Elite Performers

Elite Performers 2018-06-14T15:35:58+00:00

Elite Performers

This category celebrates those who have worked hard to achieve excellence at national and international level inspiring others and raising the profile of our city.

Dr Andrew Crawford

International Water Polo Player and Commonwealth Games participant

I was never the best swimmer and so volunteered to go in goal at a local water polo taster session – four years later I was representing my country! Success at school (Bolton School), club (Manchester) and county level meant at 15 years old I represented the Great Britain Under 18 squad. A year later I was the first choice GB U18 goalkeeper and in 2003 I represented the GB men’s team for the first time.

At the same time I moved to the South West and joined City of Bristol Aquatics (known then as Bristol Central) winning numerous national titles. My most enjoyable trip was to the Commonwealth Games in Australia in 2006 with a quartet of Bristol players (Craig Figes, Dan Williams, Matt Thresher) in the England team. In 2010 I started a PhD at the University of Bristol and won the University Championships (BUCS) three years in a row to become the most successful sports team in the University’s history.

I would like to thank all my coaches but in particular, Mike Yates (Bristolian) and Mike Glover who inspired me in my early water polo career. Enjoy your sport and see where it takes you!

 

Caron Hale

Worlds, Commonwealth Silver and European Bronze Fencer

I have always been fascinated by fencing, especially after watching the slow-motion routine of the “Three Musketeers” opening credits back in the 1970s. I started when I was 18, but did not really start taking the sport seriously until I was in my 40s, when I discovered that I had a national ranking and decided to see if I could improve my ranking of 75, which I managed to do.

I was then persuaded to join British Veteran Fencing, a group that take the sport very seriously and to a very high level nationally as well as internationally. I was first asked to participate in the English team in the Home Nations event, and then qualified to fence for Great Britain at most World Championships since turning 50 with my first being in Moscow and coming 8th overall then. My best results were last year with 6th in the Worlds (2017), bronze in the Women’s Foil Team (2017), silver at the Commonwealth (2016) and bronze at the Europeans (2017).

As I get older, I do find fencing the younger people harder now as they are so fit and fast, but still get a buzz when I score against them or do well. The veteran fencers are a great bunch, extremely good, and extremely competitive. I am a great believer that sport not only keeps you physically healthy, but also mentally healthy.

Austyn Shortman

Commonwealth Games Medallist for Swimming and British Record Holder

I was lucky to be adopted into the Shortman family age 2, began swimming immediately. Swam my first British National Age Group champs age 9. Won 3 x golds a year later aged 10.  Won a total of 8 British national titles (junior and senior).  European Junior Bronze medallist 100m Front crawl 1989.  Member of Commonwealth Games team Auckland 1990 aged 17, gained 2 x Silver medals in relays.  First British swimmer under 50 seconds for 100m front crawl in a long course pool.  British Senior 100m FC Champion 1990, British senior 50m FC Record holder 1991.  Now head coach for Carmarthenshire County Swimming and a long serving member of the Welsh National Coaching Team.

I feel very fortunate to have swam during a golden era in Bristol aquatics.  Taught early swim skills by Ted Quick and Mike Ashford, INSPIRED by truly GREAT coaches (Ray Clash, Tony Holmyard and Mike Shortman) and surrounded by world class athletes on a daily basis, many of whom have also been nominated to Bristol’s Sporting Hall of Fame.

Caroline Holmyard

Olympic Synchronised Swimmer

I joined Bristol Central Swimming Club at 4 days old. I was privileged to have the help and support of many volunteers throughout my sporting career. I felt devasted that I came 4th and 6th at the Olympic Games, but looking back on it now it is true what is written above the score-board in the Olympic stadium – it is the taking part that counts.

People can get involved with Synchronised swimming at City of Bristol Aquatics.

 

Caroline Powell

Athletics – Age Group World and European Record Holder for 200 and 400 metres

I am age 64, a born and bred Bristol track athlete and member of Bristol & West Athletics Club. I have and still represent Great Britain in the World Masters Athletics Championships. I have an impressive track record over the last 10 years in both local and international competitions and am  current World Indoor and Outdoor Champion and World Record Holder for the W60 400metres. I have held World and European Records through the age groups  at 400m and 200m – still holding on to some of them as recorded on European Veterans Athletics Championships and World Masters Athletics websitites

My coach is Rob Ellchuk at the University of Bath.

Carl Wyatt

Commonwealth Games Water Polo Player, Captain of Bristol Water Polo Team

I have been a member of the Welsh National Water Polo team for 16 years. Since making my senior debut in 2002 I have competed many international tournaments including the EU Nations cup and two Commonwealth Championships (2006 and 2014). I am currently training for my third Commonwealths which will be hosted by Malta in September. While competing for Wales I have also had the honour of Captaining my country. I also competed for Great Britain within the 2014 European Championships, making my debut within the Malta International Cup tournament at the age of 31!

After playing National League for Welsh Wanderers for 10 years I joined Bristol in 2011 and have been a member of the Bristol Water Polo team (City of Bristol Aquatics) now for seven years. In that time, I have helped the team win two British Championships (2011 and 2013), competed in the Super 5’s league and LEN European Club Championships and now have the honour of Captaining the team for the last two seasons.

Chelsea Court

International Gymnast

Chelsea started her training at Easton Leisure Centre when she was 5 years old. When Bristol City Council invested in a state of the art Gymnastics Centre at Hartcliffe: City of Bristol Gymnastics Centre she moved to that training centre with her coach Carol Malone.

In 2015 at the age of 16 Chelsea finish 1st All Around in the Senior British Challenge Cup, also coming 1st on Assymetric bars and 1st on Vault. At the age of 16 Chelsea was accepted into the England Gymnastics Squad after coming 6th in the English Championships in 2015. She went on to represent England at an International Gymnastics tournament in Germany.

When she retired at the age of 18 due to ongoing Achilles tendon problems she started on a coaching apprenticeship scheme. She started coaching the young gymnasts at Hartcliffe. She took her Level 1 coaching award and is waiting to take her Level 2 coaching award this year. She coaches a young squad of talented young gymnasts at the City of Bristol Gymnastics Centre as well as working with the recreational gymnasts. She is training to work with youngsters with Special Needs. The City of Bristol Gymnastics Centre is fully integrated between able and disabled gymnasts.

Chelsea is a wonderful role model to the youngsters of Hartcliffe and leads by example. She lives with her parents in Speedwell and attended Speedwell Secondary school.

Chrissie Wellington

Four time Ironman Triathlon World Champion

Chrissie Wellington OBE is a retired, British professional triathlete and four-time Ironman Triathlon World Champion. In addition to the Ironman titles, she was the 2006 ITU Age Group World Champion and the 2008 ITU Long Distance World Champion. She studied at the University of Birmingham (BsC Geography) and the University of Manchester (MA Econ Development Studies). She worked for the British Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as a policy adviser on international development and for a Nepali NGO on development projects in Nepal.

Chrissie retired from professional sport in 2012 and now works full time as Global Head of Health and Wellbeing for parkrun. In 2014 Chrissie played a key role in organising a successful campaign to get a women’s race at the Tour de France, which culminated in La Course that was held on the final day of the Tour. She is an active patron for a number of charities, as well as being an accomplished motivational and public speaker and a passionate advocate on issues related to physical activity and health.

Chrissie published her Sunday Times Bestselling autobiography, A Life Without Limits, in February 2012, and To the Finish Line: A World Champion Triathlete’s Guide to Your Perfect Race in September 2017. Chrissie was named the 2009 Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year and was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2016 for services to sport and charity. She has Honorary Doctorates from the University of Bristol and University of Birmingham. She made Bristol her home in 2013, and lives very happily in Clifton with her husband and daughter.

Claire Hallissey

Olympic Marathon Runner

Claire joined BBristol & West Athletics Club in 2007 whilst studying for a PhD at the University of Bristol, and made her international debut in 2009 in the European Cup 10,000m. She continued to run for Bristol & West while progressing further with her international running, going on to represent the UK in two World Half Marathon championships before competing for Team GB in the 2012 Olympic Marathon.

 

Claudia Fragapane

Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist Gymnast & Olympian

Claudia is one of Great Britain’s most successful, well known and well liked international gymnasts. Joining Bristol Hawks Gymnastics Club when she was 6 years old she gradually developed her gymnastic career there. She currently trains over 20 hours a week at the club and fits in her training and her international & national commitments alongside her community, charity & media work. She first came to prominence at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, winning an incredible four gold medals. In 2015 she helped win Great Britain’s first-ever women’s team medal at a World Championships. Competing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, she was part of the most successful GB gymnastics team ever. At the World Championships in 2017 she became Great Britain’s second ever woman to win an individual World medal.

Claudia has two World medals, three European medals & four Commonwealth medals. She has held both the British & English overall titles and has also won the BBC’s prestigious ‘Young Sports Personality of the Year’ award.

Her bubbly personality, tenacity and her courage to test herself with new challenges such as ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ have endeared her to the British public and she continues to be an inspirational role model.

Craig Figes

Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallist, British Champion and Olympic Water Polo Player

Craig comes from a sporting family –  his grandfather was an international standard cyclist, his mum and cousin top British international swimmers and his sister an international synchronised swimmer.

Craig was a national standard swimmer before focusing on water polo, becoming the youngest ever player to represent GB in the sport. He went on to play professionally in the best leagues in the world including Italy and Spain. He represented his Country at senior international level for 20 years, 9 years as captain. He is a Commonwealth Games  bronze medalist, 6 time British Champion and captained Team GB at the London Olympics in 2012.

Following retirement, Craig continues to be involved in the sport and has been part of various national steering groups and committees tasked with developing the game in the UK. After coaching at GB level, he is now dedicated to developing the sport at grass roots level and is head coach of City of Bristol Water Polo Club (City of Bristol Aquatics), coaching local teams ranging from under 14 level to the British National league.

Craig is passionate about developing young people (either in sport or by using sport) and works as a motivational speaker and mentor for companies such as Sky Sports & The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, encouraging young people to be the best they can be in their chosen field.

He is an inspiration to many.

Dan Studley

Great Britain Representative at the World Half Marathon Championships

I have been a distance runner for nearly 15 years now, and hopefully my story can prove to aspiring sportspeople that commitment can get you just about anywhere.

I competed at a club/county level throughout my teens and have subsequently progressed through the regional, national ranks to make my debut for Great Britain at the World Half Marathon Championships in March this year at 26 years old. My training is typically 90-100 miles per week of double day running plus three gym sessions; which is entirely self -funded from part time teaching work around my training. My targets in the coming years are to continue to represent Great Britain at European, World and Olympic Games.

I was born in Bristol and compete domestically for Bristol & West Athletics Club, and hold the City in the highest regard to have helped my running reach the highest level. I am a big Bristol City fan, so to have the opportunity to help promote sport in the City I am incredibly honoured to be part of Bristol’s Sporting Hall of Fame.

David Bush

Commonwealth Games Water Polo Team Bronze Medallist

I joined Bristol Central Waterpolo Team in 1981 and was selected for England Trials in 1986 at Crystal Palace.

The result of the trial was that I was selected to play in Malta that year for the Senior England Waterpolo Team at age 19.

Bristol Central Waterpolo were in the 3rd Division at that time and my name was not well known in Waterpolo circles.

Following on from that Bristol Central won the 3rd Division title in 1985 and 1986, due to league changes.  We were promoted to the first division in 1991.

National League 1st Division League Championships with Bristol Central – 3 times

National League 1st Division League Championships with Lancaster Waterpolo Team – 8

British Championship Winners – 3 times with Bristol Central and 10 times with Lancaster  Waterpolo Team

During all of these years, above, I was playing for England Senior Waterpolo Team and was also first selected for the British Senior Waterpolo Team in 1991.

Achievements with England Senior Waterpolo Team:-

2003 Commonwealth Games Bronze Medal – Manchester Games

2003 North Sea Cup Winners – Sheffield

2003 North Sea Cup – Voted Best Valuable Player

2002 North Sea Cup Winners – Belgium

Over 200 Caps with England

Home Nations Winners – 4 times

Get involved with water polo at City of Bristol Aquatics

Emily Diamond

Athletics: 100, 200 & 400 metres. Commonwealth and Olympic Bronze Medallist

Emily began her love for Athletics at Bristol Grammar School by taking part in inter school Track and Field, and Cross-Country competitions. While at school, she joined Bristol and West Athletics Club, and has gone on to become one of Britain’s best 400 metre athletes.

In 2009 Emily gained her first international vest at the European U20 Championships, where she placed 8th in the 200 metres. 2 years later Emily was competing at the World University Games (200m and 4x100m) and was drafted into the 4 x 400m relay team at the last minute and anchored the team home to a Bronze medal, running the quickest split time of 51.9 seconds. Emily was then selected for the London 2012 Olympic 4 x 400m relay team the following year.

After the Olympics in London, Emily struggled with various injuries including a knee operation and a serious Hamstring tear. She refused to quit and has since gone on to become a National 400m Champion, European Champion, Commonwealth Bronze Medallist, World Championship Silver Medallist and an Olympic Bronze Medallist in 2016.

Emily is currently training at the University of Bath in preparation for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Grace Isaac (Nee Wood)

Olympics Swimmer and Masters European and National Champion

Profile – Grace Wood

My first international representation was for England, one of only five in the swimming team in the then Empire Games (now Commonwealth) which was held in Auckland New Zealand in 1950.  I swam in the 440yds freestyle, and the 4 x 110 freestyle relay, in which we won a bronze medal.  It was a long trip by boat meant being away from home for five months.  We had no officials with us, so as the youngest member of the team, I was mainly looked after by the one diver in the team.

In 1952 after swimming in our trials at Blackpool (this was the first place I had ever swam in a race, whilst being evacuated in WW2) I was honoured to be chosen for the 440 again.  In the actual race in The Helsinki Olympics, I narrowly missed making the final, but at least I swam the fastest time I had ever swum.

This representation certainly opened up a new world to me, with a reception at Buckingham Palace, meeting members of  the royal family, on quite a few occasions.  The queen had  not been crowned when we went to the place in 1952

In these days we were true amateurs, tho very professional in our training and preparation, we just weren’t paid to do it.

You may ask how did this all start? I can’t ever remember not being able to swim, but living near a swimming pool, also I went to Portway modern Secondary School, in Shirehampton.  Bristol had a very strong ethos towards swimming, and at Portway we were very much encouraged to compete by the headmistress Miss Shewell.  I believe I was the only girl to win the girls  freestyle championship for three consecutive years.

From my success at Bristol schools, I joined Bristol Central swimming club of which I remained a member until it recently became part of Bristol Aquatics, here I met the only coach I’ve ever had Mr George Jones G.M., who not only was the coach but at one time secretary and treasurer of the club, what an amazing Bristol man.

Grace Isaac –

When I retired my second son suggested I return to swimming,  so I resumed coaching/ teaching and officiating, eventually competing in Masters’s events, in which I’ve held world, European and National championships mainly on front crawl.  Also as part of a relay team held world etc records.

These days I swim in the 85+ age group, as I am not physically able to climb on the starting block I swim mainly backstroke events.

When I’m swimming I feel so relaxed and free from physical pain, a wonderful feeling, and  long may it continue.  Who’d have thought that just participating and having a natural ability in a sport I have always loved would bring me so pleasure, and friendships throughout the world.

Besides, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, I am member of the Methodist church, where I am a qualified local preacher.  Who’d have thought that a small very shy girl , who grew up in a Bristol Council  estate, failed her 11+, could achieve so much, mainly due to the support and bank of my parents, and my coach George Jones G.M. I have had such a blessed and interesting life.

Jessie Sanzo

International Half Marathon Runner

“Jessie is Bristol born and bred and started as a recreational runner in adult life and joined Bristol & West Athletics Club.  She progressed to gaining an England vest for the Copenhagen Half Marathon which she won.  Injury has prevented her continuing her elite success but has recently started training again and hopes to regain full fitness. In 2012 she started a local running group with a friend called: Just Run based in Frenchay which supports many women to start running and continue.”

 

Jez Sherman

Captain of Great Britain Water Polo team, Team Gold at World Masters Games for New Zealand

Having been introduced to water-polo through School and Bristol Central swimming and water-polo club (now City of Bristol Aquatics), I represented Gloucester County and Western Counties at U16, 18 and 20 levels. Domestically I played for Polytechnic (London Based) and Bristol Central winning 11 National titles.

International honours:

Great Britain Students – World Student Games 1987 – Capt

Western Australia Club Champions 1989 – City Beach, participated in Australian Club Champs.

England                1985-1998

Great Britain      1986-1998, captain for 4 years. Participated in 4 European Championships.

World Masters Games – 4 attended. Recently won Gold as part of an NZ team (now resident) in the 2017 World Master games.

I am now coaching and trying to give back at all levels from Junior to Senior and still play in the NZ National League.

Much of my success came from home grown Bristol Coaching and playing and I would like to thank my father Peter Sherman for his endless commitment to the game and ability to coach me in my formative years.

Joanna Elson

European & World Medallist Badminton Player

Joanna Elson was twice Bristol & District badminton singles champions during the 1970s and several times Ladies & Mixed Doubles Champions. She played for County Badminton for Gloucestershire & later Avon & Somerset during this time. However, it was as a Senior, afer her 4 chidren had grown up that she flourished on the National & International scene.  Joanna came back from the All England Seniors Badminton Championships (the Wimbledon of the Badminton world ) recently brandishing a Gold and Silver Medal for the Ladies and Mixed Doubles respectively. She is the current European and English Seniors (W70) Ladies Doubles Champion and twice World Seniors Mixed Doubles Champion and has a posse of Silver & Bronze World & European medals collected over the last 15 years.

John Gingell

International Athlete

John’s motivation and inspiration has encouraged many young athletes and family to sporting successes. His career started at his birth place Hanham in 1954 when joining Bristol Athletic Club and working at Fry’s Chocolate Factory.

During his career from his Kingswood home, John became Bristol’s leading athlete with many honours, including – 28 International races for GB/England, coming 1st/2nd, – 3 British 800m indoor titles, – British indoor 800m Record holder, – World Best 1500m time in Decathlon, – Gold & Silver medals World Hapoel Games in Israel, -Fastest time National Relays, – Bristol Athletic Club’s Hall of Fame, – 30 County, 12 Midland & 3 UK titles, – UK Senior Coach/ Timekeeper, – Bristol Athletic Club’s Coaching Secretary for 12 years, – 1968/70 West of England Sportsman of the Year, – Channel Island 400/800m Champ, – 1968 Mexico Olympic Training Squad, – Victories over several Olympics Athletes, – Internationals against 30 Nations in Hapoel Games plus GB/England races, against Spain, Germany, France, USA, Scotland, Wales & Ireland.

John is proud to be a Bristolian and proudly wears his GB and England blazer at Presentations and has raised Thousands of pounds for children’s charities through Sport. He is Bristols & West Athletics Club’s longest serving Athlete.

John’s message to others: “You will only be as good as the work you put in”.

John Sissons

Great Britain Representative for Water Polo

Lifelong member of Bristol Central / City of Bristol Aquatics competing .

Having started playing water polo relatively late, and as a converted swimmer, I was very fortunate to be in the great Bristol Central team, coached by Pete Sherman and Mike Tamlyn, that gained promotion from the 2nd division of the National League and built year on year to go on and win the National league and to dominate the British Championships in the mid / late nineties. During this time, and onwards, as a club we won 5 National / British league titles and 6 British Championship titles.  Bristol also regularly competed in the European cup as British Champions representing Great Britain.

I was fortunate to represent England and Great Britain as a senior International over a period from 1996 to 2001.  In this time period we competed at many international tournaments throughout Europe and in South Africa.

I am still very actively involved in Bristol water polo and am Chairman and Men’s 1st team coach of City of Bristol water polo.

Katharine Moran (nee Britton)

World Masters Swimming Champion and British Record holder in 100 metre Backstroke.

Katharine competed in ASA National Championships for 12 consecutive years, reaching backstroke finals many times between 1983 and 1996.  She became World Masters Champion in 1996 and British Record holder in 100m Backstroke.

Katharine lived in Bristol, went to St Mary Redcliffe& Temple School and St Brendans College and represented Bristol Central Swimming Club (City of Bristol Aquatics).

Kitrina Douglas

British and European Golf Champion

The rising sun’s orange light gave the practice ground a magical feel.

I loved these moments; cool air on my skin, hidden pockets of warm air, and a musky aroma rising from the grass. As I squeezed each shot, they fizzed through the stillness but hardly made a sound as they settled near the white post 70 yards away. And it was always exactly 70 yards to start with, my morning routine. One shot pitched fully onto the 3-inch-wide post and ricocheted off making a loud crack, it was the only sound in the still air. Further up the field three deer had been passing, the noise stopped them. They turned to watch me, motionless, wondering perhaps, was I a threat? The lead deer turned its head, breathed-in a message hidden in the morning air, and they all walked on.

The media wrote that I was the most dedicated professional golfer on tour. The ‘truth’ is that practice for me is a magical time, making up games, hitting shots on the range with just the wild animals and birds for company. Turning what is supposed to be ‘drill’, ‘training’, ‘drudgery’, ‘sacrifice’ and ‘dedication’ into a time of fun, creativity, discovery, laughter, wonder. I was inspired while learning to move my body, learning its rhythms. It was these types of practices, I believe, that helped me go from a beginner to British Champion within four years of beginning to play, winning five county championships in succession, the Portuguese Open and representing England and Great Britain before turning professional.

I was the first European golfer (male or female) to win their first professional event, and was Rookie of the Year. I won 12 pro events including twice winning the European Masters champion, as well as the English Open Champion, Hennessy Cup and played on the first winning Solhiem Cup team to defeat the USA. My favourite moment was completing the front 9 at the Italian open in 29 one year, and of course every practice sessions where I learned and discovered so much through experimentation and exploration.

Lee Haskins

English, Commonwealth, British, Inter-Continental, European and World Champion Boxer

Lee started boxing at the famous Empire Gym aged 13, even to this day he doesn’t really know why he started boxing but always wanted to be boxer.

His biggest motivation is his family, everything he does and has done is about making their lives better. He wants to inspire and do things for his children so they can be proud of their dad and follow his example. He wants them to live the right way with respect for others and good manners.

Achievements are easier to list as Lee is arguably Bristol’s most successful sportsman, since he started boxing he has been English, Commonwealth, British, Inter-Continental, European and finally a World Champion.  Remarkably he has won Commonwealth and British Titles at different weights and his current professional record stands at 35 wins from 39 contests.

Lee’s message to others is that they should believe in themselves, work hard and never give up if they want to achieve their dreams. He has suffered a number of setbacks but has never given up and always come back working harder.

Leon Reid

Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallist in Athletics

Leon won Bronze at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 200 metres. This is the first Commonwealth Athletics Medal for Northern Ireland in 28 years. He was a former student at South Gloucestershire & Stroud College where he was part of the Bristol Academy of Sport and SGS Athletics Academy. Leon was a junior member of Bristol & West Athletic Club and competed many times for the Club and College. Leon has never given up having been taken off funding and not being allowed to transfer to Irish nationality by the National & International Governing Bodies. He has been rewarded for his tenacity and deserves to be part of Bristol’s Sporting Hall of Fame.

 

Lynne Sissons (nee Figes)

England & Great Britain Junior and Senior Representative for Synchronised Swimming

Age group, Junior & Senior International, competing for England & Great Britain for nine years 1986 to 1994.

Selected to compete as age group soloist and in the duet for England in an age group international, age 14, winning bronze in both as well as team.

Selected to compete as Junior soloist and in the duet for England in a Junior International age 15 winning bronze in both.

Won silver in the Junior Europeans in the team event and competed in the B duet.

As a Senior International competed in many major Internationals including Worlds, World Cup, Europeans, Europa Cup.

Went to an Olympic Training Camp in Florida in 1994 where all our names were placed on bricks and placed in a hall of fame.

I am a lifelong member of Bristol Central/City of Bristol.

I also swam to National standard competing at National Age Groups from age 13 and then senior Nationals.

After having to retire from sport through injury I continued to be actively involved with coaching Synchro with Bristol Central for many years and then when I had a family I moved across to Water Polo and helped to re-start the Junior section and have stayed as Secretary ever since. Get involved in Suncrhonised Swimming and Water Polo at City of Bristol Aquatics.

Michelle Jenkins

Great Britain Water Polo Player and World Masters Gold, Silver and Bronze medallist for Swimming

Michelle, following in her father’s footsteps, started swimming with Bristol Central at the age of 7, and at around 15 to 16 years of age started playing Water Polo. She played for Gloucester County and represented the Western Counties at both Junior and Senior level.

In 1991 she played for a joint GB junior/B team in Holland, and was part of the squad who represented Great Britain at the European Championships played in Leeds in 1993.

Since then, barring pregnancy, Michelle played National League Water Polo every season until she retired in 2013 due to injury.

In 2004 she played for the British Penguins at the World Masters in San Marino, and won a Gold medal. She also swam at the 2008 World Masters in Perth, Australia. Won silver in 200m Breast stroke, bronze in both the 50m & 100m Breast, and a sixth place medal for the 200m Individual Medley.

Along with playing for Bristol Central, Michelle also coached the team for a number of years and was honoured to be President of the club in 2009.

Michelle came out of retirement in 2016 to play a few games of local league water polo for City of Bristol aquatics again.

 

Nick Rose

Commonwealth Games Silver Medallist in Athletics and British Half Marathon Record Holder

Growing up in South Bristol my formative years were spent at Whitchurch Primary and Merrywood Grammar. I was a challenging pupil but fortunately for all concerned my saving grace was sport.

With ambitions to play for Bristol Rovers, football was my first love. Playing alongside Keith Fear in the school team my dreams came true. However I soon found that even though I could run up and down the pitch all day long, once given the ball things quickly fell apart.

Encouraged by a wonderful man called Mr Chubb, my PE teacher, I fell in love with running. It was not long before  I won the Bristol Schools Cross Country and joined a local running club. It was at Bristol AC  that I met my coach Dave Jennings and with his guidance I began to excel. After winning the European Junior Cross Country Championships I received offers to attend college in America.

Leaving Merrywood at 16 with one O- level and spending 3 years working at Fry’s in Keynsham this was an opportunity to grab.

I left Western Kentucky having won 3 National titles, a senior GB vest and a teaching degree. I came back to Bristol, married Christine and continued to progress with my running.

Running the Olympic trials in 1976 I was the 2nd fastest 5k runner in the world but that world came crashing down as I finished 4th. The first 3 were chosen. Together with my coach we had to start over again. My training intensified to where in 1977 I only lost one 5k race the whole year.

With the support of my mum, dad, coach and Christine I went on to make 2 Olympic teams, finish 3rd in the World Cross Country Championships, 2nd in the Commonwealth Games and hold the British half marathon record for 28 years until a certain Mo Farah broke it 2 years ago.

I taught at Parson Street Primary for 17 years before retiring at 60. I have been lucky enough to live the dream. I still embrace running by trying to get out 5 or 6 times a week, often around the Downs and over the bridge to Ashton court. I still compete (just for fun) in the Masters Championships –  and am still winning!!

Nikki Abbott

Commonwealth Games Silver Medallist in Synchronised Swimming and Olympian

As a member of City of Bristol Aquatics Club I achieved Silver at the Commonwealth Games in 1986 in the Synchronised Swimming event (duet).

I placed 6th in the solo event and 8th in the duet event at the 1988 Olympic Games.

I went on to coach at club, county and international level before taking a break while I had a family.  I have recently returned to coaching at Team Bath and am really enjoying getting back into the sport and helping and encouraging the young athletes, who knows we could have more Olympians in the making.

Owain Jones

Winner of Welsh Cross Country and 10Km  Championships

Long-term resident of Bristol and active competing and committee member of Bristol & West Athletics Club. Owain has won the Welsh Cross Country and 10km championships in the past and represented Wales on a number of occasions as well as being a member of Bristol & West teams winning at national competitions.

Rebecca Vicary (nee Britton)

National Junior Bronze Medal Winner and England Representative for Swimming

Rebecca competed in many ASA National Championships and was National Junior Bronze Medal winner in 1990. In 1991 Rebecca was selected for the England Intermediate Squad and represented England in the Five Nations International competition in Spain.

Rebecca lives in Bristol, went to school at St.Mary Redcliffe & Temple School and St Brendans College and represented Bristol Central Swimming Club (now part of City of Bristol Aquatics).

Rod Naughalty

Hockey – Clifton Robinsons & England Masters player; Coach, Umpire & general Administrator!

Born in Liverpool, life was Football for 11 months of the year, but back then, size mattered and I was deemed too small to be selected for Liverpool School Boys.

When we moved to the Bristol area in 1970, other sports suddenly existed, specifically Badminton & Trampolining. It was only as I left school that Hockey started and has now been a 40 year passion.

With years of National League, County & Regional representation, England Masters now accounts for alot of time, and world travel. With 150 England Masters caps in age groups from age 40 up – there is still alot of fun & travel to be enjoyed!

I learnt from a very young age “You get out of sport, what you are prepared to put in”, missing out on selection for a school team for missing a Training Session that I was sure would be cancelled due to bad weather – it wasn’t!

Still applying 100% effort to all sessions, whether it’s playing, umpiring or coaching – we all do better with the effort we put in, the fun and companionship at all levels.

Changes to “working life” in 2012 allowed me to truly plough time & effort into my sporting life, now coaching at Club, Schools & Universities in the area, supporting Club, West and England Hockey in administrative areas and of course, umpiring (no sport can exist without the unsung support of officials).

Rhys Tamlyn

Great Britain u20 and Seniors Water Polo Player

Bristol Central SC (now part of City of Bristol Aquatics) club member

GBR Under 20 team – European U20 European Championships – 1982

Wales Water Polo  Senior team /  1981 – 1997 

120 + Caps  ( Captain 1990 – 1996 )

GBR Senior  team  1987, 1988, 1991, 1993

European Championships Strasbourg 1987 & Sheffield 1993

40 + caps

Inspiration : My father Mike Tamlyn ( played many years for Bristol Central )

Coach & Mentor : Peter Sherman ( Bristol Central coach )

Words Used for personal encouragement during my career were :

‘Never give up’    ‘Don’t be complacent’   ‘Believe’

Sophie Kamlish

Paralympic finalist in Rio (100m), IPC World Championship Gold medallist in 100m and World Record holder.

Paralympic finalist in Rio 2016 (100m), IPC World Championship Gold medallist in 100m and World Record holder.  Member of Bristol & West Athletics Club.

I got into Athletics through a ‘Playground to Podium’ event held at Bath University when I was 14. My first international competition was in 2012 when I was 15, from this I was selected to compete at the London 2012 Paralympics. Since then I have won a bronze medal at the World Championships in Lyon in 2013 and been a finalist at further World and European championships. I became the world record holder for my category in 2016 at the Rio Paralympics. My biggest achievement has been becoming world champion in 2017 in London, as well as beating my own world record.

Stephen  Mitchell

Great Britain representative for Athletics

10 year history of running for Bristol & West Athletics Club after coming to University in Bristol.  GB vest gained and lead member of National winning teams.

Steve Nelson

Professional Basketball Player

Steve Nelson is committed to, and has a great passion for sport and physical activity. He is CEO of the West of England Sport Trust (Wesport), an independent Charity.

His background includes:

  • Head of Development for England Basketball
  • Creating the County Sports Partnership for Sussex.

Prior to these roles, Steve was a Professional Basketball Player for 15 years. Achievements include:

  • Representing England (18 caps)
  • Winner of league and cup competitions 8 times, and reaching finals a further 7 times
  • Over 400 Basketball League appearances – top 10 all time at retirement (aged 32 – work commitments)

Steve has also worked on a consultancy basis for UK Sport (International Inspiration Programme), working in India and Trinidad and Tobago.Outside of work, he is a volunteer basketball coach at junior national league level, with his team crowned under 18 men’s national champions in 2011. He has developed and supported more than a dozen players that have gone on to represent England and / or GB, including his daughter Kyla and son Luke – both have captained their age group national teams and have earned full scholarships to top division 1 colleges in the USA. Luke is now playing professionally in the top league in Spain.

Vernon Samuels

Olympic Triple Jumper

Represented GB in 1998 Olympics as a Track and Field athlete  where he achieved 13th position in the Triple Jump event. Vernon also enjoyed a full and active international athletics career spanning 10 years  Born and still living in Bristol. Member of Bristol & West Athletics Club.