Kathleen Dawson is one of a select group of athletes who have returned to training at the University of Stirling
Phased elite return to training in Scotland
Kathleen Dawson rediscovered her love for drawing portraits during lockdown - and now she is back in the pool, the three-time European medallist is beginning to look at what goals she may be able to pencil in for the year ahead.
Dawson is one of a select group of athletes who have returned to training at the University of Stirling, as part of the phased elite return to training in Scotland.
Just like so many of her compatriots, back in the water after months away during lockdown and the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the 22-year-old has found the experience of reacquainting herself with daily swim sessions anything but normal. Indeed, even powering through length after length alongside her Stirling teammates is not quite what it was just a few months ago.
Not that that will stop Kathleen from enjoying and appreciating what she is able to do once again, under the guidance of coach Steven Tigg.
"Being back in the water, I'm definitely very grateful for the efforts from British Swimming, Scottish Swimming and the University of Stirling to allow us to be able to return to the pool and looking after us while we were out of the pool," said the backstroke specialist.
"It was surreal at first. It honestly felt like I was doing the movements but nothing was quite a stroke. Then there would be a moment where it felt like how it used to feel, like it was the ghost of something you used to remember!
"But I don't think it started feeling normal until the last week or so. Even then, my stamina was completely off. I really enjoyed being able to cycle and run during lockdown, but at the same time, there's a reason that I swim. I just love it, it's what I want to do, so I was very happy to be back in.
"The team up here put together good guidelines on what we should be doing during lockdown, how far you should be going and how intensely you should be going if you're cycling and things like that. I absolutely won't be becoming a triathlete, though!"