Grantham Journal Big Interview: Swimmer has Olympic podium potential

William Hawkes, right, with Ross Jackson of award sponsors Viking Signs.
William Hawkes, right, with Ross Jackson of award sponsors Viking Signs.
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At the Grantham is Great Awards we were delighted to announce another Youth Achiever - William Hawkes.

The 14-year-old swimming sensation from Croxton Kerrial, holds 56 all time Grantham Swimming Club records and 20 county records, and has won gold and silver medals at district and national level. In fact he already ranks number 3 in Great Britain, with both the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2020 Olympics in his sights. We spoke to William to find out more.

How did it feel to win the Grantham is Great award? There were some amazing nominations, so I feel extremely honoured to have received the award. It was a great evening and a real eye-opener to hear about all the great achievements in the Grantham area.

* You have already earned an amazing number of records and medals - what is your ultimate sporting aim?

My ultimate goal is to make Team GB for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In December 2015, I was fortunate enough to qualify for an England talent camp at Millfield School in Somerset, for swimmers that show ‘podium potential’. It was an amazing few days - I learnt a lot and my aim is to work hard to get on to the next phase of the programme.

* How did you get into swimming, and what do you enjoy most about it?

My mum was a competitive swimmer when she was younger, and took me swimming from a young age. I’ve loved it ever since. The early morning training sessions can be tough, but it’s worth it to see improvements when I’m racing.

* What would you say to other youngsters thinking about getting into competitive swimming?

Although it’s a lot of hard work and you need to put in a lot of hours, it’s fun and rewarding – especially when you win a race. It’s not all about winning though, and gradually improving your ‘personal best’ times keeps you constantly motivated.

* And lastly a question for the family - how proud are you of William’s achievements?

William’s mum Lesley and dad Simon: We’re immensely proud of William’s achievements and we’re behind him all the way (even when he wakes us up at 4.30 am on a Saturday morning to go training!)