Blog post written by Anna Boggi, UK Team Manager
There were some tired eyes when the bus left at 06:00 – it had been a late night the night before, returning from the team sport finals, but no one let this dampen their spirits.
We arrived at the pool and quickly got ourselves sorted; we knew where we were meant to go and we had Emily leading us through with the timings for each race.
Everyone gave it their all in the swimming. The team had trained hard and their efforts paid off with triumphs in the pool. There were four different races and the relay to get through - it was going to be a long day, but the whole team were there in the crowds to cheer them on.
The 50m freestyle
Laura Fermor and Jennie Lett absolutely smashed their race and picked up golds in their classifications. Spencer Bull won a very deserving silver medal – the whole crowd were on their feet to cheer him into the finish.
The 50m backstroke
Laura and Jennie took home the golds again in their category for this race. You could see the absolute pride on their faces when they climbed out of the pool at the end. Darren Young took the silver in his category and Josh Crooks and Spencer Bull took the bronze for their classes. We were all starting to lose our voices by this point, the atmosphere in the swimming pool was electric and everyone was having so much fun cheering on their teammates.
The 50m breaststroke
Maria-Theresa Miles, Jennie Lett and Daniel Bingley took the gold for this class and Spencer Bull and John Marable took the silver home.
The 100m freestyle
Laura Fermor, Jennie Lett and Spencer Bull took the golds and Sarah McJury took the silver. To see Sarah win the silver was incredible. She smashed her PB and you could see that this medal meant so much to her - it was a fantastic moment.
We then went on to enter into the relay races, which saw the UK take home two more silver medals. The guys gave it everything that they had left and the screams from the crowd were incredible.
After the swimming everyone was exhausted, but adrenalin and pride took over. We all headed back to the hotel to change for the Closing Ceremony.
The celebration took place at the Navy Pier. All the other teams were there. Team Captain Daniel Grobler was invited onto the stage to receive the Warrior Games 2017 Medallion - each team member has received one of these too to mark their time here in Chicago. Liam Houghton had the honour of carrying the UK Flag again and then the Navy handed the Torch over to the Air Force, as they announced that the 2018 Warrior Games will go back to Colorado next June to host yet another exciting and awe inspiring Games.
The team then had a day off to rest, pack and explore Chicago before heading home on Monday night. Everyone has had such an incredible time and to see the benefits of the Games rubbing off on yet more of our beneficiaries is incredible.
Team Captain Daniel said: ‘This has been by far the most awesome experience that I have had the pleasure of being a part of. It truly has changed my life and I am very grateful and humbled by what I have seen these last two weeks. I can't say thank you enough for the chance you have given me to be a part of this adventure and I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all the long and sleepless nights you all have put in to make this the best Warrior Games. ‘
Hearing what John Brady had to say was just wonderful: ‘I can honestly say it's been a blast, and that's down to every individual on this trip, thanks so much for allowing me to be part of it and thanks so much to you Anna and the team for putting so much work unseen behind the scenes for us to all benefit from it in so many ways! I didn't get a medal, but what I did get is the feeling of being a part of a team again, feeling important again, taking pride in myself and pushing myself when I didn't feel I had anything left. I can't wait to train for the next Warrior Games! But this will always be remembered as where it all started, where I got my life back.’
The UK Warrior Games Team, made up of 40 athletes and 10 staff members, will arrive home with 39 Medals - 20 Gold, 13 Silver and 6 Bronze.