Olympic swim stars determined no to let efforts go to waste
THEY have spent the last four years pushing their bodies to the extreme to live out their ultimate dream. Gruelling training sessions, strict diet, insane discipline and brutal sacrifices.
But just a few months out from getting to live out that dream, going for gold at the Tokyo Olympic Games, it was cruelly stripped away.
With the games postponed to next year in the wake of the coronavirus crisis Brisbane athletes, like champion swimmer Emily Seebohm, are now bracing themselves for the mental and physical challenge of trying to stay in peak condition for an extra 12 months.
For the first time in her career, she has no access to gyms, squad sessions or swim training and Seebohm said she faces the real possibility of never returning to the elite form required of an Olympic athlete.
"We had been working so hard for years and now it's come to a standstill … l put in so much effort and it goes to waste," she said.
"I have to make sure I get my body back in shape, if it's been out of the water for a long time, it's harder for an older athlete who is prone to injury, to get that condition back.
"However long a swimmer is out of the water, it will take five times longer to get back into shape."
Gold Coast swimmer Cameron McEvoy, 25, said this was the first time in 16 years he hadn't been swimming regularly or studying.
"My life revolved around preparing for the upcoming Olympic Games," he said. But McEvoy has turned his attention to keeping fit creatively while in isolation and his mind active.
"I've set up a home gym with seemingly random objects," he said.
"I'm using the time to dive into projects and courses I've wanted to do for a while … this is our time to allow ourselves to rest and turn the tide inward."
Seebohm said she's keeping her body in routine and wakes up to exercise when her breakfast radio host boyfriend, David "Luttsy" Lutteral gets up for work. But instead of being in the pool, she's lifting weights at home, cycling, running with her dogs and, for now, swimming in the ocean.
"It is massive to me to stay fit, this way I have some form going into the water."
"Being fit on land is obviously not the same as in the water … I'm hoping competition comes up towards the end of the year so it will move me back in the water faster."
The athlete said it was "tempting" to consider early retirement.
"I want to see what happens … I have to make sure I get my body back in shape … I'm definitely not taking anything off the table."
For now, Seebohm said she's enjoying the downtime and spending time with Lutteral.
Originally published as Seebohm a fish out of water during shutdown