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Max Litchfield inspires youngsters in first Swim England Sharing Success workshop

Olympian Max Litchfield has revealed how he coped with being out of the water for almost a year due to injury – and the resilience required to make a successful return to the international stage.

Speaking to a group of 12 and under swimmers during the first Swim England Sharing Success workshop, the 25-year-old medley specialist explained that a ‘really bad shoulder injury’ in 2017 had caused him some upset just before the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

He performed well at that meet after receiving treatment to alleviate the pain but the injury soon became inflamed once again and lead to a long bout away from the pool as he focused on his rehabilitation.

Drawing comparison on that situation and the current one amidst the coronavirus pandemic, Litchfield told of his ‘rollercoaster’ journey and how hard work out of the pool can help you improve when you eventually get back in.

Litchfield, who finished fourth in the 400m Individual Medley at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, said: “You probably won’t ever be in the exact same situation as that but the situation we’re in now with Covid-19, it’s almost a similar comparison.

“I was out of the water for almost a year and you guys have probably been out of the water a bit longer than that.

“When I was out of the water, I was doing everything I could on land. You can work on things on land that make you a better swimmer once you get back

“It’s a different story than what we’re in now but there are some comparisons that can be drawn there.

“It is about having that growth-mindset, communication with your coach, make sure you’re doing everything you possibly can when you’re out of the pool to make sure you are going to be the best you can be.”

Medley development

Litchfield praised his first club at Doncaster for facilitating his medley development so well, explaining that he never once specialised in a certain stroke as a youngster.

“I was trying to be as good as I could on everything,” said the double European Championship medallist. “Technically, tactically, mentally, physically.”

Litchfield told encouraging stories of his development from an age-grouper swimmer to the world-class athlete he is today.

He explained that he still has imperfections in his stroke that need to be corrected and that he is consistently working on improving them.

Grant Robins, Swim England head of swimming talent, said: “Max is a fantastic ambassador for our sport and shared a lot of insight with our members during the session.

“He spoke honestly about his swimming journey so far – the highs and lows he has experienced and the resilience gained as a result.

“Our aim was for attendees of these sessions to leave feeling motivated and excited to implement what they have learned as soon as they can return to the water.

“For these youngsters, that day is very much in view now and we are delighted with how our first ‘Sharing Success Series’ workshop has gone and look forward to the rest.”