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Meet Freya Anderson - Britain's Tokyo Olympic Qualifier in Swimming, Who is Allergic to Chlorine and Afraid of the Sea

Freya Anderson (Photo Credit: Twitter)

Freya Anderson (Photo Credit: Twitter)

Freya Anderson has endured infections and eczema after each performance, which at times last for a few days and often cause pain.

Ever heard of a swimming champion who is allergic to chlorine and scared of the sea? Evidently yes, Team Great Britain (GB) freestyle swimmer Freya Anderson has these fears, but despite she is also a world, European and Commonwealth medallist. Anderson, one of Britain’s greatest freestyle promises, is all set to represent Britain at the Tokyo Olympics from next July 23.

The 20-year-old told DailyMail, that she is afraid of the sea and the constant problems she faces with chlorine, which most of the swimming pools are full of at every level. Due to her condition, she has endured infections and eczema after each performance, which at times last for a few days and often cause pain.

After multiple visits for continuous infections, she was diagnosed with a chlorine allergy, not pleasant, especially if you are a swimmer. “Certain chlorines agitate my skin,” said the British athlete. “I have had it diagnosed four times and it was an allergy to chlorine, then a fungal infection, then it was eczema,” she added. Anderson added that “In certain pools it flares up,” and is really painful and “it’s not ideal for a swimmer!”.

The report further cited her apprehensions of making it into the water, but she is now used to living with it. However, the Birkenhead-born swimmer said that her fear of the sea is too great to allow her to enter open water. “I hate the rivers, lakes and the sea,” she admits because of fish and the seabed that frighten her terribly. “My coach, best friends and colleagues love to dive and swim in open water. I can’t stand it, I don’t know how they do it, I wouldn’t do it even if they paid me,” she added.

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Yet despite these fears, Anderson knows that swimming is her way. The sport has also served her a lot, “I have gained confidence and overcome shyness” she said. “Swimming allowed me to overcome many limits when I was little”.

However, with the summer Olympics now within touching distance, the 6ft-3in freestyler secured a spot at Tokyo 2020 on Wednesday by winning 200m freestyle and now has her sights set to be selected in 100m and a place for 4x100m mixed medley relay. She has long been equated to her idol and compatriot Becky Adlington, who won 400m and 800m freestyle golds at Beijing 2008 aged 19.

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first published:April 19, 2021, 12:57 IST