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From Russell With Love: Breaking my world record

24 March 2014

Hannah Russell won her first IPC World Championship gold medal in the S12 visually impaired classification on her debut in Montreal last year. In her latest blog for swimming.org, she looks ahead to the new season at the British Para-Swimming International Meet in Glasgow.

During the first few months of the new year, swimmers tend to have a lot of short course meets fitted in around their training, just like I have.

This year was my last ever Junior and Youth Championships which was really upsetting as this competition has always been one of my favourites.

I have always really enjoyed meeting new faces and seeing new talent coming through the sport. Also reuniting with team mates on the GB team is great - they come charging towards me and screaming my name, as I can’t see them very clearly.

Hannah Russell diving Ponds Forge 2014

At meets I always like to set myself personal targets and in the pool to my surprise I went under expected times and smashed my own World Record SC in the 100m Backstroke which was fantastic and my top swim of the weekend.

The 100m Back is my favourite event at the moment. I remember in the call up room everyone was full of nerves and I was named the ‘heat motivator’ as I was smiling and filling everyone with confidence. After the race, I was told my time by Dani Joyce and words couldn’t describe how happy I was and she had broken her WR too in the S15 class.

My legs felt like jelly and I remember hauling myself out like a seal and flopping on to the side; oh I never fail to embarrass myself, ha!

"I am really looking forward to racing long course at the British Para-Swimming International Meet in Glasgow,"This year is a big year in my education as well. I am currently an upper sixth student at Kelly College studying a BTEC Level 3 in Sports Performance and Excellence and am pleased to say I am slowly closing in on the end of the course.

I decided to take a different educational pathway as it requires no exams, but a lot of coursework – which is ideal as I am absent a lot due to swimming commitments, and also it’s a sports course – exactly what I am interested in for my future career.

In recent months I have been trekking all over the country looking at different universities and what courses they have to offer. Having very limited eyesight, I am unable to drive, therefore access to the university and the pool are a priority. I have been fortunate to get all five offers from Salford, Northumbria, Bath, Sheffield and Portsmouth. I am currently in the final decision phase of making my firm and optional choice.

Training has been going well recently and I feel that I have excelled in many aspects of my stroke, technique and speed.

I am really looking forward to racing long course at the British Para-Swimming International Meet in Glasgow as this will be my first long course meet since the IPC World Championships last summer. It will be great to see where I stand, and I'm hoping to post some fast swims and secure qualifying times for this year’s European Championships in Eindhoven!

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