Commonwealth Games Blogs

Confessions of a chiroptophobic

The days are beginning to run together as we get closer and closer to the start of the Commonwealth Games.

Considering my best event, the 200 IM, is on the first day of competition, that Oct. 3 date for the opening ceremony in Delhi is starting to seem ominous. But being here in Singapore for the Canadian swimming team's training camp gives me plenty of time to not only get ready physically, but also mentally.

Singapore is a beautiful country - extremely clean and full of friendly, helpful people. Just last night, Alexa Komarnycky and I went to the mall to get our pre-meet manicures and pedicures, and the security guard who called our cab gave us plenty of tips on saving money next time we decide to leave the Singapore Sports School.

The staff here goes above and beyond to make sure we have clean rooms and enough food to eat. There is, however, one thing that no one can change: the heat and humidity. The pool, although it has a roof over it, is in an open-air setting. Although it's nice to avoid breathing in the chlorinated, unfiltered air that we are used to in indoor pools, the humidity makes breathing a bit of a challenge for me because I have a minor affliction of exercise-induced asthma. And although I was frustrated with the problem at first, I am looking at it as just another challenge. Other than this minor blip in my training, everything has been going very well in the pool.

Breaking bad

My coach, Randy Bennett, insists on us swimming twice a day, every day, in case the transportation to and from the pool is extremely time-consuming when we get to Delhi. By putting in a little extra work in Singapore, we can afford to go to the pool less often for training once we get to India.

One morning in Singapore, everyone in our group did some sort of hard "broken" effort at practice. What that means is that you take your best event, or part of it if you swim a long event, and "break" it into smaller parts with very short rest in between. I did a broken 200 IM: a 50 fly from a dive, followed by a 50 backstroke, 50 breaststroke and 50 freestyle, all with 10 seconds rest in between. The goal is to have all your 50s add up to the total time you want to swim in your actual race.

My first two 50s were great, but I fell off a bit on the second half and was a little bit slower than I would have liked. But the effort was there, and that's all that really matters. The main thing is to put the race together perfectly in Delhi. This was simply a practice run. 

Beyond getting ready physically, it's very important for me to be mentally prepared as well. Nobody knows what to expect once we get to India. How will the village be? How long will it take to get to and from the venue? What will the competition pool be like? But none of these things will matter, ultimately, because every athlete will be dealing with the exact same adversities. Whoever handles it the best mentally will, in turn, swim the best.

As a girl who likes to get manicures, doesn't like to get dirty, and is extremely chiroptophobic (that means I'm afraid of bats - really, if there is a bat anywhere near me, I will hit the deck!) I feel like Delhi may be one of my biggest challenges yet. But if I'm able to handle any uncomfortable situations that I may experience next week, it will make me not only a better athlete, but also a better person.

So bring it on, Delhi. I'm ready for some character development! Who knows, maybe after this I'll even overcome my distaste for camping and be able to go with my friends during my time off!