Corby Swimming Club stars forced to withdraw from Olympic trials

The difficult decision was made after the two young swimmers had been unable to train during the national lockdown

Friday, 16th April 2021, 8:58 am
Corby Amateur Swimming Club stars Louis Mitchell and Archie Evans qualified to compete at the British Olympic trials but withdrew after being unable to prepare for the event
Corby Amateur Swimming Club stars Louis Mitchell and Archie Evans qualified to compete at the British Olympic trials but withdrew after being unable to prepare for the event

Two members of Corby Amateur Swimming Club (CASC) were forced to pull out of the British Olympic trials this week after they were unable to train during the most recent national lockdown.

Nineteen-year-old Louis Mitchell and 17-year-old Archie Evans both qualified for the opportunity to compete at the Olympic trials which have been held at the London Aquatics Centre this week as Team GB begins the process of selecting their team for the Games in Tokyo this summer.

However, with their base of the Corby East Midlands International Pool being closed and the swimmers not being defined as ‘elite’ sportspeople despite the high level they compete at, it meant they were unable to train and get into the condition needed to swim at the trials.

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Mitchell, who is from Corby, is a butterfly swimmer while Cranford’s Evans specialises in backstroke.

CASC head coach Tim Evans conceded the situation had been a bit ‘unfair’ on the two upcoming stars but still believes the future is bright for both of them.

“It’s a very high level so it is a big thing for them, it would have been great for them to go there and show how good they are,” the head coach said.

“Unfortunately, they were unable to take part. You have British Swimming that run the competitions and Swim England is the governing body we are affiliated to.

“The government said that ‘elite’ sport could continue but grassroots sport couldn’t.

“We needed ‘elite’ sport to be defined and they said it was based around those sportspeople who make an income from their sport.

“They also changed it to say that if you were on a national body’s pathway then you would qualify as an ‘elite’ athlete.

“It felt like the goalposts were being changed and it’s really unfair I think.

“I am sure it’s been the same in a lot of sports. There’s not been a definite structure as to what you can and can’t do.

“There have been some winners and losers and unfortunately Archie and Lewis did qualify but they were not on any pathways and there were no training options for them.

“The pools reopened as normal on April 12 and the Olympic trials started on April 13. At that level, having been out of the pool for the best part of a year, it made it almost impossible.

“They had no plans on just going there to make up the numbers so they both decided not to go.

“They are back in training but not in the condition they need to be to compete at that level.

“It would have been a great experience. They are both young lads who are developing in the sport and this was part of their next stage of development.

“Both of them are capable of going on to bigger and better things. It’s just a shame they haven’t been able to take this particular opportunity.”

Despite that disappointment, Tim Evans is delighted that CASC is operating again after swinging back into action this week following the reopening of swimming pools across the country.

And he insists the doors are open to all.

“It’s a fantastic club,” he added.

“We cater for those who want to compete at a grassroots level from the age of seven and upwards right through to those who are capable of competing at an extremely high level.

“We always welcome anyone who wants to be part of a very friendly and competitive swimming club, we feel it’s a great place to be.”

Anyone who would like more information on the club should visit the website www.corbyswimmingclub.org.uk