Last weekend I competed in Newport for the World Championship Qualifiers. I had been training well the last two months and felt extremely fast in the water, so I was really looking forward to swimming to the best of my ability. The competition took place over Saturday and Sunday and I planned the weekend so that I swam my best three events and added in the 100m Breastroke. I knew that everything was right leading up to the competition. I felt good in the water, had trained well in the gym twice a week and planned my races for the weekend perfectly. I had to get ready mentally and keep hydrated so that I could be the best I could be.
I swam my first race on the Saturday morning. This was the 400m Freestyle and was looking to kick the weekend off to a flyer. I was in the fastest heat and was fortunate enough to race the 2008 Paralympic Champion. In the race, I focused on trying to stay with him as long as possible. I swam a good race and went 4 seconds faster than my Personal Best. My weekend had started just how I wanted it and felt like I was on fire, physically and mentally.
In the afternoon, I swam the 50m Freestyle and was hungry for more good racing. I felt good going into the race but finished 0.3 seconds outside of my Personal Best. I was not too disappointed from this, as technically, I swam a faultless race.
I could not wait to dive back in Sunday. I had the 100m Breastroke in the morning and desperatly wanted to do the job so that I could feel as confident as possible for my 100m Freestyle in the afternoon. I swam another strong race and chopped 0.5 seconds off my Personal Best. I was pleased and now had a few hours to prepare myself for the biggest race of my career to date. I had been trying to break the minute mark for this event since November and have failed to do so on numerous occasions. This repeatedly gave me a mental block and I still had an air of doubt going into the race even though I got myself really fired up. I was in a heat of the biggest names and had all my tactics sorted in my mind. This was my last chance to shine as I had all of the next week off from training as I was away on a Geography trip with the school. I also knew that this would be the best time and the only time for a few months to beat the clock before it ticked past 1 minute. I swam an excellent race, never gave less than 100% and hit the wall fiercly with passion. I looked up to see a time of 58.96 and punched the air with delight and relief. After a long wait of 8 months, a massive weight had lifted from my shoulders but I could not put my race into words. I knew this was a long time waiting for it but this made the race all the worthwhile. I had destroyed the minute mark and was told that I had swam a great competition by the GB Head Coach.
I had put a lot of effort and spent a long time working for this, but now I am looking forward to challenge the very best in the world.