Lianna Swan speaks to Pukaar News in an exclusive interview, telling us about her career and success in being a Gold medal swimmer.
Lianna, 18, is a Pakistani swimmer who has recently won gold representing her mothers birth country at the 2016 South Asian Games in India.
The Loughborough College student, who also holds seven national records, has been swimming since she moved to Dubai at the age of 12 where she was quickly spotted for her talent.
“I started swimming a couple of times a week and then gradually built it up to eight times a week, swimming before school in the mornings and then carried on from there,” said Lianna.
“When I got to my Alevels I had to cut it down to concentrate on that but I kept going.”
Lianna was born in Bahrain, but her father is British and her mother is Pakistani so the young athlete had quite a choice when it came to selecting her country to represent.
“I am very happy swimming for the Pakistan team and hopefully I can go as far as I can with them, said Lianna.
“I have had many opportunities made available to me through swimming for Pakistan which may not have necessarily been given to me if I had tried to go through the GB team.
“They have always been there to support me, and I have been to so many international competitions for Pakistan so it wasn’t a hard choice.”
Lianna is always looking to the future and sets herself new goals at each one she accomplishes and says that her limits are yet to be reached: “It has been hard work, I haven’t got to where I want to be at all, I am pretty sure I have more to come, but it is hard.
“You have to be up early in the morning, and after school but I am sure many people love it and that it keeps them going.”
Proud of her heritage, Lianna says that she has seen her country grow in terms of availability of sport to girls of her generation and recalls how humbling it is to see these young athletes when she returns to Pakistan: “As someone from Pakistan, especially a girl just being able to swim, right now there is no limitations for them.
“I go back nearly every year for nationals and there are girls swimming with no restrictions, it’s great to see.”
Chris Cockerton from Loughborough College said how proud he was of Lianna and her achievements: “We are so excited, it is fantastic news.
“We have some very talented students studying at the college and to see Lianna doing so well in her sport and mixing that with how well she is doing academically is great.
“As long as she is going the best she can that is what Loughborough is all about!” said Chris.
All of us at Pukaar wish Lianna the very best of luck with her forthcoming competitions and a huge congratulations on her gold!