My name is Sarah Branch and I live in Silverstone with my twin sister, Megan and my Mum & Dad. I am 15 years old and attend the Royal Latin Grammar School in Buckingham. I have been swimming with Northampton Swimming Club since I was 7 years old.
I qualified for the County Championships when I was 8, I qualified for Regional’s when I was 9 and started racing at the British National Championships aged 10.
I have been County champion and regional finalist for several years and have won either Bronze, Silver and or Gold medals at the British National Age Group & Open-Water Championships each year since 2013.
In 2014 & 2015 I attended British Swimming’s ‘England Talent Development Programme’ where I have been selected to race for England on two occasions, winning a bronze and gold medal at the Collonia Classic Open Water meet in Majorca.
My training is quite demanding; training from 5am – 7am two mornings a week, 2.5 hours Monday to Friday evenings – after school and 4 hours of swimming and land training on Saturday mornings.
It’s very tough trying to balance all this training, as well as many weekend competitions on top of a demanding school curriculum in the year when I’m taking 11 GCSE’s
I am really pleased and proud of what I am achieving in my swimming (I’m doing well at school too, with 10 of my subjects forecast at A or A*) and probably my proudest moment was winning the Northamptonshire 2013 Young Sports Woman of the Year.
I have been fortunate enough to receive some sponsorship on a couple of occasions by local businesses and I am extremely grateful that this is the second year Towcester Rotary Club have been able to secure sponsorship for me. The money will be put to good use helping towards my racing costumes, equipment, race fees, travel and accommodation expenses.
Thank you again very much,
Last year in December, Sarah and I were selected to attend the England talent level 2 in swimming, which was a weekend of training at Coventry. We were selected because of our performances at open water nationals in August 2014. We were both then selected onto level 3 which was a week of training and racing in Majorca with the GB open water team. This was a great experience for us both as we got to swim with some of GBs Olympic open water swimmers. We did a 5K, 7K and 1.5K race – I won the 5K and came 3rd in the 7K and Sarah won the 1.5K and came 3rd in the 5K. This was amazing considering we had never tried the longer distances or raced in the sea before. I then qualified to swim for Great Britain in the European Junior open water championships in Tenero, Switzerland. I achieved the selection by coming 2nd in the junior age group at the great north swim. This was a great learning experience for me as it was my first time racing at an international level. We both finished the season off at the British summer championships – we both came 2nd in our age groups at the 3K open water and I came 3rd in the 800m freestyle on the pool. Next season I hope to qualify for European juniors again and also world juniors.
We train 20 hours a week with Northampton swimming club – 19 hours in the pool and 1 hour strength and conditioning. We train 2 mornings before school with a 5am start, and train every evening.
Thank you very much for the funding I have received! The money will go towards paying for equipment, costumes, training fees and competition fees. The money will really help and is much appreciated.