I wouldn’t trade my job for anything
19th January 2012 - Metro
December. The festive period. Celebrating joy and peace on Earth. Sharing happiness and laughter with friends and family… and swimming more than 100,000m over the course of eight days.
I’ll be honest, most people would be more than happy with the first couple of lines but could probably make do without the swimming part. But that’s how the end of 2011 looked for me.
Let’s rewind a month or so. Most of November was spent on a training camp in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, exercising hard and soaking up some much-needed rays of sunshine.
It was a great marker for the end of a mixed year and I left Atlanta more than happy with my contribution.
From Florida I flew to Atlanta, where a European squad had assembled to face a formidable American team in the annual ‘Duel in the Pool’ contest.
Two days of intense racing followed. There was some scintillating racing from both sides and although a brave fight was put up, the American hosts proved themselves superior once again.
For me personally, it was a great marker for the end of a mixed year and I left Atlanta with a gold, a silver, one European record and more than happy with my contribution to Team Europe’s points!
Arriving back in the UK on December 19 we might have expected to head home for the festive season. However, it was straight from the airport to the swimming pool, and then into a ‘high-volume’ four days of training before the festivities could commence.
Sessions [two per day] consisted of eight or nine kilometres [up to 700 lengths a day] of aerobically challenging conditioning in the pool, as well as daily gym work.
At the end of the week it was home for Christmas but fatigue and jet-lag meant that the majority of the time was spent on the sofa, drinking tea and seeing that our boxes of Roses and Celebrations didn’t get neglected!