Lakeisha ‘Lucky’ Patterson has turned the disruptions of the pandemic to her advantage for the Paralympic Games (August 24-September 5) in Tokyo.
The 22-year-old, who does her strength and conditioning, massage and physio in North Lakes, has used the extra time to focus on “little one percenters” which can make a big difference when she goes for gold in the 400m Freestyle S9.
Japan is the latest stop in a swimming journey which began 17 years ago to manage muscle stiffness after Lucky was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy left Hemiplegia soon after birth and epilepsy at the age of five.
The UQ student will hit the water in Tokyo a year later than first planned after COVID forced the Paralympics and Olympics back by 12 months – but that time has been used wisely.
“Sometimes different can be good,” said Lucky, who trained at Southern Cross, Scarborough early in her career and is now with Belgravia at Burpengary Aquatic Centre.
“It took time to adjust and figure out what was happening. Instead of seeing negatives, I instilled everything I have worked on and used in the past, to move forward.
“That gave us more time to work on those little one percenters. In a way, it was an exciting time to get those added advantages.”
Lucky may be among the favourites in Tokyo having has won gold at four major Games –World Championships 2015 and 2019, Rio Paralympics 2016 and Commonwealth Games 2018.
“It’s good to be getting back to normal, having competitions in the lead up to the Games to practice racing and race plans,” said Lucky, who trained at Lawnton before joining Belgravia.
“Under the guidance of the amazing (coach) Harley (Connolly) I’m confident of being able to swim well at the games.”
Lucky, who learned to swim on Bribie Island and lives in Caboolture, said securing her ticket to Toyko brought a mix of emotions,
“To finally have that security of ‘yes you are going’ was a sense of pride and accomplishment,” said the UQ student.
“But the job is not over yet. It’s still head down and put in the hard work and progress towards those goals of winning gold.”
The 400m Freestyle S9 starts on the opening day of competition in Tokyo and Lucky was, at the time of writing, unsure about racing the 100m Freestyle or 34-point replays.
But she said: “I’m just concentrating on getting myself ready, not about everyone else’s results or times.
“I know to some degree what to expect; I know how important recovery is …. and all those one percenters!"
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