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Rising Star: Alex Cohoon, Cirencester Swimming Club

Cotswold > Sport > Swimming

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Thursday, 26th September 2019, 09:00

Alex Cohoon Alex Cohoon

Alex Cohoon has just turned 17 and already stands at 6ft 4in.

That’s a great size if you’re a swimmer, of course, and young Alex is a very, very good swimmer.

And there’s every likelihood that he hasn’t finished growing yet which will certainly please his coaches at Cirencester Swimming Club if not Alex himself.

“Yes, I think I’m still growing unfortunately,” said Alex with a laugh.

And while Alex, a pupil at Farmor’s School in Fairford, may not want to grow any taller he certainly has plenty to smile about as far as his swimming is concerned.

That’s because he’s a national age group champion after winning gold in the 50 metres freestyle at the English Nationals at Ponds Forge in Sheffield in the summer.

He clocked a personal best time of 23.86 seconds in the 17+ years age group and as well as winning the gold medal he also won a silver in the 50m butterfly, recording a time of 25.94.

And what makes those achievements all the more remarkable is that before the championships began he didn’t consider freestyle or butterfly to be his best strokes.

“I qualified for the British Championships in the breaststroke in the 17/18 age group,” said Alex. “I didn’t win but I was up against swimmers who were a year or two older than me so I did okay.”

He certainly did because the British Championships are the next level up from the English Championships and although Alex didn’t medal, his is a name that is already sure to be well known to the powers-that-be at Swim England.

Alex’s ability as a swimmer has been obvious from the day he joined Cirencester Swimming Club as an eight-year-old.

His now 21-year-old brother Tom was already a member and swimming was clearly a big part of the Cohoon family growing up because Tom was a national standard swimmer while dad Craig was chairman of Cirencester Swimming Club for some 10 years.

Tom now plays rugby for Fairford and young Alex was a very decent rugby player as well.

“I was in the Gloucester Rugby Academy,” said Alex, who lives in Dunfield just outside Fairford. “But I couldn’t commit to swimming, playing rugby and doing my GCSEs. I was doing better at swimming so I packed in the rugby.”

Surprisingly when you consider his size, he wasn’t a second row when he played rugby – “I was a fly-half or centre, there were players way bigger than me,” said Alex – but his decision to concentrate on his swimming has certainly pleased everyone connected with that sport.

And he’s very ambitious. “Yes, I am,” he said. “Realistically I want to swim for my country. I want to swim in the world championships and the Olympics, the Olympics is the dream.”

And he also knows the next step he’d like to take to help him achieve his goals.

“I’d love to go to Loughborough University,” Alex continued. “That’s where all the top swimmers are, people like Adam Peaty.”

So if he were to achieve his goals, what stroke does he think he’d succeed in?

“I always thought breaststroke was my best stroke,” he said, “but after the English nationals I’m not so sure. I’d probably say freestyle is my best now.”

He’s clearly very good at both and he’s also very good at butterfly, so what’s his backstroke like and has he ever considered competing in the individual medley?
“That’s what my coaches at Cirencester ask,“ laughed Alex. “My backstroke is my worst stroke but it’s not that bad.”

It’s a lot better than that of course… young Alex Cohoon is clearly a very big talent.

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