My last blog concluded with me explaining what taper time is – the period just before a competition where swimmers rest and refine their race skills. Taper time is really enjoyable for athletes – almost as good as Christmas - but I relish nothing more than competition!
With both the Rio 2016 Paralympic trials and European Championships taking place over the last few weeks, it’s safe to say it’s been a particularly exciting time for me and the world of British Para-Swimming. These two meets are the biggest events in the swimming calendar, after the Paralympic Games. So where to start first… to the trials we go!
These took place at the British Para-Swimming International Meet (BPISM) in my hometown of Glasgow. The way the qualifying process works is reasonably simple; times are set out based on the top three quickest times in the world that year. Once you have the times all you have to do is make sure you swim them and finish in the top two within your classification under the qualification time.
I swam five events in total, one each day of the competition, starting with the 100m freestyle. This was the very first event of the competition and what a great way to start! I swam my qualification time and was actually the first male swimmer to do so. This removed a great deal of pressure and gave me the chance to really enjoy the rest of the meet.
Following the BPISM I headed out to Funchal in Portugal for the IPC Swimming 2016 European Championships. This was actually an open meet, so as well as having the best swimmers in Europe, we also had some of the top swimmers from the rest of the world.
I raced in the same five events from the Rio trials and managed to swim quicker on most. Racing this much in such a short period of time is no small order so I was incredibly happy to remain consistent throughout the meet. I finished the Championships with four gold and one silver medal - a decent medal haul and a great first outing of the season.
All in all, I’ve had an amazing month and I’m happy to end my run of blog entries by announcing that I have been officially selected to represent Great Britain at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in September. It’s a massive honour and I cannot wait to represent my country.
Wish me luck – Rio I’m on my way!