Para Swimming World Record Holder Brock Whiston

It’s not often you get to spend some time with a world-record holder and when you do, it’s important you make the most of the opportunity. That’s why when para swimmer, Everyone Active Sporting Champion and breaststroke world record holder came along to one of our Sports Days at Noak Hill Sports Complex, we were keen to find out more about this para swimming sensation, her training regime and her ambitions for the future.

2019 Para Swimming World Championships

When we spoke to her, Brock was in training for September 2019’s World Para Swimming Championships that are being held in London. Brock currently holds the world record for S8 breaststroke over both 50 and 100m and, understandably, is keen to keep pushing and stay at the top of her game.

2019 Para Swimming World Championships Training Programme

In order to achieve this, Brock has really been pushing herself during her training sessions at Beacontree Heath Leisure Centre. “Training’s been harder than normal. We’re working on a lot more distance, speed and strength. Training sessions will be longer, up to two hours and I’ll be working at a higher level of intensity as well. Four or five days before the World Championships, however, we’ll go into a holding camp and reduce the training load, but up until then, training’s hard.”

para swimming

Achieving Goals at the 2019 Para Swimming World Championships

When asked how confident she was of winning a medal – or better – at the competition, Brock came off as quietly confident. The 100m breaststroke – her favoured distance and stroke – is the final event at the competition and the one she’s most confident of being successful in. “Obviously the 100m breaststroke is the last event at the Worlds and that’s what I’m world record holder in but at the end of the day, anything can happen. At the moment, it’s a good possibility of coming away with a gold but the competition out there is strong.”

Brock’s Sporting Icon

“Ellie Simmonds (multiple Paralympic champion and world record breaker) was my idol growing up and still is to this day. Recently, though, on trips to Berlin and Italy for competitions, we’ve also become roommates and subsequently, she became one of my closest friends. I’ve got to say a big thank you to Ellie for getting me into the sport.”

Advice for Adults Swimming for the First Time

According to Brock, the most important thing if you’re not particularly comfortable in water is to try and relax and keep calm. She says: “there’s always going to be someone there to support you, even if you’re swimming outside of a lesson. If ever you feel worried, speak to a member of staff, or even someone else in the pool. Just take your time and don’t worry about being judged by others.”

The Physical and Mental Benefits of Swimming

We all know that swimming – and all exercise and activity, really – is great for your physical health, but did you know that it does wonders for your mental wellbeing too? According to Brock, swimming has been a really important factor in helping her understand and accept her disability. She told us: “For me, being a para-athlete, physically, it’s helped me understand about by disability and learn how to adapt to it, but mentally it’s also given me a positive outlook on life. Now I wake up in the morning and I can’t wait to get to the pool and train. I love training!”

The Importance of Getting Active & Staying Active

Brock shares Everyone Active’s enthusiasm for helping get both children and adults getting active, then staying active. “It’s really important and it doesn’t just mean getting involved in a sport” she says. Instead it’s about “getting active and motivated in your everyday life, in your home, in your school and, when you’re older, in your work.”

Getting active is also important for teaching the youngsters camaraderie and teamwork. “It was really nice to see lots of the children cheering each other on and helping each other,” Brock said, continuing “it’s really nice to see them working as a team in netball, saying ‘take your time, you can do it’.”

What’s Next?

The first target is bringing home a gold from the 2019 Para Swimming World Championships. From there, she’s got her eye on the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. “I’ve never made a Paralympic Games, so Paralympics 2020 Tokyo. That’s our big ambition.