Talented young swimmer on the crest of a wave

A TALENTED young RGS swimmer who used to be scared in the water is on the crest of a wave after achieving two gold medals in a prestigious competition.

Grace Darling, 12, competed against swimmers from all over the north of England at the John Charles Centre in Leeds, after sitting a music and languages exams on the same day.

A member of the Northallerton Swimming Club, she won golds for her 100-metre front crawl and back stroke at the Summer Madness Meet, which attracted entries from 14 teams.

Grace said she was ‘over the moon’ at her results, having also achieved personal bests in both categories, following her Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music violin and end-of-year Mandarin Chinese exams.

She confesses she was terrified of the water when she first started swimming aged four: “. I started enjoying swimming after a couple of years and decided to carry on with it.”

Grace, from Ripon, said: “I work very hard to improve my speed and usually finish training at 9pm, with Saturday training starting at 7am. I train up to four times weekly in Northallerton and Bedale as well as balancing my other extra-curricular activities.”

The keen rounders and badminton player said: “My ambition is to keep achieving personal best times as I can and to swim for national level.”

She gained a distinction in her Grade 2 violin exam, having already achieved a merit in her Grade 5 piano exam.

She also speaks fluent Chinese: “I mainly learn Mandarin because I am half Chinese and aim to pass my Chinese GCSE in Year 9.”

Grace, from Ripon, has ambitions to become a doctor: “My granddad was a pioneering surgeon in corrective surgery for leprosy patients in India and worked in China at the Second World War.”