KARNELL NUNES-SMITH completed the fastest ever swim by a 17-year-old from the West Midlands, clocking 28.94 seconds in the 50m breaststroke at the 2022 Warwickshire County Swimming Championships earlier this month -this.
It is the tenth fastest time ever in England for a 17-year-old, which is a personal best of three seconds for Karnell. The event was Karnell’s first time competing in a 50m event since March 2020.
At the championships, Karnell also won gold in the 50 m and 100 m breaststroke events and silver in the 200 m breaststroke event.
The protege is a member of the Orion Swimming Club, based in Edgbaston, Birmingham, and an athlete with the UK’s premier athletics club, Birchfield Harriers in Perry Barr, Birmingham.
The record holder receives funding from the Sandwell Council’s ‘Gifted and Talented’ program, which supports sportspeople and women who are permanent residents of Sandwell and have the potential to excel regionally, nationally and internationally in their sport of choice .
In 2017, aged 12, Karnell won medals at the Warwickshire County Championships in swimming and athletics, winning gold in the 100m sprint – giving him a personal best of 13.06 – as well as medals in the shot put, hurdles and 200m. In swimming, he won a silver medal in the 200m breaststroke and a bronze medal in the 50m and 100m breaststroke.
In February 2018, Karnell won gold at the Warwickshire County Swimming Championships for the first time in the 100m breaststroke and silver in the 50m breaststroke. He ended the year by being awarded “Swimmer of the Year” for his brilliant performances throughout 2018.
In 2019, Karnell took part in a short documentary, Sacrifice: a sportsman To struggle againstwhich details the hardships a swimmer and athlete must endure to become an elite athlete.
Karnell is now preparing for the British Swimming Championships in April in Sheffield, where he will try to qualify and be selected for the European Junior Championships in July 2022 in Bucharest, Romania, or the World Junior Championships in August 2022 in Kazan, Russia.
Councilor Danny Millard, Cabinet Member of the Sandwell Council for Culture and Tourism, said: “Karnell is an exceptional young multi-talented sportsman who has represented the borough and region in local, national and international competitions.
“Karnell has medaled in all age group swimming categories from the age of ten, and I am delighted that the Sandwell Council’s Gifted and Talented program is supporting him in his training and accomplishments.
“Karnell is committed to his sport and will continue to achieve great success. We wish him and his coach Carl Flynn all the best for the upcoming British Swimming Championships.
“I hope Karnell’s accomplishments inspire more children across Sandwell to take up swimming or other sports, apply for the Gifted and Talented program, develop their talents and reach their potential.”
Karnell said: “If young boys and girls have the same opportunity as I have to get involved in sports like swimming and athletics, the country could end up with more Olympic champions in the future.”