27 June 2019
Whiston riding her wave of success
Seven years ago, Brock Whiston received a good luck message from Ellie Simmonds before she raced at the National Youth Championships in Sheffield.
Fast forward to 2019 and the pair shared a room at the World Para Swimming World Series in Berlin as Whiston competed at her first international meet in Great Britain colours last month.
The 22-year-old set three SB8 world records – once in the 50m breaststroke and twice in the 100m breaststroke – as she secured gold and silver and unsurprisingly, she was stunned at her performances.
“I’m in shock because we had a training camp in Italy beforehand,” she said.
“We were just using Berlin as a trial run before the World Championships.
“We were practicing skills and drills, so to come away with two world records is amazing. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet.”
Whiston was introduced to para swimming in 2009 when she was spotted by some of GB team while competing at the National Age Group Championships in Sheffield.
Last December, she was brought onto British Swimming’s Para Swimming Academy squad and she secured her place on the team at the World Championships at trials in April.
Recently, she has been moved onto the Podium Potential programme, which should lead to more opportunities, and Whiston is thrilled by the upward curve she seemingly finds herself riding, particularly in the knowledge that she’ll be competing in September’s World Championships.
“I’m impressed with my progression because normally, nerves get the better of me,” she explained.
“To be able to go to Berlin and have the mindset that I’m not going to let the other athletes in my races distract if they go out faster; I don’t need to worry.
Brock Whiston and coach Stewart Nicklin
“I’ve got my race plan. That’s what I need to focus on.
“It’s given me a lot of confidence for Worlds but I don’t want to get too excited and carried away with my performances because Worlds are under three months’ time.”
This year’s World Championships have been moved to the London Aquatics Centre and Whiston can’t wait to make her debut at the competition.
Whiston said: “I’m super excited because it’s a home pool, a home crowd as well, so to be able to do it in front of a home crowd and with people like Ellie, Maisie [Summers], Alice [Tai], Stephen Clegg, Jordan Catchpole – all the big names will be there from GB.
“It’s going to be a tough one because it’s my debut on the GB team but the 100m back is my first event.
“It’s not my strongest but I’m going to use that to go in, see what I can do, get used to the environment, and then hopefully that will give me a good confidence boost for the relays and the 100m breast and 200m IM.
“We’re hoping to come away with a medal of some sort. Obviously, the ambition would be gold in the 100m breaststroke but if an athlete is better than me on the day, there’s nothing I can do – just swim to my best.”
"To come away with two world records is amazing. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet."
During London 2012, Whiston was a sports ambassador for her school and it was at that point she decided she had a dream of winning a Paralympic medal in the future.
“I went to see quite a lot of the Paralympics and Olympics and I remember sitting in the crowd and thinking swimming is definitely something I want to pursue,” she added.
“Probably since that day, that was when I really decided I’m going to achieve a Paralympic medal.
“Me and my coach [Stewart Nicklin] have sat down, and we’ve planned a cycle that means hopefully, I will achieve going to Tokyo but again anything is possible between now and then.
“I don’t know what will happen but my focus is on Tokyo – I’m not going to stray off that.
“It is my focus but we’ve got to see how the Worlds go and take one step at a time.”
7 June 2019
Simmonds claims gold to cap stellar day in the pool for GB
6 June 2019
Tai doubles medal tally on second day in Berlin
5 June 2019
Tai takes form to Berlin as she doubles up
1 June 2019
Tai maintains stellar record with fourth gold in Italy
2 May 2019
Simmonds travels the world on the way to Tokyo
29 April 2019