Nathan Young, who trains with Wirral Metro Swimming Club in Birkenhead, wasn’t eligible for any funding from Team GB or Sport England, despite representing Great Britain, as deafness isn’t currently regarded as a disability in sport in the UK.
Having previously competed at the 4th World Deaf Swimming Championship in Texas in 2015, the 23rd Deaflympics in Turkey in 2017 and the European Championships in Poland in 2018, Nathan is an inspirational athlete but his journey hasn’t been easy.
Nathan lost his hearing rapidly during his early childhood and life became very difficult in a mainstream school, both socially and academically. As a lover of sport, it became increasingly frustrating that he couldn’t take part in any team sports but, eventually, Nathan discovered swimming and found himself throwing all his energy and passion into it.
After a difficult transition into secondary school, Nathan gave up on swimming for a while but rediscovered his passion after his parents fought tirelessly to move Nathan into a new school which would embrace his deafness and help him to heal from his past experiences.
Nathan joined a new swimming club and, within a few months, joined the Great Britain Deaf Swimming Club which catapulted him on to the international stage. Alongside his swimming, Nathan is now studying Sports and Exercise Science at Liverpool John Moores University.
Richard Mawdsley, Peel L&P director of development at Wirral Waters, went along to meet Nathan at the Europa Pool in Birkenhead where he trains and presented him with a cheque towards his trip to Brazil, along with his coach and sports scientist, Steve McQuilliam, who will accompany him.
Richard said: “Nathan is a real inspiration and we feel privileged to support such incredible local talent at an international sporting event. He will be flying the flag for Great Britain and it’s only right that he receives the support he deserves.
“At Wirral Waters, we are proud to support and invest in the local community and are keen to champion young people, sport and healthy lifestyles as part of our commitment to Birkenhead.”
Nathan said: “I am very grateful to Wirral Waters, Peel L&P and the wider community for their support. It saddens me that I receive no government funding for a sport that I dedicate 20+ hours a week to. I compete against some fully funded countries, such as Ireland and Russia, and hope that one day we can change our government’s policy and that all deaf athletes will be treated equally alongside Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Without this support, I would not be able to represent my country.”
Martin Brooks, Nathan’s club coach, said: “Nathan is at a pivotal point within his four-year cycle which is geared towards medal success at the 2021 Deaflympics. Whilst we are frustrated that Nathan is the only GB athlete attending, he is in the best shape of his life and this year’s World Championships provides the opportunity to test himself against the world’s best, which we fully intend to do.”