Florence Garrett: my experience winning medals with Down Syndrome Swimming Team GB
My swimming career so far
I started swimming when I was in France on a family holiday. When my parents and I moved to Taiwan, I started having weekly swimming lessons with a swimming instructor called Ivan. Ivan saw that I was good at swimming and put me forward for a competition.
When we moved back to London, I stopped doing lessons, joined a local swimming club and started doing competitions.
DSISO (Down Syndrome International Swimming Organisation) saw me swimming at a competition in Southampton and they thought that I was good so they asked me to join their club.
After training with the club and building my stamina, I started competing in international competitions.
My first professional swimming competition was in Genoa in Italy in 2014. Since then I have travelled to Canada, Mexico, Italy and Portugal.
Taking part in professional swimming competitions makes me happy. I love meeting new people and the atmosphere of competitions.
I also like visiting new places around the world with my team.
Here are some of my recent competition times:
World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships, Canada 2018
100m freestyle: 1.45.38
200m freestyle: 4.05.48
50m backstroke: 46.09
50m butterfly: 52.12
DSISO European Championships, France 2019
100m backstroke: 2.06.93
50m butterfly: 55.39
50m backstroke: 54.73
100m butterfly: 2.00.34
100m freestyle: 1.49.25
50m freestyle: 46.40
In my time competing, I have received over 100 medals.
Plans for next year
I am currently training with my team by going to different pools around the UK. Next month in October, I am going to Wales to a swim camp where I will work on my swimming technique and teamwork.
As female captain for my team, it is my responsibility to look after the swimmers and encourage them to train. During lockdown I encouraged swimmers by posting videos and workouts on Twitter.
I am currently training for the World Swimming Championships in Portugal in 2022 and I am hoping to come back with more medals.