After just missing out on a medal at London 2012, 16-year-old Andrew Mullen made a superb debut at the IPC Swimming World Championships this month by winning a medal and setting a record in each of his first three events.
“I’m really happy with the result in Canada,” he told SportsAid this week. “I came so close in London and to finally do it on the world stage is a great relief. London was a good preparation for me, helping me to get used to the crowds, and once you've done that you’re ready for anything.”
On the first day of the competition in Montreal Andrew won a bronze medal and set a new European record in the S5 50m butterfly, only losing out to Brazilian swimming legend Daniel Dias who at last summer’s Paralympic Games won six gold medals, all in world-record time.
“The butterfly is one of my favourite events,” Andrew explains, “so it was a great way to start the world championships and it really set the tone for me for the rest of the week. Dias is the world record holder and a great competitor so he’s someone I’ve always looked up to, but I’m getting closer to him every time I swim.”
Over his next two events, the S5 50m backstroke and SM5 200m individual medley, Andrew confirmed his dream debut by winning two silver medals – again behind Dias in each event – and setting two new British records in the process.
Asked whether he expected to come away with three podium finishes at his first senior world championships, Andrew says, “I definitely hit all my season’s objectives in Montreal but going into the meet you never know what will happen on the day and what people will bring. Standing on the podium I was relieved and happy to have done it.”
As a member of the Local Heroes programme, Andrew’s SportsAid Award this year has come from Bank of Scotland which he says has definitely helped not only him but also his family. “Financially it helps me and my parents a lot because most of the competitions I take part in are down south and paying for the travel and accommodation costs a lot of money. It also helps me to get to training.”