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MENSA PEOPLE - Swimmer Scarlett makes a splash

Scarlett Morine

Rising swimming star Scarlett Morine is starting to make a splash in the pool, but she has no intention of becoming the next Fran Halsall or Rebecca Adlington.

Instead, the 12-year-old Mensa member from Essex intends to combine her love of water with her passion for animals - and become a marine biologist.

“I hope to carry on swimming all through A Levels and through university but I have never wanted to be “a swimmer”,” she said.

“I’ve always loved swimming and I know I am going to still do it when I’m older.

“I want to be a marine biologist – it’s to do with water, and animals, and I love both.”

But even though a career in the pool isn’t on the cards for Scarlett, she is still keen to achieve big things in the sport and is aiming to qualify for this year’s national championships in August.

She started the campaign off well by winning gold in the Essex county championships in the 50m butterfly.

She said: “I have always wanted to win an individual gold medal at counties, it was one of my goals for the year.

“Fly and backstroke are my two favourite strokes.”

British Swimming has overhauled its competition structure this year, meaning the top 24 swimmers in each event and each age group will qualify for the national championships, with the next 20 English, Welsh and Scottish competitors heading to new Home Nations championships.

Times have to be achieved in a long course (50m) pool in a qualifying window that ends at the end of May. At the moment Scarlett is ranked 16th in Britain in the 50m backstroke and has hopes of getting through as qualifying for nationals was another of her goals for this season.

She said: “I have three major goals for this year - to get an individual gold medal at counties (tick), a regional medal and also to qualify for the nationals.”

She has a chance to tick off another goal at the East region championships in Norwich in May, but before that she is looking forward to a swim camp in Spain over Easter that will involve a lot of training – and a lot of beach activities in the sun.

Scarlett swims for Chelmsford Swimming Club – as does little brother Denis, aged nine - and for her school, Chelmsford County High School for Girls. In her first year at the school, Scarlett was a member of the CCHS swimming team which finished an impressive fourth at the national school finals held at the London Aquatics Centre, which hosted the 2012 Olympic Games. 

She is also looking forward to competing at the regional open water championships on July 19 at Whitlingham Lake, Norwich, after picking up an Essex county silver medal in her first ever open water swim – an 800m race - last year.

Mum Karen said: “She thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait to do it again this year - although she did say it was rather smelly and she got caught up in a lot of seaweed! This year she's aiming to do the 1,500 metre swim.”

Scarlett with former world record holder Mark Foster

Despite her success in swimming though, there are lots of other things going on in Scarlett’s life. She said: “I have been swimming for quite a long time. I started competitively from when I was about nine but I have been swimming for ages.

“I train about four to five times a week, up to about eight hours. But this year I have really got into hockey as well, because my school is really good at it. I train every Wednesday lunchtime - I really enjoy it.”

Outside of swimming, she also enjoys trying new things - she went indoor skydiving and ski-ing/snowboarding at Milton Keynes recently and really enjoyed it.

Add in looking after the four cats, dog and two tortoises at home in Billericay, Essex, as well as school work, and life is very busy for Scarlett.

Scarlett and brother Denis were both in the medals at the Essex county championships