I am bursting with pride | Ella's Blog

Published 12 August 2016 (AEDT) | Author Ella Walter

Mack Horton with girlfriend Ella Walter at the Rio Olympic swimming pool. © Ella Walter

Ella Walter - Girlfriend of Mack Horton (swimming)

Wow wow wow. Where do I start..?!

Day one of the swimming?

I am smiling just thinking about it. Rio de Janeiro is an emotional roller coaster! Unexpectedly beautiful at some turns and heartbreaking at others.

Mack's parents, Cheryl and Andrew and their friends Ando (Mack's training partner) and AC (Olympic icon) and I raced the clock ourselves in order to watch Mack do the same in his 400m freestyle final as he did in the heat.

In our experience throughout the last few days, transport can be described as a bit hit and miss! However we made it, a little nervous and very sweaty.

Rowing pictogram

At night, the Olympic Aquatic Stadium looks incredible. Mack swam a beautifully crafted race. Thinking through it now I am struggling to remember my train of thought or emotions, I was paralysed in time, screeching and shaking!

I think it was the thought of Mack's own emotions in the moment that brought a few happy tears.

Mack is so mentally and physically tough, and this week, we are very grateful for that. After eventually getting to sleep that night and waking in the morning, the reality of what Mack has achieved stated to skin in.

I am bursting with pride.

Rowing pictogram

Mack's unwavering passion for his sport and integrity are inspiring. The messages of love and support for Mack from home and amongst us in Rio are all very special.

We are hugely appreciate of the swimmers who have the courage to stand with Mack and represent clean sport.

One of my favourite moments during the Games so far was during the men's 100m freestyle heats. Within the early heats of this event, the lanes were filled with men so brave and talented from all corners of the world. I can't help wonder about their stories and how they reached their Olympic dream.

It was a privilege and a pleasure to watch them have their moment and represent their country. The crowd was genuinely joyful, cheering on these men. It was very humbling and a beautiful reminder of what it means to be an Olympian.

Despite all the weather, transport, food, ticketing and logistical commotion, this is an unbelievable experience to be a part of. I feel very lucky.

The people of Rio are kind and welcoming. They have handled foreigners, uprooting their already frantic lives, very well. At the end of the day, we are here for Mack and all Australian swimmers, nothing else is as important.

There have been some ripper swims from the team. Australia's technique and endurance are shining through and I think I can say on behalf of all parents, girlfriends, boyfriends, siblings, aunties, uncles and grandparents, we are very impressed with the team's ability to adapt and step up to the international stage.

I am a mix of nerves and excitement heading into the last few days of the swimming which will include Mack's 1500m freestyle heat (and hopefully final!).

I can't wait to see what the Australian team can achieve.

Mack Horton

Mack Horton



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