After first jumping into the pool at five years old, swimmer Faye Rogers hasn't looked back.
Following years of training, determination and an accident that saw her transition over to para sport, the University of Aberdeen Performance swimmer is diving into the World Para Swimming Championships in Manchester next week.
Faye, who is a second year biochemistry student at the University of Aberdeen has had a long road to get where she is now, but it is her love of swimming that has propelled her forward.
She says: “My friends from school went to swimming lessons when I was younger so that was what made me first want to go. I started going to a club at the weekends and then when I was nine I began competing.
“I also spent time volunteering for my local swimming club and gained qualifications to work with autistic children in the pool.”
However, in September 2021, on the day she was supposed to move to Aberdeen for university, the 20-year-old was in a car accident which changed everything.
The accident left Faye with a permanent impairment in her arm.
“After the accident, the injury was affecting my stroke, but I really wanted to get back into the pool as quickly as possible. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to swim or compete at the level I’d been at before.
“I had to have surgery to reconstruct my elbow and lower arm. My rehabilitation involved a lot of physiotherapy but once the scars from surgery and the accident had healed I was able to do a lot of rehab in the pool which was really helpful.
“I have had to adapt quite a few things given that the injury was to my dominant hand, including having to relearn how to write. It does cause me some difficulties day to day, but I’ve found I can adapt to pretty much anything with enough determination and make it work.
“It was after that I decided to investigate para swimming as an option.”
After taking some time to recover, Faye made the move up to Aberdeen from Stockton-on-Tees and joined the University’s Performance Swimming programme.
And the transition into para swimming has seen her return to the sport she loves.
“The programme has really helped me. My coach, Patrick Miley, is great. He’d never met me before and he still took me on without knowing anything about me.
“I’ve been part of the programme for two years now and I’ve gained so much from it. It’s a really good, supportive environment and there’s a great team vibe.”
In recent months, Faye has been focused on training for the World Para Swimming Championships, where she will be a valuable member of the British team next week.
She was selected to make her debut at the Championships following her performances in Sheffield at the UK leg of the 2023 World Series.
Around 600 athletes from 70 different countries will compete across the competition in Manchester, and with the World Championships serving as a qualifier for the 2024 Summer Paralympics in Paris, Faye is ready to give it her all.
“It’s amazing to have qualified to take part in the Championships, I’m so excited. I never thought I’d have been able to do it. I’ve worked so hard to get here, but it’s still a shock!
“My family is so excited for me; I don’t think any of us expected it. They’ll all be there cheering me on which is really nice.”
The swimmer will be taking part in four races during the week: 100m butterfly, 200m individual medley, 100m freestyle and 400m freestyle – and she’s raring to go.
“I love racing. I’m a really competitive person so I’m in my element doing this. It’s a great team atmosphere at an event like this. My favourite part is competing against myself, trying to beat my own personal best and seeing how much time I can drop. I can’t wait to get started.”