Local swimmers make big splash at British Championships in Leeds

Oliver Peace won gold in the 25 metres backstroke.
Oliver Peace won gold in the 25 metres backstroke.

FOUR swimmers from Able2 Pontefract sports club were among more than 200 from throughout the British Isles who competed at the 2017 British Learning Disability Swimming Championships at the John Charles Centre for Sport, Leeds.

The competition, now in its 12th year, was hosted by MENCAP Sport and Special Olympics Great Britain - two national charities providing quality sporting opportunities for athletes with learning disabilities.

Oliver Peace, 24, from Upton, won gold in the 25m backstroke final to become national champion in this event with a new personal best time.

This year saw Oliver’s first national win in backstroke, having previously claimed national titles in breaststroke since 2011.

Oliver also won silver medals in 25m and 100m breaststroke as well as a bronze in his third breaststroke event, the 50m race.

“I was so pleased to win in backstroke. My coach has been helping me to go faster and faster,” said Oliver, who has autism.

Sarah Shutt, 42, from Featherstone, who holds several Down Syndrome world swimming records, enjoyed a successful gala, winning silver in 25m freestyle and bronze in the 50m freestyle.

Thomas Raddings, 19, from Ackworth, claimed bronze medals in both 50m backstroke and 200m freestyle events.

Sarah and Thomas train with the Down Syndrome Swimming GB squad and at Marlins Swimming Club, Featherstone.

Fourteen year old Charlie Clarke, from Notton, rose to the challenge of competing in his first national competition, beating his personal best time in the 50m freestyle to claim a well-deserved bronze medal.

Charlie was also selected to race against Paralympic gold medallist Jessica-Jane Applegate MBE.

Oliver, Sarah, Thomas and Charlie will join seven other Able2 athletes as part of the Yorkshire and Humberside Special Olympics team when they compete at the Special Olympics National Summer Games.

The games take place in Sheffield between Monday, August 7 and Saturday, August 12.

It will be the country’s largest multi-sports event for athletes with intellectual disabilities this year.

Around 2,600 athletes of all ages and abilities will come together from across the country to compete in over twenty different sports.

With just 10 weeks to go to the event, much excitement is growing at Able2.

Able2 Pontefract offers coaching and competitive opportunities in sport for people with learning disabilities.

For more information, visit www.soable.org.uk or contact Steve Peace by telephoning him on 07551 648661.