Teenager to swim for England

Archie.

A swimmer from Richmond Dales Amateur Swimming Club (RDASC) has been selected to represent English Schools’ Swimming Association in the ISF Under 15 World School Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.

14-year-old Archie Hare, who has swum as part of RDASC’s highly specialised Para Squad for almost three years, was selected for this prestigious competition off the back off his success at the Citi Para Swimming World Series last month, where he broke the British Swimming Record in the mens’ 50m breaststroke in the S11 category.

This was in addition to outstanding performances in other events.

Archie swims in the S11 para swimming category, a classification that indicates near or total blindness

Swimmers in this classification compete with the support of their coach and other staff, who use a pole to warn the swimmer that they are approaching the end of the pool in training and competition.

Club leaders say that given the speed at which athletes like Archie swim, the level of trust between their coach and ‘tapper’ must be absolute.

As such, Archie, from Harrogate, was delighted to learn that his RDASC coach, Zoe Cowan, has also been selected by the English Schools Swimming Association as one of only two para coaches to attend the meet.

Zoe said: “As a club we could not be more delighted that Archie has been selected for this huge honour.

“On a personal level, as his coach, I am just so proud of him.

“Archie is such a wonderful young person and has all of the attributes needed to achieve whatever he sets out to in life. He is responsible, works incredibly hard and is a pleasure to be around.

“He has progressed so well since he has been part of the RDASC family, and has had a phenomenal season so far. There is no limit to where he could go in the Para-Swimming field if he chooses to.

Zoe said: “The relationship between a swimmer and their coach is always a special one, built on trust and mutual respect. This is especially true in the Para field, where that element of trust takes on new meaning.

“I am so thankful to have been selected by The English Schools Swimming Association as one of the competition’s para coaches.

“Not only do I get to support the other young para swimmers who have been selected, but it’s an exciting step on the journey that Archie and I are on together.”

The news of Archie’s selection comes after a successful season for the RDASC 15-strong para squad, in which the team’s down syndrome swimmers qualified for, and competed at, the 10th World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships in Portugal.

While there, several swimmers broke world down syndrome records.

The last 12 months has also seen RDASC develop a new Start Para initiative, partly funded by Swim England, which aims to attract younger swimmers with disabilities to the sport, providing a pathway for development.

This programme has attracted six enthusiastic new members of the club, all of whom hope to graduate into the Para-Squad in the future.