Hello and welcome to my first blog.
I should probably start by introducing myself; my name is Andrew Euan Mullen and I am a 19 year old, Glasgow-born Paralympic swimmer.
I’ve only recently joined the Mactaggart & Mickel Group team; the company is sponsoring me in the run up to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. I’m going to be working extremely hard for the remainder of the year as I face the Rio 2016 qualifying trials and hopefully prepare to make my way to the Games. To have the support and backing of such a great organisation during this crucial time means the world, so I’d like to take this chance to say a massive thank you.
As part of my sponsorship with Mactaggart & Mickel Group, I’m going to be giving you updates on my training and everyday life, which will hopefully give you an idea of what it’s like being a young Paralympic athlete training to compete at the highest level. I’ll be writing a monthly blog over the next three months, documenting my journey to and experience at the qualifying trials – hopefully I’ll get to share some good news with you at the end!
Anyway, I think I should start by giving you some more background on my life and career…
As I mentioned, I was born and raised in Glasgow, more specifically Newton Mearns. I had a pretty normal childhood; living with my mum, dad, brother and sister. The interesting part of my story really began when I got into swimming.
I began swimming with Temple Disabled swim team in Dennistoun. This is where I learned all of the basics of swimming, and where it truly all took off for me. I didn’t start out as the best, as no one does, and my mum often recalls how I used to have to fully turn onto my back every time I wanted to breathe while swimming. Thank goodness I managed to figure that out, a technique like that doesn’t make for fast swimming!
When my swimming was at a decent level I began competing at local swim meets and fell in love with the whole experience. Not just the swimming but the racing and everything that came with it; the nerves, excitement and pure rush you feel when you’re in that lane.
The competitions gradually got bigger as I got stronger and quicker, and within a few years I was competing at a British level and winning UK titles. In 2011 at just 14 years old, I qualified to represent Great Britain at the IPC Swimming European Championships in Berlin – a pivotal accomplishment which saw me join a line-up of more than 440 swimmers from 36 countries.
Five years on and I’ve achieved some amazing things:
• Eight European Championship medals (four x gold and two x silver)
• Two European records for 50m Butterfly and 50m Backstroke
• Seven World Championship medals (four x silver and three x bronze)
• Two 4th place finishes at the Paralympic Games
The Games are the pinnacle of any Paralympic swimmers career and everything I’ve achieved so far has been in preparation for this fierce competition. The trials begin on 22 April during the British Para-Swimming International Meet at Tollcross in Glasgow. I’ve got a heavy block of training ahead of me as I push myself to the limit, so I’ll give you all a glimpse into my training regime and schedule in my next blog but let’s finish with some fun facts…
In the pool
- 200m Freestyle or 50m Butterfly
Finest ever performance
- Gold medal winning swims at the 2014 IPC European Championships
- To set a world record and win a Paralympic gold
- Michael Phelps
Biggest influence on career
- My first coach Chris Grabham
Out of the pool
If I wasn't a swimmer, I would be
- A cyclist or a stockbroker
Most prized possession
- My iPhone or Xbox
- Basketball, BMX and skateboarding
- Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller and The Kooks
- Spaghetti and meatballs
- Going out with friends or playing Xbox
One week until trials and 145 days to Rio 2016. See everyone in the next blog.