Since I retired from competitive swimming after the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, I have been trying to get involved with lots of things that are still within the sporting circle. My boyfriend Joe Roebuck, is also an Olympian who has retired since racing at the Commonwealth Games, and together we have set up a business called Swim Swift Elite. We love to help younger swimmers try and perfect their strokes and hope to inspire them towards achieving their goals, so we run swimming master classes, focusing on technique, in clubs around the country. We also arrange two day swimming camps at locations around the country where competitive swimmers from any club can attend.
Alongside that, I work with local county sports partnerships to encourage people of every age to be more physically active, I work with Derby City School Sport to encourage children to become competent swimmers, and I work with Sports for Schools to inspire children to take part in any sport or physical activity, not just swimming. I am also starting to get involved with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust. That aside, I am training to be a ITEC Level 4 Sports Massage Therapist, so fingers crossed I will pass my exams in April!
When working with children in schools I love seeing their enthusiasm for sport. It’s great to think that you could inspire them to take up something new, and in some cases, maybe even be at the Olympics themselves someday. When running the camps and master classes, I love having the opportunity to make a difference to someone’s performance by altering small aspects of their technique because it means they can get closer to reaching their goals. It’s very satisfying.
One of the strangest experiences of my career may have been competing in Delhi for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Obviously things are very different to being in the UK, so there were some unusual experiences at the facility that we weren’t used to. In fact there were generally lots of surprises throughout our time in India – it was a fantastic event.
One of my best experiences has to have been competing at the Olympic Games in London. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it was fantastic! One experience that stays with me is when I didn’t do my best in the heats of the 50-metre freestyle and hadn’t directly made it through to the semi finals. Nonetheless, I was one of three girls who all had the same time and we were going to be fighting over one spot that was left in the semi finals that night. The swim-off was between an American, a lady from Iceland, and myself! Being the only Brit I had incredible support from the crowd – they were even chanting my name as I walked out behind the block! It was something that I am never going to forget, especially as the determination and the support that the crowd and all of my teammates gave me pushed me to win and progress through to the semi final later that night.
I am at my happiest when I am able to spend time with my Mum and Dad, family, boyfriend and friends. I have lived in Loughborough since starting university in 2005, and my family and some of my friends still live back home in Kidderminster, so it’s great when I get to see them, but it’s not as regular as I would like.
I don’t have one particular person that I admire. I just admire people in general who work hard for whatever it is they want or want to do but also stay humble if they reach a goal.
Because I have lots of different things on and work from home, I never really have set times when I am at work, so I enjoy getting out the house. It could mean going for a walk out in the country somewhere – Bradgate Park is always a great place to go near me. Or even maybe to go and have a meal with friends.
When I was young, I remember going to national competitions as a swimmer who was struggling to make finals at the time. I used to love watching the races, especially with the older girls who were already competing internationally, and I used to hope that I would be able to swim as fast as them one day. I would say that when London won the bid for the 2012 Olympic Games, that was definitely an inspiration for me. I knew that it was where I wanted to be, and that it was an event I wanted to be part of. I got such a rush thinking that I could be part of the GB team.
Jennifer Aniston, not for a particular reason but just because I would love to look as good a she does when I reach her age!
Now that I am studying sports massage myself, it has to be a back massage. I would always love to have one after massaging everyone else for the day, although I do enjoy having facials, I find them so relaxing that they send me to sleep.
Complete this sentence: a successful person is… a person that knows what their goal is and does everything they possibly can to achieve it. They know that it takes hard work to achieve their goals, and are willing to put the effort in.
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