Adaptability has become the new norm for most people, however, as an athlete I have been honing my skills around adjustment for a number of years. When lockdown was announced there was a mad rush for my support teams to figure out a way to keep me motivated and training within the strict conditions that were set. As a swimmer been out the pool for any length of time is risky due to loss of fitness but mainly the feel of the water.
My coach and I had been preparing for our Olympic Trials that were to take place at the start of June, and our governing body had decided to wait to make a call on the trials until the very last minute. It was a tumultuous time for me as an athlete because we were expected to still be performing at our peak but were unable to swim and had to adapt my training plan that had been in place for around 12 months and change it within a couple of days.
The biggest adaption to my training during lockdown was not physical it was mental. I still had to focus on my end goal of trials and had to find a way to push myself towards this knowing that it could be cancelled or postponed any day. Physically, I had to adapt all my water-based training to land, which involved a lot of running, biking and circuit work. I was lucky enough to have gym equipment at home which meant most of m gym sessions were uninterrupted however, this was also changed to fit with the absence of swimming training. My body had to adjust to a new regime that was harder on the joints and muscles than what I was used too, I went from running 1-2 times a week to a run of varying distances and sets every day. I found the physical change an easy one, work is work no matter what you are doing and that was the mentality I took when approaching anything physical.
Mentally, it was frustrating to not be in a pool and be able to push myself in such a familiar way, so I had to challenge myself in new ways and set new short-term goals to fit my current situation. Mostly, the anxiousness that came with such a sudden change in how I had been approaching my life previous to the pandemic was my biggest challenge. I had everything planned out for the rest of the year in terms of competitions nationally and internationally and all my training. To realise that all you had planned and worked for was now non-existence meant a lot of acceptance of the unknown and also an appreciation that sport although a big part of my world, is a very small part of the world and life in general.
Our trials were eventually cancelled, a couple of weeks into lockdown after the Olympics were postponed and with that came a lot of relief and release of pressure. Looking back now I realise my ability to adapt to situations has been built up over many years and it is nice to see that although at the time it felt as though I was failing that I was indeed achieving in other ways.