Thanks so much for sending it to us, Daisy, you've raised the guest blogging bar very high indeed!
Leaving Leicester, ready for ICG 2014 – Australia bound! We’re finally off to Heathrow – after lots of team photos.
Tired but excited - Waiting to board the plane in Hong Kong for Sydney.
We’ve been travelling for almost 35 hours but have arrived in Sydney!
We saw our first glimpses of Sydney as we touched down and the excitement grew… it was beautiful.
A quick dinner before a well-earned sleep in a proper bed.
Saturday 6th December
The next morning we trained again with the Aussies and returned to the lovely hotel for breakfast. The hotel owners were so lovely and even gave us a beach towel each as a gift.
Later we went to a reptile sanctuary where we saw koalas, wombats, kangaroos, crocodiles, spiders, tortoises and snakes.
Then off, back to our rooms, (with no air conditioning) at the end of another exciting day!
Sunday 7th December
A very hot morning in Newcastle, and after morning training we had a little ‘down time’ before catching a coach to the opening ceremony. It was heaving with athletes, just like ourselves, but eventually we found our friends from Newcastle (sitting in the shade)
We all felt very proud as we were called onto the stage to represent Leicester, England, and swiftly took our places to watch the rest of the athletes being introduced. It was the most amazing atmosphere.
Monday 8th December
Today is our first day of competing and we were up at 6am to have breakfast before heading off to ‘The Forum’ – the competition pool.
The best surprise was waiting for us – Suzi our coach from last year (who has taken a year out to travel Thailand and New Zealand) popped over from NZ for the day, to see us and cheer us on, giving a little advice along the way!
The finals were just a few hours later with Milly finishing in 8th place overall in 2:49:73 and me finishing in 7th place in 1:08:09.
We managed a stroll around campus and were allowed a little socialising before bed.
Tuesday 9th December
A special day today – it’s our team-mate’s 15th birthday – Happy Birthday MOLLY!!!!!
Off to the pool – no partying yet for us – we all had our first team relays too.
Milly was to race first in the 100m Breaststroke in a 1:20:42 and finished 12th – qualifying for the ‘B’ Final. Then I swam the 50m Backstroke in 31:49 and a PB! and qualified 4th going through to the ‘A’ final. Due to Molly’s recovering shoulder injury she didn’t swim the 200 fly. We then swam the freestyle team relay and qualified 9th as 1st reserve for the ‘A’ final.
Again just a few hours later we were back again for finals, Milly swam a 1:18:90 and finished 11th overall. I swam my 50m back in 31:81 and finished 5th. Due to teams withdrawing from the finals, the girl’s freestyle team was swam extremely well and finished 8th in the ‘A’ final.
We got airtime on ICG’s own TV live updates after we’d finished.
Wednesday 10th December
Our last day of competition and we were all ‘up for it.’
Milly was again up first with the 50m Breaststroke and qualified 4th quickest and through to the ‘A’ final in 36:14. I was next with the 200m Backstroke in 2:26:39 qualifying an amazing 2nd through to the ‘A’ final just 5 tenths behind the girl from New Taipei City. Molly was next swimming the 100m fly, finishing 22nd in 1:13:35. Both Milly and I were pulled from the 200m Individual Medleys to help save our energy for the Medley team race which qualified us all in 7th in the ‘A’ final!!
A quick lunch then the final finals! Milly finished 6th place, in 36:26. I finished 4th in 2:25:02 an agonising 13 hundredths off a podium position, just behind the girl from Hamilton, Bermuda. Our last race of ICG 2014 was the medley relay finishing in an exciting 7th place.
Also a last team photo with Coralie – she was our ICG team liaison volunteer, she was so lovely, she looked after us so well, fetching us much needed extra food! We bought her some flowers to say thank you for looking after us whilst we were visiting her country.
With bags all packed we turned in for our last night in Australia.
Thursday 11th December
An early start and a well-earned sightseeing trip to Sydney. 4 of the team were climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge with Rob and the other 4 decided to opt for the Sydney Opera House tour with Annette. Then the best treat… a visit to the Guylain Chocolate Café for yummy chocolate and more chocolate.
A quick charge up of our tablets in HK and Skype home to say “We’re on our way.”
Safe and sound back home by 8pm – chatting away to our families – reliving our amazing trip.
We would like to thank Leicester Sharks Competitive Swimming Club, parents and swimmers for supporting us, along with LASA, City of Leicester Swimming, our schools and the Leicester City Council for helping us to live a dream and compete ‘down under’ in this fantastic opportunity. Our first International Competition and one we’ll never forget.
By Daisy Platts
(with Leicester Sharks, Milly Scotchbrook and Molly Hey)