Natalie who has Cerebral Palsy joined Phoenix at the age of 10 years old when she joined our ‘Learn to Swim’ programme.  By the age of 15 years old she had been selected to be on Great Britain Disability Swimming Team.

At 15 years old Natalie debuted at the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games, before winning TWO GOLD MEDALS in Athens 2004 and two BRONZE in Beijing 2008.

Four years on from Beijing and at the age of 27 years old Natalie’s lifetime dream of representing her country at the 2012 London Paralympic Games came true, where she swam to victory in the gruelling 200m Individual Medley taking a BRONZE MEDAL position.      



As a coach and Secretary for Colchester Phoenix, a club for disabled swimmers Maggie Hargraves played a key role in forming the club in 1993.

Hargraves was unstoppable while at the club; obtaining sponsorship and coaching both elite and recreational swimmers. She campaigned endlessly for disabled people to take to the water and worked tirelessly to ensure that they were given the same training opportunities as able-bodied swimmers.

This led to the club gaining the reputation that 'there can be few groups who do more for north Essex than Phoenix Amateur Swimming Club'.

Maggie Hargraves and her team of helpers worked tirelessly over the years and with a dogged determination to give disabled people the best possible chance at meeting their personal targets.

Maggie being presented an award by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester in 2009

Over twenty-six years, she helped develop the club, which has members from across the Tendring district and has been a meeting point, inspiration and opportunity for hundreds of people who have achieved goals beyond their wildest dreams.

In October 2009, Maggie was recognised by the ASA and took the top honour in the Outstanding Contribution at Club Level category.

Also in November 2016, Maggie won the Eric Chapman Award which recognises outstanding service and commitment by an unpaid volunteer for the development of sport in Colchester.

Now that she has moved on, we cannot thank her enough for her hard work and dedication she has put into this club and we all wish her a happy retirement.