LEEDS swimmer Ciara Schlosshan appreciates that people might have difficulties pronouncing her surname correctly.
The 16-year-old can understand troubles with her German surname though when even her first name is pronounced incorrectly it starts to grate.
Yet Schlosshan is certainly making a name for herself with back-to-back silver medals at the European Junior Championships confirming the teen as one of the City Of Leeds Swimming Club’s brightest stars.
And ambitions run high on two fronts for Schlosshan who could graduate from being one of her club’s crown jewels to dealing with Crown Courts later in life with a planned career in law.
Bradford Grammar School Year 11 pupil Schlosshan has her father Dominic to thank for her unique surname with the swimmer’s dad having been born in Germany before moving over to England.
Both of Schlosshan’s parents are doctors and it was through a stint in Australia through her dad’s work that the youngster first caught the bug as far as swimming was concerned.
Nearly a decade later, the Adel-based 16-year-old is making waves having recently returned from the Junior European Championships in Helsinki having bagged a silver medal in the 200m butterfly for the second year in a row.
The step up to the senior ranks is next – en route it is hoped to the Olympic Games – and Schlosshan has plans in both a sporting and professional sphere to spell her name out loud and clear.
Opening up about the importance of pursuing her education and career as well as her swimming, Schlosshan told the YEP: “My parents have always been big on that and to be honest so too have British Swimming and my coach Richard Denigan.
“No-one has ever pressured me into choosing between the two and I’d like to be a lawyer, a barrister, aside from the swimming. I think I can achieve both.
“It was through my dad’s work that I began swimming when we were out in Australia when I was eight and that kick-started the competitive swimming for me. I have always liked the water but the Australians are big with the competitive swimming.
“Then I came back and my dad enrolled me in the Leeds City Council Training Scheme and it just took off from there. You just keep going, some people drop out but I am still here going!
“Since then it’s been really good. I’ve got a clear goal really of where I want to get to which is the Olympic Games so I just take it year by year and this has been a learning curve this year with the exams but I don’t have to do my exams again until A-Levels. I’m happy with how it’s going. I set myself goals and I try and achieve them each year and hope for the best.”
For Scholsshan, that next move on the educational front will be the switch to St Aidan’s High School in Harrogate to sit A-levels in maths, English, history and German.
On the swimming front, the next step is a big one with the teen attempting to make a successful jump from the junior to the senior ranks with next year’s World Championships in South Korea being the next big goal.
In the meantime, the 16-year-old’s two younger sisters are also putting the family name on the map with 13-year-old Leah and nine-year-old Anna both members of the City Of Leeds Swimming Club and making good progress.
The end goal for Ciara is then representing both her club and country at an Olympic Games – be that Tokyo 2020 or Paris 2024 – before then switching focus to her professional career in law. By then, she hopes her exploits will leave no-one in any doubt as to the pronunciation of her name.
“I’m not even that bothered about my surname, it’s my first name that I’d like people to get right!” laughed Schlosshan.
“The surname I can understand – it’s foreign – but with Ciara I get all sorts and I get people just missing the ‘i’ and calling me Cara and Clara and all sorts.”
Reflecting on her desire to compete at the Olympics, Schlosshan admitted: “It would just be a dream come true. I put so much work into it and to be honest it would just be another step along my journey because all of the competitions I go to, I have already achieved my dream which has been to represent GB.
“If I was to get to the Games it would be a dream come true and also for my family to watch me.
“I’d love it.”