Four years ago I could not swim. Four years ago I had never been in a swimming pool.
It was after watching the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 that made me decide to swim. In 2009 I decided I wanted to take part in competitions. The first competition I did was a local disability gala in Sutton in 2010. Now I compete in the British Championships!
For swimming, if you want to go as far as the Olympics, you have to make a lot of sacrifices. For me:
- I can’t have takeaway meals any more
- I am allowed chocolate twice a month
Eventually my life will be swimming, school, swimming, bed - that sounds really boring but to be in the Olympics that’s what you have to do. But what I’ve done so far is amazing.
I’ve won 3 gold medals in the British championships.
For swimming there are disappointments. For the International championships I am only two seconds out of the required time and so I’m not in it this year - two seconds takes a lot of hard work to achieve it.
I train six times a week but in a year's time I should be training 10 times a week! Some days I just feel like I don’t want to go, I want to stay home, I’m too tired, but to get good times in competitions you have to train as much as you can. I’ve spoken to the top head of Paralympic coaching (Billy Pye) and I asked “Will I be in the 2012 Olympics” and he said “No, I’ve seen you swim today you are a very good swimmer but not good enough for 2012”. I was gutted when he told me this, but then I said, “What about 2016?” and Billy said “Hell yes! If you carry on training and work as hard as you can I think you could be in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio”.
So now my big goal is to be in the 2016 Paralympics.
Lauren was Sutton's Disabled Sportsperson of the Year
To explore Paralympic Sports go to www.london2012.com/paralympic-sport