By the time Rio comes around our squad will be peaking and close to its very best. In my 23 years of being on the UK swimming team, I have never seen such strength and depth in the squad, so these are very exciting times. This all demonstrates that for the last couple of years, British Swimming has been doing its ground work and is clearly getting something right.
I am gay and I am Christian, and to most people, that's okay... But the problem I've faced is telling Christians. In theory this should be fine: you go on classic theology and teaching to "love your neighbour as yourself", feed the hungry, care for those in need. The list goes on. In reality there have been times where the teachings I've heard have felt like a condemnation.
Since retiring from international sport, I didn't think an emotional drive that had enabled my accomplishments, would ever absorb me again. But the day my baby boy was born and I became a mother, something even more powerful enveloped me. It's impossible to describe this overwhelming feeling, but every mother will know it.
The coverage of Robin Williams's death in UK national newspapers reveals not only that some editors treat their own industry Code of Practice with contempt - there is nothing new about that - but also that they seem unable to learn responsible practice no matter how often they are told and no matter what is at stake. No British editor can claim to be unaware that human lives are at risk here. Again and again in the past decade they have been told by leading charities and campaigns in this field, including the Samaritans and MIND, that suicides can prompt copycat events and that the suicide of a celebrity is especially likely to do this.
In September, Cerys Matthews co-curates The Good Life Festival with Charlie and Caroline Gladstone, founders of home ware store, Pedlars. It promises amongst other things a Gypsy Concert Band, a renowned Welsh harpist, cooking masterclasses from the likes of Bill Grainger and workshops covering everything from Axe throwing to fire building.
On June 5th I emerged from the Big Brother eye like a deer in the headlights, wondering what on earth I was getting myself into by entering Britain's most infamous house. With a fear of the unknown, I nervously trembled down a stage with hundreds of strangers booing me and calling me every name under the sun as I embarked on the start of the most unforgettable month of my life.
He recoils with a faintly amused expression on his face, shrugs, then glances around for an appropriate piece of hardware with which to impale me. He seizes a nearby spare mic stand, and so begins a Tom and Jerry style chase around the backstage area, me leaping over flight cases and knocking guitars to the floor in my efforts to escape... My tour bus dreams are getting stranger.
The subject matter of sex and relationships was inspired by, a BBC news story on 26 November, 2013, reporting on an official two year Inquiry by the Children's Commission, looking at sexual exploitation by gangs across England.
Do we really put our children first? Separation for parents can be amongst the toughest experiences in life; the hurt, anger, pain and insecurity can be unbearable, and in those moments of feeling utter rejection you are meant to act responsibly on behalf of the children so that they are put first?
Celebrity endorsement may not have been the key driver in their decision, but the fact that these celebrities are creating chatter around charity X, may well have been a contributing factor, albeit on a subconscious level.
The sad news of Robin Williams untimely death this week has brought forth the expected tide of tributes to this man who made millions laugh around the world and rightfully so.
The recent trend of celebrity breastfeeding selfies bothers me. I fully support the intention behind these images, to raise awareness of breastfeeding's benefits and normalise breastfeeding in public... Many mums, despite heroic efforts, just cannot breastfeed their children... I felt ashamed I couldn't breastfeed.
After Robin Williams' (probable yet unconfirmed at the time of writing) suicide at the age of just 63, the question is once more in the air - are comedians more prone to depression than, say, plumbers, gamekeepers or human resources managers? Does the iconic 'tears of a clown' cultural trope have any basis in fact? My instinct is to say no, it doesn't - but it is just that, instinct, for I have no data. It is a difficult case to prove, for the evidence to the contrary seems so overwhelming. When a comedian like Robin Williams or Tony Hancock takes their own life, with all the consequent publicity engendered by those tragedies, it is definitely tempting to conclude 'there goes another one.'
If he had had a heart attack, if had lost a long fight with cancer, if he had been knocked over by a car, would there be a need for a debate about 'what this says about the state of heart disease, or cancer care or road safety'? Possibly, but I doubt it. There still needs to be debate about depression as an illness, because there is still a lack of understanding that illness is exactly what it is.
The world is reeling in shock that has been likened to when Michael Jackson died: we simply can't believe it... in the wake of such a sudden departure, we should stop to consider that there are millions of people out there suffering with depression, and not all of them are getting the help that they need.
What is most heart-rending about this news is the contradiction- a man who exudes laughter, yet who is suffering from endless sadness. It just goes to show how one person's exterior doesn't always match the battles they are fighting within.