Freya Taylor urges more young people to get involved in artistic swimming judgingApril 20, 2023
Artistic swimmer Freya Taylor has urged more people to support their clubs and regions and get involved in artistic swimming judging.
Freya, 17, is one of the youngest qualified judges in the country and recently gained her level 2 qualification after taking part in Swim England’s free Level 2 Judge course in January.
She’s been involved in the sport as a swimmer with the City of Leeds Synchronised Swimming Club since the age of seven and still competes at a national level.
And it was her swimming that inspired mum Karen to qualify as a level 3 judge to support the club and Freya was always desperate to follow in her footsteps.
“When I saw my mum had taken up judging, I wanted to try it too.” She said.
“Something about judging has always appealed to me and it gives you a view of a completely different side of the sport to when you’re a swimmer.
“And I’m really enjoying doing it too. In the future I would love to work my way up to a level 3 (like my mum) and I even have aspirations of judging at an international level.
“It’s just something that I know I can always be involved in for as long as I like, no matter where the swimming side takes me.”
It’s improved my swimming
The Level 2 Judge course was run online throughout two evenings at the end of January which was something that suited Freya to fit around her busy schedule of training, college, volunteering and teaching – as she’s recently qualified as a swimming teacher. She’s also a trained lifeguard and has just begun her artistic swimming level 1 coaching course too.
“The course was so convenient with it being online.
“And its good fun because you get to do everything in the comfort of your own home and you get to share your thoughts and ideas throughout the sessions too.
“There’s some people on their who have never taken part in the sport like my mum, who’s a highly qualified judge. So it’s something anyone can get involved with.
“And once you start judging you get to see the younger athletes on grade days and you can tell how much they’ve improved which is rewarding to see.
“It’s just something you fall in love with as well as the community as whole because it is just so open to everybody and you get to know everyone around you.”
Freya is also competing in Swim England’s Artistic Swimming National Senior and Junior Championships in Nottingham this weekend and she believes that training to be a judge has improved her swimming too.
“It’s really helpful because you get to see things that you wouldn’t spot if you were swimming.
“And it gives you a greater understanding of the sport, especially the technical side of it.
“There’s things such as the height charts that have been really helpful for me and you get to understand why the judges give you the score that they do.
“Obviously my coach always lets me know where I can improve but actually seeing it from the side-lines and understanding what the judges are looking for makes it so much easier.”
Helping out the community
Freya’s mum Karen begun judging when her daughter first got into the sport and expressed how important it is for people to get involved in volunteering.
She said: “Clubs can’t enter competitions if they don’t have enough judges or people helping out at events. And you need that, you need them.
“I tried a number of roles before going into judging and I just found that this was the one for me. I think it’s important to give back and to help your club if you can, especially when it’s to help your children and the younger ones.”
Freya wanted to send a message of encouragement to anyone thinking of getting involved in judging and volunteering.
“It’s so enjoyable, it goes wherever you go and it opens you up to a whole new community of people who are all so friendly and welcoming.
“And with judging you can do as as little or as much as you like so it gives you that option of being a part of the sport as often as you want to.
“If anyone is thinking of giving judging a try, please do, you won’t regret it!”
You can find out more about becoming an artistic swimming judge here.