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Diver Alex Harrison wins inaugural Youth Champion Award

Swim England News

Alex Harrison has been named as the first winner of the Swim England Youth Champion Award.

The Dive London Aquatics Club and Merton School of Diving member received the award for his contribution to young people in the swimming and aquatics community.

Alex, 24, has been involved in diving since he was four-years-old, firstly as a diver – diving up to National Age Groups – and then as a coach, official and volunteer.

The former chairperson of the ASA National Youth Forum first got involved in the sport with the Crown Point Diving Academy 20 years ago, having joined after watching his cousin dive.

He said: “Being hyper-competitive, even as a toddler I thought ‘I can beat him!’ and so I hopped into the pool to give it a try myself.

“I trained with my coach, Stacia Long, at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre. I enjoyed diving because I loved being in the water and diving was something different that not many people did.

“The sport is very social – you find a lot to chat about while you’re waiting for the board to become free!”

Active in the community

Alex has, and still holds, a variety of volunteering positions, including:

  • Member of the Swim England London Region Management Board (now the Chairperson of the Finance and Administration committee)
  • Chairperson of the London Regional Diving Committee
  • Independent member to the Swim England Sport Operations Committee
  • Delegate to the Annual Council meeting

In addition to his many governance roles, Alex continues to volunteer with Dive London Aquatics Club, the club he helped set up when the London Aquatics Centre opened to the public.

He offers countless hours of his time to support the growth of the sport and encourage the development of pathways for young people to continue their aquatic journey through volunteering.

He said: “My childhood and teenage years were dominated by sport and my involvement in diving.

“I would never want another young person to miss out on the experience I had because of a lack of volunteers.”

Youth Forum a catalyst

Alex has influenced the lives of hundreds of young divers, swimmers, volunteers, officials and coaches who he has met through aquatic sports. It all started when he joined the Youth Forum in 2012.

He added: “The Youth Forum was a fantastic introduction to committee work and meetings, as well as giving me the experience of chairing a group and meetings.

“It was also very much the avenue for me continuing my involvement with sport administration and governance.

“I very much view my roles as my way of giving back to the sport and governing body which I dedicated my childhood to and the Youth Forum was absolutely the catalyst for increasing my involvement in different roles within the sport.

“Winning this award means a lot to me and I’m delighted to have been nominated for it by the Youth Panel.

“It is really important to me that young people feel able and happy to get involved in volunteering within aquatics and if my path manages to inspire even one young person to do so, then I regard that as a success.”

If you know of other individuals who champion the voice of young people in the swimming and aquatic community, then please help us recognise and celebrate their work by nominating them for the Youth Champion Award here.