Posted: Fri, 08 Mar 2019 14:13
Hi I'm Fern, I'm 15 years old and I live in Berkshire with my family. I'm a swimmer and I have learning disabilities with ADHD.
I've been swimming since I was 11 and my club is the Wycombe District Swim Club. I started swimming when one day I went to the pool to watch my brother, Tyler. I hated watching so, instead of sitting with my parents and spectating, I asked to join the swimming club instead.
I train a lot – about six times a week, swimming around 10k-20k each week. I've actually only started to really love swimming in the last year. This is because I've recently been classified so before this I never had the opportunity to race against other para-swimmers.
What I most enjoy about swimming is that it keeps me busy, and I'm not as hyper. Plus it keeps me fit.
I actually did gymnastics for a bit but I had to give that up rest time in between this and swimming was more important. It made me a bit sad but I know doing well in swimming is what I like too.
Before taking part in races I get very nervous. I have to make sure I have got everything for the race, including my hats and goggles. After the race, it doesn't matter to me if I have won, but I do like to get personal bests as this shows that I am improving.
The support from my family and friends is really important to me – especially with all the driving my mum and dad do. Both Tyler and I are very lucky. My school is also nice as they allow me time off to travel and swim in big galas.
The support from Tyler is what pushes me the most – I always want to beat him. I do look up to him and I hope to follow in his footsteps.
My training and preparations for the event this weekend has been okay. There was a point I felt I wasn't at my best, but the work I have done with my coaches (who are brilliant) has really helped me. I am quite lucky, as Wycombe District Swim Club is one of the best swimming clubs in the country.
My goal for the weekend event is the same for any other event – to get personal bests, enjoy my swim and get 600 BD points for an S14 event.
The rest of the year sees me taking part in the British Para-Swimming International Meet (BPSIM), which is taking place in Glasgow this year. I also have the English Nationals coming up too. I am also hoping to get a race in the British Swimming Summer Championships, but I need to work really hard for this.
I'm looking forward to this weekend. I'm hoping to get a few medals and personal bests but I'm most looking forward to seeing my swimming friends. It is great meeting up again to chat - we are a big family and it is really nice.
My advice to other disabled people wanting to take up some form of activity but unsure is - go on give it a try, what are you waiting for? It is fun to swim or do any sport, you don't have to aim for medals, just to be fitter then you are is good. Having a disability should not hold you back from anything.
Follow the National Junior Para-Swimming Championships this weekend with the hashtag #JuniorParaSwim19
(Source & Image: Activity Alliance)