On November 4th weekend 2023, Kent’s young swimmers utilised their hefty training to swim at Regionals for a place in Nationals. From swimming at young ages of 4 and 5, to waking up at 5am to train before school, what used to be a hobby has become a lifestyle.  


Arriving at 8am, swimmers started their warmups in the London Aquatics Centre, an Olympic pool. The swimmers were separated first into strokes, where swimmers would swim freestyle, butterfly, backstroke, or breaststroke. They then were categorised into distances (25m, 50m, 100m, 200m). They swam in ‘heats’ per race where swimmers are separated into groups (e.g. group/heat 1, group/heat 2, group/heat 3). Each heat is swimming the same race, competing against each other to be the best in their stroke for their distance.  


Each swimmer made their coach, team, and themselves proud, especially two local swimmers, Lan Le (who swims for Bexley) and Annie Saunders (who swims for Bromley). Both are dedicated to their sport, where each are motivated by “goals, achievements and being able to feel accomplished.”  

At Regionals, Lan Le swam the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke across Saturday and Sunday. She is a record-breaking swimmer within her club, where she swam the 50m breaststroke in 33 seconds, which is the fastest her club has seen. She says, “it helps me take my mind off of things and allows me to be in my own world.”  

Annie Saunders swam the 50m, 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle and made finals for her races, also meeting the required times to swim for her club, in December, at Nationals. Her passion for swimming is motivated by “the structure it gives within life, allowing the separation of academics whilst providing a skill set that can be used for a wide range of opportunities later in life.”  


"Small things that swimming has taught me (e.g. discipline and organisation) have ultimately shaped my character today, and I think that if I were to stop swimming, it would disrupt all aspects of my life” - Annie Saunders