Rachel Wellings from City of Peterborough Swimming Club (COPS) is targeting a year of recovery as she looks to get back to her best in the pool.
The 18-year-old first took up the sport as a necessity but has gone from strength-to-strength in the process, culminating in the European Junior Championships 12 months ago.
But with illness halting her progress so far in 2018, Wellings is content with just taking stock over the next few months.
In the meantime it’s given her a chance to revel in her progression, a journey towards the elite levels that not even she thought possible.
“When I was younger, I used to do swimming lessons because it was a life skill – and still is – but I eventually got scouted during school swimming lessons,” she said.
“I wasn’t very good when I was younger. I always used to lose at all the top competitions – I was just happy to finish a 200m race!
“The highlight so far is definitely being selected for the European Juniors last year, it was a good feeling to be there in Israel, especially in my debut.
“But I haven’t been very well this year, so my main target is recovery and getting my fitness back up. I had to take a few months off this season and I’m slowly getting back into it.”
Now her cause will also be aided by Nottingham Building Society, who are teaming up with SportsAid to support 50 local athletes in their ‘time to shine’ scheme. They each receive £750 of funding to help on the path to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and beyond.
For Peterborough School student Wellings, that also included a trip to Nottingham Racecourse to take part in a workshop with world champion speed skater Elise Christie and Olympic champion canoeist Etienne Stott as mentors.
“Support from the Nottinghamshire Building Society has been very important,” she added. “It will allow me to progress with my training, with funds to support me, and I can buy new equipment. The workshop was very helpful. I learned a lot”
n Nottingham Building Society and Harrison Murray teamed up with SportsAid in 2013 to help future sports stars get their time to shine. Visit thenottingham.com to find out more.