It's been a busy year for Castlebar Swimming Club's Sinead Mylett, and it's about to get even busier. Fresh from her three day trip to London where she swam in the specially constructed pool that will host the Olympic swimmers next month, she received the exciting news two weeks ago that she has been chosen to join the Irish squad that will travel to Berlin next month to swim in the 2012 German International Youth Competition.
Sinead Mylette pictured with (inset) the special all-areas pass she used at the pre-Olympics Schools Games in London.
London, says Sinead, was an absolute blast. "They brought lots of school kids in to watch so there were loads of spectators - it was a really good atmosphere," she says. Featuring over 1,500 schoolchildren from all over England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, the Schools Games were held in four of the main Olympic venues. Swimming in the Olympic aquatic venue, says Sinead, was quite the experience: "It was fantastic, it felt like [the water] was easier to swim in, but it didn't actually make you go any faster."
Staying in a hotel just five minutes from the venue, Sinead was bussed in each day with the other competitors, and subjected to stringent security measures. "The security guard used to bring a dog onto the bus to check for drugs and stuff," she remembers. "And we all had a special pass and had to wear it at all times."
The athletes had two days before their event - with a training session on each day. There were plenty of mentors around - including former Olympians or Olympians-in-waiting - who were available on-site to deal with any questions or problems their younger sporting colleagues might have. Each evening, the young competitors travelled to the ExCeL Centre, which will host a variety of indoor events at the Olympics, where they got to watch a range of different sports. The Schools Games opening meal was also held at ExCeL - with all of the competitors attending. "It was a feast in a huge hall, like something out of Harry Potter," says Sinead.
Next up are the Irish Division 1 Championships being held in Limerick at the beginning of July, and then Sinead travels to Berlin a week after that event. She will travel as part of the nine-strong Irish squad and is the only swimmer from Connacht. "It's an amazing honour for the club," said coach Marian English. The week after Sinead's return from Berlin, she has qualified to attend the British Age Groups in Sheffield. Will she try harder for any particular event, or does she treat them all the same? "Oh, I'll try hard for all of them," she smiles. Not bad going for a girl who doesn't turn 14 till the end of July.