Like so many of us, Charlotte Evans learnt to swim for safety reasons – in her case to be safe in the water on family holidays. This was especially important as an only child, so she could entertain herself in hotel pools and at the beach, wherever her family’s travels took her. And she loved it!
For Charlotte, aged 24, swimming was a thrilling and immersive escape from classrooms, education and all those rules! And it wasn’t long before she put the Woggles and floats of ‘shallow end school swimming lessons’, for ‘the deep end of a swimming club’, as she puts it.
“A swimming club has a family feel,” says Charlotte. “There are more people to socialise with and a level to compare yourself to with structure and goals.” Club swimming gave her a sense of agency and liberation.
“Swimming makes me feel powerful”, says Charlotte, “in not just the physical sense, but like I’m mentally resilient and able to achieve things I wouldn’t have been able to do in a classroom.”
The freedom and fun of swimming led her to Loughborough University, where at 17 she decided to “live, swim, and even breath swimming”, she says with a giggle. Taking her sport to a competitive level, she dedicated more time to the pool and to the gym, with some tailored nutrition, Pilates and yoga thrown in. Before long she was competing in championships in the UK and overseas – and now her next big test is at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Charlotte says it’s a gruelling sport and to do well takes effort, energy and sacrifice. But a swimming club like Cardiff – where Charlotte has been training since September 2020 – enables swimmers to push themselves harder among like-minded people. As she puts it, “It’s empowering when the team has a good poolside presence. It really boosts morale for competitions.”
“The exhilaration of winning a race or breaking a personal best trumps all the preparation, practice and hard work,” affirms Charlotte. It’s a sensation that you’ve done something for yourself – that you’ve surprised yourself.” Good luck for the Commonwealth Games Charlotte!
Meet Jack Bamborough, who's a member of the City of Cardiff Swimming Club for 7 years, and has a dream to compete in the Olympic Games.