Swimming World Presents – Mental Prep: Before The Beep With Amy Bilquist

Swimming World June 2021 - Mental Prep Before The Beep Amy Bilquist
Amy Bilquist [PHOTO CREDIT: PETER H. BICK]

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Mental Prep: Before The Beep With Amy Bilquist

By Shoshanna Rutemiller

Amy Bilquist is tough. She has had more than her fair share of struggles throughout her swimming career. Bouncing back from a single injury is enough to make an athlete question their resolve—Bilquist has had to bounce back from multiple injuries.

From three stress fractures to a broken hand to a broken foot to knee and shoulder surgeries, Bilquist gained useful insight into the importance of staying both mentally healthy and mentally prepared.

“There is fortunately more attention to (mental health) now because it’s been overlooked for so long,” says Bilquist. “I used to overlook it myself, but once I made it a priority, it made me both a happier and faster swimmer. Focusing on the mental aspect of swimming adds another layer of potential you’ll reach.”

After her broken foot, Bilquist had her most successful NCAA season as a senior at Cal. After recovering from her broken hand in 2019, Bilquist went on to win her first national title in the 100 backstroke. Perhaps this time she’ll make the Olympic team.

“All of my injuries have made me a lot more intentional and grateful,” says Bilquist. “It takes a few weeks or months to grasp that I’m injured, but then I change my mental outlook to be: ‘How can I make this help me in the long run?’”

As a high schooler, Bilquist held Indiana high school records in the 50 free, 100 free, 200 medley relay and 200 and 400 free relays. At the 2016 Olympic Trials, she barely missed representing the United States in the 100 backstroke with a third-place finish. Now, as one of the pioneers of professional swimming in the International Swimming League (ISL), she’s hoping that her tough mental attitude will enable her to represent the Red White and Blue in Tokyo.

Bilquist took the time to talk to Swimming World Magazine about all of the preparation, both physical and mental, that leads up to a successful race.

Hotel
The night before a big meet, Bilquist is all about fueling and keeping her nerves at bay.

“I want to make sure I have a really good dinner—lots of protein and veggies,” says Bilquist. “I like to fuel my body, but also include something that makes me feel happy. If I’m not getting any joy out of my food, that’s not going to help.”

When she was younger, Bilquist would go straight for the red meat, but now she’s a big fan of chicken with a nice side salad and some rice or pasta…then a little bit of “joy” that comes from dessert.

Back in her room, Bilquist is staying off her feet, watching TV and loading up on stretches and water. While many athletes spend the night before a big race visualizing, Bilquist conducts most of her visualization during weights and workouts. However, she does admit to having some “super vivid” dreams the night before a big race.

“My roommate at the 2016 Olympic Trials told me I made the Olympic team in my dreams the night before,” says Bilquist. “Apparently, I talk a lot in my sleep!”

 

To read more about how Amy Bilquist prepares for a big meet,
Click here to download the full June 2021 Issue of Swimming World, available now!

Swimming World June 2021 - Nathan Adrian - A Natural Leader - COVER
[PHOTO CREDIT: TAYLOR BRIEN]


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Swimming World June 2021 Issue

FEATURES

12  |  U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS PREVIEW
by David Rieder
The fastest swimmers in the United States will be putting their hopes and dreams on the line at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials-Swimming, June 13-20, in Omaha, Neb. If realized, they’ll have the opportunity to perform next month on the world’s grandest stage: the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

22  |  A NATURAL LEADER
by John Lohn
Still producing elite-level performances, Nathan Adrian, now 32 and pursuing his fourth Olympic Games, has the opportunity to further his already lofty reputation. And whenever his days in the sport come to an end, Adrian will be viewed for his excellence in the sport as an athlete, teammate and ambassador.

25  |  NJCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: QUALITY & QUANTITY
by Andy Ross
That’s the same winning formula that Indian River’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have been using for nearly a half-century at the NJCAA Championships. The Pioneer men now have won 47 straight team titles; the women, 39—and 43 of the past 47.

26  |  TAKEOFF TO TOKYO: A FORGOTTEN STAR
by John Lohn
By all measures, Don Schollander is a legend in the sport, a Hall of Fame talent who was unrivaled in his heyday. Yet, his impact has been lost to a combination of unfortunate timing and modern-day fascination.

29  |  DOMINANCE AND PARITY ON DISPLAY IN TOKYO
by Dan D’Addona
While the U.S. women have dominated international water polo since 2015—winning their second straight Olympics in 2016 plus three World Championships in 2015-17-19—a different men’s champion has emerged at each of the last three major international competitions—Serbia (2016 Olympics), Croatia (2017 Worlds) and Italy (2019 Worlds).

30  |  ISHOF: REMEMBERING THE KALILI BROTHERS—90 YEARS AGO
by Bruce Wigo
As kids who preferred to dive for coins rather than race in a swimming pool, brothers Maiola and Manuella Kalili from Hawaii would eventually become national champions and Olympic silver medalists in 1932.

33  |  NUTRITION: HOW MANY CALORIES SHOULD I EAT?
by Dawn Weatherwax
As long course, Olympics and endurance events get underway, a common question is: “How much do I need to eat?” This is a loaded question—one in which the author will try to simplify.

35  |  MENTAL PREP: BEFORE THE BEEP WITH AMY BILQUIST
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COACHING

38  |  SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: MAXIMIZING SWIMMING VELOCITY (Part 2)—STROKE CYCLE PHASES
by Rod Havriluk
Swimmers typically decrease non-propulsive time to decrease stroke time, increase stroke rate and swim faster. Research shows that a further decrease in the non-propulsive time is possible and should produce further performance improvement.

40  |  A COACHES’ GUIDE TO  ENERGY SYSTEMS
by Michael J. Stott
In the first of two parts, Swimming World explores the concept of energy systems and how coaches can use them to maximize athlete development and performance.

42  |  SPECIAL SETS: KATIE LEDECKY—RUN-UP TO RIO 2016
by Michael J. Stott
With this month’s Olympic Swimming Trials now upon us, Swimming World takes a back-to-the-future approach to revisit some training done by superstar Katie Ledecky prior to the 2016 U.S. team qualifying meet.

44  |  Q&A WITH COACH  CATHERINE KASE
by Michael J. Stott

45  |  HOW THEY TRAIN  HALEY ANDERSON
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

037  |  DRYSIDE TRAINING:  TRAINING AMY BILQUIST
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

47  |  UP & COMERS:  KEELAN COTTER
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS

08  |  A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

11  |   DID YOU KNOW:  ABOUT BUSTER CRABBE?

48  |  GUTTERTALK

49  |  PARTING SHOT

 

Swimming World is now partnered with the International Swimming Hall of Fame. To find out more, visit us at ishof.org

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