It has been an incredibly testing year for young, competitive sportspeople due to the pandemic.
Elijah Cruz is a Kingston University student who was on the highest level of the university’s sports performance programme.
He is a swimmer who competes in international competitions but has not been able to practice due to the restrictions.
He says that the forced absence from his sport has been a blessing in disguise.
Cruz said: “To be honest, I’ve just learned to be accepting over this period. I tried to see this as an opportunity to take a break from swimming and venture into other areas of training.
“I’ve been swimming for almost 10 years of my life now at a competitive level, so perhaps this was the break I needed.”
Despite this, the fact that competitions for which he prepared so hard would no longer take place was initially a disappointment for Cruz.
He said: “Of course, at the start of the pandemic, I was devastated at the fact that I would be missing out on upcoming competitions such as Europeans in Budapest in May and World Championships in Dubai in December. But this is something out of everyone’s control and if the pools are closed, what else am I supposed to do?”
Cruz suggested that whilst not being able to train in the pool, he has been able to explore other aspects of fitness to keep himself occupied.
He said: “During this period, I’ve ventured into other areas of fitness which I may not have been able to due to the pandemic. I’ve focused a lot more on HIIT workouts as well as a lot of running and walking.
“Like many others, home workouts have become the main focus of my training. It offers a good opportunity to gather my thoughts and de-stress.”
Last week, British Swimming was awarded a grant of £250,000 by UK sport to help the sport deal with the impact of Covid-19.
Cruz suggests that whilst this is fantastic news for swimming, he is hopeful that some of the funds will be used to help smaller swimming organisations and venues.
He said: “I greatly appreciate the £250,000 for British Swimming, however, I wonder how far that money will trickle down to smaller swimming clubs. I imagine the priority will be for those swimmers heading for the Olympics and Commonwealth competitions.
I do hope that this money trickles down to smaller competitions and for those who might not be at that competitive level.”