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Grace Harvey on balancing sport and examine

Grace Harvey on balancing sport and examine

Grace Harvey on balancing sport and examine

Harvey goes into the breaststroke occasion quickest on the planet this yr

2023 Para Swimming World Championships

Venue: Manchester Aquatics Centre Dates: 31 July-6 August

Protection: Every day reviews throughout BBC Sport.

Para-swimmer Grace Harvey is hoping her balancing act out and in of the pool can hold her on prime of the world at this week’s World Championships in Manchester.

The 24-year-old goes into the occasion as defending champion within the SB5 100m breaststroke occasion.

However the Tokyo Paralympic silver medallist combines coaching with learning for a Masters in Public Dental Well being on the College of Manchester.

“I am extremely lucky to dwell each the lifetime of a pupil and of an athlete performing on the highest degree,” she instructed BBC Sport.

“There are only a few individuals who do the 2 on the similar time and to realize properly at each is one thing I need to do. It’s fairly troublesome balancing them and lots of it includes actually good time planning.

“Sport has opened my eyes to so many different issues that I would not have gotten by solely being a pupil, and it took me a very long time to grasp that there are such a lot of experiences I get from sport which might be transitioned into the office.

“I additionally need to use my platform as an athlete to champion the three issues I’m obsessed with – academia, sport and dental well being.”

Harvey, who has cerebral palsy and is a wheelchair consumer, is a part of a 28-strong British group which additionally consists of Bethany Firth, Maisie Summers-Newton, Stephen Clegg and Ellie Challis, who had been additionally victorious ultimately yr’s World Championships in Madeira.

Competitors begins on Monday, with Harvey’s breaststroke occasion on Friday, and having been based mostly in Manchester for the previous six-and-a-half years, she is hoping to make residence benefit depend on the newly refurbished Aquatics Centre.

However the Hertfordshire para-swimmer, who additionally has an undergraduate diploma in immunology, is trying in direction of her long-term future with an ambition to review dentistry.

The twin calls for on her life have concerned switching her undergraduate diploma to part-time; she is now finishing her Masters over two years as she builds in direction of this week’s championships and subsequent yr’s Paris Paralympics.

“I need to go into particular care or group dentistry and make a distinction, as a result of I really feel there are such a lot of unmet wants and well being inequalities inside our society and likewise globally,” she explains.

“I actually wished to grasp how dental coverage is carried out, the challenges round it and the function of dental care professionals in different areas like international girls’s well being – issues I felt empowered by – to assist me uncover the large image.”

Harvey’s sporting profession has had its setbacks. Whereas London 2012 got here too early for her, she suffered the heartbreak of lacking out on qualifying for Rio 4 years later by half a second.

However her persistence was rewarded along with her silver in Tokyo and gold ultimately yr’s Worlds, the place she additionally claimed 200m particular person medley silver and 100m freestyle bronze, earlier than a silver on the Commonwealth Video games in Birmingham, the place she competed towards less-impaired swimmers within the SB6 occasion.

Grace Harvey in action

Harvey will compete in three occasions over the course of the week

Beforehand a backstroke specialist, she solely began racing breaststroke in early 2021 and belied her lack of expertise to complete behind defending Paralympic champion Yelyzaveta Mereshko of Ukraine in Tokyo.

However coming into this week’s occasion she is now a extra seasoned campaigner and has additionally hung out this yr in Germany coaching alongside Tokyo bronze medallist Verena Schott, who shall be her primary rival on the Worlds.

“In Manchester I’m the one swimmer in my class within the coaching group, which might be fairly isolating, so it has been good to work alongside somebody like Verena to see how I’m becoming in,” she says.

“We’re each attempting to be the most effective we might be in our sport and it’s about how can we make one another sooner and what approach can we be taught from one another.

“Tokyo was solely my second main worldwide competitors and there was lots of strain and anxiousness round racing a brand new occasion and I did not actually know find out how to execute the race.

“Going into these Worlds, I am assured I can do the most effective race that I can. I’d like to retain my title and swim a season’s finest, however they’re outcomes. I need to concentrate on nailing my begin off the wall, ensuring I actually set my stroke up in the beginning of the race after which see what I’ve received coming again on the house straight.

“I am actually excited to be racing in my residence pool and to have household and pals come alongside to assist me.

“I’m most likely probably the most nervous particular person relating to racing however I’ve determined that if I’m nervous it’s as a result of I would like it so badly.

“We prepare day in and time out for that one second while you stand on the blocks and race 100m and I exploit the nerves and the joy as that bit additional.

“On the finish of the day, it’s two lengths of breaststroke and it’s important to swim it quick. However if you find yourself head down and combating in that final 5 metres, when it might be the distinction between first or second or third and fourth, these nerves are what hold me going.”

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