You will hear an interview with a woman called Vicky Prince, a champion swimmer who now works as a swimming coach.
- Vicky first went in for competitions because
- As a teenager, Vicky’s training involved
- What did Vicky find hard about her training programme?
- What helped Vicky to do well in the national finals?
- As a swimming coach, Vicky thinks she’s best at teaching people
- Why has Vicky started doing long-distance swimming?
M: I’m talking to champion swimmer Vicky Prince, who started competitive swimming as a teenager. Why swimming, Vicky?
F: Well, though my parents are interested in sport, they aren’t great swimmers themselves, and we didn’t go swimming that often. I learnt at school like everyone else, and just seemed to be good at it, so my teacher persuaded me to go in for competitions. I mean I did join a swimming club later, but that wasn’t where it all started.
M:Did you have to do lots of training?
F: I did. I used to get up at five to go to the pool, which was a thirty-five-minute drive from our house, where I’d swim till eight. I’d have breakfast in the car while Mum was driving me to school. After classes, I did exercises in the school gym to build my strength, before lunch. Then later on, it was back to the pool for another three hours.
M: So it was a hard training programme?
F: Yes, it meant I couldn’t go to things like parties because I had to get up so early, but I got used to that. Much harder was losing two of the friends I’d known since I was very young because I couldn’t go out much. That was tough. I also missed school trips to France though I did get to go there later, so it didn’t matter in the end.
M: But you won a national competition?
F: Yes, I was in the team that took first prize in the national finals. I always swam for enjoyment, so I was surprised to find myself holding up a cup! I hadn’t swum that well in the semi-finals, so I guess the crowd were more interested in the other swimmers in my race. So that made it easier to do well. Of course, I’d trained hard too, but I always did.
M: And now you’re a coach, teaching other people.
F: Yes, I’ve just done a qualification to be a coach, but passing on my own experience is how I can really help them. And because I’ve both won and lost in competitions, and recovered from that, it’s something I can share with people. Winning isn’t just about technique.
M: And you’ve taken up long-distance swimming?
F: Yes, just as a hobby. I mean I do want to maintain my fitness levels, but that wasn’t the main reason for choosing it. And long-distance swimming in the sea isn’t all fun – it can be hard work – but you do get to see some wonderful places, and that’s what attracted me to it.