Goggleblog talks to Olympic and World swimming champion Rebecca Adlington about her 800m freestyle victory in Shanghai, her prospects for London 2012 and her love of chocolate!
Goggleblog – First of all congratulations on your 800m freestyle victory in the World Championships in Shanghai. That was some race! Where on earth did you get the push for that last 50m?
Rebecca – I haven’t watched it yet. But I felt in control a lot of the way. I could see where she (Danish swimmer Lotte Friis) was – it was good that she was in the next lane and I kept breathing that way so I could keep an eye on her. The last 50m all I kept thinking about was my holiday to be honest. I was just like ‘I’ve finished after this, just give it that extra bit of push. Just put your head down and go. It was as simple as that.’
A lot of it must be about sheer mental determination?
Yes physically we were tired and both in the same situation. Your shoulders are hurting, your arms are hurting. You are going max for an awfully long time and your body is struggling. It’s just a case of literally doing as much as you can. All I kept thinking was ‘come on, give it everything, it’s your last race.’ I think she probably had a different mind set to me because she was winning for most of the race and probably thought she was going to win.
It must have been a relief to get a gold after the relative disappointment of the previous World Championships in Rome in 2009?
Obviously I got two bronze medals last time, so I was so glad to better that to show that I’m improving and getting better. It was a tough week in general – the 400m was a tough race, but I managed to get into the 800m. It’s nice because it’s given me a lot of confidence going into next year.
So tell me about how you got involved in Cadbury’s Minute to Win It campaign?
Obviously Cadbury’s are an Olympic sponsor and I love their chocolate! It’s such a good one because they are so passionate about playing games and being competitive which I know all about. It’s about playing games for just a minute every day. I think everybody is so busy in their working life they sometimes forget that you’ve got to have a little bit of fun on the side as well. The good thing is that these games are really simple – you don’t have to buy anything for the computer or games console.
Are you a competitive person in everything you do?
Yes without a doubt. I love playing games, but I’m not a sore loser. If I lose I’m not going to go off in a strop or anything like that. But I am competitive and I do want to do well. Even with small games ‘I’m like right, focus’. One of the games involves getting plastic ducks and flicking them behind your head into a pool – that was so much fun. The first two goes I was awful, then I proper got into it and did really well in the end!
Being a swimmer don’t you have to watch your diet? I can’t imagine you would be allowed to eat too much chocolate would you?
Well we have to eat quite a lot. We have to make sure we are getting all the vitamins, all the carbohydrates, all the protein, all the iron, everything. I always have treats because we are working so hard and burning so much off that sometimes the best thing for you is to have a chocolate bar to get your glucose levels back up.
I’ve read so many interviews with you about your training regime, especially all those early starts. How do you keep doing that year after year. Is it that you are so competitive and want to stay at the top?
It’s about doing something you genuinely love. I’m sure it happens with any other job in the world as well. Like you might have to travel which you wouldn’t necessarily want to do all the time, but because you love your job you just do it. I’ve never snoozed my alarm in my whole entire life. I get straight out of bed, I want to do this. I don’t find I have to sacrifice anything, I don’t find it a chore – I just want to do it. It doesn’t get that boring. I think people think that I just get in the pool on my own and swim up and down every day. But I don’t. I have a team, I have a club, I have a coach. I have stuff to make it interesting – you don’t do the same thing every day. We change the intensity, the length of what we do all the time. It’s always good fun. I have a great team and a great coach that always make it good fun.
Your coach (Bill Furniss) has been with you a long time hasn’t he? What age did you get into swimming?
Yeah he has been my coach since 13. I learned to swim about 4, joined a club at 8 and from then it’s been non-stop.
And what about your ambitions for the 2012 Olympics? You must be hoping to come away with two golds musn’t you?
I’ve not qualified yet. I don’t qualify until March – that’s if I do qualify. So to be honest I’m not even thinking about it yet.
To find out more about Cadbury’s Spots v Stripes Minute To Win It go to www.spotsvstripes.com. Here you can find out more and play the Minute To Win It games.
You can read the interview with Rebecca’s coach Bill Furniss here.
You can see the video interview with Rebecca Adlington below: