All eyes on Paris this summer for the Paralympic Games © Lea Diur

Swimming for victory
Paralympian Nora Meister looks forward to her pursuit for a medal at this summer’s games in Paris
1 Jul 2024

At just 21 years old, Swiss para swimmer Nora Meister is used to competing in international elite events. We caught up with her before she begins her campaign in Paris in the 50m, 100m and 400m freestyle races, and in the 100m backstroke event.

How did you first get into professional para swimming??

When I was five years old I started to learn how to swim and then by the age of eight I began to train properly, with the dream of one day going to the Paralympic Games. As time passed, this dream became more of a reality and my relationship with swimming got more and more serious. For example, when it came to my education, it had to fit alongside my swimming. For this reason, I attended the Sport-Gymnasium school between 2018 – 2023. At the moment, I’m doing a gap year for Paris 2024.

Nora Meister competing in action © N. Meister archives

What does a typical day look like for you as an athlete?

It’s hard to describe a typical day, because nearly every day looks different. One thing doesn’t change though as my main focus is always on swimming. I attend between nine and ten swimming practices a week and two gym sessions.

As I’ve got a part-time job this year, I often work between my sessions. It’s important for me to have the flexibility of a part-time job, because I’ve got quite a few other appointments related to my sport outside of the pool. These include school presentations, interviews or other events, where I can represent para swimming as a sport and inspire the next generation.

I don’t have events like these weekly, which is why I also give private tutoring to children. I think this is particularly important to build up this sort of experience, especially when it comes to my future plans to become a teacher, for which I am also preparing for an English certificate.

All in all, this might sound like I have a lot going on, but I see it more like a puzzle, where swimming takes priority and the other parts are arranged around it.

This will be your second Paralympic Games. What are your hopes and expectations for Paris 2024?

Overall I hope it’ll be a great experience like it was in Tokyo back in 2021. A big difference to the games this year will be the crowd and I can’t wait to witness and enjoy the Paralympic atmosphere, of which I’ve heard wonderful stories.

As it is my second games, I expect to be slightly less impressed than at my first Paralympic Games, because I already know what it feels like to be a part of the biggest sport event worldwide.

In my races, I want to perform my best and if it results in making the finals or winning a medal then I’ll be very happy, because that’s what I’m working for. 

* Mollie Fraser-Andrews is Editorial Coordinator for UN Today.
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