Connor Hill profile – LGBT History Month

February is LGBT History Month, and we interviewed a number of athletes about their experiences of being ‘out’.

Our synchro profile is of Connor Hill, ASA Young Volunteer of the Year 2016. He is a huge advocate of boys’ synchro, and coaches the Boys Synchro project.

Alongside Rio 2016 Olympian, Katie Clark, he makes up one half of England’s first mixed gender duet, and are currently in training. The pair have their sights set on competing internationally later in the year.

He has been involved with synchro most of his life, training, competing and coaching. We caught up with him to find out what his experience of ‘coming out’ was and the part that synchronised swimming played.

  • Age: 19 (20 in April)
  • Gender: Male
  • Sexual orientation: Gay
  • Twitter Handle: @CHill_Synch
  • Occupation: Lifeguard/student/coach and still competing!
  • Discipline: Synchronised swimming. Previously I competed up to national level but am now training for international competition.

What does LGBT History Month mean to you?

For me, LGBT history month is about community. It is about remembering and respecting the achievements of LGBT people.

Has sport helped you at all with your sexual orientation?

I don’t think I’ve ever associated my sport with my sexuality until now, probably because I’ve done synchro since I was seven. Synchro is a very female dominated environment.

I was labelled ‘gay’, and always denied it until I was ready to come out. I suppose synchro did help me in a way as I was never thought of as gay or straight, or even boy or girl.

To the synchro community I have always just been Connor. Having that environment gave me guaranteed stability if I was having difficulty elsewhere.

However, I’ve been lucky enough to not experience any negativity around my sexuality so coming out in my sport I think gave me that extra confidence to do more and be more ambitious in my ’true self’.

Have you had any really great experiences in sport in relation to your sexual orientation?

I guess an experience that links synchro and my sexuality was a music video we filmed in 2015.

It was really different to anything I did before and I think that if I hadn’t had that extra confidence in myself, I wouldn’t have wanted to do it.

I could probably say the same for the international training I’m doing at the moment, without that self-assurance there’s no way I would be back training.

What message would you like to send to others in the LGBT community?

Something I would say to others is sports are a really good way to express yourself. Being part of a community like the synchro community is really important as it offers lots of support!

  • To find out about some of the LGBT aquatics clubs in England, please click here.
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