Competing in the Paralympics isn’t easy. You only ever see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. What you miss, are the early mornings (5am start, 430am get up) the endless training laps up to 200-220 laps (5km) and having a disability; the countless support of family and friends to get you there.
I have learnt a lot about myself from the sport of swimming. The discipline to stay focused and believe in a dream, the challenge of setting a goal and working towards something that you believe in and the understanding and accepting that failure is okay, and that it’s all part of the learning process.
To be one of the best at what you do is not about the reward, results, or the medals it’s about the lessons I learn along the way. What drives me to succeed is not the medals but the improvement I see in myself each day. COVID and the postponement of the Paralympics was tough and hard to comprehend after years of hard work. But when you take a deep breath and realise the reasons why it happened, it gives you a whole year to keep improving and getting better. It puts it all into perspective.
A big thing I have discovered about myself this past year and throughout my career is that we are better than we think we are, we have more to give even when we think we don’t.
During the past month I have been in preparation for the Olympic/Paralympic trials in mid-June. These are the selection events for the games taking place later in the year. Even though there is so much uncertainty and media reports surrounding the games, as an athlete it is all about focusing on what we can control, that is turning up to training every day and doing what we love.
It is tough not having clarity around what is happening, but it does help to prepare me not only for a Paralympics but for life too.
If the experience of the past year has taught me anything it is that you can only control your process and not necessarily the outcome.
So, learn what you can from what you do to help you improve on whatever you do next.