Q&A: 11th Champs and counting
28th February 2012
With the British Gas Swimming Championships around the corner, we caught up with one of Great Britain’s most successful male swimmers of the past 10 years – James Goddard.
How have you been preparing for the all-important British Gas Swimming Championships this year?
I’ve been in South Africa for a training camp for the past three weeks. It was an altitude training camp in Pretoria which is quite near Johannesburg. I went there with my British Gas ITC Stockport ITC - we go there for a bit of sun and altitude training.
It’s something we’ve done for the last nine or ten years really and we love it there. It’s a great place to prepare for the season and it’s worked well in the past.
Did things go well out there again this year?
Yeah, there were eight of us out there this year and it went really well – everyone was swimming great so we were really happy.
I don't think there's been a time that we've been out there and no one has swum well.
To be honest, I don’t think there’s been a time that we’ve been out there and no one has swum well. It’s based at the HPC at the University of Pretoria so there are loads of other sports people out there and it’s a great atmosphere.
Did you get up to anything else to wind down in between training sessions?
We were going to play golf but it was quite stormy in the end while we were there. It was still hot but quite stormy so we didn’t get up to much really – just relaxing.
We had a games room where we were staying so we played quite a few board games. Of course, they were taken quite competitively but I think I won three out of five games of Trivial Pursuit so it was a good win percentage for me!
Why did you decide to compete in the FINA World Cup short course event in Berlin in October?
You don’t want to go too long without racing and I knew Michael Phelps was racing so I wanted to get in the pool and give him a bit of a race.
I knew Michael Phelps was racing so I wanted to get in the pool and give him a bit of a race.
It’s really long training at that time of year and focused on getting your fitness and strength up so it’s nice to stay sharp and mix it up with a bit of racing.
I swam well and set a British record in the 200m IM which is really encouraging. It was 0.05 seconds underneath my previous record from the Duel in the Pool when we were in the faster suits so that was good to beat that as well.
Was it tough making a choice between the 200m Individual Medley and 200m Backstroke which are on the same day at the British Gas Swimming Championships and the Olympic Games?
Well my shoulder hasn’t been right since 2009 really which has been troubling me on backstroke.
When you swim backstroke there is a lot of pressure on your shoulders at the top of the stroke. I’ve seen a specialist about it and I can’t do a heavy amount of backstroke any more so I’ve got to do more freestyle in training which I don’t really like but that’s the way it is!
But that’s actually improved my free so there has been one positive to it.
It was an easy decision in the end though to go with the 200m Medley. I came fourth at the worlds and my shoulder wasn’t great then either. I know if I can get my shoulder right, I feel like I can go faster.
I know it will never be perfect for swimming again so it’s just one of those things I’ve got to get on with and keep on top of it.
You’ve also entered the 100m Butterfly which isn’t in your usual Championship schedule?
As I’d only entered the 200m IM, it knew it wouldn’t matter if I did something else as well. I’ve been swimming okay with the fly and did a 53.9 PB at the Arena finals last year.
Then there’s the added bonus of taking on and hopefully beating my teammate Rocky [Michael Rock] who is the defending champion.
This year will be your 11th British Champs – will it be your last?
I’ve not decided yet. It depends on how this year goes.
If I did everything I wanted to accomplish then that’d be it. But I want to see how the year goes and not make any decision until the end of the season.
I know I’m getting towards the end of my career – it’s gone so fast and I’ve had an incredible journey and met great friends but I’m not going to make any decision until after the year.