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Croydon youngster wins 11 medals at Championships
12:32pm Tuesday 24th March 2009 in Search
Croydon swimmer, Kunmi Ogunfeibo, may just be 11 but he has natural talent, a commitment to training and a religious faith which he believes helped him win the top award for his age at the Kent County Swimming Championships, writes Sue Mitchell.
The event, which took place over four weekends, resulted in Kunmi achieving an age group record in his 50 Backstroke event and in him winning five golds, four silvers, two bronzes and the title Best 11 Year Old Boy 2009.
Kunmi lives and schools in Croydon, but swims with Beckenham Swimming Club.
Since the closure of Crystal Palace pool over a year ago he’s been forced to combine training for long hours with sometimes equally long car journeys to pools across the region.
Yet his commitment to the sport hasn’t waivered: “I love swimming and am still amazed at how much I achieved at the County Championships – Top Boy award; a record and so many medals. I really thank God for his favour on me, and I am proof that we can truly do all things through Christ who strengthens us.”
And he wasn’t alone in his record breaking efforts: if one word summed up Beckenham Swimming Club’s experience of the Kent County Championships this year, it would have to be records.
A record number of BSC members – 65 - took part in the championships, held over four weekends, and an unprecedented number of records were broken, 21 individual and 8 team events.
The BSC swimmers, aged 9 to 19, won a record 161 Gold medals, 104 Silver, 83 Bronze and countless other fourth, fifth and sixth place awards, topping last year, itself regarded as a glorious moment in the club’s history, when Beckenham swimmers came home with 130 Golds, 93 Silvers and 75 Bronzes.
The club also broke eight relay records on the final day of this year’s championships and Kunmi was part of the 12 and under Beckenham relay team which set a new event record and clinched gold in both the freestyle and medley events.
He competed with friends Louis Phillips, Harold Pearson and Archie Mitchell: the four boys wearing matching kit to help their chances: “We love the relays and really wanted to do well. There were over twenty other clubs taking part and we know that in the Olympics lots of swimmers said how important it is to have the right swim wear. So, we saved up and got ourselves matching trunks – we all think it helped give us the edge when it came to racing," they said.
Tony Beckley, the Beckenham head coach, said the swimmers had all tried their hardest: “It’s been a great championship for lots of the youngsters. They have their hearts set on doing well at regional level and with these results that looks likely to happen.”