Making the London Olympic 2012 Team !

March 27, 2012

London Olympic Trials March 2012

I arrived back in the UK on the 20th February to start my preparation. I went straight to Loughborough where I worked with a coach called Matt Bowe. Matt useD to swim and he was on the Great Britain Team but has now retired and is a coach. I was able to do the taper that my coach Rohan gave me to do. My preparation in Loughborough went really well. I was a bit unlucky and ended up catching a cold but luckily it was just a head cold so it didn’t effect the way I felt to much, I just had a really snotty nose!!!
The Olympic Trials started on the Saturday 3rd of March so we headed down to London the day before. The Olympic site is situated next to a brand new Westfield shopping centre. I was only able to go into the pool but the rest of the Olympic site looked amazing. The pool is right next to the huge athletics stadium which also holds the opening and closing ceremony. The Olympic village where we will stay during the games is walking distance to the pool and also looks amazing. I loved the Olympic pool. I think it’s one of the best competition pools I have been to. When it’s fully packed with 17.500 people the place is going to be buzzing.
Before any completion I usually prepare in the same way. I had dinner out with friends and then spent the rest of the evening chilling watching tv. I raced on the 4/5th of march so day 2 and 3 of the competition. I kept my heat swim really relaxed as my aim was to just easily make it through to the semi final. In the semi final I gave a bit more effort, I knew that I could make the final without having to give it everything I had as I wanted to make sure I wasn’t tired for the final the next day. I did get a little worried when I was touched out in the semis by a girl 5 years younger than myself!

Making the Olympic games has been the most important thing to me over the last few years and I wanted more than anything to be on the team. As I stood behind the block for the final I knew that I could do it and that I could make the team. I knew that if I had a good start, stayed relaxed down the first 50 and had a fast turn then I knew I would be able to finish my second 50 strong and win. When I touched the wall and looked up at the score bored to see that I had won and got the time I was so relieved. I was also very happy. All the work I had done had paid off and I was going to my second Olympic games! I only raced the 100m at trials as the 50 breaststroke isn’t an Olympic event. After my swim I stayed for the rest of the trials and supported my team mates and watched others compete for there spot on the team. 38 swimmers made the Olympic team that week.

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ImageI have now enjoyed a week at home relaxing with my parents. After a competition like that it’s good to have some down time and relax. I started back training this week in Loughborough. We have a camp at the Olympic pool on the 1st of April till the 7th. I then return to Australia on the 7th. The next couple of weeks I will be getting my fitness back up. I will be swimming and doing lots of land work like running/biking/cicrcuits. When I return to Australia I will start my specific breaststroke work. These next few months I will be doing lots of work on my starts and turns and really try and get them better for the Olympics. It’s going to be an exciting few months heading into London!

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New Year, Wild Koala’s, Victoria Championships and Australia Day – Exciting start to the year !

February 9, 2012

This month has been a very busy one, The month flew by and I can’t believe we are already in February!

My family, My mum, dad, brother and his girlfriend arrived on the 30th December just before the New Year. We also had my dads cousin who live in Perth come over for the New Year celebrations too. We brought in the New Year by having an Italian meal down Lygon Street, this is the street that makes me feel like I am in Italy. We then brought in the New Year by watching the fireworks over Melbourne. It was an amazing night and a great way to bring in 2012!

Whilst my family were here we did a lot of sight seeing. Kevin my boyfriend and me turned into tour guides for a couple of weeks!

One weekend we spent it on the Great Ocean road. Basically it’s a long road which runs along the coast of Victoria. It’s absolutely stunning to drive along with amazing views of the ocean.

Whilst we were driving along the great ocean road we were very lucky to see wild koala bears. Its not very common to see them in the wild anymore so it was incredible to the see them in there natural habitat! We got so close to one of them that you could touch it if you wanted to!

I had to make sure that whilst I had my family here I still made all of my training sessions. Even though some days I didn’t get the rest I needed I still gave 100% in all my sessions. As you all know this year is the BIG year for me.

Training is going really well. We have started our next phase of training now. We have done all the specific work now and that is all in the bank. We are now training to swim fast so this means lots of speed work and training at the speed and rates that we want to race at.

I raced at the Victoria swimming State championships. I swam really well. I was really pleased with my swims, the times I did were 1.08.8 for the 100m and a 31.5 for the 50m so quick times for out of season. Looks good for when I rest and taper in a few weeks for the trials.

It was Australia Day last week. This is a bank holiday where they celebrate being Australian! Kevin my boyfriend did an Ocean swim down at the local beach. He won the open 1400m race and then he swam with some of the boys I train with Ashley Delaney, Travis Mahoney, Jeremy Saunders and Michael Klim in a celebrity relay. Michael, He is a legend in the sport. He retired back in 2007 but has come back to try and make the Olympics this year. He is an awesome guy to train with. He helps organise the event with his company MILK. It was a great day and they helped raise money for charity too. Kevin and Me made the local paper too, which was pretty cool!

 

What does Altitude Training, Snow, London and Pink – all have in Common ? Kate Haywood of course !

December 13, 2011

So after 3 weeks of preparing for altitude here in Melbourne we did the long 35hour trip over to Sierra Nevada in Spain, for a 3-week training camp.
Sierra Nevada is 2400m above sea level. Its located up a mountain above the city Granada.

The camp didn’t start off to well as a few of us had our bags go missing! Luckily we had all packed our swimming stuff in our hand luggage so we were able to start training. I also got ill with a cold from the travelling but was able to shake it off pretty quickly.
Whilst we were in Sierra Nevada we did some testing for a group of people that are researching the benefits of Altitude training.
For the first 10 mornings that we were there we had to take our morning heart rate, weigh ourselves and do a breathing test. We also had to do a urine sample every morning but this was for our sports scientist. When your training at Altitude you need to make sure that you stay hydrated so they monitored this the whole camp. For the researches we had to do a couple of tests in the water as well. This is to see how we coped with our breathing. It’s much harder to breath normally at altitude. You get really out of breath just walking up a flight of stairs!

Each week we did the same main sets in the pool. Most of us improved each week, which showed that we adapted well to the training environment.

Sierra Nevada is a Ski resort. It’s absolutely stunning up there and we were very lucky to get some snowfall within the first few days we were there.

Whilst we were they we also did some walking up the snowy mountain! We did 3 big sessions whilst we were there. Jeremy our strength and conditioning coach that went with us took these sessions. On two of the sessions we had to take med balls with us and we did small circuits up in the snow. On the Tuesday before we returned home we did our biggest session. We were out for 4 hours. We did a challenge called ‘London” We got to a steep part of the mountain which had in areas snow up to our knees and we had to carry a 20Litre (20kg) water tank up this hill. I honestly didn’t think I would get it up to the top! I could see the boys were struggling and I thought there was just no way I was going to make it. I did make it and its one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m so glad and proud that I did it.

It was a great 3 weeks and I did some of the best training I have ever done. I had a great time with my training group. Everybody did so well!

October Blog – Altitude Preparation

October 27, 2011

This Month we have been preparing for our training camp to Sierra Nevada, Spain. We
fly tonight (27th Oct).

The reason that we are going there is because it’s at altitude. It is 2320m above sea level.

To prepare ourselves for the camp we have been doing some training in an altitude
tent. We don’t swim in the tent, we do land work. This involved, biking,  running and stomping on the treadmill, Burpees and weighted step-ups.

Because there is less oxygen in the tent it made it much harder to do the activities
and it was harder to breath normally. It got very hot and sweaty in there too
with 9 people!

We have also been going on a long walk/stomp on a Thursday morning. We go out of
the city to where there are lots of hills and do hill climbs at pace. One
Thursday we went to a place where there is 1000 steps and after hill climbing we had to then climb the steps! We are going to be doing lots of walking whilst we are away. We have also been doing are usual swim session as well so its been a tough week.

Yesterday we did some testing. You will see on my video blog that we did some blood
testing and breathing testing. This is so we can compare when we return from  Spain. We also did our skinfolds yesterday. This is wear they measure how much fat you have on your body. We are likely to loose weight at altitude so we are  testing before and afterwards.

Next month I will be writing from Sierra Nevada Spain so keep an eye out! Now to
carry on packing……….

September Blog a little late – Training Hard, Bike Rides and Altitude Training in the Chamber !

October 4, 2011

This month I have been getting my fitness back and getting back into shape. Also
getting back into a routine. Being an Athlete we are like creatures of habit
and we like having a routine!

The first few weeks back we did a lot of high heart rate sets in the pool and a lot
of work in the gym. This has been really good as I got my fitness back pretty
quickly. Not so great on my muscles though, I’ve had to have plenty of physio
and massage to get me through it.

Now we are heading into summer and the weather is getting better we are back
outside on our bikes once a week. We have been doing some sessions in the park
where we can do hill repetitions. Last week it was a beautiful sunny day in
Melbourne so we decided to do a bike session on beach road. It was the hardest
bike ride I have ever been on. The wind was really strong that day as well, so
one way on the ride was easy and on the way back in was horrendously hard! All
the way back to the car it was like riding up a hill. A couple of times I
nearly came off my bike because the gusts of wind were so strong. Altogether we
went 32k and its took us just under 2 hours. It was a great work out for my
legs even though it did take me 2 days to recover from it!

On the 26th October we fly to Sierra Nevada, Spain for a 3-week
altitude training camp. Next week we start our altitude training in a chamber
in the gym. Altitude training is when you train a couple of thousand metres
above sea level. There is less oxygen, which makes training harder, it also makes
normal activities such as walking up stairs more difficult. I have never done
it before but lots of Athletes do it, also lots of athletes from different
sports. I am looking forward to the experience.

 

What does Worlds, Koala’s, Holidays and Olympic Rings have in common ?

September 5, 2011

August has been a busy and exciting month.

I returned to Melbourne from the World Championships in Shanghai on the 1st.
I really enjoyed myself in Shanghai. I had another great experience and another
world championships to add to my list of achievements. I learnt a lot from my
experiences there and I know the things that I need to improve on heading into
my preparation for next years Olympics.

 

 

 

I always take a break after a major championships before the work starts again
for the next one! Myself and my boyfriend Kevin went up to Cairns and Port
Douglas. This is north of Melbourne. The reason we choose to go there is
because its guaranteed sunshine and its where the Great Barrier Reef is.

We spent a week up there. It has some amazing rain forests so we did the usual
tourist things and saw all the sights.

The one thing I have really wanted to do since we have been in Australia is to hold
a Koala bear. They do have them in the wild over here but I haven’t been lucky
enough to see one yet. You usually find them sleeping up in eucalyptus trees.
We went to a zoo where I was able to hold one and it was amazing! I gave her a
big cuddle and she was so soft! They are definitely one of my favourite
animals! So cute!

 

 

 

 

We took a boat trip one day out to the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef
is one of the seven wonders of the natural world.  The reef is made up of thousands of different
coral islands. There is thousands of marine life that live at the reefs. We saw
lots of colourful fish, small and huge fish! My favourite being the clown fish
(nemo fish) We were really lucky to also see a reef shark, these are tiny and
harmless. We were also really lucky to see a turtle. Usually the turtles are
scared of people so we swam away from the crowds and were luckily to come face
to face with one, it was amazing!

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Its whale season at the moment up there to so we were really lucky to see whales
with there young. It’s awesome to see wildlife in its natural habitat.

The rest of the holiday we just spent relaxing on the beach. Port Douglas has some
of the most beautiful beaches in Australia.

 

 

 

I had another week off when we returned back to Melbourne so I finally got my
Olympic rings tattoo done. It’s only taken me 3 years to pluck up the courage
to get it done. A lot of swimmers who make an Olympics get the five rings as a
tattoo.

 

 

 

 

I started back training last week after my 3 weeks off. It’s been pretty tough
but its good to be back in. Training now is all about next year and the Olympic
games. It’s going to be a challenging but really exciting year!

All the way from Shanghai !

July 21, 2011

I am writing this month’s blog from Shanghai in China. On Sunday the World Swimming Championships get underway! I left Melbourne on the 12th July to head to Japan for the British swimming holding camp. A holding camp is where the team get together and train together for a week or so before heading to where the competition is held. It’s a great chance for the team to get together and bond! We were in Osaka in Japan, miles away from where the earthquake and tsunami hit at the beginning of the year. We were only there for 7 days so we didn’t get to see much. I spent most of the time at the pool or relaxing back at the hotel. When we get ready to race we go on a taper. A taper is when you cut down the amount of swimming and gym you do and concentrate on a lot of speed work. We also spend a lot of time relaxing and sleeping. Being a sprinter I also like to get lots of massage during this time, it relaxes the muscles. I did go to Osaka aquarium on one of my afternoons off. It has one of the biggest tanks in the world. It was pretty cool. We saw lots of cool things. My personal favourite were the fury seals! I also really liked the stingrays and they had the hugest Manta ray I have ever seen! I am rooming with Stephanie Proud whilst I am away. I have known Steph since we were junior swimmers years ago, and we are really good friends. Steph trains out in America now in Florida. Steph is racing in the 200m Backstroke and the 400m IM. We are now in Shanghai and everyone is getting excited about the competition starting on Sunday. I went down to the competition pool this morning. They have put a 10 lane 50m pool in a handball/basketball stadium. It looks amazing! Hopefully the stands will get full and the atmosphere will be awesome! I’m still unsure what I will be competing in. I am definitely doing the 50m breaststroke but that isn’t till the Saturday and Sunday. I am also meant to be doing a time trial in the 100m BR, which will hopefully be quick enough to get me a spot in the medley relay team which is also on Saturday. I think you can watch the swimming on the BBC red button. Make sure you watch as I think there will be some really fast swimming. Its always quick a year out from an Olympic games!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tv_and_radio/5345480.stm – check out the red button !

Kate Haywood – Olympics, World Trials and Training

June 23, 2011

 

This month didn’t start off so well. Firstly I found out that my family had got no Olympic tickets in the ticket ballet which was really disappointing. This really upset me and I felt like it put a downer on the Olympics. I then learnt that lots of my friends and other swimmers families had also missed out on getting tickets. We were then told that all the swimming tickets had been sold out and that there would be no chance of getting hold of them!

To me the Olympic games is the most important thing in my career. Every athlete wants to be at an Olympic games and that’s why we spend hours and hours training so we can really live that dream. I swam in the 2008 Olympic games and it was one of the best experiences of my life. The London Olympics is going to be fantastic. As an athlete having the Olympics in your own country makes it that bit more special, as an athlete you will never experience anything more special. So having your family and friends in the stands supporting is really important.

Luckily last week we found out that British swimming had been working with the British Olympic association to get tickets for parents of the swimmers who will be competing and luckily we will now get two tickets for each swim. Obviously this is great because my mum and dad will be able to be there watching. They have been involved in my swimming for years! I remember the days that my mum and dad would get up at 4.30am and drive me to training. They have put so much time and money into my swimming so I am glad that they will be able to be there.

I’m still slightly disappointed that my other family members and close friends didn’t get tickets. I’m especially upset that my boyfriend Kevin didn’t get tickets. He has given up a lot and has moved with me to Australia so that I can live my dream. I really hope that there will be some way of getting him in to the aquatic centre so he can see me swim.

The trials aren’t till March next year and then the games start in July so still plenty of time!

At the weekend I found out that I have been selected to swim at the World championships in Shanghai, which is next month starting on the 24th July. I will be competing in the 50m Breaststroke and hopefully the 4x100m medley relay team. I’m really excited and it’s great to be able to add another worlds to my swimming achievements!

Training has been going really well. I have been working really hard on my new technique. My coach has been making my stroke more efficient and this should hopefully make me swim faster! We have different training phases and are now just going into the ‘train to race’ phase. This means that I am now working on my speed! I have done all the technique work, now its time to pick up my stroke rate and get some speed. Hopefully by worlds I’ll be swimming fast! The last 6 months have been a big change to my swimming training. I am learning and trying lots of new things. I still have a lot to learn leading into next years Olympics but I am now starting to feel some of the benefits of my new training.

Lucas keeps running (and now swimming!)

May 4, 2011

The team at Splish Splosh is always working to ensure all our students have confidence in the water, but it is not just children that need encouragement and guidance. We received a call from an extremely active fundraiser who was keen to conquer his fears and enter the water. With a little help from us he is now taking on one of his biggest challenges!

We caught up with Lucas Meagor and asked him to provide us with a few answers to post here on our blog in order to give Splish Splosh parents and students the opportunity to find out more about what keeps Lucas running:

1. It is nearly a decade since you began your marathon of marathons, but what was the reasoning behind your fund raising activities?

I first fund raised for London 2001 as I signed up to a charity and had always said if I were going to run a marathon I’d seek sponsorship.  I now have an expectation from friends I’ll run marathons and support charities, and this helps motivate me to keep going.  The first charity I chose to sponsor was Christian Aid, as their CEO, Daleep Mukarji, inspired me when he spoke at an event in 2000.

2. The charity you are raising money for this year is The Cystic Fibrosis Trust, how do you decide which charity receives your support?

For this year’s plans I placed a vote on my website (www.lucaskeepsrunning.co.uk) of seven charities I had either support in the past or had considered/been asked to support.  It was down to those who voted as to whom they wanted to see me raise funds for.  Over 4,000 votes were cast and CFT won by a huge margin with over 50% of the total votes.

3. This year you are moving (some) of your attention away from land and into the water, with a mile swim in Lake Windermere. What made you take up this new challenge?

I know I can run, and I know I can run the marathon distance.  I have never been a strong swimmer and wanted to ensure something in my year would be a physical and mental challenge that I would have to break my own boundaries.  I lack confidence, and at the start of the fundraising year could still swim no further than 50 metres without need for a stop – I had never gone further than 500 metres in any swim session!

4. You will soon be receiving complimentary swimming lessons from Splish Splosh; as swimming is already an integral part to your fitness, what do you hope to achieve from working with Splish Splosh?

My swimming has continually been poor and adhoc.  The support and training from Splish Splosh will be integral in building up my confidence and ability to succeed in my ability to swim.  Working with Splish Splosh will enable me to show you can overcome fears and challenges while maintaining your fitness and health and also helping support others.

5. How important do you feel learning to swim is?

Very important and from the younger the better.  I lack confidence swimming because I have not grown up a strong swimmer.  Swimming is an easy way to keep fit and relax as well as helps give you confidence.

6. Do you think the number of aquatic charitable activities may increase after the event at Lake Windermere?

I would like to do a triathlon and if I enjoy Windermere may try another lengthy swim some time.  I once said I’d never do a 2nd marathon yet now find myself 21 marathons on in this 10th year of them still relishing more, so I suspect the water challenges will continue!

7. How can Splish Splosh students and parents track your performance and support you in your mission?

I have a website covering my events – www.lucaskeepsrunning.co.uk and sponsorship can be donated via www.justgiving.com/lucas10thanniversary or by emailing me via my website for other ways to donate.

Kate’s April update

April 27, 2011

This month started off with celebrating my 24th birthday on the 1 April. I got a new bike from my boyfriend, which is awesome – I am now able to bike all over Melbourne! I also got treated to a lovely birthday lunch with friends.

I travelled to Sydney on the 6 April to compete at the Australian world trials. The trials were held at the 2000 Olympic games pool. I just went to race the 50m breaststroke, as I wasn’t allowed to swim the 100m. As I am English I am not allowed to swim the events that they select for worlds. Unfortunately I was still feeling under the weather, with a cold and as a result wasn’t feeling my best although I still raced and swam ok, coming 5th overall and .6 of a second off my personal best time.

My boyfriend joined me in Sydney after the racing had finished and we went sight seeing. I have only ever been to Sydney to race, so it was awesome to go and see the sights. Sydney’s harbour, with the famous Harbour Bridge and the iconic opera house, is stunning!

We went to visit two beautiful beaches: Bondi beach and Manly beach. Bondi beach is famous for its surfing, unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to try it out!

We went to the botanical gardens in the centre of Sydney, and saw lots of really scary looking spiders that I didn’t like! There were also fruit bats; I think I have mentioned this in my blog before about the bats that fly over at dusk everyday here in Melbourne. We were able to see the bats up close; I can see why they are called the flying foxes, as their heads are brown and fury just like a fox!

On the Sunday afternoon we watched a triathlon which was down at the opera house and in the city. Some of Team GB’s best Triathletes were racing, so we supported them. They all did really well. Triathlon looks so hard, Swim, bike then run. Think I’ll stick to just the swim!

Just before I go, let me wish you all a Happy Easter. I hope you all have a great one and the Easter bunny brings you lots of chocolate eggs! I will be missing the English chocolate this Easter!

Kate