Clinging on to 2022 Games goal

US-based swimmer Harry Shalamon is still determined to get to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year, despite his preparations being hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Harry Shalamon is still determined to get to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year, despite his preparations being hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture By Peter Frankland.
Harry Shalamon is still determined to get to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year, despite his preparations being hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture By Peter Frankland.

Shalamon is currently in Michigan having graduated from the local Grand Valley State University in December but with competition swimming sidelined during his final year, the young Jerseyman finds himself a little out of practice.

The former De La Salle student claimed sixth in the men’s 50m backstroke final at Gold Coast 2018 – just 0.68s off bronze.

‘It’s been difficult,’ he admitted. ‘The State of Michigan has just gone through one of its toughest hardest restrictions. As far as my training is concerned, recently it’s kind of gone out of the window.

‘After I graduated, I wasn’t allowed to train with the college team anymore so I needed to find a new swim club to train with over here. I found one but then everything went into lockdown again until now. They’ve opened up swimming pools again but coaches aren’t allowed to train me. I’ve had to show up and swim by myself which is kind of unmotivating [sic] so I’ve definitely started to slack a little bit.’

Shalamon, who majored in exercise science at university, has had his visa extended by a year and is now looking for work in Michigan but again the current lockdown restrictions are making things difficult.

‘I’ve got a year over here to find work but that is proving difficult too in the current climate as an international,’ says Shalamon.

‘My goal has changed to get a job and then hope I can fit swimming in around it and then go from there. Right now, I’m just trying to juggle what I need for myself.’

While swimming may not be the number one priority for the 22-year-old, due in no small part to current restrictions, Shalamon still maintains he will do all he can to get the Games in Birmingham next summer.

‘After another year here I may come back and do a masters at Loughborough or Bath if I get accepted in because that will fit in nicely my next goal which is the Commonwealth Games in 2022,’ he explained. ‘That’s the main goal. Another goal of mine was to get to the Olympic trials but with Covid going on I don’t think I will be able to physically get back to England and train for it. I’m going to have to cut my losses on that and focus on the Commonwealth Games which was always my ultimate long term goal.’

And he admits that, once pandemic restrictions are relaxed, it is going to be hard work getting back to his best but says everyone is in the same boat and he remains relaxed about it.

‘I’ve still been training myself once a day may be three or four times a week,’ he says. ‘It’s always going to be difficult to get to the standards I was training at a year ago but I am confident I will get there.’

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