Joel Knight eager to prove his credentials
PUBLISHED: 11:33 02 February 2014
Swimmer Joel Knight has come up with an innovative way to raise money towards realising his Commonwealth and Olympic dreams.
Knight, who hails from Potters Bar, had his funding cut completely in October last year in part due to the poor performance of late by British Swimming, and is now offering swimsuits and swimming lessons in return for donations.
The 18-year-old was receiving lottery funding as a junior, enabling him to compete in the Youth Olympics in 2011, as well as the European Junior Championships in 2012 and 2013 where he came eighth in both the 800m and 1,500m final.
But annual costs of around £2,000 a year for training and competition entries, not taking into account travel expenses, have meant there have been some big decisions to make regarding his future.
“My coach came to me and we sat down after the decision (funding cut) and we thought, is it worth the stress for everyone for me to carry on swimming?
“If I’m going to really go for it this year and try to make a break and set myself up towards Rio [Olympics 2016] then I can’t really be having a full-time job so do I just throw the towel in, get a job and just start living or do I stay in the swimming world and try and battle on?
“Packing it in was a realistic choice because we couldn’t afford to keep it going ourselves.”
Knight has had a fantastic response to the campaign, which was launched using the website Crowdfunder, with £1,651 raised at the time of writing, easily surpassing the initial target of £1,000 with over two weeks to go.
Items still up for grabs include a one-to-one technical swimming lesson with Knight, signed photos and personalised t-shirts.
The former Potters Bar Swimming Club member, who is supported by Impact Sports, also revealed to this newspaper he is battling on two fronts.
Knight, who swims for Millfield School in Somerset, is partially deaf, a problem that is only getting worse.
“I’ve got a hearing aid in my right ear and the left is only going to get worse and will become the same.
“It doesn’t affect my swimming, it’s just the lifestyle and confidence and sort of everything that comes with being deaf.”
Despite having just started training again following a month out after a knee operation, Knight is hoping to compete in the Commonwealth Games qualifiers in April having already swum over 40 seconds under the time of 16.08 minutes needed to take part in the 1500m trials.
Visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/joel-swim to make a donation, closing date is February 10.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Welwyn Hatfield Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.