How did you get into sport?
I got into swimming at a young age as it's such an important lifeskill to learn how to swim and I fell in love with it. I am also from a really small town in North Yorkshire and my parents wanted me to get involved with a sport to keep me active. I was very lucky because my sister was also a swimmer and I wanted to follow in her footsteps so we used to go swimming together. My mum and dad were incredibly supportive of my swimming which definitely helped me to compete at a higher level.
What was the biggest challenge you overcame?
I found school a huge challenge due to my commitments in the swimming pool. Training 10 times a week and getting up at 5am was extremely difficult, especially when I had to travel an hour to the pool twice a day, but I was dedicated to passing my exams, achieving the results I had hoped for.
What are your three biggest achievements in sport?
- In 2009 breaking the world record in the 400m Freestyle
- 2008 Olympic Bronze medalist 400m Freestyle
- European Champion 400m Freestyle.
When and why did you get involved with the Athlete Mentor programme?
I have been involved with the Youth Sport Trust since 2015 and it has been the most incredible experience. The reason I wanted to get involved with them and work on the programmes is because I love working with young people and making a difference to their lives. I love working on transformational and inspirational programmes and getting the most out of the participants. To see them building their life skills is very inspiring and makes you very proud to be an athlete mentor.
Who most inspired you and why?
My sister Nicola inspired me to be the best version of myself. She competed at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and watching her compete at the Olympic Games really inspired me and made me realise my dream was also to go to the Olympics Games. My sister went through a lot of highs and lows in her sport and having someone so close to me helped me to overcome a lot of barriers. It makes the journey a lot easier having people around you to support and help your career.
What has been your favourite moment as a YST Athlete Mentor?
My favourite memory and my favourite part of been a YST athlete mentor is seeing the progression the young people make. Whatever programme you work on, seeing the smiles on the children's faces and seeing them overcome barriers is really inspiring. Every session is different and thats what I love about the programmes. I have seen a number of young people with really low confidence doing things they never thought they would do and its incredible to be apart of that.