After months of preparation and hard work, the 34-strong Dolphins swim team will jet off to the United Kingdom tomorrow, ready to compete at the World Para Swimming Championships in London.
Departing from their home ports in Australia on Friday 30 August, Manchester will mark the first stop on their journey as they undertake a week-long staging camp up north before the championships kick off at the London Aquatics Centre on Monday 9 September.
This major international and coveted meet will see 651 swimmers from 81 countries vie for world titles and podium finishes across seven days of competition.
Paralympic gold medallist and experienced campaigner, Tiffany Thomas Kane, said while the nerves will no doubt start kicking in soon, she can’t wait to travel overseas with her Dolphin teammates and has been preparing for the long-haul flight.
“It’s always exciting heading away with the team going to compete at the world champs and being able to have your teammates behind you,” she said.
“The flight to England is very long and tough, but the main thing for us athletes is the hydration we are getting.
"Being on planes can make you very dehydrated and can contribute to you getting sick, so I’ll need to keep the fluids high, also sleeping at the right time and keeping the body loose by walking up and down the plane and having a stretch will make a big difference,” she added.
With a packed program including five individual events, the Monte swimmer will be looking to maximise the opportunity during the staging camp at the Manchester Aquatics Centre to acclimatise and put the finishing touches on her race plans.
“The staging camp is really important for all athletes and coaches as that way it can give us time to get over jet lag and get to know what will be happening over the next few weeks, so when competition hits we are ready to race,” she said.
“It also gives us the chance to touch up our skills and improvements with ourselves that can help us race faster as we go to compete against the world.”
Highlighting her own preparation over the last few months, the 2015 world champ gold medallist noted the motivation and confidence she gains from her coach during each training session.
“My preparation has been going well and I have been hitting the best training times possible,” she said.
“I know working hard in the water will help me get the best result once racing comes and having my coach Jon and Tom alongside me all the way has heightened my motivation to keep working hard which makes me stronger and more confident.”
In the lead up to the World Para Swimming Championships the team also took part in a Para GP event in Brisbane, as well as a warm-weather training camp in Cairns – giving athletes not only a chance to train, but the opportunity to bond and forge genuine friendships too.
“The mood around the team always feels like they are your family and close friends,” Thomas Kane said.
“During training camp, we always make the environment the happiest it can be and enjoy our times away and then during competition it becomes the focus of the athlete within their races and how they prepare themselves for their events coming up.
“We always have the support together and we know if anyone has a bad race, as you hit the team room, they will all have your back and be able to cheer you up.”
The World Para Swimming Championships take place at the London Aquatics Centre between 9-15 September. Catch all the action from heats and finals live on the 7plus App.