WHEN Knutsford Vikings swimmers return to training for the new season in September, their head coach hopes they will be feeling inspired by a teammate's national achievement.

Having won a regional title earlier this year, Eloise Perritt went one better by taking gold against the best swimmers of her age in the country.

The 14-year-old Knutsford Academy pupil’s 50m freestyle performance at May’s Swim England North West Championships in Liverpool qualified her for the national meet in Sheffield, where she produced a superb swim in the heats to post a personal-best time of 27.83secs.

That meant she was the second-fastest entrant into the final, where she raised her game once again to claim a superb gold medal.

Knutsford Guardian: Eloise with her regional and national medalsEloise with her regional and national medals (Image: Knutsford Vikings)

With her proud family watching on, Eloise led the final from start to finish to smash her personal best again as she stopped the clock at 27.26secs.

And all of this came in her first ever national competition.

“For a club like Knutsford to have a regional champion and national qualifiers is pretty special, but to have a national champion is simply awesome,” Vikings head coach Phil James said.

“I recall being asked a by a parent last year whether I thought it was possible for Knutsford Vikings swimmers to qualify for nationals.

“My answer was yes – anything and everything is possible if you have the belief, desire and work ethic.

“Eloise has proven this to be correct and I very much hope that her achievements will inspire her teammates going into the new season in September.”

Her performances have earned her a place on the Swim England Talent Team, which will support her development and aid her coaching team in a bid to push her towards senior international honours.

James says Eloise’s achievements are testament to the hard work everyone at the club has put in.

“The plan was a true team effort,” he said.

“With the support of the club and Knutsford Leisure Centre, we extended our training into our usual summer break to keep Eloise primed.

“Not only did our coaching team pull together to cover the additional sessions, some of our swimmers also continued to train with Eloise too.

“I know this was a great help to Eloise and it certainly helped her quest to become national champion.

“Everyone at the Knutsford Vikings is exceptionally proud of Eloise and her achievements this year.

“So many people have been involved in Eloise's journey over the years – whether it be coaches, committee members, team managers or volunteer parents, we can all take great pride what has been accomplished.”