Hi, it's me again!
In just a few weeks' time I will line up in my home city of Montreal against the best swimmers in the world. I'm always talking about how much of a unique and special event it is in an athletes' life to get to compete in front of your friends and family, but it is true that not every athlete will get the same chance.
I am looking foward to increase the awareness of the para-movement in Canada and make it a great Championship for everyone, we will have a lot of fun.
Over the years, things have changed a lot in para-swimming around the world. I used to do quite well when I first started swimming, for example in Sydney and Athens I had the privilege to come back home with six medals and most of them were gold. But now, even though I am a better and faster swimmer, it's much harder to get on the podium. I came home with three medals at London 2012 and I truly believe that they were my greatest Games.
Andre Brasil has been the star of our swimming category for years now. When he first arrived on the scene, it's safe to say that I was not the most happy swimmer on the pool deck. But in the long run, he made me a better person and athlete by pushing myself to another level. I am not sure if he knows it, but he really helped the para-movement to become more competitive. We all want to try to be as fast as him. Thank you to a good friend, Andre!
The 200m individual medley is my strongest event. This is where I have been focusing over the last few years. Andre will of course be one other athlete to watch in all the S10 event and the 200m individual medley.
Ian Silverman is the future of our sport. He is only 17 years old and already Paralympic champion in the 400m freestyle and he already beat me in the 200m individual medley in April in Minneapolis. He is young, he is fresh and he has lots of energy coming out of London. He is definitely going to be the one to look for. Not only this summer, but for the next ten years. It will be a great race between Ian, Andre, Rick [Pendleton] the Australian and all the other swimmers coming to Montreal this summer.
It is really great that we have such great competitors coming into competition now and it makes the Movement stronger and better.
Our classification has a lot of depth. We have Robert Welbourn from Great Britain in the 400m, David Levecq from Spain in the butterfly, Justin Zook from the USA in the backstroke...I could go on. These are athletes who can do great things and win medals for their country.
We have a great spirit of friendship within our sport. We have something special and we're all excited to race against each other. We often joke around in the ready room before our race. Of course when we're behind the blocks we're there to do a job, but we are still very good friends. Andre even came to stay with me in Montreal and we trained and had a great time together after Beijing!
From my side of things, it has been a little different since London. I did different things like finishing school and work a little bit. But I am confident that be able to have some strong races in August.
It's looking good for Montreal and I aim to give these guys a race and my home crowds a competition they will enjoy. I would encourage fans to get tickets as it is not to be missed!