“Depending how big the competition is, we generally start our taper around five weeks out. We’ll normally drop a couple of kilometres from each session, each week. So, in the first week of taper we’ll do 10km a day, then we’ll keep dropping it from there. A week out from competition, we’ll be doing around 1500m a day. } That’s about the lowest our mileage gets. In that final week we’ll normally do around eight or nine sessions a week, so we’ll get an extra morning a week off, or something similar. Matt doesn’t like us dropping too many sessions as a competition approaches.”

Sharpening Skills

“Starts and turns become a really big part of our training program during the taper phase. Even in our heavy phase we do a lot of skill-work, but it becomes a particularly big focus in the final few weeks before competition. Matt times our starts and our turns, so we can track our progress. With turns, for example, he’ll time us from flag to flag, going into and out of the wall. For me, anything under five seconds is a pretty good time, anything over five seconds ... “

Dry Land

“We have a few different phases of gym-work. In our high-training zone, we’re focussing more on heavy weights and lots of reps. In the gym, the focus is very much on full-body exercises that are applicable to swimming: squats, deadlifts, step- ups, chin-ups, pull-ups, things like that. All these movements should somehow relate to swimming: squats, for instance, relate to driving off the blocks quickly. In this heavy-phase, the focus is very much on technique.

“As we move into our power phase, we fizzle down the number of reps but keep the weight high. In this phase, while the movements remain the same, the focus moves from technique to speed. We’re in our power phase at the moment. Right now, we’re doing about four sessions a week in the gym. As we get deeper into our taper over the next few weeks we’re going to start cutting that down.”

Healing Touch

“I have massages about once a week, to help my body recover. Beyond that ... Matt usually gives us around 15 minutes before any session to do some stretching, work any soreness out. That’s our time to complain about being sore! Once we’re in the pool, Matt won’t really listen to any complaints ...