Ever since Madeleine McTernan learned to swim, she has “always dreamed” of representing Australia.

Now, with less than two weeks until the 2019 World Para-swimming Championships kick off in London, England, the young St Hilda’s swimmer is only days away from achieving her lifelong ambition.

“Making a Dolphins team means everything to me,” McTernan said. “It’s really special and a great honour and privilege.

“I’ve always dreamed of representing Australia – and looking ahead my main goal is Tokyo [the 2020 Paralympic Games] – so it’s really special to make the team now in preparation for the Paralympics next year.”

McTernan’s debut selection comes after a host of outstanding performances at the 2019 Australian Swimming Championships, which saw her net a silver and bronze medal. She will contest the women’s 200m freestyle S14, women’s 100m backstroke S14 and the women’s 200m individual medley SM14 in London.

Training under her coach Ken Malcolm, McTernan completes nine sessions per week in the pool, including sprint and endurance drills, and a focus on technique.

“He [Malcolm] is mainly focussed on my technique and always looking out for how I did that race and how my technique went in that race. That’s something he always looks out for,” she said.

On top of the hours spent in the water, McTernan also completes two gym and CrossFit sessions a week. It is no doubt a packed schedule for the young gun, who balances her Para-swimming career with study too.

“When I’m swimming, I feel really happy and free, especially when I don’t need to deal with stresses from everything at school and others at home,” she said.

“If I’ve had a bad day, doing a session in the pool makes it all just wash away, and I can just focus on what I need to do in the water.”

As the countdown to the World Championships continues, McTernan is ready to give it her all.

“Leading in now and definitely with my training, I’ve been focussing on getting the technique down pat and my skills, especially my starts, turns and finishes. This also includes my core and all the extras, the one percenters that will help you be the best you can be.”

The 2019 World Para-swimming Championships take place at the London Aquatics Centre from 9-15 September. You will be able to catch all the action live on the 7plus app.

By Swimming Australia
Posted: 03/09/2019
Photo with thanks to Swimming Australia