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Kayla van der Merwe surprised by success in 2019 ahead of senior debut

Swimmer Kayla van der Merwe insists she was surprised by her rise in form in 2019, which saw her win multiple international medals and earn a maiden call-up to Great Britain’s senior team.

The Winchester City Penguins swimmer was rewarded for her achievements, being named Swim England’s Swimming Talent Athlete of the Year.

After setting personal bests in the 50m, 100m and 200m Breaststroke at the British Swimming Championships in April, Kayla was named in the British team for the European and World Junior Championships in the summer.

She claimed a career-best result at the European Championships in Kazan, smashing her PB to win gold in the 100m Breaststroke. 

Kayla said: “I did not expect anything that happened this year to happen, especially in the last few months, going to European Juniors and World Juniors.

“It’s all been really crazy and really busy and all such a surprise, but I’m really happy because I’ve worked hard to get here and I’m just happy that I’ve made it here.

“I did not expect it at all. I was concentrating more on World Juniors, so I didn’t expect anything to happen at Europeans.

“It was a big surprise to get the gold, but I was so happy.”

Going global

Kayla Van Der Merwe wins silver at World Junior Swimming Championships

That was a sign of things to come and Kayla reached new heights at the World Junior Championships in Budapest.

She set new lifetime bests in all three of her events, winning silver in the 50m Breaststroke and bronze in the 100m Breaststroke. 

Kayla will make her senior debut for Great Britain at the European Short Course Championships in Glasgow, which takes place from 5-8 December.