I joined SportsAble in 2001 through recommendation from another member. Initially I didn’t want to become a swimmer as my main passion was rugby from an early age. But due to my disability, (I have Achondroplasia which is also known as Dwarfism) physical contact sport was out of the question. Also, because of my disability I have had several surgical procedures, and used swimming as a form of rehabilitation and physiotherapy for it and it all shot off from there.
I would say it took me only a year and a half to reach elite sport status, but as I was a late starter into the sport of swimming I was fast tracked into talent programmes when I made the relevant qualifying times.
SportsAble has helped me in several ways throughout my career so far, from the initial phases of getting myself a disability classification through contacting relevant governing bodies. Also SportsAble helped me with funding for equipment and travel expenses, and the volunteers and staff have been great in offering general support. You also get a lot of help and support from other members
I am pleased to say that I hold several national championship medals to my name. I haven’t had the honour of achieving a Paralympic medal, but I do aim for success in and future Paralympic Games and am training hard all the time.
My most memorable moment in my swimming career so far would be making my first ever swimming final which was in the Beijing 08 Paralympic Trials. It was so unexpected as I had an opportunity to make it to Beijing which certainly was not my main target at that time. To be swimming with the eight fastest swimmers out of 300 competitors in the trial was truly electric, largely because most of those I was racing against I considered as my idols and my mentors.
My parents, family, friends are a big inspiration to me. They are the people who come with me to training at half five in the morning, drive hundreds of miles to go to a competition, support me when times are low and celebrate with me when success is made – all without a complaint. So when I do well my supporters know that their time and effort has no gone to waste.
Being an elite athlete means to me that I have achieved a very high level of sporting performance, and I have something special within me which is beyond the average.
My advice to other young athletes is dream big, because anything is achievable if you are prepared to work hard for it. Make sure you go through every stage, as all the years of hard work and preparation is really worth it.
More about Swimming at SportsAble
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