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?