24th April, 2012

Well the high of winning my first national title wore off very quickly! After returning to Queensland following the Olympic Trials and Orientation camp, we were given three days off to recuperate mentally.  The emotional roller coaster of a major swimming competition certainly takes its toll and a few days off is a must leading into another heavy training block.

I spent my time away from the pool in my home town on the Sunshine Coast catching up with friends and family.  It was a great chance to say thanks to all of the people who helped me along the way.  It was time to catch up with all the incredible people in my life who have never begrudged hearing my continual excuses of why I can’t come to see them due to my hectic training regime.

So, after three relaxing days, I returned to the pool focussed on making the most of the 16 weeks left until the Olympics.  The first session I did was actually at the Cotton Tree swimming club where many young swimmers were training for the upcoming Age Nationals.  It was great fun to swim with a group of passionate young swimmers and it reminded me of my time as an age group swimmer and the dreams I once dared to dream.  It was surreal to look back and realise I had largely accomplished the desires I had at their age and yet was still hungry for more.  I always like to tell young swimmers that I only began swimming at the age of 14! While some extraordinary swimmers are making the team in their teenage years, it is never too late!  Even returning to the pool at 24 I wasn’t sure if I could match it with the young guns, however belief breeds confidence and with confidence on your side the sky is the limit!

The next day I returned to the Gold Coast to train with my fellow Olympic teammates at Southport.  Our club managed to get six swimmers to the Olympics. It is a remarkable achievement for a coach to have six athlete on an Olympic team and our coach Glenn deserves great recognition for his efforts.  Our Olympic training group includes my amazing boyfriend Chris Wright, Brenton Rickard, Cameron McEvoy, Leiston Pickett and Kiwi swimmer Andy McMillan.  Upon returning to the pool we found there was no easing back into the training for this phase. Our coach Glenn hit us hard from the word go, both in the pool and out!  This is the Olympic preparation and we certainly won’t be left wondering!

Three weeks in and we found ourselves celebrating 100 days to go until London. We spent the day at the Southport Pool with some other London Bound athletes from the Synchronised Swimming, Kayak and Gymnastics teams. We also enjoyed a mixed relay with a group of local young school children to celebrate the significance of the day. It’s an exciting feeling to think about being at another Olympics and being only 100 days away from the opening ceremony really makes me determined to get stuck into the challenges Glenn is setting each session. It’s easy to count the days, but my teammates and I are set on making every day count.

I now find myself in Mexico at La Loma Altitude training centre. Our group has made our way through 26 hours of travel to spend the next 3 weeks getting stuck into some more solid training.  The air is noticeably thinner up here and I find myself feeling extremely unfit in the pool and even walking up stairs!  The idea is to deprive our bodies of oxygen and in turn force it to develop more red blood cells. This will allow us to return to sea level with extra fire power in our blood to hit some good quality and get some extra speed in our training sessions. 

The first couple of days are always the hardest when adapting to altitude.  At the moment I find myself out of breath when walking up stairs.  I feel unfit and everything we do is significantly harder than normal.  As we adjust to the conditions it gets easier and our training results improve through the weeks.  It’s a tough phase but with those 5 coloured rings in our minds, it is sure to be worth it come August! 

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