Barrow’s European Gold
Coming back to train after the Commonwealth Games was pretty tough as Tonia, Andy and the support staff were all on holiday. On the other hand I still had 2 weeks training before I left for the European swimming championships in Berlin. Marc (coach) and Ben (s & c) held me together to get some sort of decent training in before I left.
The journey was a lonely one, strangely quiet compared to the normal noise of laughing and joking but I arrived in Berlin with all my belongings, unlike the rest of the team who had to live for 6 days in T-Shirt and shorts they bought.
Berlin pool is one of two pools I have seen with two 10m boards. I had to choose which platform to compete on, which was strange, I chose my synchro side, pretty happy with my selection! It was one week out until competition when I arrived, so I planned my training schedule on the plane with a day off to explore the historic city of Berlin.
Jane was my coach in Berlin, she is great with motivation and her enthusiasm which I needed for my 20th and last event of the long season!! Training had gone well over the week, I just plodded along nicely during the week and I got a day off to explore the city! My map skills are so awful!!
Finally, my dives in competition all came together, it’s only taken 13 years! I actually enjoyed the competition, it does help when I’m getting good scores though. I felt good throughout my list of dives, it all just seemed to click, a good time to do so. It was a hard battle and I fought through against my good friend Naomi Bakti from Italy. Naomi dived before me and every dive she scored big, so I couldn’t afford to drop a dive. I ended up nearly 20 points ahead when we finished. A 12 point personal best and European Champion, it was a great feeling. First gold medal since 1927 and a first medal since 1958 at the European Swimming Championships – an amazing record to be part of. My first international individual medal.
Travelling home, just like the rest of the year, was yet again an experience. 15 hours it took me to get from Berlin to Plymouth! A flight that didn’t turn up and then a delayed flight, 6.5 hours in Paris airport, it’s been a long long year of travel, I really don’t want to see another plane for a while!!.
Throughout this season a big thank you to the three coaches that have trained me – Andy Banks, Marc Holdsworth and Jane Figuiredo. Also thanks to the support staff during competition and at home, they have been great and got me through injury and surgery.
I have a break now, so hoping to start the season in better shape then when I finished! It’s been a good year and to top it off with the news that our coach Andy Banks is staying!, massive thanks to Plymouth as a city. Good to have you back Andy Banks.