You're retired now, but what sport did you compete in and why did you choose this sport?
My sport was swimming. I think my parents picked it for me first as a means of making sure I was "water proofed". Eventually I chose it for myself because I hated team sports. I think I was just better suited in a sport where my mistakes would only affect me and not the rest of the team.
What was the first goal for swimming you set and why was it important?
The first time I said I wanted to swim in the Olympics was in Grade 3. My teacher Mrs. Naughton made each student stand up and say what we wanted to be when we grew up. I also said I wanted to build robots, but I think we were only supposed to pick one thing. I chose this as my goal because I knew it was hard and I would have to become incredible at swimming in order to achieve it. I always felt I wasn’t very good at a lot of things so being good at one thing was really important to me.
Going into your third Olympic games, what did your typical training week look like?
My last year preparing for the London 2012 Olympic Games, a typical week looked like this:
Mon & Fri:
Tues & Thurs:
Now that you’re no longer swimming, what do you do to stay fit?
I found that I really enjoy weight training. I’ll be honest, I don’t go to the pool anymore unless it’s to run our swim camps or private lessons. Not having a coach to challenge me and teammates to push me, it’s very lonely and un-motivating. With weight training, I get to challenge myself each time I’m there. I challenge myself with each exercise by creating little goals for each one. Whether it’s hitting a new max weight or rep range, or trying to see how many reps I can hit the perfect muscle contraction before my form starts to falter, and this creates the sense of daily reward for me that I think a lot of athletes miss when they retire. Plus it’s just being social and getting to know the regulars you see there.
Outside of training, what was one easy thing you found you could do to help yourself reach your goals?
Nutrition nutrition nutrition! With heavy training athletes always have a seemingly insatiable appetite and it’s really easy to just eat whatever is in front of you. The further I got in my career, the better I became at selecting foods that will aid my performance or recovery. I don't think it's a coincidence that I won my Olympic medal after I was able to learn how to how to take better care of myself outside the pool.
That concludes our interview! Thanks Brent!
Stay tuned for when we ask another amazing person 5 Questions!