Words by Sarah Richardson, Louth Swimming Club
Harvey Phillips from Louth, took 2 Gold and 2 Silver medals away from the National Junior Para-Swimming Championships held at Sunderland Aquatic Centre during the competition held on June 24th and 25th.
The competition was for Para-Swimmers aged 10-13 years and 14-16 years. Para-swimming uses a classification system to ensure a level playing field for competitive Para-swimmers. The current Para-swimming classification set out by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) uses classes S1 – S10 for different levels of physical impairment, with a lower number indicating a more severe impairment. Four-time Paralympic gold medallist Ellie Simmonds, who has Achondroplasia dwarfism, swims in the S6, SB6 and SM6 classes.
Harvey, 12, who is a member of Louth Swimming Club, began his weekend of competing with a 3 second Pb swim in his 100m Freestyle event, for which he is classified as S4. This gained him his first Gold medal. He went on to swim 50m Breaststroke, for which he is classified as an SB3.
As there was no other swimmer in his classification taking part in the event, Harvey had to swim it alone, which only adds to the difficulty of the swim itself. He had to beat his entry time in order to be presented with a medal, only to just miss out by 0.08 seconds on his previous best time, thus becoming National champion, but without a medal!
In the afternoon, he swam 50m Freestyle (S4) and gained a 0.7 second Pb but was just pipped into 2nd place, collecting a Silver medal along the way. The most gruelling event for Harvey came in the very last event on the Saturday, the 150m Individual Medley (50m each of Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle). Classified as SM4, he gave a truly inspirational performance, leading the race from the start, for which he gained a mammoth 18 second Pb time and another Gold medal collected!
Sunday brought his last event of the competition, the 50m Backstroke (S4). This is a tricky stroke for Harvey, but he out-performed his previous best time by a whopping 4 seconds and gained a further Silver medal.
So at the end of the competition, Harvey was National Junior Para-Swimming champion in 3 events and runner up in 2 more.
Harvey, who was struck down with Meningitis before he reached his first birthday, is a real inspiration to us all and to any person wishing to get into sport. He is a pleasure to coach and always brings a smile to the faces of all who come into contact with him. We at Louth Swimming Club are so very proud of what Harvey has achieved so far and wish him all the very best for his future swimming ambitions. Pictured below is Harvey with his 4 medals.