With less than 50 days to go before the Rio games, I thought I would give you a quick update. It feels like only yesterday I looked at the countdown clock (at the pool) and it said 900 days and now my 4th Paralympic games is just around the corner. I am currently on the plane back from a warm weather training camp in Tenerife. It's typical that England experienced a heat wave whilst we were away! People frequently ask why we need to go away for a training camp, 'is a pool not just a pool?' Yes it is, but training in the sun with no distractions (cooking, cleaning, driving etc etc) means you can put all your focus into some quality training, plus it prepares us for competing in different climates.
We departed last Wednesday from a very rainy Manchester. On arrival the pilot had to abort the landing twice due to adverse weather conditions. Many of the passengers became hysterical and many tears were shed. Eventually a decision was made to land in North Tenerife instead of Tenerife south, normally I am not scared of flying, but whilst trying to reassure both my neighbours, I felt quite nervous and it was a relief to be on terra firma again. This alteration to our destination was very frustrating, we had to travel an hour to the south airport to access our transport and to then go to the hotel. I think we ended up travelling for around 10 hours!! During this long journey we had to ensure we maintained our routine by snacking regularly, drinking plenty of fluid and stretching/rolling wherever we could, was essential to make sure we were ready to train first thing the next morning. These experiences are a good rehearsal, if a similar situation arose prior to a major championships we know how to minimise the impact on performance.
We trained at T3 which is a fantastic multi-sport training venue with great facilities. We stayed in a hotel 20 minutes walk from the pool, we were strongly encouraged to do this walk 4 X a day both ways from training, to prepare us for the distances from venues and the athletes village in Rio. The hotel served excellent food, which is essential, nutritionally good food is crucial to assist recovery prior to the next session.
It's our last aerobic block before Rio and therefore the camp was very intense and a lot of metres were covered over the 10 days. We didn't just train in the pool, but also had tough gym and cardio sessions. In addition there was a great team of experts supporting us, therefore it was an ideal opportunity to get some nutritional advice and work on mindset with the psychologist. Psychology is an area often neglected by many athletes, and not prioritised until you hit that mental wall. For me not winning the very expected gold medal in Beijing highlighted a need for me to address the negative thoughts going on in my head.
I am back in Manchester for a few days of training before travelling down to Sheffield for summer nationals, our final competition before Rio! Crazy! We will have a few time trials back at the high performance centre in Manchester, these are great opportunities to finalise race plans, however it is not the same as racing in front of a crowd. Nationals is a great opportunity to refine race skills and rehearse race day schedules. I will be swimming all the individual events that I will be competing at in Rio, so it will be an opportunity to see where I am at this point in time. I have only participated in one race since Europeans so I can't wait to race again! We collected our Paralympics GB kit a few weeks ago which was very exciting. It's that sense of pride you get when trying on the tracksuit, knowing that you have earned your place on the Paralympics Team, it never gets old. I can't wait to represent Paralympics GB in a few weeks time! #supercharge Here's the upcoming Rio dates in my calendar; 27th August - 1st Sept: Holding camp 1st Sept - fly to Rio and enter Paralympic village. 11th Sept - 200 I.m 14th Sept - 100 breast 15th Sept - 100 fly, 4x100 freestyle relay TBC 16th Sept - 4x100 medley relay TBC - by Claire Cashmore Will you be watching the Paralympics & Olympics this year?