WHAT an incredible year it has been for teenage Isle of Wight-born swimmer, Joe Carter, who has become a national talent with his eye-catching performances in the pool.

Joe, who attends Ryde Academy and who sees US Olympic swimming sensation, Michael Phelps, as his inspiration, has risen to the UK’s number one spot, for his age group, in 50m freestyle.

It is just reward for the Ryde 14-year-old who was the youngest member of the Isle of Wight’s swim team at the Island Games in Gibraltar — a Games full of personal best times in all events.

Joe, on his return from the Games, almost immediately broke a 17-year Island record for 100m freestyle and has gone on to become a Hampshire county champion in several events.

He also recently competed in the British National Championships, then the English Nationals, where he incredibly picked up a silver in freestyle (0.07 secs from gold) and bronze in the butterfly, which has rapidly elevated his status.

Last week, Joe was selected by Swim England to participate in the National Development Programme.

Joe is dedicated to the sport he loves, spending 14 hours a week training in the pool and twice a week in the gym.

“When competing, the feeling you get is just amazing,” said Joe.

“You try to stay focused on your race and shut yourself off from the other swimmers, but when the starter calls and you hear the signal to go, it’s just pure adrenaline and determination that takes over.

“If you get the win or time you’re aiming for, it makes all the hours and hours of training, week after week, worth every minute.”

The teenager, who took swimming lessons from the age of three, began competing at 11 and winning medals regularly, with a rapid rise up the county rankings and qualification into his first Hampshire County Finals when he was 12.

Last year, Joe broke into Hampshire’s top ten and swam in a 50m freestyle race — the UK’s fastest time for his age at 25.30 seconds, which earned him a spot in the Isle of Wight Island Games Swim Team, alongside his older brother, Jack.

“I feel this year so far has been crazy — going to Gibraltar with the Isle of Wight Swim Team for the Island Games, then making the English and British Nationals and returning with a couple of medals, is just mind blowing.

“I’m looking forward to representing Hampshire at the National County Team Championships in Sheffield next month.”

A strain on his swimming development is in meeting the cost of competing around the UK.

If any Island company is willing to sponsor Joe, email his father, Michael: carter.iow@hotmail.co.uk