Thursday, 10 May 2012

Michael's Blog: And Breathe...

Michael Jamieson

Here's the latest guest post from our Olympic hopeful, Michael Jamieson...

It’s almost time to start competing again! We have had quite a testing last six weeks in Bath since the Olympic trials, re-laying the fitness foundations before the summer kicks off. Unfortunately, due to the monsoon weather recently, I haven’t been able to continue developing my golf game. It looks like that may have to wait until the season is finished.

I’ll be heading to the European Championships at the end of May in Debrecen, Hungary. Only five British athletes have taken their place to compete, due to scheduling and logistical issues. The Europeans will be an opportunity to compete against some of the medal and final contenders for the Olympics, so I’ll be taking it very seriously. In the wake of my performances in London in March, it’s important for me to post a fast time in Debrecen, put down a marker and create some momentum for the coming months.

From Debrecen, I’ll be travelling to Barcelona, Canet and Mallorca for further racing and training. I’m thoroughly looking forward to seeing the sun; I am beginning to develop a greyish complexion thanks to the mix of seasons we’ve witnessed recently and the chlorine.

I’ve been working with the sport psychologist again this month and it’s really helping me. Last week’s was the difference between self-belief and confidence. We came to the conclusion that self-belief is something developed from a young age, in any field, career or sport and stems from a hunger to be successful. Confidence, in my opinion, is superficial. Not many athletes possess both of these attributes. For me, confidence is difficult to develop. I take confidence from training fast and racing fast…and I think that could be it, so clearly it’s an area that requires some work!

The squad in Bath has a new recruit, a sports physiologist. One week into his post and Ben has me sleeping in an altitude chamber, which is basically a fancy tent. I am a huge fan of it and have responded well to the mountain air in previous years. The tent provides an alternative method of altitude training through living/sleeping high and training low (sea level). The tent is air tight around my bed and a generator, which sits outside the bedroom and runs a pipe through a hole in the tent, changes the composition of the air to reduce levels of oxygen, training your lungs as you sleep. I’ll be sleeping in the tent until the Games, hoping it gives me the slightest edge over my opponents and hoping I’m not evicted by my housemates before then due to the whirring sound of the generator!

Alex Dale Oen, Norwegian Breaststroker and World Champion over 100m in Shanghai in 2011, sadly passed away last week.  Alex was a friend of mine and I was in conversation with him just days before this tragic event. He lifted the World title just days after a bombing in his hometown in Norway, which killed 80 people, displaying his strength of character. Alex was a favourite for Olympic Gold this summer and at just 26 years of age, died after suffering cardiac arrest during a training camp. A stark reminder of how fragile life is. The global swimming community demonstrated its strength after his passing last week and I would urge you to watch the footage of his 100m Breaststroke victory to see the passion and patriotism he displayed. He will be sadly missed.

Michael, I was shocked to hear of Alex's death last week. My sympathy at the loss of your friend and condolences to his family. Thanks for writing such an honest post, which gives us such an insight into all aspects of competing at the highest level in sport.

Good luck in the Europeans at the end of this month - we'll be rooting for you! Here's hoping your strange new sleeping habits are worth it...

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