Throughout the Swim Wales Winter Championships 2022, everyone in attendance will have heard the voice of Abi Thomas on poolside and in the stands.

As a Youth Panel member, Abi volunteers her time to help grow Welsh aquatics while gaining valuable experience for the future. She gained five-star reviews after announcing at the Swim Wales Masters Short Course Championships in Newport, and she is relishing the opportunity to develop her skills further by calling the shots from the announcer’s chair in Swansea.

But for Abi, the Swim Wales Youth Panel has opened up opportunities beyond announcing and aquatics, as she develops skills for life alongside like-minded young people.

“I love being part of the Swim Wales youth panel as it has opened new pathways and opportunities not just in the world of aquatics,” said Abi. “It has enabled me to have an inside view of all the efforts that are put into Welsh aquatics behind the scenes.

Abi (second from right) and the youth panel.

“Being on the panel has meant that I have a voice on behalf of other young athletes to gather and share new creative ideas and also try new things like announcing- which I now thoroughly enjoy doing at Swim Wales events.”

The Swim Wales Youth Panel is open to young people aged under the age of 21 who have a passion for aquatics. These young, yet inspiring individuals will help to shape the future and provide a voice for the future of welsh aquatics as it heads into a period of exciting development.

Abi has gained invaluable knowledge and experiences since joining the panel, and would urge anyone thinking about applying to grab the opportunity with both hands.

“ I decided to apply to the panel as I wanted to be able to give back to the aquatic community after swimming since a very young age,” she added. “I wanted to be able to participate more in events and to provide helpful feedback and new ideas from peers that could help to develop the aquatic community in a positive way.

“If I was to give any advice to anyone thinking of applying I would say definitely go for it! It has been an awesome opportunity that has equipped me with new life-long skills. Being part of the panel is a privilege and I feel proud to be a part of it.”

If you would like to join the Swim Wales Youth Panel when we begin recruiting again in the new year, please reach out to [email protected].