To a casual spectator it may appear that all swimmers do is swim. To listen to Australian Dolphin, Jessica Hansen, water training is simply one part of her busy life.
“Balance”, she answers in response to a question, “life balance is crucial. I am not defined as a person by how well I swim. I always ask up and coming swimmers what else they have going on in their lives other than swimming.”
Abbotsleigh has been extremely fortunate to host Jess for the past 2 days. In and out of the water, Jess has been part of the team. Her enthusiasm and engagement is infectious. “I’m hungry, I want to go home” complains one young swimmer. “You’ll be fine, not long now”, Jess replies with a smile.
Jess is a gold and silver medallist at the recent Pan Pacific Games in Japan. She’s been competing at the National Shortcourse Championships in Melbourne at the weekend, and is off to China in a few weeks for the World Champs Shortcourse. It hardly seems an ideal time for her to jump onto a plane to Sydney and spend a couple of days with a different group of swimmers. Surely she’s not wanting to sample our vintage of chlorine like a good Pinot Noir?
But somehow that’s Jess. We learn that on top of swimming she is studying for a degree, and working. “I thought I was a backstroker but breast stroke chose me”, she comments with pride, almost as if it’s therefore her duty to serve the ‘Gods of Breaststroke’ and fit it into her life.
Medals were passed around and admired. Selfies were taken. Excited questions were asked about Jess’ Cavoodle dog Taylor (blonde brown). And with that she was off to the airport.
Thank you to Amanda for arranging. Thank you to the club for supporting. Most of all thank YOU Jess for sharing part of your busy life with us, for being so authentic and having such great impact.