Para Swimmer in Right Mindset for 2024 Games…

Para Swimmer in Right Mindset for 2024 Games…

PARA-SWIMMING is practiced globally in nearly 100 countries, and is recognised as one of the popular growing sports in the Paralympic categories.

With the Paris 2024 Games coming up later this year, Para swimming is going to be one of the sports that will be focused on for many fans of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

At the first Rome 1960 Paralympic Games, 77 swimmers from 15 countries competed in the sport.

With less than 100 days to go until the Olympic Games begin, Italian Para swimming Champion Simone Barlaam is ready to have some fun, he told the 2024 Olympic Website.

From the Interview on the Olympic site with Italian Simone Barlaam

The Champion Paralympic swimmer underwent surgery on his right leg when he was a child, and began his competitive swimming at the age of 14.

He said: “I’ve always loved the water. On land, I felt like a fish out of water; in the water I felt agile, light. That sense of freedom is one of the things and I still love about swimming. It gave me a big part of my life, because most of my friends, my relationships. The person I am today is thanks to swimming, and the people I met through swimming. I owe a lot to the sport.

Growing up with his disability didn’t affect his determination to grow in his chosen sport.

He added: “Most of the kids I grew up with treated me in a completely normal way and my leg was just a part of me as a human being, something you can joke about just as you would with any other thing with your friends. I was lucky compared to a lot of people [with disabilities] who struggled more with bullies.”

Paris, France, is a special place for the Para swimming Italian because it was there where the Doctors performed his operation but he also said that during the 2020 Tokyo Games, the impact of Covid 19 had had a huge impact on his mindset for the 2020 Games where he achieved Gold but missed out on a few others.

In the 2020 Games, of course, during the impact of Covid 19 Pandemic, there weren’t any crowds there. In the 2024 Games, there are going to be lots of fans/spectators cheering their athletes on. He was thinking too much about the impact of the Pandemic in 2020.

He said: “Looking back, that’s my only regret from Tokyo. Of course, they were not the best performances of my life but I wasn’t the best person. I was thinking more about the results than the process – and as a consequence I didn’t do as well as I expected or hoped.

Now, the Para swimming Athlete has changed his mindset regarding performance and enjoys the process, but doesn’t beat himself up with mistakes.

I take myself less seriously. I don’t go crazy if training or a race doesn’t go well. That new mindset is helping me. Enjoying daily life and not going crazy if one night I sleep six hours instead of eight or on the weekend have a burger or a pizza with my friends. Train hard, go to training but enjoy the process.

the 23-year-old, who will be 24 by the time the Games come around, said he was hoping that he could compete for more Games after, but that it was not definite.

Barlaam was born with a coxa vara and congenital hypoplasia in his right femur which means that his right leg doesn’t develop resulting in his right leg shorter than his left leg. Coxa vara was caused by doctors who performed a podalic version procedure while he was in utero but his leg broke which doctors knew nothing about. During his childhood, he went through thirteen surgeries to correct his right leg.[4]

Good luck to all the Para swimmers competing in this year’s Paralympic Games in Paris. 

Chris Gaynor

Chris Gaynor is a writer with 10 years' experience writing for the web. He loves snooker, CSI and loves cycling off tiramisu!