Jemma Lowe: Onwards to Olympic Trials

Jemma Lowe, hoping to make the team for what would be her third Olympics at trials in April, gives us the run down on her 2016 so far

I started the new year of 2016, the Olympic season, in Australia on a seven week hot weather training camp. A group of Bath NTC and Loughborough NTC joined together on the Gold Coast, at The Southport School, once home to Britain’s offshore centre, for a great block of training as a team in the sun. The main reason for going to Australia was to get away from the UK’s winter; as swimmers we go through high intensity training from September for around seven months and during winter the chance of illness gets much higher as our immune systems become suppressed. This trip was a great opportunity to avoid illness and having to miss out on any potential training gains.

The camp was a great success with everyone as individuals doing everything they could in training. Seven weeks on the sunny Gold Coast sounds like an amazing holiday, but as swimmers it was anything but! For instance on the first weekend out there we raced in tough conditions; outside in rain and storms, with manual timing while still battling through jet lag. Some days were extremely hot and it took some adapting to get used to the heat. For the first few weeks I’d be sat eating my breakfast and even my knuckles would be sweating! It seems crazy now, being back in the UK when it’s still so cold.

Each week was like a normal training week, 10 sessions in the pool and gym each day, but we got to swim outside in the sun, which always made training that little bit better, knowing we were getting a tan if nothing else. Most weekends we got time off, as we do at home, and we always aimed to do something fun, like going to the zoo, to a water park, or to beautiful islands and beaches. Although, sometimes at the beaches we would be too tired from the training week to get in the sea and do more swimming. The time out there went really fast and before we knew it we were back home in the UK, back in the cold! What a great opportunity it was though, especially as preparation for the upcoming Olympic trials.

When we got back to the UK we competed almost straight away in Edinburgh for what was our last race practice leading up to the trials. I completely didn’t know what to expect as I was still getting over the jet lag from the 10-hour time difference from Australia, but Edinburgh is always a great pool to race at as it’s a really good facility. I was pretty happy with my swims in both the 100 and 200 butterfly; both were best times for the season so far.

Swimming without funding has made it all a bit more difficult this year than in previous years. However, I’ve never done swimming for the money. It helps of course, but I do it for the fun and for the challenge. My parents have always supported me and I would never have been able to do what I’ve done without their help, not just financially but in many ways. I have recently done a number of butterfly swim clinics for some smaller clubs; my original swimming clubs, Aquaforce in Hartlepool and BOSSS in Stockton, have supported me a lot this year after I visited them for clinics. I’m now also part of Swimpath, which is an up and coming company getting swimmers involved in enjoying the sport more and giving them opportunities to learn and improve.

Now with the British Championships just around the corner, there are only a few weeks of hard training to do before the wonderful taper begins! I’m looking forward to resting up and seeing how much I can move it on from the times I’ve done already this year. To qualify for my 3rd Olympics really would be amazing; I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.

Jemma Lowe is supported by Swimpath – Developing today the swimmers of tomorrow

Swimpath has been designed to support individuals in their relentless pursuit of swimming betterment. The journey for an athlete is long, at times arduous, but ultimately a completely fulfilling experience. Swimpath aims to be there to facilitate this process, to supply guidance and help to nurture the talent of tomorrow, at whatever age or stage of development. We offer mentoring and coaching by Olympic swimmers, as well as all the training and race equipment required, from all the top brands.