Swimmer Bradley’s amazing achievement

SWIM STAR Bradley White with his award. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (122360-21)
SWIM STAR Bradley White with his award. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (122360-21)
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AMAZING Bradley White has been recognised for excelling at swimming despite his problems.

Bradley attends Waterloo School in Havant, which is for children with behaviour and emotional problems, because he has a disorder which means he finds it difficult to learn in a mainstream school.

Two years-ago his mum Michelle Andrews encouraged him to join the Horizon Leisure Centre swimming club, in Havant, to try and help him learn to cope in small groups.

At first it was a struggle for Bradley who wouldn’t let his mum, 29, of Hobby Close, Waterlooville, leave during the lesson.

After eight weeks he gained the confidence to go it alone and in the last six months he has moved up three levels.

He has now been recognised with a Southern Water Achiever of the Year award presented by Olympic gold medal winning swimmer Duncan Goodhew.

Michelle said: ‘Bradley’s condition shows itself in a very similar way to autism.

‘He has emotional and social problems and must have a rota of what he is doing every day so he can be prepared for what’s happening next. He was badly affected when his father and I broke up. It happened while I was pregnant with my daughter Bethany and I became very ill. ‘At the same time he started school and it all became too much for him.’

Bradley was taken out of Horndean Infants School to get the specialist help he needs but teachers expect him to rejoin mainstream school when he gets to Year 5.

He said: ‘I like swimming, lots and lots.’

Michelle credits her son’s progress to swimming instructor Mark Pridgeon, based at the Havant centre.

She said: ‘Mark has been fantastic with him and has built his confidence back up.

‘He is so patient and understanding. I couldn’t be prouder of Bradley. He has had to overcome so much just to go to the lessons in the first place. His younger brother Mikey is excellent at reading and writing and Bradley turned to me recently and said “mum, I’m not good at anything”.

‘Just after that he got the award and I’ve never seen him light up so much in his life.’

‘Swimming is obviously the thing that he excels at.’