Aimee Willmott Looking to Build on Fast-Paced ISL Season

Aimee Willmott (photo: Mike Lewis)
Photo Courtesy: MIKE LEWIS / ISL

Aimee Willmott hadn’t raced in months heading into the International Swimming League (ISL) season.

And she had never raced in a format like the 2020 ISL season in the Budapest bubble.

But the two-time Olympian representing Great Britain put together a strong season, which helped the London Roar to the ISL final, and has Willmott eager to continue racing heading into the Olympic year.

“In England, we had 3-4 months out, so it was quite a big time away from the pool,” Willmott said. “We knew getting back in that we would have to get in as soon as possible. We wanted to work as hard as we could to get in shape. Coming in, I wasn’t too sure how things were going to go but over six weeks, I kind of maintained form and got a bit faster in my main events.”

That stemmed from the daily training and the time available to work on technique.

“We don’t get to experience racing every weekend in the UK. We don’t have the college system that America does. It is good for us to get in and get six competitions back to back. You only have a week to focus on what to improve on for the next one, then the next one,” she said.

Willmott, 27, won the 400 IM at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and was named to the Commonwealth Games England Board for the 2022 competition.

Willmott finished third in the 400 free (4:06.20) and the 400 IM (4:31.99) in London’s debut in the 2020 ISL season. In her next match (Match 5), she took third in the 400 free (4:06.10) and 400 IM (4:30.87). In Match 8, she finished outside the top three in her events before returning to a third-place finish in the 400 IM (4:32.92) in her regular-season finale.

Aimee Willmott London Roar International Swim League by Mike Lewis D5D_7572

Aimee Willmott. Photo Courtesy: Mike Lewis/ISL

In the ISL Grand Final, she was fifth in the 400 free (4:04.48) and fourth in the 400 IM (4:30.94) as her times continued to improve.

Being on deck and part of a team reinvigorated Willmott’s love of racing, and the energy that can build throughout a meet and a season.

“The atmosphere from each team picked up and you wanted to swim the best you had all season. The teams were really getting after it,” she said. “It has been a six-week journey that you have with your team.”

But it was a lot of racing in a short amount of time, which was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time.

That is something Willmott will take with her as she turns her focus to 2021 and the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“It is good to get up and swim fast even if you aren’t in great shape,” Aimee Willmott said. “This has taught me to get up and get after it, no matter what.