Elite athletes seem to have it all figured out, exhibiting honed physiques, technical proficiency, and unwavering mental strength during high-pressure situations. For young athletes (and their parents), the journey towards elite level competition can appear long and daunting, and there is often conflicting advice about the direction that should be taken. This is the beginning of a series of blogs that will share my own experiences and observations from years as an athlete, as well as giving guidance on how parents can help support their kids through the ups and downs of sport.
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One of the most common issues for athletes transitioning out of sport is the loss of identity that inevitably accompanies the hanging up of your goggles, boots, spikes, oars or racquet for good. After retiring 9 months ago, it’s something that I have struggled with too, and after a bit of reflection, it’s not too difficult to see why—after all, identifying as an athlete is pretty much all I’ve ever known. Read More

Chasing the Dragon

What is it about performing at the highest level that is addictive? Read More

Who Am I?

Six months ago, I hung up my Team GB hat and goggles and retired from elite sport for good. Since then I’ve been on a whirlwind adventure, trying to find my feet in this exciting, but often overwhelming, new world. I feel truly lucky to have had so many people reach out to me, offering a supportive hand or a word of advice on how to successfully navigate new challenges and forge a fresh path in life. Read More

The Power of Role Models

What constitutes beautiful? Who are our role models in life? Who do we want to look and act like? These are difficult questions to answer, especially for young adults trying to find their feet in an uncertain and ever-changing world. There are many high-profile celebrities to aspire to, many people who have accomplished impressive feats, but who are the truly positive role models we should be encouraging our kids to emulate? Read More

Over the past couple of months, I’ve taken some time out from the sporting world and although it’s been great to travel and relax, sitting still has never really been my strong point, so I’m excited to be back in the UK and ready to take on some new challenges! Retired life has its benefits and having an extra five hours of freedom each day means I no longer have an excuse not to apply myself to other pursuits! Read More

I’ve spoken in previous blogs about my time in sport and the practicalities of the transition process but, having been out of the pool for three months now, I’m starting to understand some of the key emotions that have accompanied hanging up my goggles for good. This blog started out as a personal psychological exercise but I’ve shared it because I think it offers an interesting insight into the thought processes and emotions associated with managing major change. Read More

A couple of months ago, in a moment of what I can only assume was temporary insanity, I signed up to ‘RideLondon’—a 100-mile cycling event being held this Sunday in our nation’s capital. Read More

Retiring at age 27 is a very strange concept, especially when my current job is the only one I’ve ever really known. As an elite athlete, every decision you make—eating the last cupcake, drinking a milkshake, climbing a flight of stairs, or running through the rain—everything we do is subconsciously analysed and organised in relation to the consequences on our bodies and the subsequent impact on training or performance. Read More

After swimming at an elite level for almost 15 years now, it’s finally time for me to retire. I’ve spent an unreasonable amount of time in a state of heavy chlorination, averaging over twenty hours a week in a swimming pool since the age of 13. In total, I’ve swum roughly the circumference of the Earth, but now it’s time to learn how to be a real person… Read More