Teddington Swimming Club’s (TSC) Sophie Fussell has become the fastest 12-year-old breaststroke swimmer in England, but her coach is not getting carried away.
Fussell recorded one minute, 13.79 seconds and 2:40.93 in the 100m and 200m events at the National ASA Championships in Sheffield last week to take the English crown.
In both events, she finished second behind Scotland’s Katie Robertson – meaning she won two silver medals with her English crown.
Sophie was spotted by a development coach at TSC when she was just eight years old, and now trains at the Vicarage Road centre four or five times a week.
Head coach, former British swimmer and double-Olympian Edward Sinclair said: “Sophie is a positive, enthusiastic swimmer with lots of energy.
“She loves swimming and is a pleasure to coach.
“My philosophy is building blocks, improving bit by bit over time.
“It is important that athletes get breaks and can play others sports.”
He added that Sophie could be a future Olympic star, but there is no pressure.
“If she wants to we will do everything we can,” he said.
“We will support her in the future with strength and conditioning, nutrition and psychology.
“We are already working with her school.
“It’s really up to her – she needs to believe in herself. She’s not the finished product yet so we shouldn’t get carried away.
“But for now the key is simply getting fun and enjoyment from swimming.”
The success of TSC as a whole is increasing.
This year they had swimmers competing in a record 17 events at the National Championships.