Swimmer’s setDavid Taylor of Barbados, two-time Paralympian, during one of his training sessions. (Guest Picture)
By Sherrylyn A. Toppin | Sat, September 01, 2012 - 12:03 AM
Barbados’ lone Paralympic swimmer David Taylor is set to splash off in the first of his two events today at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Taylor, who lost his left leg up to a few inches above the knee during a battle with cancer, will compete in the 50M freestyle today and the 100M breaststroke on Monday.
Hours of dedication will come together for Taylor, who is out of bed as early as 3:30 a.m. to catch the first bus (5 a.m.) from South District, St George, to go to training at the Aquatic Centre. Training runs from 5 to 7 a.m. with David Farmer, who lauded Taylor’s commitment to the goal.
“He has been training very hard. He is a really dedicated athlete who has made considerable sacrifice in his personal life to be able to get to practise on time,” farmer told the SATURDAY SUN.
“I hope everything goes well with him and we are looking for a good result.”
After he lost his leg in 2001, Taylor had to use the Aquatic Centre for physiotherapy. He had never been a swimmer, but joined a group of 20 people in the Learn To Swim programme coordinated by the Paralympic associations of Barbados and Canada in January 2002.
By Independence Day of the same year, Taylor was swimming for fun, but it soon became more serious.
He qualified and then competed at the 2003 Parapanam Games in Argentina. He described that experience as “awful” but continued to swim.
Four years later at the Parapanam Games in Brazil, he won a bronze medal in the 100M breaststroke. The following year, he competed at the Beijing Paralympic Games, placing 13th in the same event.
“It was a good experience. It was the first time for me, but I wasn’t prepared,” Taylor said in a recent interview.
“I’m preparing now for London, so I feel more confidence than in 2008.
“I’m putting in extra work. My discipline got higher [after Beijing]. Every morning about 3:30 I’m up trying to catch the first bus,” he said.
Farmer was unable to accompany Taylor to London. Wesley Worrell, president of the Paralympic Association is his manager, and the coach is Seldon Millington. Farmer tried to put his charge in the best state to peak in London.
In the weeks leading to the games, they worked on Taylor’s endurance, increasing his speed and ironing out flaws in his start and turn. It has been a struggle, but Taylor does not dwell on the negatives and is looking forward to improving his times when his second chance comes around.
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