One of the most memorable aspects of our return to the UK was that once we had departed the plane, we walked through Heathrow, with all the British Airways’ staff applauding us as we passed. It was lovely to see them cheering, it made us feel extremely proud. We walked into where our parents were waiting to collect us and it was overwhelming to see another huge crowd clapping and cheering, we still couldn’t believe what we had achieved in Beijing yet alone to come back through arrivals and have such a warm welcome - it was so exciting to be home.
Since being back we have attended many parties and congratulatory gatherings. It feels lovely to be heroines. It has been just as exciting as being out in Beijing, with all the newspapers and interviews. Louise’s medals were honoured back here at Kelly College, with everyone in awe of what she had achieved. It’s lovely to be back and see all the familiar faces and get yet another warm welcome.
However, we are back in the pool already and are now focused on the World Short Course Championships taking place in April 2009 in Rio, Brazil. Hopefully, you’ll be able to hear more about our exploits over the coming year as TDK-Lambda continues to sponsor us as we head towards London 2012.
From Robin Brew, Director of Swimming, Kelly College
From a coaching perspective the last year has been an incredible journey. With Heather Fell safely home after winning her silver medal in modern pentathlon at the Olympics and Louise Watkin, Lauren Steadman and Claire Cashmore with their Silver medal, four Bronze medals, one European record and six British records between them after their heroic performances at the Paralympics, a time for reflection is needed.
How do you begin...quite honestly I can’t yet. The emotional and physical effort from all of us has been immense. It has taken over 1000 hours of preparation since last September just to be at our best for this one event. The girls have swum over 2000km in training and have undergone 150 gruelling strength and conditioning sessions in a little under 12 months. In addition a further 150 hours have been spent at competitions both home and overseas. Why do we do what we do? ...for me it is an arena, to pitch against the best for that one moment when all the work and preparation is on the line, success or failure separated by a fraction of a second. Here are three questions that I have asked myself;
Is it going to get easier? – No. Do I want to do it all over again? –Absolutely yes. Can we improve on our results? – Without doubt, Gold is the target for 2012.
I would like to thank Lambda for all their fantastic support for this year, it meant a great deal to us all and has contributed greatly to our successes this summer.
Looking forward to a great partnership in the lead up to London 2012