Talented swimmers get Olympic trials invite

Two talented swimmers from Richmond Dales Amateur Swimming Club’s Para Squad have received an invitation to compete at the British Olympic Trails in April.

Maisie Catt, 14, and Archie Hare, 15, received their invitations based on performances throughout the season so far.

The pair will now head to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London to take part in trails.

They will be accompanied by their coaches from Richmond Dales Amateur Swimming Club, Keith Hall and Zoe Cowan.

Taking part in Paralympic or Olympic trails is an opportunity that only comes up every four years and is recognised as the highlight of many swimmers’ careers.

For the first time, the event, which is British Swimming’s flagship competition, will combine both para and able bodied swimming in one momentous meet.

Unlike able bodied swimmers, who need to achieve the very challenging qualification times within a specific window of time, para-athletes are handpicked and invited to compete, making Maisie and Archie’s achievement of particular note.

Maisie has been selected to compete in the 50m backstroke event, whilst Archie, who is already British Champion in the 50m breaststroke in the S11 category, will be swimming the 100m breaststroke and the 50m freestyle.

Both have high hopes as they launch their first Paralympic campaigns.

Maisie said: “Every swimmer dreams of going to the Olympics or Paralympics and I’m so excited to have been selected for trials. This is another step towards achieving my goals and I can’t wait to compete!”

Archie added: “I’m so pleased to have made the Trials. I’ve been so determined to get this far, and the Paralympics is my dream. I going to keep working really hard to make it happen.”

The whole of the Richmond Dales ASC community is backing Maisie and Archie, and several of their able-bodied teammates are working hard to achieve the qualifying times required for them to make it to the competition alongside them.

Maisie’s coach, Keith Hall said: “As a club, we have worked very hard to develop our Para provision, and along with fantastic mainstream swimming squads, now have an outstanding programme for para-athletes at all stages of their swimming journey, too.

“As one of our most senior para swimmers, Maisie is not only setting an example to other para-athletes, she is inspiring the younger swimmers in our squad and is showing them what’s possible with hard work and dedication. Maisie continues to progress incredibly well as a swimmer, and I’m sure that her very first invitation to Trails is only going to lead to even more success in the pool.”

Archie’s Coach, Zoe Cowan said: “Archie has always showed so much promise in the pool, as evidenced by his position as British record holder for his classification at only 15 years old.

“He is an incredible talent and works tirelessly in the pool. He is a credit to himself, and the club, and we are very proud of him. We all know he has a bright future ahead of him and can’t wait to see what he can do at Trails in April.”

As these two young swimmers progress their swimming journey, everyone at Richmond Dales Amateur Swimming Club is excited to watch them perform at Trials in April, and are left wondering if they should book their tickets to see them in Paris for the Paralympics later in the year!