We caught up with Derbyshire’s double national gold medallist Abbie Wood to ask about her targets for the County Team Champs and her thoughts on her successful 2014 season.
Are you looking forward to competing at this year’s County Team Champs?
CTCs has the best atmosphere in the swimming calendar! I really enjoy swimming in relays and team events so I’m really looking forward to Sunday. In the past three years I have PBd at this event so I am hoping for the same this weekend.
How well do you think Derbyshire can do this year?
Due to the age group barrier Derbyshire have lost our star swimmers Sarah Vasey, Molly Renshaw and Adam Peaty, but a lot of younger swimmers have come into the team and hopefully will make up for the loss. I have already competed once this year at the Derventio Excel Open Meet but the CTCs is the most important one so far. I have been back in seven weeks of hard training and I’m hoping it will pay off.
Will it be slightly different to your usual preparation as there are no individual races over 200m or 400m?
I like the fact that CTCs is more of a short course sprint event as it gives me more variety in my racing and less pressure on me, giving me chance to have more fun at a meet. I also enjoy the face-painting and team spirit of this event.
How pleased were you with your progress and results last season?
I am really pleased with my progress last season. Breaking 2.30 on the 200m Breaststroke was a goal of mine throughout the season. Also I am pleased with the progress I’ve made on the 200m and 400m IM events.
What was it like competing at your first European Junior Championships?
European Juniors was a lot higher level of a meet than EYOF in 2013 as the swimmers were of a lot higher level. I learned at European Juniors the value of being able to have a fast heat swim to qualify for semi-finals and finals at night, you have to be strong from the start. Having Andi [Manley, Abbie’s coach] there coaching definitely helped me going through the tough parts of the week. He has done two or three European Juniors in the past meaning that his experience helped me and my teammates.
Having competed at EJs, were you then surprised to come back and perform so well at Nationals?
Because of the two-nation rule at European Juniors I missed out on the chance to swim the medley finals. Nationals gave me the opportunity to step from the heats and show what I could do. I am working on stroke improvements to step up my 400m IM for this season as well.