Words by Richard Edwards
As one of the world’s most successful freestylers, Jazz Carlin will be among the favourites for gold in the pool at this summer’s Olympics in Rio. The 25-year-old Welsh star struck gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in the 800m freestyle and then followed it up with a silver in the 400m. With that kind of form behind her, she’ll be part of a strong GB swimming team targeting podium glory in Brazil.
“It’s a great team – you look around and we’ve got gold medalists from the Commonwealth Games, World Championship and European Championship,” she tells BESTFIT. “I’m grateful to be part of such a strong team. We’re a really strong family, there’s a real bond in the team. It should be a memorable games.”
Here, Carlin tells us the best way of enhancing your speed and increasing your stamina in the pool.
“Once you have an aerobic base then the best way of building endurance is interval training. Swim 100m with only five or ten seconds rest between each repetition. Do this 10 times, or 15 when you’re more confident in your stamina. If you’re feeling good keep the rest time down, if you’re struggling, up it slightly.”
“Do some speed endurance work, sprinting for 20-25m – all using maximum effort. You want to keep the same speed from your first rep to your last rep. Give yourself one minute between each but do it 20 times in a session.”
“With the speed endurance work, use the starting blocks if you get the chance. This will not only improve your starts but will also increase your leg strength. The most important thing is to give your absolute maximum.”
“You need to make training fun and break it up a little. I like to use hand paddles to build up the strength and the muscle groups you might not use during an average session. These make you push harder through the water, and builds up your lats. Once you get efficient with your paddles, swimming without them should feel a lot easier. Do 20-25m, maybe 10-15 times, with a minute in between.”
“As a freestyler you need to maintain the strength in your shoulders. Pull-ups are a great way of doing that. Do five reps of five with two to three minutes in between. That will build up the muscles for the movements patterns you need as a swimmer.”
“Swim-kick core is a great exercise to build up your strength. Lay on your back doing the kicking motion you use as a swimmer with your legs off the ground. Do 30 to 45 seconds with 15 seconds rest for five reps.”
“Your leg strength is crucial. Do four sets of 10 with a minute or so in between. You’ll soon see the difference this can make in the pool.”
“Intersperse that leg-press with some box jumps. Diametric work is absolutely crucial and really helps with your spring. Again, four sets of ten should help you build up the strength you need.”
I’m grateful to be part of such a strong team. we’re a really strong family, there’s a real bond in the team.