Meghan Willis: “Sport has made me more confident about my disability.”

She is fast making a name for herself as an up-and-coming swimmer with ambitions to compete in the Paralympics, but Megan Willis says swimming has given her much more than just medals and personal accolades.

He was born without a right hand and a partial forearm. Megan He was always conscious of being different:

“I hated people staring at me, and I would always tuck my hand into my sleeve or hide it behind my back. But actually, with my swimsuit on, I couldn’t hide. I also realized that people didn’t really notice. And no one was bothered by it. They were more interested.” “What I was doing in the pool.”

Sixteen-year-old Megan often trains twice a day and swims an average of 40 kilometers a week. She’s doing all this while studying for her GCSEs, so her commitment to the sport is clear.

But she’s not someone who was always destined to excel in sports. “I’m not sure I ever considered myself an athlete,” Megan laughs. “But I always loved playing outdoors and running.”

She started swimming the same way as millions of other children, by being signed up by her parents to take swimming lessons. She moved quickly through the different levels, or waves as they are known, and when she reached wave seven – when she officially completes swimming lessons – it was suggested she join the club.

Joining Torfaen Dolphins and the Wales team

I first entered through the doors Turvin dolphins When she was eight years old. Her club remains today:

“I met a lot of friends there and we all grew up together. It’s like a family.”

The club also confirmed Meghan’s classification early on. In para-sport, you need a classification to compete at a certain level. After that, she was selected for the Welsh national team.

“It came as a big surprise to me because I had seen other swimmers with a range of disabilities. There was a swimmer called Molly who had no feet, and it was great to see someone, a bit like me, in the sport doing so well.

Liz Johnsonwho won the gold medal in 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijingwas also a great inspiration.

Megan says her progress is a testament to her parents, who have always supported her, and her coaches.

“I’ve been really lucky with my coaches,” Megan adds. “They are great at communicating and adapting to sessions. My strength and conditioning coach, Ray Morgan, always goes the extra mile by adapting equipment and sessions for me. He also communicates with the weightlifters one-handed so I can get the best support possible.”

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