It’s the opening day of the British Gas ASA National Youth, MC & Open Championships in Sheffield and who do we spot wandering around the tribunes but Lisa Bates – Middlesbrough head coach and coach of England’s Commonwealth medallist Aimee Willmott.
After an exciting two weeks in Glasgow, we grilled Bates on all things Nationals and her imminent move to London Aquatics Centre with Willmott.
Learn more about Lisa Bates in our ‘Coach Factfile’.
How many swimmers do you have at Nationals this year?
We’ve got eight swimmers this week and had a couple of age groupers last week.
What’s your routine with the swimmers when it comes to Nationals?
Generally we try to get the swimmers up about three hours before they are due to compete so they’re fully awake and ready to function.
We’ll come in and do a bit of pre-pool then just chill out and make sure we’re always early so we’ve got enough time to relax and guide them through. Then it’s warm-up, get the race done, recover, eat, and start the process all again the next day.
What’s your favourite thing about Nationals?
I’d probably say looking around and watching the team spirit among all of the teams. Especially during finals, there’s nothing more satisfying for a coach to watch your whole team get behind a swimmer.
Why did you get into coaching?
For me, swimming is a lifestyle so it’s a massive passion of mine. I used to swim myself as well just all throughout uni. I’ve always wanted to be a coach so it’s just something that I really love.
You’ll be taking over as head coach at London Aquatics Centre in September. How much are you looking forward to it?
Massively looking forward to it. So excited to get down there and start the job. I’ve got lots of plans. There are lots of opportunities for swimmers all over the country as well as in London so watch this space!
If you could describe the Nationals experience in one word, what would it be?