"Whilst swimming I'm constantly having to look up in front of me so I don't swim into unsuspecting members of the public. It's far from ideal. It also means I can't work on my stroke pattern or technique as I'm constantly having to be careful where I swim."
Spain’s Teresa Perales, one of the world’s best swimmers, is concerned for her form ahead of August’s IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal, Canada because the economic crisis in Spain has led to the closure of the only 50m pool in her hometown of Zaragoza.
As a result the six-time Paralympic champion, most recently in the London 2012 100m freestyle, is training in a 25m pool alongside members of the public because the nearest 50m to Zaragoza is 300km away.
Speaking to www.paralympic.org, Perales said: “My training for Montreal is not going very well at all because the swimming pool I have used for years to train in closed in December.
“It might reopen in May but for now I have no 50m pool to train in and instead am having to train in a 25m pool. It’s just not the same.”
Perales is one of Spain’s most successful Paralympians of all time having competed in every Games since Sydney in 2000. During an illustrious career she has won 22 Paralympic medals, including six golds, and has also claimed six silver and five bronze medals at IPC Swimming World Championships.
At London 2012 she picked up one gold, two silver and two bronze medals and says the pool closure has left her preparations for Montreal in trouble with just over six months to go.
“I’m really frustrated,” said Perales. “After London I needed a break but now I really need to get back into training and want to step up my preparations for the World Championships but can’t.
“It’s not just the change of distance that is a problem. In the 50m pool I had a dedicated lane to train in, but in the new 25m pool I cannot pay for that. As a result I’m training in the pool alongside members of the public.
“Whilst swimming I’m constantly having to look up in front of me so I don’t swim into unsuspecting members of the public. It’s far from
ideal. It’s also means I can’t work on my stroke pattern or technique as I’m constantly having to be careful where I swim.
“The public know me but they are swimming for leisure, whilst I’m trying to prepare for a World Championships. I am swimming a lot faster than them.”
For now Perales must continue to train in the 25m pool as she prepares for Montreal and hope her old pool reopens in May.
The IPC Swimming World Championships will take place between 11-17 August 2013 and will be the first major international gathering of swimmers since the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Around 650 swimmers from 50 countries are set to take part in the event.
For further information, please visit the Montreal 2013 website at www.ipcswimmingworlds2013.org or follow the sports Twitter account @IPCSwimming.
Perales was speaking to www.paralympic.org at the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in La Molina, Spain where she was promoting the IPC Athletes Council.