It’s fair to say that the Team GB swimming team blew expectations out the water at the Rio Games this summer, and one of the medal pioneers was Wales’ superstar swimmer Jazz Carlin. She brought home two silver medals, in the women’s 400m and 800m freestyle events, is a Commonwealth and European Games champion and is pretty nifty on a surfboard too, not to mention that she could do a bonafide professional job on your nails. Here’s how the Olympian trains day-to-day to reach podium glory, eats for maximum energy (and enjoyment) and takes chlorine in her stride/ stroke...
Huge congratulations on your success this summer! How did you celebrate?
Thank you! I celebrated in Rio with a big slice of pizza and some ice cream. Throughout the year I eat so healthily, so I wanted to treat myself after I finished racing. When I arrived home I was able to celebrate with all my friends and family that I don't normally get to see as often as I would like to during the season.
Are you back into training now? What does your training schedule look like currently?
I have been back in training for a few weeks now and I am just building in for the next few weeks and then will be back to my normal schedule in a few weeks. I am swimming seven to eight sessions per week and four gym sessions, so around 22 hours of training. My normal training regime is around 30-35 hours of training per week.
What kind of time does your alarm go off? Are you a morning person?
My alarm goes off at 6.30 every morning. I have never been a morning person, so it’s quite difficult to wake myself up in the morning, I have to set two alarms!
Do you have a favourite pre-training meal?
My favourite pre-training meal would be a bagel with crushed avocado, a couple of slices of ham, two poached eggs and some sliced tomato!
How about after training- how do you replenish your energy?
I always try to drink a lot of milk to keep up my protein intake. I will look to eat my main meal between 20-30 minutes after exercise.
What's the best thing about training, and is there anything that you dread a bit?
The best thing about training is waking up in the morning knowing that I am challenging myself and striving to achieve my goals. Some sessions are very tough, not just physically but mentally as well, so I have to get myself geared up for those sessions.
What are your favourite moves in the gym?
My favourite exercises in the gym are pull ups because they are very relevant to the movements that you do in the pool. I do a lot of pilates exercises as well, which I love. I really enjoy mixing things up in training.
Any tips for nervous adult swimmers?!
My advice for nervous swimmers would be to start off with small steps and start to feel more comfortable in the water and then as you learn the smaller skills it will make it easier to put them all together.
You've had your fair share of setbacks in terms of illness in the past- how do you keep a positive mindset and focus on getting stronger? Do you have a particular mantra that keeps you going? How do you stay motivated?
I always try to stay positive, even when I’ve have setbacks. It can be tough to pick yourself up after having a disappointment but I always try to strive to be the best that I can be and that’s what keeps me going everyday. Setting goals, both short-term and long-term, can make the hard days a bit easier, knowing that you are doing what you’re doing it for the end goal.
What are your training bag essentials day-to-day and when competing?
My training bag essentials are:
A swimming towel
A Green People facial oil to keep me moisturised after getting out the pool
Green People Shampoo and Conditioner
Chlorine isn't known for being kind to skin and hair- do any products, treatments or habits help to counteract the damage?
Chlorine can definitely be quite tough on my skin and my hair, so I have to make sure that I stay on top of it and moisturise regularly, plus I wash and condition my hair everyday. I love Green People Quinoa & Artichoke Shampoo , £14.95, and Conditioner , £14.95, which are packed full of natural active ingredients to care and protect my hair, keeping it in tip-top condition. I also use Green People moisturisers , as I find them very kind to my skin, as it can be very sensitive after getting out the pool. I use a Tangle Teezer to make sure my hair doesn't get too knotty after training.
You seem very into nails and makeup- what does your beauty routine look like? Do you wear makeup when training/ competing?
I don’t use makeup on a regular day-to-day basis but I love wearing it on the weekends. More recently I have been having eyelash extensions every few weeks; it’s so much easier than wearing mascara in the pool.
Chlorine weakens your nails, so I always try and use a gel polish to keep them stronger. I am actually a qualified nail technician, so I always try and keep them in good condition.
How do you chill out away from the pool? Do you have a 'no swim talk' rule like some members of the GB swimming team?
It’s hard to not talk about swimming completely as it has been a big part of my life for so long and everyone is always interested in how it’s going, but I like to do a lot of things away from the pool too. I am renovating my house, which has taken up a lot of my time, but I have really enjoyed having another focus away from swimming.
You've just been travelling and seem to love surfing- are you an adventurer? Does surfing come naturally?
I naturally love being in the water, whether it’s in a pool or in the sea. I have always enjoyed going down to Cornwall in the summer and surfing and bodyboarding. It’s so much fun down there, but I’m definitely a lot stronger at swimming!
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Follow Jazz on Instagram @JazzCarlin and Anna @annyhunter