SWIMMING: Emily’s on form in the open water

Wiltshire Times: Emily Harrison competes in the national age group open water championships Emily Harrison competes in the national age group open water championships

TROWBRIDGE teenager Emily Harrison is taking a different route to success than many of her peers as she tackles the challenge of open water swimming.

The 14-year-old John of Gaunt School pupil will compete at the British Gas ASA Open Water National Age Group & Youth Championships in Sheffield next month after winning a regional South West round in Weymouth.

While many of her Trowbridge ASC clubmates do battle in the pool, Harrison contends with swimming around buoys and fighting off rivals for position in lakes and the sea.

She will tackle the 1500m distance in the 14-year-old age group at Rother Valley Country Park in Sheffield on August 4 as she makes her first appearance at the national event.

“I’m a bit nervous because it’s the nationals but I’m feeling good about it,’’ she told the Wiltshire Times.

“Training has been going really well so I hope I can do my best.’’ Harrison took up open swimming aged 11, under the guidance of coach Sarah Paton, herself a 2004 long-distance Olympic swimmer with Australia, who spotted her open water potential.

The teenager now swims up to six times a week, sometimes covering up to 6000m in a session, splitting her time between Trowbridge and the University of Bath.

Harrison, who county Britain’s Olympic silver medallist and world open water champion Keri-Anne Payne among her heroes, added: “I enjoy it. You have to swim around buoys and things like that and fight for your position.’’

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