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Phyllida Britton; Swimming

I’m Phyllida and I am a second year Chemist. I started swimming competitively when I was 9 years old and now I train at Ealing swimming club where I train 20 hours a week. I tend to focus on Freestyle- typically 400 and 800m.

Managing academics training and competing can be quite a challenge especially considering the major part of our season takes place over exam period. Competitions run from October to July and commonly require you to be present at a swimming pool for the entire weekend. Sometimes major competitions occur during term time, and although this is hard to juggle with labs and tutorials- I am fortunate that I have very understanding professors that will accommodate my needs. Moreover, for me time efficiency plays a huge role - I will ensure that travel time is used to do assignments if possible.

I wake up at 4.10 am every weekday except Wednesday for training and I leave the pool at around 10am (8:30 if I have labs) and go straight to university. I return for 6pm for a 2 hour session, making it home by 9pm. I will do necessary assignments before heading to bed and starting again. Breaking into the routine is always tough but after a while your body gets adjusted to it. If there are no competitions on the weekend I will have a session on Saturday morning and then on Sunday evening leaving me a weekend free to work and relax. It is important for me to have some downtime and I will ensure that at least Saturday evening I am not working or swimming. Most importantly, I feel the love I have from training ensures that any time management obstacles I encounter are swiftly eliminated.

My biggest achievement so far probably was winning the 4x100m freestyle relay at British Nationals this year. Despite it not being an individual attainment- winning a gold amongst your team mates is a feeling that is hard to beat. Being chosen to compete in Belgium in the Flanders Speedo Cup in January 2018 was also a marked achievement in addition to competing in Chartres Open de France in July.

With regards to future goals I would love to drop my times in all my events; swimming is different whereby selections for teams are made based on times rather than position.

As an Elite Athlete, I have been incredibly fortunate to have been offered services such as strength and conditioning and physio- which is incredibly useful for helping me with my ongoing knee injury. However, I feel that in particular Tiahan Eeles has been indescribably helpful, giving me support and advice throughout the whole year and has always only ever been an email away- which is the kind of support which is needed to help the harmony between studies and training.