What It Takes to be a Famous Olympic Swimmer


We take a look at what a career as an Olympic swimmer entails. Whether you are looking to inspire your team to break boundaries in swimming, sport or business with a keynote speech from a world-class Olympian or want to become an Olympic standard swimmer yourself, this blog aims to outline the mindset and effort that is needed to make a major splash in the pool.

Displaying Utter Dedication

sychronised swimming

To inspire your nation, your team and the world to earn a place in history is no easy task. But to swim with the best swimmers of all time – it all begins with a passion. From that passion, a desire brews within. It could be a passion for swimming or for success – it could be both. The reality is, that only those who are committed to becoming to being the strongest, the fastest and the best will make it to the top.

Making Sacrifices

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It is true what they say, to do something sensational you must make sacrifices. Famous Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington said in an interview with The Guardian, “It’s all sleeping, training, driving and occasionally finding time to eat”. When she was young, the swimmer would awake at 5 AM each morning to train before school and again after. She loved swimming and was soon trying to catch her older sisters in the pool. That constant drive to compete with those older than her proved her mettle and she went on to represent Great Britain at youth level, by the age of thirteen.

As the years rolled by and Rebecca continued to train harder and harder, eat the right way and sleep the right amount, she won her first silver medal at the European Championships. By this point, Rebecca was a rising star and 2008 saw her appear at the Beijing Olympic Games. She twice won gold in Beijing and was nominated in the top three for Sports Personality of the Year.

The incredible demands that are laid upon an Olympic hopeful are both mental and physical – with a mental toughness required to compete at the top end of the sport, as well as a dedication to conditioning yourself to be in the best physical shape.

One tournament every four years is the one that dreams of. And being completely ready ahead of the Olympic Games requires complete focus.

Making Big Decisions

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Are you the tortoise or the hare? The earlier you choose the focus of your future in swimming, the better placed you are to get your training routine right. Whether you want to be an endurance swimmer or a speed swimmer, know your strengths. Specialising can help you build a fitness and health plan suited to your greatest aspirations.

Once a swimmer has arrived at what they believe to be their peak performance, they must search for new areas to improve. Scrutinising every single detail of your life in the mere hope of getting better is central to peak performance in sports. Let’s take a look at these key details.

Training Tips

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Target-Setting – Have realistic goals at first and you are more likely to improve quicker in the pool. Increase the intensity of these targets over time to really challenge yourself.

Technique – The technique of a swimmer is essential. Take time to develop this first before you begin to focus on getting faster. Use kickboards to make your kicking movement more relaxed, coming from your hip and not your knee. Ensure you are breathing effectively and not moving your head from side to side every time you catch a breath.

Quality Coaching – A world-class coach can make all the difference. Having someone there not only to help you to use the best techniques but to motivate you and support you in achieving your goals is pivotal.

An Olympic Swimmer’s Diet

olympic diet

Foods rich in both protein and carbohydrates are suggested before swimming. Pasta, beans, and wholemeal bread are all popular and can be a great source of energy. A swimmer’s diet should be balanced and spread out. Frequent small meals are suggested to help suppress the likelihood of lethargy during your swim.

It is important to keep blood sugar levels balanced and your body should be sufficiently refuelled after each swim. Healthy snacks such as smoothies, fruit, nuts, cereal bars and protein shakes should take care of your nutrition, while fattier foods can put a strain on your digestion. Drink regularly to ensure dehydration doesn’t affect your efforts.

Get Inspired

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Inspiration in sport can come from various areas. Taking inspiration from Olympic legends like Rebecca Adlington and Michael Phelps can challenge you to match their exploits. Finding it from stories, hardships and more can also ensure you are fully focused on your dream. For some, inspiration can come from your coach, your family and more often than not, from competing. A desire to be the best at all costs is what earns medals and channelling the feeling from that first success can be enough to be inspired for many more. Here are some of the UK and world’s best swimmers able to inspire you and your team.

Who Is The Best Swimmer In The World?

Olympic Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps is the best swimmer in Olympic history. The ‘flying fish’ won an incredible 23 gold medals throughout his career and set 39 world records, meaning he is not only the best swimmer of all time but the greatest Olympian of all time. An amazing feat for the 33-year-old American whose legacy has inspired millions.

“You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the further you get.”

– Michael Phelps

Great British Olympic Swimmers

Rebecca Adlington OBE

rebecca adlington

Extremely dedicated to her pursuits, Rebecca’s impact on British swimming is significant. She became Britain’s greatest ever swimmer through her extraordinary medal-winning performances in Commonwealth, European and Olympic events.

Tom Daley

Tom Daley

Great Britain’s youngest Olympic competitor at London 2012, top diver Tom Daley has established a major reputation. A wonderful Olympic speaker, Tom is able to touch upon his experiences as an athlete, having won bronze at London 2012 and gold at the Commonwealth Games.

Ellie Simmonds MBE

Ellie Simmonds

British Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds was just 13 years old when she won two gold Olympic medals at the Paralympic Games in Beijing. That year she won the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year and proceeded to inspire the nation once more in 2012 when she twice won gold at London 2012. Today she serves as an amazing influence on young people around the world.

Karen Pickering MBE

karen pickering

Amazingly overcoming adversity to recover from breaking her back in a car accident, Karen broke two World Records and competed in four Olympic Games. She won four gold medals in the World Championships and today shares her incredible story with audiences as an after dinner speaker.

Need Inspiration on How to Inspire Your Team?

You can inspire your team today with a world-class Olympic speaker, speaking on themes relevant to all areas of business and sport. Focusing on peak performance, maximising success or the specificities of swimming, our impressive roster of Olympic swimmers can set your event alight.

Book an Olympic motivational swimming speaker today via Champions Olympic Speakers. Simply contact the Champions Olympic Speakers agency by filling in our online contact form or call a booking agent directly on 0207 1010 553.