Michaella is 14 years old and is one of growing band of young and very talented swimmers in the city and county.
She began learning to swim from a young age, but at the age of 7, Michaella decided to begin swimming competitively and joined Loughborough Town Swimming Club. A year later, she joined Leicester Penguins. After a four year spell, at the age of 12, then began training with City of Leicester Swimming Club where she has gone from strength to strength and become closer to reaching her dream of competing at the Olympics.
Michaella takes up the story and said Since I began swimming competitively I have been able to take many opportunities to travel the country and even other countries, in order to race and achieve my goals. Now, at the age of 14, I have been the county age group winner for three years running, along with gaining success in both regional and national events.
At Midlands 2016, I raced in 15 events, winning gold in 7 of these, and I also broke the county record for the 800 free. This was a huge achievement and prepared me to compete several events at both English and British Nationals. I was also lucky enough to be selected to travel to the annual Euro Meet in Luxembourg in 2016, bringing home 4 x golds and 1 x bronze and becoming the European Youth Champion.
This was a huge achievement for me and a truly incredible experience that I am grateful to have been a part of. Alongside the weekly 11 x training sessions in the pool, 4 x land training sessions and 1 x open water session, I have been selected for the England Talent Programme and the Beacon Programme. A more recent venture that I have been able to take part in, is open water swimming, and I will be competing in both the Midlands and National competitions this year.
Although I am incredibly lucky to have had so many opportunities, I would not have been able to achieve all that I have without hard work and dedication. Swimming is not an easy sport and requires a huge amount of time and effort, but it has allowed me to experience so much and meet so many people who I hope will be lifelong friends.
Despite all this, swimming is also an expensive sport. Training sessions must be paid for, training costumes and race suits have to be bought, many of which are very costly. Additionally, several open meets require a fee in order to race and some of these can cost up to £6 per event. All these costs combined with the travel expenses for many competitions mean that the price of achieving my dream can be very expensive.
This is why the Inspire small grant means so much to me, as it will help to fund my upcoming meets and hopefully bring me closer to my lifetime goal.
Simon Taylor, Inspire Awards Project Lead said: 'The dedication required to be a top swimmer is an example to us all .We are delighted to acknowledge and reward Michaella's efforts and are sure that she will be another success story for us to celebrate.'
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