Talented Perse swimmer makes a splash at the Roy Burrell Awards
11 Mar 2020
Rising swimming star Sebastian Vandermeer (Year 11) has been crowned Outstanding Performer at the 2020 Roy Burrell Awards.
The annual awards, organised by the Cambridge & District Secondary Schools Sports Association, recognise the achievements of the most talented young sportspeople in the Cambridge area.
Sebastian won the overall honour for his excellent performances in the pool over the last year and received his award from the guest of honour, Paralympic skier Sean Rose, in the ceremony at The Netherhall School.
In 2019, he recorded the fourth fastest time in the country in the 50m freestyle in his age group with a time of 24.24sec. He also won two silvers and two bronzes at the Dutch National Championships and a bronze in 50m freestyle at the British Summer Championships. More recently, he took part in the English Winter Championships and represented Cambridgeshire in the Swim England Inter-Counties Championships.
On claiming the Roy Burrell Award, Sebastian, who trains with City of Cambridge SC at Parkside Pools, said: “It was really nice to win. The shortlist of five were all very good in their sports, so I wasn’t expecting to win in all honesty.”
Having recovered from a recent elbow injury, Sebastian now hopes to earn a place in next month’s British Championships, which double as the Team GB Olympic trials for Tokyo 2020. He needs to shave 0.02 seconds off his personal best to be eligible to enter the 50m freestyle.
Sebastian said: “I’m hopeful I can drop the time. It’s certainly realistic for me to go to the trials, but not realistic to make the Great Britain team! It’s going to be a really prestigious event and I know a lot of my family would come and watch, which would be great.”
If he competes in the national championships, Sebastian is likely to be in the same field as European and Commonwealth Games 50m freestyle champion Ben Proud, a swimmer he hugely admires.
“Ben Proud will do eight gym sessions a week and eight swims and he’ll make sure every single detail is right from his breathing to the way he moves his arms,” said Sebastian. “I try to apply that and I like to think my discipline is getting better, but it’s nowhere near as good as his.”
Sebastian then plans to spend part of the summer training in the Netherlands before building up to trying to qualify for next year’s European Junior Championships and European Youth Olympic Festival.
He was not the only Perse winner at the Roy Burrell Awards, with Oliver Brunt, Isabella Izzard, Alex Pitchford, George Hull, Maddie Brooking, Charlie Underwood, Alex Maynard, Byron Miller, Finlay Miller, Eleanor Tomson and Alice Ledzion also receiving a medal for their sporting achievements.