Chasing gold in the distance

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes
  • North Island: East Coast

Swimmer Bronagh Ryan of Ngāti Porou has her eyes set on the 2020 Olympics in Japan next year. The 2018 Commonwealth Games competitor talks to Te Kāea about work-life balance life while competing at the highest level.

Hailing from Tikapa Marae on the East Coast, Ryan is chasing gold.

“I really do want to crack the 2020 Olympics, that's definitely on the cards for me at the moment, definitely working hard with my coach at the moment to get myself in a good position for our trials next year.”

Ryan says that at an elite level it's the mental barriers rather than the physical which one needs to overcome.

“The physical training- you know what to expect and how to push yourself but it's the mental barriers that you have to overcome, it's very much forcing yourself to knuckle down sometimes and just suck it up.”

In 2018 she made it to the Commonwealth Games where she met and competed against world record holders and Olympic medallists.

“It was crazy to me to see people who are just like me, they're just had a bit more experience, they've been at it a bit longer and they've managed to achieve their goals and so it was the most exciting thing to actually experience.”

Now studying towards her third university degree, the 23-year-old says time management is the key.

“I'm up at ten to five and then we start training at six, we train for two hours and if I'm at uni that morning I get straight to uni from swimming and then we're back in the afternoon for another two-hour training.”

Ryan encourages other young wāhine Māori on a similar path to stick at it.

“Find your passion and keep on going even when it doesn't go right, it's not a straight line to get to where you want to go, there's always bumps in the road.”

Ryan is now training for international swimming competitions this year.