Sevenoaks Swimming Club has had the most swimmers in the county qualify for the Kent County Championships 2022. 90 swimmers have qualified and are competing in the county level competition across three weekends.
This is the first time since 2020 that the Championships have been able to go ahead and de-spite the challenges faced by the young athletes during the pandemic, their hard work has truly paid off.
For one swimmer, 17 year old Scarlett Brady, this is the first time she has qualified for the Championships. In an exchange of messages between herself and Head Coach Paddy Ham, she said: “I genuinely can’t stop smiling. That’s so brilliant. That has made me so happy. Thank you for everything, helping me get there. I couldn’t have done it without you.”
Another swimmer qualifying, who 12 months’ ago was unable to get close to the required time, is Tate Pitchie-Cooper. He achieved an automatic qualifying time in the final period of the qualifying window and will be racing in the 50m backstroke at the London Aquatic Centre in February.
Coach Paddy Ham said: “It shows never to give up on your goals – keep working hard and you’ll get there.”
Such is the spirit of the Club around celebrating this enormous achievement of so many of their swimmers qualifying for this extremely competitive Championships, they have started a ‘MAKE SOME NOISE’ social media campaign.
The idea is that the swimmers, coaches and supporters shout about their experience of the competition sharing stories and photographs. After the first weekend (January 23/24) the most loved post has been about Coach Richard Smith and his lucky hat that he wore poolside. You can see their posts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Swimmers selected for Phase 2 of the National Development Programme
Three Sevenoaks Swimming Club swimmers, Eva Okaro, David Allen and Matt Burrows, were placed onto Phase 1 of the National Development Event Camps. Eva and Matt are entering Phase 2, with David only narrowly missing out.
Selection was made based on performances from the Festival of Swimming and 2021 Swim England National Winter Championships.
With only 100 young athletes (15-16 year olds) selected for Phase 2 this is an amazing achievement for Eva and Matt. They will now experience a mixture of training sessions, educational workshops and physical screening, as well as attending a camp in Birmingham later this year.
Head Coach, Keiron Piper said: “This is an incredible achievement for David, Eva and Matt and we are extremely proud. We know that Eva & Matt will use this next Phase to gain further experience and learning for their own personal development. Congratulations to all three swimmers.”
Eva selected for Swim England Junior Squad
Meanwhile, Eva has also been selected for the 2021-22 Swim England Junior Squad. One of only 47 swimmers, Eva will learn arena skills, performance behaviours and racing philosophy preparing her for future international competitions. In December the team gathered virtually for an indication. The aim for 2022 is to bring the team together in person for training and racing.
As reported on the Swim England website, Richard Blackshaw, Swim England head of swimming talent, said: “We are thrilled to be inviting such a talented and enthusiastic cohort of swimmers onto the Swim England Junior Squad for this season. The hybrid approach is designed to ensure that the learning they take away can be easily implemented in their home programmes and allows for collaboration with their home coaches. The opportunities the squad offers will aim to enhance those selected, both as athletes and individuals in the competition arena.”
When asked about her selection, Eva said: “I am super excited to be selected two years running. Last year the camp was online due to the pandemic so hopefully looking forward to some face to face interaction this year.”
Record Performance at Winter National Championships
Sevenoaks Swimming Club secured a record performance at the Swim England Short Course Winter National Championships in Sheffield in December.
There were 16 qualifiers and 50 swims entered. From these 50 swims the swimmers achieved an incredible 37 personal best times with Albert Branch reaching the final in the 200m Fly and Matt Burrows reaching the Finals in 50m, 100m and 200m Breaststroke. Matt finished 3rd in the 50m Breaststroke securing a bronze medal.
Keiron Piper commented: “As a club we couldn’t be prouder of all 16 qualifiers, working extremely hard in difficult training conditions to reach these 2021 Winter National Championships. This is a huge achievement in itself. Congratulations to them all.”
Club Treasurer Nominated for Award
Tracy Miller, Sevenoaks Swimming Club Treasurer has been nominated for a Sevenoaks District Council Voluntary & Community ‘Making it Happen’ Award 2022.
Nominated for her enormous contribution to the running of the Club and in particular for the implementation of processes that met the stringent COVID restrictions and enabled the swimmers to get back to training, Tracy has been invited to attend the awards ceremony on March 9, 2022 which will take place at St Nicholas’ Church in Sevenoaks.
One parent said: “Without Tracy’s commitment and tireless effort our swimmers would not have gained access to the pools and training as soon as they did. This was so crucial to the wellbeing of our children and young people as they had been denied so much during the pandemic. The Club’s community cannot thank Tracy enough and are rooting for her to win this ‘Making it Happen’ award in March.”