My name is Tazmin Pugh, I’m 15 years old and attend Ellesmere College Titans, in the wilds of north Shropshire. I recently competed for England against Russia-Ukraine, Germany and Italy in the Four Nations meet, but my swimming started when I was just three months old!
Having started at ‘Aquatots’ I moved on to my local club of Pershore and by eight years old I was topping up my hours at Worcester SC.
Although not my strongest stroke, amusingly at this age I won the National small schools (ISA) swimming championships in breaststroke.
When my school class were asked who would like to swim in the Midlands event, (in freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke), I was very slow to put my hand up!
I then followed this success with ISA titles in backstroke and freestyle the following two years.
Aged nine onwards I started winning County titles, the last three years finishing first in the BAGCATs – the points-based prizes British Age Group Category awards.
From age ten, although I had won Midland Age Group medals including gold, it was not until I moved to Ellesmere College Titans at 13 that I stepped up a gear, when I rewarded my new coach Alan Bircher by winning the BAGCAT title in 2014, and realised what I really wanted.
I’m very fortunate being accepted on a swimming part-scholarship at Ellesmere. The College is really supportive of the way the ‘Titans’ perform in both pool and open water.
It is especially good that I don’t have the usual early starts and late finishes, as we can train in the school day and yet still enjoy social time with school friends afterwards!