Olympic medallist, Commonwealth & British Champion, Sharron Davies MBE, joins the BRIT Family
We are delighted that Sharron has joined our BRIT Ambassador family. Sharron has represented Great Britain at the Olympics and European Championships and competed for England at the Commonwealth Games. She is a twenty two-time British Champion and in the course of her career, broke 200 British Swimming records and five World Masters records. Since retirement, she has become a lead sport commentator for the BBC and a long-term supporter of charities who support both children with disabilities and fitness.
“Having been involved with swimming as an athlete, supporter and commentator for forty five years, I have been fortunate to spend time with young adults, students and children that has enabled me to appreciate the many physical and mental health challenges they face.
Many charities are seeing an increase in demand for the vital support they provide. I am delighted that BRIT are partnering with PAPYRUS – Prevention of Young Suicide, Nightline Association, Student Minds and the Charlie Waller Trust, so that all donations raised by the BRIT 2021 Challenge will be shared equally between five mental health charities who support students and young adults. As a family we became aware of PAPYRUS due to the devastating loss of my daughter’s friend and know of the extraordinary support they offer to young adults.
The BRIT 2021 Challenge is an inspiring opportunity to help support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK. The challenge has been designed to be inclusive and enables students and staff of all abilities to take part. I hope every UK university, college and student union embraces the BRIT 2021 Challenge, enters teams and encourages their students and staff to take part; at home or on campus.
We need to do all we can to help support students and young adults. I urge my fellow retired and current Olympians, Paralympians and athletes to join our BRIT Ambassador family and unite to both encourage universities and colleges to enter teams and inspire young adults and students to take part in the BRIT 2021 Challenge. I know Great Britain’s swimmers based at the University of Bath, Loughborough University and the University of Stirling will rise to the challenge.
I look forward to supporting students and staff at the University of Bath, the University of Exeter and the University of Plymouth as they take on their BRIT 2021 Challenge.”
Sharron learned to swim at the age of six and was training seriously two years later. She was accepted into ASA Coach, and Port of Plymouth Chief Coach, Ray Bickley’s Port of Plymouth Swimming Association squad. Ray laid the foundations of Sharron’s career and she went on to set a record by swimming for the Great Britain national team at the age of only eleven.
When Ray retired, Sharron's father, Terry, became her coach from about the age of 10 and was there throughout all the internationals she competed in. Terry is 85 and still coaching swimming.
In 1976, at the age of thirteen, Sharron was selected to represent Great Britain at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. A year later, she won two bronze medals at the European Championships. The following year, at the age of fifteen, Sharron won gold in the 200 and 400 metre individual medleys at the 1978 Commonwealth Games; she also won a silver and bronze medal at the Games.
In 1980, Sharron won silver in the 400 metre individual medley at the 1980 Olympic Games. At the age of 18, Sharron retired from competitive swimming to build a television and modelling career, however in 1989 she returned to the pool and won two more medals at the 1990 Commonwealth Games. By the time she retired for good in 1994, Sharron had been a British champion on 22 occasions and had broken 200 British swimming records and five World Masters records (eligible to those over 30). At the ASA National British Championships, Sharron won; the 100 metres freestyle title in 1978, the 200 metres freestyle title in 1977 & 1978, the 400 metres freestyle title in 1977, 1978 and 1979, the 800 metres freestyle title in 1978, the 200 metres backstroke title in 1976, 1977 and 1978, the 200 metres medley in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1989 and 1992, the 400 metres medley title in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1980 and the 50 metres butterfly title in 1992. Sharron has published a number of health and fitness videos, co-authored health and fitness books and continues to commentate on sport coverage for the BBC as one of their lead swimming commentators and presenters for the Olympic Games and international swimming championships. Sharron also serves as a Parton for charities who support both disabled children and fitness. For more information about swimming in Great Britain, please visit the British Swimming website.