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‘Lockdown made me realise love for my sport was bigger than I could imagine’

As part of the Swim England #YourMembershipCounts campaign, we have been finding out how our clubs and members have stayed engaged with their sport, coped with the challenges of 2020, and their hopes for the future.

Artistic swimmer Daisy Gunn has revealed the difficulties she faced in lockdown made her realise her love for the sport was ‘bigger than she could imagine’.

The 17-year-old Reading Royals SC athlete was previously training around twelve hours a week before the initial lockdown in March but says she ‘coped as best she could’ during that time.

“I made sure I was always busy trying new things and challenging myself to make improvements in my sport,” she said.

“I trained every day, working on land-based training and joining Zoom calls. I made goals so that my mind was thinking about other things than lockdown.

Daisy was part of the Reading Royals A team that came away with gold in the Free Combination and Technical Team events at last year’s Swim England National Synchronised Swimming Junior and Senior Championships.

She says being away from the pool made her realise just how much she missed being with her team and coaches at training and competitions.

“It made me realise that the love I have for the sport was bigger than I could imagine.”

Parent and committee member, Aine Razzell, agrees that the time spent out of the water cemented the athletes’ passion for their sport.

“When the swimmers returned to the pool, there was a huge appreciation for swimming and training – even if only a few hours of training were available.

“The swimmers are very resilient and have such a passion for the sport – they did not give up. We coped incredibly well for a sport that needs to be in a pool.”

Lessons learned during lockdown

The time out of the water forced every athlete to considerably adapt their training.

For Daisy, this highlighted a number of things to her.

“This [lockdown period] has taught me that I am independent and can take control of my own training,” she said. “It also taught me to work on my time management.

“I have handled setting new goals by communicating with my club and GB coaching team, discussing what areas we all think I need to improve on most while being on land.

“From this, we adapted and set new goals for each section of my training. We also did a lot of baseline testing so that I could see improvements and [identify] areas that still need improvement.

“I felt extremely supported by those around me.”

Daisy’s love for artistic swimming felt more prevalent than ever during the one time in her life that she was not able to practise it.

She said: “I do this sport because it is unique.

“It’s interesting and never gets boring. It makes you push yourself to your limits every day. I have gained lots of new relationships [from it] with friends and coaches.”

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