At the time of writing, Artemis Aquatics swim coach – Jorden Merrilees – is competing at the 2019 Australian World Swimming Trials in Brisbane. Swimmers from around the country are vying for spots on the 2019 World Championship team for next month’s worlds in Gwangju, South Korea.
In this truly engaging article, Jorden shares some swimming tips from the stars of the Australian Dolphins.
Australia truly is home to the best swimmers in the world. Whether the results show it or not Australia is a nation that succeeds and has been successful on the world stage for many years. Australians have an affinity for the water and that passion comes to the fore within the culture of Australia and the activities we all love to do.
With the World Championship Selection trials currently taking place for the upcoming World Championships in South Korea at the end of July, I thought it would be a great opportunity to grab some tips and insights into what sort of things make the best swimmers in our country achieve greatness.
Olympic medallist, World Championship medallist and Commonwealth Games gold medallist breaststroker Jake Packard offered a sharp insight into the things that he likes to do daily and even pre-race. I was pleased to catch Jake prior to his 100m breaststroke final, and he told me of the three elements that keep him glued into his performance to be his best.
Number 1: “Enjoy the journey and be present within that journey.” Staying present is important to Jake because this helps him to feel that he’s controlling what he can control, and it means he doesn’t risk getting ahead of himself – a pretty important skill in high-performance sport. Jake’s sense of gratitude is tied up in this piece of advice as well – he recognises that what he is doing is special, so it’s important to him that he enjoys what he does.
Number 2: “Have fun! Enjoy what you are doing.” After all these years, Jake certainly still enjoys his swimming and it shows in his personality around the pool.
Number 3: “Be consistent in training.” Jake has been swimming at the top level within Australia and the world for some time now, so it’s no surprise he spoke of consistency. The old saying of practice makes perfect is shown in Jake’s results. Jake takes pride in his ability to train and race at a high level regularly.
A champion of Victorian and Australian swimming, Jess Hansen is a leader within the swimming community. A lively character with a knack for trying something new and working hard Jess spoke also of Consistency.
Her second tip was to set goals. “Goals are important. They create a sense of success and give you a sense of accomplishment when you achieve them.” No matter the size of the goal, all athletes will have goals set out for themselves at the beginning of the season. Goals also come in different sizes and categories with many being a daily thing to work on in order to achieve the larger dream.
Jess’ last tip was “Balance in life.” For her, she feels to get the best out of everything you can’t be single-minded and single focused. She enjoys a life full of different things outside of swimming, be it work, friends and family or simply a nice holiday or break to push the reset button.
Olympic gold medallist Mack Horton has faced many challenges with his swimming. Many of which he couldn’t do a thing about. Sharing his thoughts on what he thinks are essential tips to be great, he spoke firstly of sleep. “Sleep more and sleep well. Having good sleep hygiene is something that requires lots of work, however, has positive effects.”
“Technique technique technique!” Swimming well and swimming pretty with great technique will make things easy” says Mack. Swimming beautifully and efficiently is a goal all swimmers should have. To swim with ease and grace will make training and racing easier, especially over the longer distances.
“Listen to your coach, they know what they’re talking about.” There you have it! The line coaches have been waiting to hear from a well-established champion. Listening to your coach is a piece of advice for both athletes and parents alike because all a coach really wants to see is the athlete succeed. That’s truly where the reward lies for the coach.
As for me, my top 3 personal tips would be:
Number 1: Have fun. Find the fun within swimming because that’s where success and growth will come.
Number 2: Work hard. If you work hard and enjoy the hard work through following the process, the outcomes will become a reality. Hard work is also a transferrable trait for the rest of your life, it’s a great life skill to have.
Number 3: Be patient. From my personal journey, I’ve learnt to be patient mainly because of the way my body is built. Thankfully, I’ve had the support around me to help me to stick at what I love to do. Success is also not instant and often we give up way too soon; if you hold tight and believe in the work that’s been done, it will be worthwhile.
I’ve been lucky to have a front-row seat to how some of our greatest Aussie swimmers approach their craft in their quest to be their best and to be the best. By writing this article, I hope it has given you a bit of an inside peek into what some champions of swimming think might help you in your journey to be your best…
- Be consistent in what you do
- If you are always doing your best, your best will shine through when it matters most
- Have fun with it all. Fun is a massive part of success and it’s a huge cliché spoken about in sports but so very true
- Enjoy your swimming and make sure to learn from everything you are doing