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Meet the nominees for the Swim England Inspirational Athlete Award

The Swim England National Awards 2021 is a chance to recognise and celebrate the incredible spirit of the aquatics community – especially evident during these challenging times.

The awards ceremony will be streamed live on the Swim England Facebook page on Saturday 9 October. To receive a reminder update before the Awards commence, click here.

Each day in the run up to the awards, the spotlight will be on the shortlisted nominees for each of the categories.

The nominees for the fifth award, the Swim England Inspirational Club Coach/Teacher Award, are:

Jacob Whittle – Ripley Rascals and Derventio Excel (East Midlands Region)

After earning the title of youngest Team GB Olympian at the Tokyo Olympic Games, Jacob Whittle has certainly inspired his peers.

During his time at Ripley Rascals, he was junior and senior club captain and constantly endeavoured to support the next generation of young swimmers coming through the ranks of the club.

He continued these efforts after joining Derventio Excel, and in 2019, was awarded the Derby Evening Telegraph Young Sportsman of the year.

Ella Blocksidge – City of Salford Swimming Club (North West Region)

Ella Blocksidge is a committed swimmer who sets a fantastic example for the younger swimmers in her club.

She has won countless county championship medals and is passionate about her sport, competing in both pool and open water events.

Her achievements at such a young age show that determination and hard work in your sport will help you in reaching your goals.

Evie Reynolds – Chelmsford City Swimming Club (East Region)

Evie Reynolds has been a valued member of Chelmsford City SC ever since she joined there aged eight.

Her positivity radiated straight away and always created a happy environment. After a number of years away for training purposes, Evie returned to the club as a youth volunteer for Essex County Council.

This role saw her helping to inspire the youngsters at the club from poolside; assisting at sessions and encouraging all those around her. She has been described as ‘an amazing role model’.

Jessica Ayling – Barking and Dagenham (London Region)

Jessica Ayling’s dedication to her sport became truly evident during the first lockdown period in England. She acquired an outdoor pool, wetsuit and built a home gym station with the help of her dad in order to maintain her fitness.

She took the decision to move clubs which helped keep her motivated and engaged with the sport as a result of stepping into an exciting new environment.

Since being back in the water, her hard work has been evident as she achieved two personal bests. By keeping herself motivated during lockdown, she kept others motivated too.

Suzanna Hext – Swindon ASC (South West Region)

An innate ability to inspire others in life and sport has earned para-swimmer Suzanna Hext this nomination.

She recently competed at the Tokyo Paralympic Games which was preceded by two challenging years of preparation. Despite these difficulties, Suzanna remained upbeat and her attitude has been admirable.

She is an ambassador for Wiltshire Air Ambulance and Treloar School and also received an Honourable Fellowship from the Royal Agricultural College in 2019 which recognised her achievements in para-swimming and para-dressage.

Katie Crowhurst – Wycombe District Swimming Club (South East Region)

Katie Crowhurst has enjoyed a decorated career since she began swimming at the tender age of five. The last 12 years have seen her develop into a committed, driven and focused athlete who is always striving for better.

She has represented Great Britain internationally multiple times, most recently making her senior international debut at the Para Swimming European Championships in May 2020.

The path she has forged in the sport has inspired other members of the club to follow in her footsteps.

Evie Bott – Stafford Apex Swimming Club (West Midlands Region)

Evie Bott’s nomination has come as a result of her constant drive to work to the best of her ability in all that she takes on in life.

Despite facing some difficult personal circumstances, Evie has remained committed to her swimming and recently gained her pool lifeguard qualification.

Her hard work, drive and resilience are to be celebrated.

Henry Howarth – Grimsby Aquatics Swim Team (North East)

As a passionate swimmer, Henry Howarth has done his utmost to ensure that his peers were motivated throughout the pandemic.

He challenged himself to run 10 kilometres every day for 30 days while also raising money for his local hospital, posted daily updates on the club’s Facebook page to try and encourage the other swimmers to try a new activity and also became a qualified swimming teacher and lifeguard.

He was awarded a British Citizen Youth Award for his efforts over the past 18 months and has showcased the best attributes of an individual and sportsperson in recent times.