City of Chester Swimming Club member Emily Noden is celebrating success after returning from the European Deaf Swimming Championships in Russia clutching a bronze medal – just one year on from nearly quitting the sport.
Emily, 17, from Holywell, Flintshire, put in a series of impressive performances in the pool as part of the Great Britain Deaf Swimming squad, making five individual finals and three relay finals, scooping bronze as part of the 4x100m free relay team – her first representing Great Britain.
Her medal success represented a huge turnaround in fortunes for Emily, who almost quit after becoming disillusioned with the sport 12 months ago.
Former Queen’s School pupil Emily narrowly missed out on scoring individual medal success, claiming one fourth position and three fifth-position finishes at the competition, which was held in the Russian city of Saransk.
"We got beaten by Russia and Belarus in the relay final but I’m so proud and happy," said Emily.
"I have been waiting for this since I first competed for Great Britain four years ago, so all the hard training has finally paid off."
Emily gained five new personal best times at the competition out of the seven events she entered and also broke five Welsh long-course deaf swimming records in the process.
Mike Price, chief coach at City of Chester Swimming Club, said: "I’m so proud of Emily.
"One year ago, Emily nearly lost the love of swimming and was very close to finishing the sport. Thankfully she never did.
"From September, Emily started increasing her training and working hard again and gaining the love she once had for the sport back. She has had a fantastic championships and was very unlucky not to gain an individual medal.
"I’m really pleased she has come away with a medal as she fully deserves this for all the work she has had to put in over the years."