Fiona Doyle called back to CCC last month to meet her old principal and show off the Silver medal she won recently at the World University Games. The last medal won by an Irish swimmer in these games was back in 1991. Fiona is very proud of being a graduate of a Jesuit College and puts a lot of her success down to some of the life skills she learned while in Crescent. When she called into the school recently she gave some insight into the life of an emerging sports star.
What is a normal day like? Every Monday to Friday I train roughly 20 hours in the pool. Each day I follow the same schedule; Wake up at 4.50am. Swim 6-8am. Weights 8-9am. Class 10-1pm. Swim 2-4pm. Coach 4-7pm. Study 7.30-9pm. Sleep. The year started going really well for me when I won a gold medal in the 50m breaststroke at Canadian trials in April. I competed at the Irish Nationals, where I qualified for the World Championships and set a new Irish record in a time of 1.08.23. Then came the World University Games in Kazan, Russia. The time I achieved to win my silver medal was a 1.07.66 in the 100m breaststroke and broke my previous record by over half a second (which is a lot in swimming). I also came 4th in the 50m breaststroke, narrowly missing out on a second medal by .01 of a second.
The question “why not me?” has stayed with me during the course of this summer. As a nation I believe we have a view that because we are a small country, we only attend big meets to participate, not to achieve. The moment I started to believe that I could be just as good as anyone else, was the moment everything started to fall into place. It has taken a lot to get to where I am but I still have a long way to go. I have learned so much in recent years, about success in sport and about life in general. A lot of it came from my time in Crescent when everyone, all my teachers especially, were so supportive. When I come back to meet the students at assembly next month I will be summing up these lessons as follows:
1) The importance of being organised. By finishing college assignments the week they are given, it means I don’t have stress when the finishing date comes close. It really works. As uncool as it sounds, it’s a really good idea to stick to deadlines.
2) It’s good to ask for help. Most people have the belief they should do everything by themselves. I have seen so many who have taken on a work load that is too stressful and haven’t been able to cope. It’s good to talk and people are willing to help you when you ask. When you take advantage of the help that is provided much of the stress of high performance can be avoided.
3) Trust. Perhaps the hardest lesson in life. I know I have to trust my coaches and those around me. They know what they are doing. In sport as in life second-guessing and not trusting only limits your performance.”
Keep an eye on Fiona as she aims for the Rio Olympics in 2016