News and Events

Profile: Swimmer, Charlotte Johnson, Year 9

Year 9 SRWA student Charlotte Johnson can’t stop winning at swimming. As well as bagging numerous trophies in highly competitive regional and county events, she is one to watch out for on the international stage after recently being invited to attend the Swim England Talent pathway training which, according to Swim England is “designed support young swimmers in their quest to achieve senior international podium success”.

In February this year, when she was 13, she won the ‘16 and under’ Sussex County Championship for the 800 metre freestyle and came second in the open age group category along with medals in 15 other events. She went on to compete at the Southeast Regional championships in May taking medals in a number of events and breaking a number of longstanding County records (some set during the year she was born). At these events she obtained sufficient rankings to qualify for the 2017 Summer National Championships in Sheffield. She swam the 800, 400 and 200 freestyle events along with the 400 metre Individual medley reaching the National finals for the 200 metre free and 400 Individual medley coming 4th and 5th respectively. This winter she won the Sussex County 16 and under 100 individual medley Cup at the Sussex winter County event at Crawley.

Charlotte learned to swim at the age of four at Penguins swimming school at Lancing, she progressed quickly through the groups and became a very strong swimmer by the age of nine. However, in 2014 she was picked from 38,000 swimmers in the region by Southern Water as “Swim achiever of the year” receiving an award from the Olympic swimmer Duncan Goodhew. At the same time she started competitive swimming with Mid Sussex Marlins based in Burgess Hill, training four two hour sessions per week. Within a year she had not only achieved County qualifying times, she also achieved a Regional qualifying time for the 800 metre freestyle and swum in this high level event at the Regional Championships in Portsmouth in May 2015. She continued to progress and work very hard and was promoted to the National training team in her club in 2016.

Charlotte has developed her swimming skills through hard work, determination and dedication and now swims around nine sessions a week covering a minimum of 40,000 metres each week, which is around 25 miles or the equivalent of swimming the English Channel and a bit more every seven days. At least 50% of this is at “Race pace”. She trains on very early mornings before school and late evenings after school. Weekends are often consumed with various swim training sessions and events.

Her coach, Steve Murphy commented: “Charlotte is an exemplary example of how commitment and daily hard work do pay off. Over the past season Charlotte has been fully committed to her swimming regularly attending 9 training sessions a week giving 100% every time. This has translated into achievements including all time club records, county records, medals at regional level, National finals and selection onto the Swim England talent pathway. Charlotte's commitment and work ethic in and out of the pool has inspired many of our younger club swimmers who look up to her and now aspire to achieve some of the things that she has.”

Head teacher Kieran Scanlon said: "Charlotte brings the same winning attitude to school. Her attendance is 100%.  She works hard in lessons and is a joy to teach. Everybody at the Sir Robert Woodard Academy is really proud of Charlotte and it’s clear to me that the discipline that she has learned through   swimming competitively has permeated other parts of her life, which will stand her in good stead for the future." 

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