Sunday, 15 November 2009

Hi. My training in and out of the pool has been going well. Two weeks ago, on a Saturday morning, I went to Brentwood as Essex Sport Legacy had set up a day to promote urban games. This day included basketball, graffite, bmx biking, beatboxing and street dancing. It was good to see and I am enjoying doing my Ambassador duties.

On the Saturday evening, I had an in-house gala at Ipswich. I was supposed to race in the 100m Backstroke and the 200m Freestyle, but I had not been feeling very well and decided to pull out of the 200m Freestyle. This meant I could focus on just one race. Technically, I swam the race average, but I was within a second of my personal best so I was happy, considering I had not been feeling very well.

The next day, I had the 100m Freestyle to race. I also look forward to racing this but also always put pressure on myself as this is the race that I prefer. I swam fairly well in it and recorded a time that was exactly half a second away from breaking the minute barrier. I was pleased with this performance as I knew the pool condititions were not the best and that I could perform better if I did not feel ill.

I am really looking forward to the Senior National next weekend as I feel excellent in all departments at the moment and love the atmosphere up in Sheffield when I swim. I always feel the adrenaline at Sheffield and I feel like I do the best I possibly can when I compete there.

I have also recently found out that I am safe on the British Swimming Development programm till December 2010. So the pressure has been lifted off of me when I compete in Swansea, but I am still looking to deliver some fantastic times that will kick me on into next years busy schedule.

Sunday, 4 October 2009


Some of the Team Essex Ambassadors have been linked up with an artist to create an art work that marks their Journey to the Podium or at least the 2012 games. On Friday last week, I met my artist, (Paul Heard), who is an animator. We had a really long chat about my sport and my commitment and he has come up with some fantastic ideas on what we are going to produce. This is a really exciting project for me and I am looking forward to the final results. Watch this space for updates on our progress.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

I have been training really hard in the pool and down the gym recently. I competed at a low profile competition at my club and only swam reasonably good.
I have a while before my next big competition that will once again take place in Sheffield, so I have been keeping my head down and training hard. I am looking forward to putting myself to the test and seeing how my hard work in training will pay off.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009


I travelled to Cardiff by train last Thursday with the East Region Swimming team to compete at my third UK School Games. I was really excited as this is my favourite competition every year.

In 2007, I won 2 silver medals and last year I won 2 golds. This year I was entered in 3 events, so I was really looking forward to this.

On the Thursday, we had the opening ceremony at Cardiff Bay. A young and talented breakdancer and a chior performed before the loud music, lasers and fireworks kicked us into being very hungry athletes.

I trained on Friday morning with the rest of the team to prepare for my 2 races that I would be competing in, in the afternoon.

I raced in the 50m Freestyle and 100m Back, and just finished outside my PB's. I was a bit disappointed but defended my title in the 50m Freestyle as I stood on top of the podium like last year. I also acheived a bronze medal
in the 100m Backstroke. It was brilliant top be on the podium and could not wait to race in the 100m Freestyle on the next day.
I was back at Swansea the next day to race in my favourite event. I was really fired up and wanted to touch the wall in under 1 minute for the first time in a 50m pool. That unfortuantly did not happen. I had swam a great first half of the race but failed to bring the race home as quick. I did win another bronze but I was gutted about the time, but now I have to move on and learn from my great and tough experiences. Can not wait for the UK School Games next year, when they will take place in Sunderland.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


Travelled back from my summer holiday in Cyprus on Thursday night. The weather was lovely and I had a great time.I had to train out there as I have the UK School Games once again at the start of September. I did some lengths every morning in the nice hotel pool.I also had the chance to use a 50m swimming pool in Coral Bay. It was brilliant and I had the whole pool to myself for most of the time. I felt really good in the water but the heat was really draining. The humidity was around 95%.

I have nearly two weeks training back at Ipswich before my big competition and I can't wait.I also enjoyed Cyprus outside of the pool as I went paragliding and scuba diving. The scuba diving was the best thing that I have ever done.I have learnt and performed basic and challenging skills whilst I was scuba diving. I saw some amazing creatures and I would love to do it again. Please see photos.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

I competed in Sheffield at The British Longcourse Championships from last Wednesday to Sunday. I was really excited as Ponds Forge Sheffield is my favourite place to swim. Unfortuantly i failed to swim under the magic minute mark again in my 100m Freestyle, but hit a personal best in the 100m Breastroke. I was just outside my personal best's during the week and on Sunday, i was four seconds out on my 400m Freestyle but made the final. I was pleased about this and went four seconds quicker, but was still half a second out. It was not the best week but i will now get back into training and build myself up for the UK School Games.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

I am currently training hard in the pool and building myself up at my local gym as i am competing next week in Sheffield at the National Youth Championships. I will be racing from Tuesday till Sunday at my favourite swimming facilities and hope to produce some more great swims and personal best times.

I will be racing once a day plus any finals that I progress through to in the evenings. I am really looking forward to racing on another big stage and hopefully I can prove myself.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Last weekend I competed in Newport for the World Championship Qualifiers. I had been training well the last two months and felt extremely fast in the water, so I was really looking forward to swimming to the best of my ability. The competition took place over Saturday and Sunday and I planned the weekend so that I swam my best three events and added in the 100m Breastroke. I knew that everything was right leading up to the competition. I felt good in the water, had trained well in the gym twice a week and planned my races for the weekend perfectly. I had to get ready mentally and keep hydrated so that I could be the best I could be.

I swam my first race on the Saturday morning. This was the 400m Freestyle and was looking to kick the weekend off to a flyer. I was in the fastest heat and was fortunate enough to race the 2008 Paralympic Champion. In the race, I focused on trying to stay with him as long as possible. I swam a good race and went 4 seconds faster than my Personal Best. My weekend had started just how I wanted it and felt like I was on fire, physically and mentally.

In the afternoon, I swam the 50m Freestyle and was hungry for more good racing. I felt good going into the race but finished 0.3 seconds outside of my Personal Best. I was not too disappointed from this, as technically, I swam a faultless race.

I could not wait to dive back in Sunday. I had the 100m Breastroke in the morning and desperatly wanted to do the job so that I could feel as confident as possible for my 100m Freestyle in the afternoon. I swam another strong race and chopped 0.5 seconds off my Personal Best. I was pleased and now had a few hours to prepare myself for the biggest race of my career to date. I had been trying to break the minute mark for this event since November and have failed to do so on numerous occasions. This repeatedly gave me a mental block and I still had an air of doubt going into the race even though I got myself really fired up. I was in a heat of the biggest names and had all my tactics sorted in my mind. This was my last chance to shine as I had all of the next week off from training as I was away on a Geography trip with the school. I also knew that this would be the best time and the only time for a few months to beat the clock before it ticked past 1 minute. I swam an excellent race, never gave less than 100% and hit the wall fiercly with passion. I looked up to see a time of 58.96 and punched the air with delight and relief. After a long wait of 8 months, a massive weight had lifted from my shoulders but I could not put my race into words. I knew this was a long time waiting for it but this made the race all the worthwhile. I had destroyed the minute mark and was told that I had swam a great competition by the GB Head Coach.

I had put a lot of effort and spent a long time working for this, but now I am looking forward to challenge the very best in the world.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

1st July 2009

Just to give you a quick update, I'm off to Cardiff this Friday to compete at the Great Britain World Shortcourse Championship Trials. This is where swimmers try to acheive qualifying times for the World Championships which is being held in Rio de Janeiro. I know I have a slim chance of qualifying, but I am looking forward to competing against top athletes and am determined to produce personal best times.
I have had a top few weeks of training and also was a VIP for the 'Get Safe For Summer' campaign, which involved me to help encourage young children to increase their confidence and knowledge for the water. It was a really good day and I hope the children enjoyed the day as much as I did.

Friday, 26 June 2009


My name is Ryan Crouch, I am 15 years old and I am a Disability Swimmer with British Swimming. I have mild cerebal palsy, which is a muscle weakness. Because of this, I am classed as disabled.

I first started swimming at Dovercourt at the age of 5 to help build my muscle weakness up. I have been competitively swimming since the age of 11, where I was first spotted by British Swimming at my first national competition.

At the moment, I train at Ipswich Crown Pools 6 times a week. My coach is Dave Champion. He successfully taught Karen Pickering to the Olympics. I swim 3 afternoons and I go as far as getting up at 4.15am to train 3 mornings a week. I complete around 30000 - 40000 meters a week.

I am currently on the second stage of the British Swimming Programme and I am ranked third and fourth in Great Britain in most of my events. In nearly every competition, there is no age restriction, so I race competiters of all ages. I go down to my local gym twice a week to build me up and help to reduce the risk of injury.

I compete in national competitions which takes me all over the country, mainly in Sheffield, Manchester and Swansea. Ponds Forge, Sheffield, is my favourite swimming pool and is the only 10 lane pool in Britain. I love it!

In March 2008, I was selected for my biggest competition yet. British Swimming named me in their squad for my first international in Esjberg, Denmark. This was an amazing experience and to top that off, I performed well and brought home 3 bronze medals.

In 2007, I was selected to swim in the UK School Games in Coventry. This is a mini Olympics, letting 1300 of the most talented athletes from Great Britain take part in this top quality event, in 8 different sports. I was extremely nervous to start off with, but meeting and speaking to world class athletes there just before I competed really inspired me and kick-started me in the right direction. I competed in the 50m and 100m Freestyle, swimming 2 personal best times and acheiving 2 silver medals. My first medal was represented to me by Dame Kelly Holmes.

In 2008, I was then asked to compete in the UK School Games again and jumped at the chance once more. It was hosted in Bath and Bristol. This time I was stronger mentally and physical and I was determined to smash my PB's once more and turn them 2 silvers last year, to 2 golds. I performed well again, knocking out a PB on my 50m Freestyle and swimming to take the top spot on the podium, beating the boy who had beaten me last year. I then took my second gold on the 100m freestyle on the next day. I felt on top of the world.

Fortuantly, I have just been selected to take part in these games again this year, where I will once again compete in Swansea. I also have another chance to better my performance of last year. I will compete in 3 events this year as I have been selected for the 100m Backstroke aswell. Bring it on!

I am really hungry to make it to 2012, but I dont just want to compete at a wonderful games. I want to be in it to win it and hopefully I can acheive my ultimate dream in three years time. I then want to continue my dream by being the best and taking on everyone who challenges me. I have already met many famous sports stars and recently met Steve Cram as you can see from the above photo's.

I love to compete all around the country but I would not be doing any of this if it wasn't for my extremely supportive parents who have to give an awful lot of their time up to let me live my dream. Training would not be possible without their full support, let alone competitions.

Who knows what the future holds and what I could potentially acheive?