My dad taught me how to swim when I was very young, primarily for safety. I wasn't too fussed about swimming. I enjoyed going to the pool and playing in the water - I had quite a vivid imagination so always imagined I was flying or a mermaid. Over time I realised I was more coordinated in the water compared to land. I loved racing and fell in love and understood the sport more as I got older.
I’ve been swimming for over 21 years – so I’m not sure if I can make this brief! I’ve always had a competitive edge, even from a young age. I knew I wasn’t a big person (both in height and size) and felt I had to prove myself. There was something about surprising people by being tougher and quite feisty that gave me a bit of a buzz. The competitive side just kept building and building as I got older and I had my first international break through competing for Scotland at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Australia (in 2006). From there I loved racing at the big events; I ended up racing at European Junior Championships, then at the age of 16, I raced at the European Championships for GB - one of my first major competitions with the senior team. My dad is my coach and we have worked together right the way through my career. He’s a very inventive guy and has worked with many Olympic athletes with a device he created! He has an Irish family and he’s always taught me to be the “last man standing” mentality, so I think that’s where my fighting spirit came from. We always looked at situations and worked with what we had, we never had super fancy facilities, but we made what we had work for us.
Misty Hyman (an American butterfly swimmer) - she caused one of the biggest upsets at the Sydney Olympic Games 2000. It wasn't the outcome though that inspired me, it was who she was as a person and how she showcased herself at the biggest sporting stage there is. If you watch back her final, during the line-up she is the only one with a big grin on her face waving and taking in the crowd and atmosphere. I remember watching her on TV and thinking ‘wow, imagine knowing you’re in an Olympic final and you’ve done all the hard work and all that is left to do is to just race’. She looked like she loved being there. I knew I wanted to be like her, happy and smiling but hard-working. She is a quiet and humble individual and I’ve always looked up to her. Also, her underwater work is amazing!!
My alarm goes off at 4:40am and I wake up and go grab some breakfast. I’m a slow eater so I need to give myself time to eat enough food to fuel my morning training session. I drive to the pool at 5:20am and arrive at the pool at 5:30am. I head onto poolside and get set up for a bit of activation and mobility work before hitting the water 5:45am, training until 8am. After the session, I head over to the gym (which I’m very lucky to have within the same sports complex as the pool).
8:30am - 10:30am I’m in the gym doing a weights program and I then head back to my flat for 2nd breakfast and a wee nap!
Around 2pm I’ll get some lunch on and get my bag ready for my second swim. I head over to the pool for 4pm and work on a pre-pool routine looking at shoulder mobility/injury prevention work and swim from 4:30pm till 6:30pm.
Post swim I do 15 minutes of stretching and then head back home for dinner at about 7:15pm. I’m very lucky that my fiancé is a great cook and normally has dinner ready for when I get home. I try and aim to be in bed for 9pm ready for my early morning start the next day!
Each day can differ with different land training workouts and timings, but this is a rough average of what I do each day.
A couple of things! I sometimes do some doodle work or read a book. My favourite one that I’ve enjoyed doing more especially in lockdown has been training my puppy new tricks!
I’m looking forward to seeing what opportunities the year brings. Obviously, a lot has changed this year (thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic), so I find it important to try and find the positives and sometimes a positive outlook can really help. Even though I don’t know what the future holds, instead of holding on to negative thoughts, I look mainly at the positives. I’m excited to see where I can go in my sport but also progress a few things I’ve been working on in the background too.
Be kind to yourself, including what you say to yourself in your head. We are quick to pick about things we’ve done and think what we have done isn't good enough. It’s important to look after our mental well-being!
I love smoothies! Recently I started making some smoothies that I can pour into ice lolly moulds and have those as snacks during the day or even as dessert at dinner time. The best meal though is a stir-fry, a great way to chuck in a load of veg and it's quick and easy to make if you’re pushed for time!
Yes!! It starts the night before a competition where I pack my swimming bag. Packing my bag, picking out my race suits, spare caps and goggles etc. Then I sit and go through my music playlist- I try and change the playlist up for each big competition. I try to find songs that are a bit different and that I don’t constantly hear on the radio.
It’s helped educate me and allow me to understand my body more. As I’m getting older in sport, for me I look for the marginal gains and the little bits I can work on to improve. In all honesty, I didn't realise how much I didn't know about my cycle and FitrWoman has been a great way to track my cycle (and allow me to match up my daily nutrition) to allow the best outcome for my body in training.
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