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Young swimmer honoured by Olympic heroes

A YOUNG Frome swimmer has been crowned one of the UK’s unsung swimming stars, after winning gold at a special awards ceremony.
7-year-old Oliver Saunders from Frome has won the Young Swimmer of The Year category at the 2012 Kellogg’s ASA Swimtastic Awards that took place in Sheffield on Saturday.
The Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) is the national governing body for swimming, and celebrates the achievements of swimmers of all ages and abilities from around the country.
Before the award was presented to him, Oliver had the chance to swim with Paralympic double gold medalist Ellie Simmonds.
Dedicated swimmer Oliver took up swimming at the age of four and is the youngest boy ever to complete the Aspire Channel Swim, a national fundraising event which provides help for people with spinal injuries. This involved him swimming 22 miles over 12 weeks at his local pool where he raised over £1,100 for the charity.
He even set up a blog about the swim and received messages of support from his sporting heroes including Olympic swimmers Rebecca Adlington and Mark Foster.
Since completing the challenge, Oliver is continuing to train hard and has set his sights on an Olympic gold medal in 2020, saying, “Michael Phelps started at 15 and so can I.”
Karen Saunders, Oliver’s mum, who nominated him for the award said, “Oliver loves nothing more than to swim and his progress and prowess in the pool has helped him gain more confidence in other areas of his life.
“He has a genuine passion for the sport and the dedication and determination needed to set himself new goals in order to continually improve. He may only be 7, but he already knows exactly what he wants, and what he needs to do to get that gold medal in 2020 – I’m so proud of him.”
Olympic bronze medalist and BBC sport presenter Steve Parry who hosted the awards said, “The whole country is on a high after the Olympics, which is fantastic, but now it’s time to recognise the heart-warming, courageous stories of our swimming community up and down the country – that’s exactly what The Swimtastic Awards is about.
“It’s a brilliant way of honouring the people who have achieved their personal goals in the pool.
“As always there was a fine range of talent on show at this year’s event and our finalists were given a hero’s welcome by our Olympic stars, something they thoroughly deserve.”

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