Olympian gives motivational talk to Kettering swimmers

James with Club swimmer Toby Ward NNL-170211-152506005
James with Club swimmer Toby Ward NNL-170211-152506005

A former Olympic athlete took time to inspire and speak to members of Kettering Amateur Swimming Club.

James Kirton represented Team GB at the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, swimming 200m breaststroke.

James with Club Coaches Jaq and Howard Farrow NNL-170211-152453005

James with Club Coaches Jaq and Howard Farrow NNL-170211-152453005

Since he retired, James has given back to the sport he loves through various athlete mentoring programmes, including the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust and the Youth Sport Trust.

After watching some of the club’s junior swimmers at Kettering Swimming Pool, James gave a talk to about 40 members of the senior squads in Corn Market Hall.

In telling the story of his journey from club swimmer to Olympian, James gave a motivational message which left the swimmers inspired.

After his talk there was time for a Q&A session, photos and autographs.

Head coach Jaq Farrow said: “A great inspirational speaker, not just for swimmers but for all athletes.

“It was interesting to hear about James facing adversity and how much effort and resilience you need to be the best.”

Club swimmer Isaac Farrow, 21, said: “It was interesting to see that James’ career was not straightforward and he gave us insight into the obstacles that even sporting professionals have to overcome to be the best.

“It’s not just down to the person’s ability but more to do with their willpower.”

James’ talk comes just before the club starts its Annual Club Championships which will be held in Corby and Wellingborough and see more than 100 swimmers competing for medals across 20 different events.

Many will be targeting qualification times for County Championships in the New Year.

James said: “I walked away with a really good feeling about the club and the passion it has in it’s staff and swimmers.

“I would love to come and visit the team again.”

Carol Simms, co-chairman of Kettering Amateur Swimming Club, added: “I found James inspirational and I’m not a swimmer!

“From a club point of view it’s essential that swimmers see what can be achieved regardless of background and he kept the message simple.

“James was so giving with his time and he was interested to see our swimmers in action.”

Anyone interested in competitive swimming can contact Carol on clubsec@kasc.org.uk.