Working my way up through the national ranks I travelled round the country and abroad supported by my parents and by small grants from Stevenage Sports Council. Eventually I was chosen to represent Great Britain at the Junior European Championships in a freezing outdoor pool in Oslo, Norway. Later I had the honour of representing my country at Commonwealth, European, World and Olympic Games. It was a special time, mingling with competitors from all over the world who were the best in their country at their event. I later discovered that some of these had become household names, but at the events we were all just athletes striving to perform our best. The triumphs and disappointments of competing at this level have given me experiences to learn from and to treasure.