Portarlington native Nicole Turner had her sights set not just on competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics later this year but of also finishing in the medal places.
But with the Coronavirus outbreak the Paralympics along with the Olympics have been cancelled and rescheduled for 2021.
Nicole, a student in Colaiste Iosagain, had decided to take a year out of school to focus on her training in the lead up to this year’s Olympics.
She said: “Last year I finished school 40 minutes early every day to go swimming in Dublin but this year I was going into 5th year so I couldn’t do that. So I decided to take the year out fully and train for Tokyo.”
Nicole said she doesn’t have a plan in regards to school next year and whether she will take another year out but says she has always prioritised her swimming and the Paralympics is a huge opportunity.
Nicole said she is treating this time as a “summer break.”
She said: “My coaches have been telling me to treat this as a summer break because the season has finished completely now.
“We were meant to be going to Sheffield in the UK next week and then to Indianapolis in the United States the following week for competitions but obviously they have been cancelled so I’m just treating it as a break.”
She said: “It has effected my routine, I’m one week out of training now, the centre where I swim had closed a week before to the public but remained open to Paralympic and Olympic swimmers to train with their coaches but closed officially last week.
“I am not completely out of training, I have almost a mini gym in my shed where I can train but obviously it is nowhere near the extent of how I would train normally.”
Having claimed a bronze in the 50-metre butterfly S6 at the World Para Swimming Championships in London, Nicole also finished seventh in the Women’s 100-metre Breaststroke SB6 final.
She was also the worthy recipient of the Buggy Property Partners/LaoisToday ‘Sports Star of the Month’ last October.
In May 2017,she received a civic reception in Laois County Councilfor her glowing contribution to paralympic and Laois swimming. 2017 also saw her receive the title of ‘Para Swimmer of the Year.’
Nicole said she wants nothing more than to be on that plane to Tokyo next year!