A pair of dedicated Hartlepool students are making a splash in the competitive world of swimming.
The English Martyrs School and Sixth Form students, Owen Westhorp and Katie Laybourn, have set their sights on Olympic gold medals in the future.
My dream is to win an Olympic gold medalOwen Westhorp
While most people are still sleeping, or thinking about breakfast, the ambitious teenagers are already in the pool as part of their gruelling training regimes.
Owen, who swims for Hartlepool’s Aqua Force Academy, is determined to reach his ultimate goal.
The Year Ten pupil, said: “My dream is to win an Olympic gold medal. I get up at 5am every day to train before school. After school, I’m back in the pool for more swimming.
“It’s hard work but will hopefully be worth it in the long run.”
The sentiment was echoed by fellow swimmer Katie who said: “I’d love to win a medal at the Olympics. I currently compete against older swimmers and have done pretty well so far.”
The 15-year-old is no stranger to international success having recently scooped an impressive five gold and two silver medals during a recent contest in France, representing the Great Britain Catholic Schools’ team.
She swam in individual and team events against thirteen other countries.
Owen, 14, also won a gold medal in a national championship, in Sheffield, for the 50m breaststroke category while Katie picked up a silver for the 50m butterfly.
In addition to the swimming, Owen also plays rugby at a county level and competes on behalf of the county athletics squad.
Stephen Hammond, English Martyrs School and Sixth Form headteacher, said: “We are incredibly proud of Owen and Katie and their wonderful sporting achievements.
“Their determination to succeed and superb work ethic should be congratulated. I’m sure that we will see these two on Olympic podiums in the not too distant future.”