone you know is interested in joining one of our classes, please get in touch with your nearest centre.