It’s full steam ahead right now and I’m gearing up for my final prep for the Olympic trials. It’s a pretty intense time. I’m looking forward to racing and with all the hard bits of training under my belt I have a bit more time to stop still and think.
Who inspires me?
Well my first sporting heroine (and she still is) is Misty Hyman. When I was ten years old, I remember watching the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games on the TV with my dad and the 200m butterfly final was on. The pressure was on the home crowd favourite Susie O’Neil to bring home the gold. As the TV camera panned through the line-up of swimmers, you could feel the nerves and anticipation. Each swimmer looked incredibly focused.
When the camera panned to American swimmer Misty Hyman her reaction was priceless. With a big grin across her face she waved and acknowledged the cheering crowd. Her whole demeanour was calm and relaxed – she looked excited to be there. I instantly took a liking to her!
As the race progressed it was a tight tussle between O’Neil – who’d been unbeaten for a few years before the Games – and Hyman. Misty had really strong underwater work, which she later became renowned for. She ended up clinching the win and I don’t think she could believe the result herself – she had to check the scoreboard several times to make sure it was right! It went down as one of the biggest upsets of the Sydney Olympics.
From that moment on she became my idol and inspiration. My dad brought back some swimming posters from a trip to America; one was of Misty. I had that poster up on my wall for many years. It was a constant reminder that nothing is impossible and even those who seem unbeatable can be bested if you put the hard work in.
I aspired to adopt her mentality towards racing, to be calm and relaxed and able to enjoy what I was doing at major international competitions. She was in this mind-set when she swam one of the greatest races I’ve ever seen. That race is available on YouTube and you should look up the video to see what I mean! Now that she’s retired, Misty still works as a coach passing her knowledge on to the next generation. I would love to meet her and hope that one day I can.
Misty isn’t the only person I look up to; my dad is a huge inspiration to me. He was the one who taught me how to swim and introduced me to the swimming world. I never fully appreciated all his hard work when I was younger but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realised how inspiring my dad really is. His tenacity and work ethic has taught me that you have to be prepared to work really hard to achieve your goals.
Don’t be afraid or shy away from hard work – be patient and the rewards will come. I hope all that I’ve learnt from my dad and from swimming will help me be a better person, someone who knows how to work hard but to also have fun and enjoy myself and be respectful of others! Both Misty and my dad have allowed me to view swimming as a great opportunity and not waste any minute of it.
Who’s your inspiration?
Looking forward to seeing you at Trials, I hope!