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Coach Emma Patrick backs Paralympic duo Sascha and Nyree Kindred to go faster
COACH Emma Patrick believes there’s more to come from Paralympic swimming stars Sascha and Nyree Kindred.
Hereford-based couple Sascha and Nyree clinched silver medals and achieved personal best times for Great Britain at London 2012.
“During the Games, I was thinking that I couldn’t put myself through it again because I was so worried and stressed,” said Emma, who trains the duo in Leominster.
“You have your athlete on the block and you feel completely out of control.
“It was so nerve-wracking. You feel lost in the whole environment,” said Emma, who bought her own tickets for the races and stayed in a flat near Waterloo during the Games.
“There’s that little bit inside me that says that Sascha and Nyree can still go a bit faster.
“It would be terrible if we were sitting at home watching Rio and the gold medals went in a time that we know we could have achieved.”
Emma, who lives in Marlbrook and used to be in the RAF, is a former British Swimming coach.
She said that, heading into the London Games, Sascha had a niggling back problem and Nyree was worried about being apart from daughter Ella.
“Ella spent time with me and a friend in a flat,” said Emma.
“It was Sascha’s fifth Games and Nyree’s fourth and, being very senior athletes, there was a lot of expectation.
“Sascha, a double gold medallist for the previous three Games, had quite a lot on his shoulders.
“He had missed the Europeans last year with a sore back and a back injury meant a lot of time out of the pool. But Nyree and Sascha both got silvers and did personal bests.”
Emma first got involved with the British Swimming team before the Sydney Games.
“Not a lot of people know that I work with Nyree and Sascha because I no longer work for British Swimming,” she said.
Emma was a coach at the performance centre in Bath when she first met Nyree and Sascha who were two swimmers in the squad.
The performance centre later moved to Manchester and Emma resigned from British Swimming in 2002.
“Nyree and Sascha left the performance centre to come down to train with me,” said Emma.
“I have only got Nyree and Sascha - I haven’t got time to look after other swimmers. “For Nyree and Sascha it was a courageous thing to do because they opted out of staying in a performance centre and moved down to a shortcourse pool.
“If they hadn’t moved down here, I probably wouldn’t be coaching now.
“They were the two closest swimmers to me and the most committed.
“Nyree and Sascha are driven - if they weren’t driven, I couldn’t coach them. I won’t waste my time on people who don’t want to train. We had a lot to prove and we’ve carried on training and they have done well ever since.
“We do have a very close relationship and even if something is not quite right, even if it’s nothing to do with swimming, we feel we can say something.
“It’s more than the normal swimmer-coach relationship.”
Emma collected Herefordshire Sport’s 2009 Coach-of-the-Year award. And she was crowned Coach-of-the-Year at the 2010 Midlands Disability Sports Awards. She says her mum has been a huge support.
Emma started swimming in her grandfather’s pool in Much Birch.
She got involved with a swimming club in Bracknell and worked with Sarah Hardcastle leading into the Atlanta Games in 1996.
The Herefordshire coach says disabled swimmers can compete at an older age than able-bodied athletes.
“I still believe that Sascha can still swim quicker with everything put in place.
“When Sascha’s back was niggling and he was out of the pool for two days at a time, it was frustrating. You could see that he was getting quite upset.”
“I think that Nyree can get quicker as well.”
She praised Leominster Swimming Pool for providing them with water-time free of charge.
“They sponsor us,” said Emma. “If we need any extra water time, it’s always available. It’s like one big family at Leominster Swimming Pool.
“We have two lanes and the public are in the pool as we train.
“It’s nice because it makes it feel real and the public are interested in what we’re getting up to.
“It’s our seventh year at Leominster and Halo’s Jon Argent has helped us with everything we need.”
She admits there will be tough decisions ahead.
“Sascha and Nyree both behave very maturely and they have nothing to prove or nothing to say that needs to justify what they’ve done. They have been Paralympic champions and won lots of medals.
“They have been great ambassadors for their sport and British Swimming should be proud of them.
“Nyree is back with Ella and she handled it really well. You just wanted them to swim their best and it just confirmed everything we’re doing is right.
“We will have to have a sit down and chat in the near future. “We will need to talk about moving forward or retiring.
“If this is to be their last Games, they have both medalled.”
THE Chinese swimmers are the ones to watch, says Emma Patrick.
“The Chinese aren’t on the rankings but you know they’re there,” said Emma.
.“With the Chinese you just never know what expect.
“The Chinese were fantastic so, as a coach, I am less questioning myself.
“We did well in Beijing and they came back and did the same up to us at our home games.
“Even the World Championships aren’t a true indication of what happens at Paralympics.
“You don’t see the Chinese at World Championships.
“They go away into camps for great lengths of time. The live in the environment where they swim and are educated in the camps.”
EMMA Patrick says it’s important to educate people about disability sport.
“I overheard a conversation in town between people saying they didn’t understand how someone without arms could swim against someone with arms and legs,” she said.
“You could have someone like Sascha with cerebral palsy and hemiplegia against someone who is very dynamic, streamlined and with a powerful kick and someone who doesn’t have as much fatigue and is more even in the water.”
She added: “Someone without arms could swim fast because they are streamlined and they might not have as much frontal resistance as someone like Sascha.”