After months of training and anticipation the IPC world swimming championships are over, and I am happy with my results.
Out of my three events I received bronze in the 50m breaststroke, placed 4th in the individual medley and our relay team came 7th.
Day one of racing
My first day of competition, August 19th, was quite busy. I had the relay heats in the morning, and we placed 7th. It was exciting to compete in a relay for the first time in my career. We were in lane 2 beside great Britain, and I was racing the breaststroke leg beside one of their paralympic gold medalists Nyree Lewis ( Im an sb3 and shes an s6 so i had a bit of trouble catching her!). Nonetheless it was a great experience. The most memorable part was definitely the wheelchair traffic jam in the marshalling area. With so many teams of 4, and many of the athletes in wheelchairs we hardly fitted in the hallway,let along marshalling. The whole team marshalled together, then when it was time to go out Jackie and I went to our end of the pool and ether and tanya went to the other. I swam second, taking over from esther who was first with backstroke. Our changeover was ok, and afterwards I stayed in the water to cheer on tanya and jackie.
After the race I quickly got changed and had lunch, then headed back to the hotel to rest up for the finals session that night.
Back at the pool at 4.30 I got into my swimsuit for my breaststroke and warmed up early- they were really strict about marshalling and if you are not there 20mins beofre then you dont get to race. I headed to marshalling, which was in a change room and they sent me to wait in a hallway. Gradually all the other athletes in my race arrived except for Karina who arrived at the last moment possible. We sat in silence and waited till it was time to march out on pool deck. Once I got up the ramp to the side of the pool, i discovered it was an obstacle course with sponsors signs, buckets of water and officials sitting on chairs. I had to move my sign totally just to get my wheelchair near the pool.
Then it was into the water and time to focus before the gun went and we were off. I had karina beside me and tried hard to stay with her, but ended up getting third. I was so excited to have the bronze medal, but also very concerned for karina who looked unwell. She was shaking with full body spasms.
I wanted to see if she was ok but was whisked away by our media liaison Beth for an interview with ABC Tv in the mixed zone. Beth handed me my accreditation back, which she had collected and it had a note attached saying medal ceremony 7.50v meeting room one. That have me over 30mins to change into my medal tracksuit, brush my hair and get to the waiting room for the medal ceremony. Once I got there Patricia , who got silver, and I took lots of photos together and with the ‘medal girls.’ Karina never arrived, and just before we went onto the podium someone came over and said ein es nniet- one is not coming. Patricia immediately joked, well if she doesnt want her gold medal I will have it. Then we found out karina was sick and in the medical room, so i was worried about her. The ceremony proceeded without Karina and I got my pretty medal and a toy oukie the dolphin maskot. they played karinas anthem and showed her swimming on the big screen.
Then it was time to change back into my swimsuit for the relay, after a quick wheel around to warm up.
We tried really hard in the relay and ultimately placed 7th- a great effort from all the girls.
In the marshalling area the other girls told me our team doctor treated karina and she was sent to hospital as she had severe vomiting and diarohea. I hoped she would be ok to race the next day.
After all that it was too late to eat at the pool, i would have missed the last bus, so I jumped on a bus and headed back to the hotel. I smsd the team security guard/manager dan about how to get dinner as the hotel kitchen shut at 10 and it was 10 to ten- he said he’d order for me and have it waiting. ned1On the way there the straps holding one of the mexican girls chairs broke and she fell over and hit her head. Luckily the driver was able to stop and her team staff got her back up, but she was hurt and needed to see her team doctor. The driver didnt know what to do- drive or wait for a doctor. In the end he drove to the hotel slowly and the doctor ran out to meet the bus.
So, finally, very late, i got to the hotel and had my vege lassagne. It seemed crazy seing to athletes unwell in one evening, and i went to sleep thinking of them.
Night Two of competition
Day two of racing for me was the 150m individual medley. As it was a straight final I slept in and had a late breakfast, then packed my bag and headed to the pool in the avo.
Like the day before I warmed up early, and headed to marshalling. Again Karina was late and we wondered if she was coming at all, but at the last moment she arrived.
I was really happy with my race, the fastest time I have done with the new swimsuit style. I am slower with the short legs, and this really affected my backstroke. So I was happy with the resultm despite placing 4th. Watching the replay the next day online I saw the finish was really lots closer than i thought, but I gaveit my all and was happy.
Seing as my medley was the second last race of the night it was late by the time I finished getting changed, and all my family had already left to catch the bus. I enjoyed watching the aussi mens relay team get their gold medal- we all stood and sung the national anthem together on pooldeck. What a sensational finish to the competition!
I had a good chat to my Danish rival Karina on the bus back to the hotel, and we even met up again in the foyer to exchange tshirts.
The next day I packed and the team headed out to dinner to a cute steakhouse to celebratethe week. We also had a moving team meeting to talk about future goals. About midnight I still hadnt managed to figure out who had my passport. It turned out to be locked in a safe, and the security guard had the key but he was sleeping. So i had to wake up at 4.30 am when the rest of the team left so i could get it.
And then the team were gone and I packed and got ready to join Gemma and mum in the castle they rented for our stay. What an amazing competition, from carrying the flag to a bronze medal.
Now the focus turns to triathlon!