Meet Deirdre Faul - Transplant Athlete

March 22, 2021

Deirdre Faul is a liver transplant recipient and long-time member of Transplant Team Ireland. She began swimming in 2014 with Otter Swimming Club, and has since become a World Record holder! Let's learn more about her relationship with water. . .

Q: What do you like about being in the water?

A: I like the quietness of when I am swimming, it's my time, just my thoughts, my actions.

Q: How did you get into swimming?

A: I attended swimming lessons as a child and could swim pretty well.

I had a transplant in 2003 and have been a member of Transplant Team Ireland since 2005. At the transplant games you can compete in five events. Since 2006 I have competed and won medals in a diverse range of sports.

However due to the ever-changing game schedules, I was struggling to compete at the same events every year, to defend titles which was very frustrating. So, I was looking for a sport I could compete at and defend.

I could swim and had entered some transplant swimming events before, but I had never spent time training. I decided it was time to learn how to swim and train to compete properly. In March 2014 I joined a pay as you go master's session in Castle Park swimming pool and in Sept 2014, I joined Otter Swimming Club.

Q: Have you always felt included by your club and swimming community?

A: I've trained with a few clubs now and I think some clubs and swimming groups are friendlier than others, but with my own clubs I have always felt included and encouraged, absolutely.

Q: What do you think is your greatest achievement in the water?

A: My greatest achievement was breaking my first World Record in the pool - the shock that I did it, not ever thinking I could, or was anywhere near breaking a world record. It's hard to explain, but that swim felt very different to any swim I had done before - the feel during the race, the water, the ease of it is something I will never forget.

Q: Has anything ever stopped you doing something in swimming due to your transplant?

A: Having a transplant, being on immunosuppressant medication daily means I have to look after myself. Each day is different, some days I have lots of energy and others not so much.

There are also side effects from the medication, all which have to be managed and balanced when training. So, when the pools are open and I’ve had my COVID-19 vaccination, I can get back to training in the pool and maybe training with my club again, which I have not been able to do due to isolating.

Q: Who is your role model in swimming and why?

A: My role model and mentor is Claire O’Dwyer. As a good friend, Claire has shared with me many of her swimming experiences, achievements and advice. When I look at her as a swimmer, I see her enjoyment of swimming.

At 79 years of age, she looks like a twenty-year-old during a training session, her love of swimming and dedication to training and becoming better is to be admired and I have benefitted from her friendship and encouragement of me as a person and swimmer.

Q: What one thing could Swim Ireland change to improve our community for you?

A: Transplant Team Ireland has a small group of enthusiastic swimmers. Swim Ireland acknowledging and encompassing us within their participation programme (since 2018) has been huge for us as a group.

Providing us with a coach during our Transplant Team Ireland training sessions has really encouraged the swimmers within our group.

Having the coach provide some pointers and ideas on what to work on as swimmers when we get back to our own clubs has been a great support.

Treating Transplant Team Ireland swimmers like other swimming groups representing their country by wishing us well on social media, and mentioning us as a group on the newsletter, all makes us feel like an included group and ultimately will encourage the current group of swimmers and as they say success breeds success and already, we have had a few people step forward to swim.

To request a donor card freetext DONOR to 50050.

World Transplant Games 2019

World Transplant Games 2019

Deirdre Faul celebrates with her medals from the 2019 World Transplant Games at Dublin Airport.

She won five medals, four of them in swimming, where she set two World Transplant time records in the 100m Breaststroke and 400m freestyle.

She won Gold Medals in those events and was awarded Silver in the 50m Breaststroke and 200m Freestyle.

Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Diversity and Inclusion Policy

This story is part of a series we are sharing to showcase how inclusive the aquatics are, and how we believe they are a sport for life, and a sport for everyone.

To find out more check out the documents below:

Swim Ireland Diversity and Inclusion Policy WORD DOCUMENT

Swim Ireland Diversity and Inclusion Policy PDF