New Milton’s Alice Tai breaks new ground at national awards
NEW Milton’s swimming sensation Alice Tai has beaten Olympic gold medallist Adam Peaty to become the first para-swimmer to win the British Swimming Athlete of the Year crown at the British Swimming Awards.
After winning the Para-Swimming Athlete of the Year award, Tai was up against the winners of all of the other Athlete of the Year awards for the overall title, which was a who’s who of aquatics stars in the UK.
The 20-year-old was born in New Milton and is a former pupil at Bournemouth Collegiate School and is now based in the capital with Ealing Swimming Club. She has had an outstanding year in the pool which was highlighted by winning seven golds at the World Para-Swimming Championships in London.
An overwhelmed Tai said: “Shocked is definitely a good way to describe it. Adam Peaty is just such an incredible athlete, as is everyone else who was nominated and won their categories.
"Honestly for him going sub 57 seconds is insane, so to have received the overall Athlete of the Year this evening is an absolute honour.”
Talking about those seven world titles, Tai added: “I don’t think it will ever fully sink in. Sometimes I think it has and then I’ll have some sort of media opportunity and I’ll have to pose with all my medals – as I’m putting them all on and people are commenting on it, I’m like, wow, this is crazy.”
Looking ahead to 2020, the New Milton swimmer said: “My head is in a great place going into Tokyo – I’m enjoying training and I’m just enjoying every aspect of my life, so I’m really looking forward to it and everything in between.
"We’ve got Europeans as well and obviously, the World Series is back, so just I’m doing as much racing as I possibly can and seeing where I can go with it towards Tokyo.”