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How do I start an update on my last year without mentioning the huge curveball that turned our world upside down? Oh, Covid, thank you for all the self-learning you have given me, but you can head out any time now.

What a wild time it has been. The only thing that seems consistent is Team Canada telling us about another change of plans. Learning how to adapt to change is something that I have vast experience in due to me living with a disability, however, this new kind of uncertainty has become kind of a nuisance. As with everyone, I am trying to find the good in these times and keep growing – hopefully, for the better.

When the pandemic first hit I was graduating high school and my main goal was making the senior national swim team and heading to the Olympics in Tokyo. Now, a year later, I have completed my first year of engineering online and still have hopes of making it to the Olympics, which are now being held this summer in Japan (fingers crossed). To date, there haven’t been any swim meets or Swim Canada training camps this season. Paralympic swim trials have been rescheduled and cancelled twice, so the only thing that’s been consistent has been my training, and I have been killing it!

Oh, and food…

When I think about my favourite snack to fuel me, it’s got to be either Rancho’s dried mango, jalapeño pistachios or their cashews. I do enjoy the sweeter stuff as well, but we can’t be telling my coach about the cappuccino almonds.

Another staple for me while training and travelling is a seed granola that my mom has been making me for years. Because there are no nuts in it, the granola was always in my lunch when I was a wee lad in public school. I still love the granola, and with nuts not always being allowed on planes, I would always keep a stash for snacking on. You can break the granola up into big chunks and eat it straight up or crumple it up on yogurt or with your favourite nut milk. Try my recipe!

Going forward, I have high hopes for swimming for Team Canada in Tokyo this coming August and also continuing my goals in my second year of university – we will see what the future holds.

To end things off, here’s one of my favourite quotes. I feel this is relevant to anyone living with a disability or anyone else navigating challenging times:

“My advice to other disabled people would be: concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you from doing well and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically.”

~ Stephen Hawking

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