Athlete Update- Hannah Blackwood, September 2018

Dear Perago Trust,

I have just returned home from my pinnacle event, competing in the 2018 FINA World Junior Open Water 10km Championships in Eilat, Israel.

As New Zealand’s sole qualifier and representative, my coach Carl Gordon and I left Auckland on 31 August. It took 48 hours for us to get to Israel and when we did, it was a bit of a shock to the system after leaving 5 degree Cambridge to the 40 degree desert weather. 

The race location of Eilat was extremely beautiful. Israel can tend to be surrounded by negative connotations and looked like an unusual place for a World Sporting event venue but I never felt unsafe, instead very lucky that my sport allowed me to visit this country that I ended up loving. 

We stayed in a swimmers village and always felt welcome, and it was a really awesome experience for me to be surrounded by swimmers and coaches from all different countries, all around the same age as me. 

The race itself was extremely tough. It was based in the Red Sea, which was interesting as the higher salt content of the ocean made the water more buoyant, and warmer. 10km in a water temp of 27degrees was undoubtedly the most physically challenging race I have ever competed in. 

The course itself was incredible, the entire 1.66km lap (x6) had clear water and visibility the whole way round . I made the promise to myself that I wasn’t leaving without giving it everything, and I can say that all I had put me 25th. 

2018 has been a huge year for me. I have been lucky enough to race around the world, including in Australia in January, Europe in June and most recently Israel after only turning 18 a couple of months ago, and I am stoked that I got the opportunity to represent the country on multiple occasions and my swim club, St Peters Swimming Club Cambridge. 

I feel extremely privileged and would like to thank the support of the Perago Trust immensely for helping me to get to these events, I would not have been able to otherwise. 

The FINA Junior World Open Water Championships only happen once every two years, and seeing as the age category I raced in was 18-19 year old means that this was my first and last race as a Junior. After this experience I am really looking forward to the future and progression of my swimming career.

Thank you again,

Hannah Blackwood 


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