Rio 2016 - Tongan Irene Prescott Post Race Interview

Irene Prescott

Irene competed on Day 7 of the Rio Olympics in the 50m freestyle event. She clocked 28.68 seconds in the sprint event. This was just outside the 22 year old’s personal best.

Although a little disappointed time, she took time out in the Mixed Zone to reflect not only on her performance but swimming development in Tonga.

On her performance

“I have mixed feelings really, it was ok but I’m still a bit disappointed really but at the end of the day it’s the Olympics. It’s my first Olympics and it’s really important to make the Olympics but I’m a little bit disappointed with the swim.”

How she learned to swim and why?

“When I was five years l watched the Sydney Olympic games with Ian Thorpe and Michael Klim. I watched all the big stars back in their day. As a result, I thought swimming would be fun and so I tried it and I loved it.

My family is from the Islands of Tonga in the South Pacific and we live on the sea. Water, boats, fishing and swimming are part of our lifestyle. I have always loved the water from a young age and when I got the chance to participate in swimming as a sport I could not stop.”

Her wish for the future of swimming on Tonga

“I hope that lots of people are inspired to take up swimming because they have seen me at the Olympics. That’s certainly what I’m hoping for, that new people come to the sport and some may get to the Olympics as well. It’s pretty cool as I’m the first female swimmer from Tonga (at the Games)”

Hopes for youngsters learning to swim on Tonga

“There’s a lot of people in swimming who would like to take up swimming but it’s just the funding part that’s a challenge. If we could find a way to help that out I’m sure we would welcome a lot more kids to swim.

My advice for younger swimmers would be to always keep and create new goals improving your fitness, in this way you will always have something to inspire you to keep going.

What’s great about her sport

“I think young people along with myself will take up swimming because they see opportunities such as this (the Olympics). Not all sports offer competition all around the world and it is a good way to travel and meet new people.”


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