My whole life can be traced back to one event, an accident that could be devastating. But for me it has made me the person I am today. I always say it’s one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It has made me a world champion.
The drive, the inspiration that took me from a primary school kid with a dream to a gold medalist comes from that accident. It gives me the determination and a strength to win. Not a physical strength, but a mental advantage – in my mind if we can overcome this accident as a family, then I can beat any opponent I line up against.
I love swimming, I love to compete and win but it is also about wanting to make my parents proud. I want to change my parent’s image of a young girl that suffered an accident and give them a vision of a world champion daughter instead. I want to have them in the stands watching me win gold medals, and singing our national anthem.
Those two minutes up on the podium are everything. That is the part I absolutely love. You have your friends and family in the stands – or at home watching it on TV – and that’s the one moment that you get to capture and remember.
However, my success is also down to my support network – from my family to my coach Roly. As a role model I want to set an example and give my all, but I only associate myself with people who I can firmly trust in and that will give their all back. Who I choose to be associated with – like Beef + Lamb – is incredibly important. It’s about the value of the relationship. When I was approached by Beef + Lamb it was a simple ‘yes’ because I knew their reputation was rock solid. Knowing that I get to be a part of the Iron Maidens, and to do as much as I can to see it grow was important to me and it made the decision an easy one.
What’s next? I’m always looking for more and I think that’s because I’m still so in love with the sport. I’ve got to keep building this legacy. There’s this part of it – of being an athlete – that I absolutely love and I know that I’m not finished writing this story yet.
I know I can still give more to the sport, give more to others and get more out of myself. Bring it on!