MELANIE NOCHER - IRISH SWIMMER
When the opening ceremony for the Games of the 28th Olympiad dazzles the world on August 13, Melanie Nocher will be there, taking it all in. The record-breaking swimmer has been selected to represent Ireland at the Athens Olympic Youth Camp, a gathering of 400 young people from around the globe. Over 16 days they will take part in sports, arts and cross-cultural events. The programme, which also includes visits to four Olympic competitions, is intended to encourage participants to become the next Olympians and Melanie is ideally qualified. She holds 18 records at junior and senior levels in long-course and short-course events in Northern Ireland and last month broke the Irish junior record for the 100m backstroke.
My aspirations are to make the 2012 Olympics in London, my goal is to move forward and make sure I remain one of the Irish swimmers who make the team again. But starting at the beginning because this is my biography... I started swimming when I was nine years old in a local swimming club called new northern. It was a little club which my friend Emma Campbell asked me to go along to with her. Its interesting looking back on it now because all my friends used to beat me and all got moved up into higher squads before me, yet I stuck with it and at the age of twelve I won my first Ulster championship medal. My coach Pearse McGuigan-forecasted to my parents and myself then that he saw a talent in me and thought I could achieve a lot in the sport.