'The best day of my life' - Nicole Turner jubilant after Paralympics success

The Portarlington swimmer won silver with a time of 36.30 seconds in Tokyo.

Ireland's Nicole Turner celebrates winning a silver medal.
Ireland's Nicole Turner celebrates winning a silver medal.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

AN ECSTATIC Nicole Turner said “it hasn’t sunk in at all” after earning a silver medal in the final of the S6 50m butterfly at the Paralympic Games today.

The 19-year-old said the experience of her first Paralympics at Rio 2016, where she narrowly missed out on a medal, with her best placing fifth in the 50m Butterfly, ultimately drove her to today’s success.

“Coming into Tokyo and looking back on Rio, being so close to that bronze medal, the aim after Rio was to just get on the podium at Tokyo,” she told RTÉ.

“I never in a million years thought it would be silver. I always thought it would be a fight for bronze.

“I think I was shaking before the race even started. But the past five years have been pretty challenging, I suppose the extra year did do me justice.”

She continued: “Especially within the past two years even, World Championships I was bronze medal but because of the way para-swimming works, people can come up and down in classifications, and there are new people in there.

“Even coming into the thing, I aimed high to get a medal, but to reach the podium there now with the competitiveness in there, it’s not sunk in.”

Turner went on to pay tribute to some of the people who helped make her success possible.

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“It’s not just for me,” she explained. “I’m only going to name as a collective, three special people. My coach Dave Malone has given up every hour of the day to come in at all sorts of times to train me. My S and C [strength and conditioning] coach Niamh Buffini took me one-to-one for the past two years now. And my mam and dad. My dad has a full-time job, but my mam is the one that drives me to and from training every day. So without her, I wouldn’t be standing here.”

She then concluded: “It feels like a dream come true. This is honestly the best day of my life. To even get to Tokyo this year, but to be on the podium with a silver medal, it’s for everyone at home, it’s not for me.”

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