Promising youngsters receive awards

THREE dedicated young swimmers were made the first recipients of a new award designed to acknowledge the hard work of learning to swim recently at Ipswich Borough Council's Crown Pools.

THREE dedicated young swimmers were made the first recipients of a new award designed to acknowledge the hard work of learning to swim recently at Ipswich Borough Council's Crown Pools.

Local estate agent Jonathan Waters, the programme sponsor, presented Jack Nokes (ten), Sofia Burdett (12) and Oliver Ward (nine) with their awards.

Waters said: “Having had first-hand experience of learning to swim at Crown Pools recently, I can really appreciate how hard these children have worked. The standard of teaching is so good here and clearly the children get so much out of it. I'm very proud to be supporting this programme.”

All the children take part in the council's swimming development programme and were nominated by their teachers for very different reasons.

Jack Nokes joined the programme at the age of five and, in just four years, has progressed through to the transition squad, before joining Deben Swimming Club.

Nokes recently picked up three medals at the Suffolk Championships - a gold in the freestyle relay, a silver in the medley relay and an individual bronze for his age group for the overall event.

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Nokes' teacher Janet Pryke said: “He is definitely a name to watch out for in the competitive world of swimming. Jack has such a great attitude and is very attentive, he's a real pleasure to teach.”

Kesgrave High School pupil Sofia Burdett has been swimming on the programme for a number of years, and was nominated by her teacher Ernie Ross because she has been fundraising for the Special Care Baby unit at Ipswich hospital.

Burdett has completed two sponsored swims, which she organised all by herself, the most recent being a 5000 metre swim through which she raised £450. Burdett was motivated into raising money for the unit after her baby sister Charlie was born prematurely at 26 weeks and weighed just 2lb 2oz.

Oliver Ward recently has passed his honours award at the age of nine which, although in itself is a fantastic achievement, is made even more special by the fact that he has had to overcome some health problems associated with pre-maturity.

Because his parents were advised not to take him swimming due to his poor immune system his first visit to a pool wasn't until he was 15 months old.

Although Ward had a real dislike of the water until he was nearly two, he was enrolled on a water babies course at Crown Pools and has never looked back.

Ward's mother Lindsey said: “Oliver has thrived on the enthusiasm and encouragement he has been given by the teachers at Crown Pools, in particular Tom Sawyer and Janet Pryke.

“The programme has given Oliver so much more than the ability to swim, it has given him confidence, an enormous sense of achievement and we are convinced that it has attributed to his recent improving health.”

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