Year 13 student Annabelle Paterson talks to us on swimming and her Olympic ambitions.
Off the back of a highly successful Oceania Champs, we talked to Annabelle about her love for the sport of swimming and her aspirations for Tokyo.
How long have you been swimming?
I have been swimming since I was a baby but only began swimming competitively when I was 7, so 10 years now.
What got you started in swimming?
My mum and dad were both horse riders and they wanted me to do horse riding. I stared to get pretty good at it so mum asked me one day if I would like a pony, my response was “nah I would rather a dolphin.” They decided to give up on the horse riding dream and pursue more water based activities. I’ve always loved swimming ever since I was young.
How many hours a day/week do you train?
In a week I usually have 9 pool sessions and 4 gym or dry-land sessions. Our pool sessions are 1 ½ to 2 hours, so I am in the pool around 14 hours a week. Some days I will have 2 sessions so 3 hours in the pool plus 1 hour in the gym, other days it’s just a 2 hour swim session.
Why do you love it?
I love the feeling you get when you have worked really hard, put everything into the set and you have done some awesome times. I love the feeling of winning or smashing my goals. My swim club, my competitors, and the NZ teams I go away with are my family and I love them, we have so much fun. Sometimes I hate it but the amount I love it outweighs those!
How does Dio support your swimming?
Dio allows me to have time off school for overseas competitions and helps me fit in all my school work around training and racing. While swimming is more of an out of school sport and we don’t train and compete much with school, their support in balancing school and training is so important.
How has your career gone so far? Where have you competed?
Last year I competed in Singapore at the World Junior Championships, Samoa at the Youth Commonwealth Games and in Australia at the Australian Age Group Championships where I won a bronze in the 200m Backstroke. This year I have just finished competing in Fiji at the Oceania Swimming Championships where I won a gold medal in the 200m Backstroke and a gold and a silver in the team relays. In August I am going to Hawaii for the Junior PanPacs. I am very happy with how my career has gone so far and hopefully I have more to look forward to in the future.
Tell us about Junior PanPacs in Hawaii?
Junior PanPacs is the biggest youth international swimming competition this year. You must be born after 1 January 1998 so 18 years and younger. New Zealand is taking a team of 10 swimmers and we had to qualify at Nationals in April. Teams as big as 30 swimmers from Australia, America, Canada, Japan, China, South Africa and more will be competing so there is going to be some very hard competition but it will be awesome to race the big countries!
What did it feel like to be on the Open New Zealand team this year?
It was completely different to other teams that I have been on because of the fact it was an open team. There was so much more experience and knowledge throughout the team and it was so cool being able to race with the older swimmers. The team ages ranged from 16 – 24years but we all managed to get on really well.
Who’s your role model?
My role model is my mum. She is the most amazing person ever; she never stops working hard and is always doing stuff for others. She puts everyone before herself, is kind to everyone and always positive and optimistic
What’s your ultimate goal?
My ultimate goal is to be really happy with what I have achieved and for my mum to be proud of me. I would love to go to University in the USA and to swim for a college over there. I’m also aiming to get selected for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.