Nyree Kindred: 'I let the cheering lift me − and I just swim'
The swimmer tells Emily Dugan about the week she won silver in the 100m S6 backstroke
Emily Dugan is Social Affairs Editor for The Independent, i and Independent on Sunday. She was previously a news reporter for The Independent on Sunday. Her investigations into human trafficking have twice been awarded Best Investigative Article at the Anti-Slavery Day Media Awards and her human rights journalism was shortlisted for the Gaby Rado Memorial prize at the 2012 Amnesty Media Awards. Emily is on sabbatical until March 2015
Sunday 02 September 2012
Sunday We didn't arrive in the village until last night and this is a rest day, so I spend most of the day unpacking, doing a tour of the village and orienting myself. It's great to see the other team members and catch up. In the evening I need some carbs, so we all go to the food hall to have some pasta. The food hall is great because you can get anything you'd ever want to eat, but there's so much temptation that you have to be disciplined and eat what you normally would. Me and my husband, Sascha, are both at the village but we're sleeping in different rooms. We're here with teammates and want to be with them.
Monday In the morning we speak to our daughter, Ella, who is one, and has been staying with friends and my mother-in-law. She's better in the mornings and we speak to her on Facetime so she can see us too. I train in the morning, doing a race prep session and a few sprints. I've only been doing one session a day, so I spend the rest of the day resting. I chat to friends on the computer and watch television. It's all about resting when you're competing in a few days' time, so you're just focusing on what you've got to do.
Tuesday We go to the team's welcome ceremony. Tanni Grey-Thompson and Craig Hunter are there to welcome us officially to the village. The dancers are brilliant and it's especially good for those of us who couldn't go the Opening Ceremony because we're competing the next day. It actually felt like a mini-Opening Ceremony. This games is very different because it's all about the British athletes, and the volunteers are all cheering you on. People shout "good luck" to us when we walk past and say they're excited to watch us compete.
Wednesday I do my final race preparation in the morning, then go back to the apartment and look through my good-luck cards and photos of Ella. I've had lots of cards but my favourite is a book that my friends made, called the Due in June book, as it's from all my friends who gave birth at the same time. Everyone has written a message, and there are photos of them with their kids all dressed up in GB kits and flags. I rest and get my packing done for my race. I put in my costume, as well as spare suits, goggles and clothes. In the evening I watch the Opening Ceremony in the apartment with some of the other girls who couldn't go, until 10. I go to bed before I have a chance to see GB parade. I'm sad to miss it, but the important thing is to race. I put my earplugs in − I knew the fireworks would be going off − so I sleep brilliantly.
Thursday My team mates can't believe I've slept through the fireworks because they were so loud. I get up early because I can never be late for anything, so I'm over at the pool by 7.15 in time to race at 9.30. I don't feel so much pressure because I'm first up but I know the crowd might be a bit louder than normal. It's an awesome atmosphere. As I get on the block it's such a loud cheer − even louder than I expected. Everyone is shouting GB. In the final race it's even louder. Once you're in the pool it's muffled, but you can still hear it. I let it lift me and just swim and get a silver medal, which I'm pleased with. I had a year out to have my baby and I've only had a year of training, so to qualify for the Paralympics, do a personal best and get a silver medal − all with a one-year-old − I couldn't ask for more than that. I'm buzzing about what I've just done − it's the best experience of my life. My daughter is so excited when she sees me on the big screen, and starts waving. She gets a bit upset that she can't get to me so I go to see her and give her a cuddle. It's a special moment because it's the first time I've seen her in 12 days.
Friday I go straight to GB House to do media interviews, and then I finally get to see my family, which is fantastic. My mum, both my brothers, their partners and children are all there. My friend who has been looking after my daughter − along with my mother in law − is there too. Ella runs over to me and is really pleased to see me. In the afternoon and evening I head to the pool and cheer on the rest of the team.
Saturday My husband is my main focus today. I watch Sascha do his heats on the TV in the morning then go and get my nails done and go over to GB House. I get ready to cheer him on in the evening. We have GB hats, hairbands and flags which we wave, and when he comes in I scream as loud as I can. I sit with the team to cheer him on and then go and see Ella, who is sitting up with Sascha's mum.
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