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Gifted and talented Karnell Nunes-Smith achieves fastest West Midlands swim of all time | Sandwell Council

Gifted and talented Karnell Nunes-Smith achieves fastest West Midlands swim of all time

Published 21st February 2022

Karnell Nunes-Smith with his medal and trophy from the Warwickshire County Swimming Championships 2022.
Karnell Nunes-Smith with his medal and trophy from the Warwickshire County Swimming Championships 2022.

Oldbury sportsman Karnell Nunes-Smith achieved the fastest swim of all time by a 17-year-old from the West Midlands at the Warwickshire County Swimming Championships 2022 on 6 February.

He attained a time of 28.94 seconds in the 50m breaststroke.

This is the tenth fastest time in England ever for a 17-year-old, representing a three-second personal best for Karnell.

The event was the first time Karnell had raced in a 50m event since March 2020.

In the championships, the 17-year-old Karnell also achieved gold in the 50m and 100m breaststroke events, and silver in the 200m breaststroke event.

Karnell is a national swimmer with the Orion Swimming Club, based in Edgbaston, Birmingham, and an athlete at the UK’s premier athletics club, Birchfield Harriers at Perry Barr, Birmingham.

Karnell receives funding from Sandwell Council’s ‘Gifted and Talented’ programme, which supports sportsmen and women who are permanent residents in Sandwell with the potential to excel at a regional, national and international level within their chosen sport.

For more information about the ‘Gifted and Talented’ programme, visit: www.sandwell.gov.uk/giftedandtalented

In 2017, aged 12, Karnell won medals at the Warwickshire County Championships in both swimming and athletics, winning gold in the 100m sprint – giving him a personal best time of 13.06 – as well as medals in the shot put, hurdles and 200m. In swimming he earned a silver in the 200m breaststroke, and a bronze in both 50m and 100m breaststroke events.

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 events. He ended the year with being awarded the title of ‘Swimmer of the Year’ for his brilliant performances throughout 2018.

In 2019, Karnell took part in a short documentary, Sacrifice: A Sporting Struggle, which detailed the struggles a swimmer and athlete has to endure to become an elite sportsperson.

Karnell is now preparing for April’s British Swimming Championships in Sheffield, where he will be attempting to qualify and be selected for July’s 2022 European Junior Championships in Bucharest, Romania or August’s 2022 World Junior Championships in Kazan, Russia.

Councillor Danny Millard, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for culture and tourism, said: “Karnell is a young, exceptional multi-talented sporting individual, who has represented the borough and the region in local, national and international competitions. Karnell has won a medal in every age group swimming category from the age of ten, and I’m delighted that Sandwell Council’s ‘Gifted and Talented’ programme supports him in his training and achievements.

"Karnell is committed to his sports and will continue to achieve great success. We wish him, and his coach Carl Flynn, all the best for the forthcoming British Swimming Championships. I hope Karnell's achievements will inspire more children from across Sandwell to take up swimming or other sports, apply to the 'Gifted and Talented' programme, develop their talents and fulfil their potential.

Karnell said: “If young boys and girls are given the same opportunity as I was to get involved in sports like swimming and athletics, the country could end up with more Olympic champions in the future.”