The County trial…

Right, so the eldest is now on a 3 month trial with the County swimming club after winning the overall BAGCATS award for her age at the recent ASA County Championships and at the end of the first intensive ‘swim camp’ session, all athletes and their parents had to stay for a talk from the head coach.

We were told in no uncertain terms that the athletes were on the start of a journey that would require significant commitment and dedication from the athletes AND their families. We were warned that this would not be easy but the athletes had been put forward for this opportunity because they are deemed to have ‘potential‘.

‘It all starts here,‘ the head coach told us.. ‘You’re at the bottom of the British swimming ladder and I’m a very small cog in the overall swimming machine…but, and I’ll make no bones about it, we are looking for swimmers to stand on the podiums…we want Olympians’.

I could hear the rustle of paper and looked across at Carys, who was sitting next to a new swimming friend she had made earlier during the swim session. She was quietly giggling while unwrapping and eating chocolate!

Mmm, good impression she’ll be giving, I thought, as I gave her a stern look to listen to the coach. However,as I watched her, she was calm, unfazed by it all and just seemed confident and happy – with a few more giggles thrown in every now and then between her and her new friend!

As the coach continued with his talk, he made it clear that at the end of the three camps, the Club will pick their new recruits to join their Club to train to become regional, national, possibly international and hopefully for some of them, Olympic swimmers!

‘We’re giving you the opportunity, it’s then up to you what you want do with it’, he said as he finished his talk.

We understood the messages loud and clear.

When we got home, we asked if it was still what she wanted.

Without hesitation she stated she WILL be in the Olympics, ‘though I’m not sure what in yet‘ she finished, casually, referring to both running and swimming, where she is County Champion in both sports: she loves and excels at both.

Well, I’m sure we’d all agree it’s easy to say at nine years of age that you want to be an Olympian – with so many years in between that can change your outlook, your desire, your motivation not to mention the possibilities of injury – but I have to admire her current focus and determination: when she wants to win a race, she’ll pull out all the stops and usually achieves it.

We have no doubt this will be a very tough, very demanding journey, and we don’t know how long it will last, but if she get’s in to the Club, what a fabulous and exciting opportunity!

So yes, if Carys is lucky enough to get selected, then we’ll support her all the way.


Future Olympian?

When I was young, I wasn’t really into anything.. apart from reading. With a stash of Enid Blyton, I’d happily retire to bed, landing light on and hunched over my book, so positioned to ensure every ray of light fell on my well thumbed and aged pages. The creaking of the bottom stair was my signal to go to sleep, my parents bedtime indicating it was already way past mine.

So it is today, with my own daughter following the same pattern, but frustratingly, with an iPod, not a book! She is much like I – my parents moaned about my constant headstands and handstands and gamboles (now known as rolypoly’s!) and my daughter has obviously inherited the same gene: like I, she never seems to sit still or relax, she is always doing something! But that something is starting to develop into something special. Three County Championship titles in three different sports and still only nine years old, she has channelled her energies and focus with outstanding results.

Two of the biggest County titles were won in the same weekend: a tough County cross country race in mindnumbingly cold conditions on a wintry, March Saturday morning (with a devil of a hill) saw her easily race home to first place; this was swiftly followed by 6 sprint finals over the next two days of the most important amateur swimming event of the year – the ASA Swimming County Champs. She breezily completed her tally of medals from this Championship to 4 gold, 4 silver and 1 bronze (over 9 events), winning the overall and well earned BAGCATS award for her age group.

Unsurprisingly, after her most amazing weekend, she had THE most massive and heart warming grin, spread ear to ear, wearing a GB Olympic T shirt, signed by local Olympian Lucy Hall AND carrying her collection of medals and trophies.

Thanks Lucy and enjoy the moment Carys..”>Image