Gutter Talk: Lessons From 2023 For Olympic Year

Australia's Kaylee McKeown -- Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Gutter Talk: Lessons From 2023 For Olympic Year

What’s something you learned this summer that can help you in the Olympic year?

Elizabeth Dekkers, Australia
I think this year I learned how to have more fun and enjoy racing, and not let my nerves take over and take away from the enjoyment.

Ilya Kharun, Canada
What I learned over the summer that can help me in the Olympic year is to always work hard and to keep a cool head when you are under pressure during an event. I learned that if you have perseverance and determination during practice, you can accomplish anything that you want. Mentality is a big thing during meets and practice—having a positive mindset is key.

Hubert Kos of Hungary shows the gold medal after competing in the 200m Backstroke Men Final during the 20th World Aquatics Championships at the Marine Messe Hall A in Fukuoka (Japan), July 28th, 2023.

Hubert Kos — Photo Courtesy: Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Hubert Kos, Hungary
I learned and practiced how to pace myself in each swim, by going fast in the mornings as well as the evenings. The main reason I was able to make the 100 back final (at Worlds) was because I put myself through a tight field in the morning. And I also learned how to focus on my own plan and take care of business leading up to—and during—a final.

Cameron McEvoy, Australia
Where you think you stand determines what you think you see, and so context is everything and you must always try not to mistake the figure for the ground in which it stands upon. This is for everything, and in the context of swimming specifically for different training methods and beliefs in approach.

Kaylee McKeown, Australia
The obvious one is not being DQ’ed in my 200 medley! But in all seriousness, I definitely learned that you don’t have to feel good to swim fast. Great swimmers are able to rock up on any given day and find something within themselves to bring out a performance. My coach, “Bohly” (Michael Bohl), is also teaching me to believe in myself, which is something I’m still working on.

Mona McSharry, Ireland
Something I learned that I think will be really valuable in the upcoming season preparing and racing at the Olympics is learning how to race fast without investing a lot of emotional energy. Competing at longer competitions like Worlds or even back-to-back weekends of racing where I know I have to perform, but also being able to keep my emotions in check, is something I have been practicing.

I think this will allow for more energy and motivation toward the end of competitions as well as progressing from heats to finals: trusting in my abilities and enjoying the race, and then moving on to what’s next once it’s finished without lingering on how I did.

Zac Stubblety-Cook, Australia
I learned to trust myself. I think this season has been a rocky one. Through the heat, semi and final (at World Championships), I raced three very different races, and I simply had to trust myself through it.

Carson Foster, USA
I’m learning about myself every year and what things make me feel the most prepared during the season, at taper meets and behind the blocks. I give 110% at every workout I go to, so the next step for me is to make sure I’m mentally prepared for each swim I have.

Nic Fink, USA
I learned that a happy swimmer is a fast swimmer…and the more you enjoy what you do, the faster you go. This next year is going to be really intense, so, hopefully, I’ll remember to have fun.

Notify of

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x