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English swimmers benefit from Backing the Best programme

SportsAid have announced they are supporting four English swimmers as part of their ‘Backing the Best‘ programme.

Cameron Vearncombe, Katie Crowhurst, Kieran Williams and Jamie O’Connor are among 95 athletes who will benefit from the second term of the programme.

Backing the Best is managed by SportsAid on behalf of Sport England. It supports those athletes who would face difficulties on the talent development programme for their sport without financial help.

The bursary is not available to anyone. The swimmers have all demonstrated they have outstanding ability in their sport.

Katie Crowhurst, 13, is a member of British Swimming’s Para-Academy who competes in the S13 classification for visually impaired athletes.

She had to move to a club further away from home to take advantage of better facilities, longer training hours and more advanced coaching.

Her mother Lucy commented: “The move [change in club] meant a huge increase in car mileage every week. Katie’s dad had to finish work early each day to take her.

“I don’t know if Katie would have been able to continue with her swimming for this long had it not been for Backing The Best.

“She has been able to compete up and down the country and to have the equipment she needs.”

Athletes benefit from stellar advice

The young athletes on the Backing the Best programme had a chance listen to insight and guidance from some big names in British sport.

They attended workshops at the National Water Sports Centre, based at Holme Pierrepont Country Park in Nottingham last month.

The athletes heard from double Olympic champion, Becky Adlington, Rugby World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi and Olympic canoe slalom medallist Richard Hounslow.

They received advice on lifestyle management, nutrition and dealing with the media. There were specially adapted sessions for athlete parents, who also heard from Kat Adlington, Becky’s mum.

Click here to find out more about the Backing the Best programme. You can also read more about the workshops at the National Water Sports Centre here.