The recipients of our grants are all dedicated to either participating in sport at a high level or to providing opportunities for young people to participate in sport.

2012 Alex Wilmshurst
Alex Wilmshurst

Sport

Swimming

Achievements to date

    2013 - British Gas National Age Group Championships
    2013 - Kent County Champion
    2012 - British National Biathlon Champion
    2012 - National Schools Modern Biathlon Champion
    2012 - British Gas National Age Group Championships, Gold Medal
    2012 - Kent County Champion
    2011 - British Gas National Age Group Championships, Silver and Bronze Medal

Hello, my name is Alex Wilmshurst and I am a swimmer with Thanet Swim Club under Head Coach David Whorlow. I am sponsored by Kent Trust for Youth Trust to help me with my swimming endeavours. I currently train 8-times a week – 4 mornings and 4 evenings. This will increase to 9-times after Easter in the run up to the National Championships at the end of July.

I have been to the National Championships for the last 4 years. In my first appearance at Nationals I won 2 bronze medals in the 100m and 200m Breaststroke and came 6th overall in the Country. In the second year at Nationals I won a silver medal in the 1500m Freestyle and a bronze medal in the 400m Freestyle and came 7th overall in the country. In my third year at Nationals I came 9th overall and won a gold medal as part of the 4 x200m Freestyle Thanet Swim Club Relay team. Last year I reached the final of the 400m Freestyle and was a reserve finalist for the 200m Freestyle, 200m & 400m Individual Medley.

I used to hold the Southeast record for the 100m Breaststroke for an 11-year-old and I currently hold a number of Thanet Swim Club records.

In addition, in 2012 and 2013 I was the overall County Champion for my age group and I have represented my County twice at the Inter-County National Championships.

Finally 2012 I was crowned National School Modern Biathlon Champion and went on to be British National Biathlon Champion. However, whilst I enjoy the duality of swimming and running my focus is very much on swimming at the highest level.

Alex maintains a blog so that people can track his progress at http://alexanderwilmshurst.blogspot.co.uk/

Most memorable sporting achievement to date

This is an easy one!

Four of us from Thanet Swim Club qualified from the Regional Championships (in a new South East Regional Record) for the 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay at the British Gas National Age Group Championships in 2012. The team included me, Jamie O’Connor, Harry Bradford and Ben Evans.

We were seeded 3rd going into the heats of the 4x 200m Freestyle Relay and again we posted a new South East Regional Record beating the previous mark by 4 seconds in 8 minutes 19 seconds.

However, this was only good enough for 5th seed going into the national final and we were definitely underdogs for a medal. Therefore, our Coach decided to mix up the swimming order and with personal bests on each of the relay legs saw us take another 7 seconds off the Regional Record to secure them GOLD with me bringing home the anchor leg just ahead of City of Sheffield and City of Derby.

This is the first time Thanet Swim Club has ever won a relay medal let alone a Gold medal beating a host of big City Clubs. National Relay Champions which was even more incredible because this was a 11-14 age category and 3 of us were only 13!

Biggest sporting disappointment to date

Fortunately there have been very few but where I have encountered them, they have always made me stronger.

My biggest sporting disappointment was in 2010 and I was competing in the South East Regional Championships at K2 in Crawley.

I have never won an individual Gold Medal at the Regional Championships and on this occasion I was swimming in the 100m Breaststroke. I swimming against Ryan Smith and it was head-to-head all the way but I managed to just touch out Ryan at the finish and claim Gold only for me to be disqualified for a technical infringement at the turn at the 50m mark.

I was devastated to have won gold only for it to be snatched away from me moments later. My Coach had a chat with the referee that disqualified me to find out the reason. We discussed this after the event and spent time back training making sure that I didn’t repeat this infringement.

Just as well because I then went on to win a bronze medal in the 100m Breaststroke at Nationals a month later.

Most respected sportsperson

Without doubt it has to be Mark Foster because he has competed in the sport for such a long time and at the highest level. He is a specialist short course (25 metre pool) swimmer. In terms of medals and longevity (1986–2008), Foster is amongst the most successful British swimmers of all-time.

I had the privilege to attend a Mark Foster Swim Camp this year; it was great to hear from Mark about his achievements and be trained by an Olympian.

Ritual before sporting competition

None!

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