What motivated you to get into swimming
and why do you love it?
My mum taught me to swim when I was very young, I live very close to the sea & rivers & she always said it was an important life skill. I had lots & lots of energy as a child, I got into trouble at school because of this but the more I swam the more energy I used up! Swimming is my space, my place when I can dream about anything, it’s so quiet under the water & I really love that.
How do you mentally prepare for a big competition?
The big competitions are fun & I have to control my excitement more than stress. I find it difficult to keep an ongoing strong mind set for the months of training going into a competition & that’s where I am very lucky & have the full support of my coach, family & friends.
I am an International Para Swimmer in the S14 classification (Swimmer with Learning difficulties) I qualified for my first Paralympic Games at 15 years old & went on to win Gold at London 2012 just after turning 16 years old. I was the first person to ever win a Paralympic Gold medal in the S14 classification for Great Britain.
In 2012 I was honored by the Queen with an Mbe. Since then I have represented Great Britain at every international major competition winning 16 medals for Great Britain.
I have an incredibly tough training schedule & I’m up at 4am most mornings to complete 16 training sessions a week in the gym & pool.
When I’m not training I absolutely love to be with animals, I have to of my own rescue dogs & volunteer to walk & groom some of the dogs at the local rescue center.
What thoughts raced through your mind as you were presented with your Paralympic medal?
I had only just turned 16 years old when I won Gold in 2012 & I really dont think even I knew what was really happening. To win at any event is amazing but a home games is such an amazing experience. When I won two silvers & a bronze in Rio I was incredibly pleased & proud but the competitive side of me was already planning my training schedule as I wanted Gold like everyone does as that’s the goal we aim for.
FitBites “Bite Back’ project encourages kids to become more active and try a sport. Why would you recommend kids give sport a go?
I recommend everyone to give sport a go and that’s any sport. It’s fantastic for keeping fit and healthy, the more active you are in the day the better you sleep in the evening, it helps you to meet people & become part of a team, it gives you responsibilities & disciplines, it’s great for mental health and my favourite – the more I exercise the more I can eat .
What is your favourite FitBite flavour?
FitBites are awesome! They are the perfect size for a quick and convenient snack. They are especially great to throw in my kit bag and if they are sitting alongside a wet towel they don’t go soggy like some snacks do. I also love the fact that they are 100% natural & full of flavour. My favourite is Orange it is so zesty and tastes and smells really refreshing.