Countdown to 2012
21st September 2011 - Southern Water website
I’ve been involved in a number of events recently, the biggest of which was being invited as a representative of swimming to attend the ‘One year to go’ ticket release event in Trafalgar Square.
I went to London with Ellie Simmonds and a couple of other British swimmers to help promote the swimming at the Paralympics next year, as well as to celebrate the year-long countdown to the Games.
It was nerve-wracking for me, but not half as bad as the nerves my wife Nyree was feeling as she had to do a live interview for Channel 4 news.
I was invited on stage to represent Paralympic GB at the Welcome to the Games ceremony where athletes from a further five countries took part, including South African legend Oscar Pistorious (known as Blade Runner) and legendary Brazilian swimmer Daniel Dias.
We were honoured to be given a welcome certificate from Lord Sebastian Coe. This was quite nerve-wracking for me, but not half as bad as the nerves my wife Nyree was feeling as she had to do a live interview for Channel 4 news.
We both had positive feedback and were delighted to be part of the promotion of the Paralympics 2012.
The most common assumption from people who talk about the Games next year is that I already know I am going to represent GB next year. This is not the case, even though I have competed at the last four Paralympics and have been very successful over the years.
Qualification has to be achieved for every major competition. For the Paralympics next year the swimming team members have two chances to be selected. The first is from March 3 to March 10 at the Aquatics centre in London at the British Olympic/Paralympic trials.
Here, not just me but also the likes of Rebecca Adlington will be trying to achieve the qualifying standards.
The most common assumption from people who talk about the Games is that I already know I am going to represent GB next year.
The second trials take place in April, the disability specific trials, where international swimmers attend. As Britain is a very strong swimming nation, our qualifying standards are set very high.
Although they have not been released yet, and I am unsure of the times I need to achieve, at previous Games the standard set GB at around fourth in the world, so if you made the team you were a potential medallist.
I know this will be the case again for the London trials so I will have to train hard during the winter to make sure I am fit enough to qualify.