A teenager from Gravesend has been named GB deaf swimmer of the year.
Jessica Goodwin, 15, won all seven events she competed in at the GB Deaf Championships which took place at Loughborough University. She was also fastest female at the championships.
That success led to the Mayfield Grammar School pupil being named GB category A deaf swimmer of the year.
Goodwin is moderately deaf and wears a hearing aid out of the water but can’t use it in the pool and to avoid the risk of infection wears ear plugs while swimming, so can’t hear anything.
Normal racing would usually start with buzzer, but for deaf swimming the competitors rely on a light, or a tap on the shoulder from the coach.
She started club swimming as a nine-year-old and has been at Black Lion Swimming Club for many years.
Mum Linda says the Gillingham-based club were quick to guide her daughter and have helped her rise to the top.
“Black Lion have been amazing, right from the start,” she said.
“They invested money straight away by purchasing a light and also a white board so that the training sets can be written down.
“We knew she was doing well and this year she has broken quite a few club records so had a chance of success but she won every race and we are so proud.”
There are two training meets a year and the deaf championships are held during the spring meet.
Jessica trains six times a week and competes with people across the country in the GB set-up, which she has been involved in since 2017.
Her dream is to compete at the Deaflympics. The Paralympics don’t have a deaf category.
She also doesn’t benefit from government funding but is determined to keep going
Linda added: “She loves her swimming and just wants to carry on doing it more and more!”