Ethan – My Story
Hi, my name is Ethan and I am 10 years old. Even though I’m only 10, I have already raced in the Olympic pool in London, and at the National Para Championships in Manchester plus the Junior National Para Championships in Southampton. I have CP in my left side which means I can’t do some things that ordinary kids can do, but I love my sport and competing. On top of all the swimming, I love football, this is because I play for quite a lot of teams, both disability and mainstream.
Where it all began
It all started 3 years ago, when I went to the CP Swimming Development Gala in Winchester. I was so proud of myself after that because I had got one gold and two silvers medals. That was when I became more confident and so I tried CP football. I went to a CP football session in Chippenham and met Julie Bowler who ran the SWCP talent hub and I was invited to trial for them. I did a couple of trials and at first I started to worry that I wasn’t going to be able to work hard enough or keep up, but as time passed, I got less worried. I went on to do more and more trials , most of them were for CP football but a couple were mainstream like training with Shooters Thistle U11 every Friday.
It all started from that trial day in Chippenham!
I do training on a Friday for my local football team, which is mainstream but luckily I don’t get battered! In our training, we do a couple of drills and as well as doing drills, at the end, we have a match unless the AstroTurf is frozen. Many of the drills are about receiving the ball and looking for space to run into but also if we don’t have the ball, we do ‘close down, slow down and then crouch down’ which means if the opposition pushes the ball round them, they have a headstart so they can keep the ball and if they don’t have the ball, they can’t score goals. I train as often as I can with SWCP United (but this often at same time as my Shooters matches). I train twice a month at Southampton FC in their dome as part of the pan disability talent hub, which is very cool and we sometimes meet their players. As part to the FA regional emerging talent programme I train with them 4 times a year, which is so much fun and I learn lots of skills. The main training I do weekly is 4 hours swimming training, this is really tough, but makes me super fit so I can play my football.
For the last 3 years, I have done many competitions for swimming and football. Some of the competitions for the football have been tournaments for our school, which we either lose or come 4th which isn’t bad for a school that only has 96 people in total.
I play in an under 11’s league for Shooters Thistle. I play in Wilts Ability Counts league for SWCP juniors. Last year I played at Chelsea training ground for SWCP United where we reached the semi-final, and that was an amazing day.
As you heard, my swimming is quite good, I swim lots of races but sometimes different strokes like front-crawl and back-stroke. Even though my favourite stroke is breast-stroke, I am not very fast at doing it.
The impact sport has had on my life
Sport means everything. If I didn’t have sport I don’t know what I would do. It has given me lots of different opportunities, and although training is hard and painful, it is the thing I love the most.
My ambition is to be a Swimming Paralympian. Although football being my favourite sport I feel like that I am stronger at swimming. However I would like to play for the England CP side like players such as Lewis Tribe who I used to see at SWCP United.
My advice to others with CP who might want to try sport
My advice to you is that sport can help build confidence. That is because when I was young and had never done any sport in my life I was terrified. As I got more confident, I got new opportunities to go to different places around the country plus new experiences like meeting Olympians or Paralympians and asking them interesting questions.
CP does make my life harder to do somethings, but sport is a great way to experience different things and meet people. Gary Knight at the FA taught me that I should never be afraid to fail because it stands for First Attempt In Learning. There are lots of sports and you should always try them.