Pro Focus: Keri-Anne Payne
Today is the launch of Swimathon and Olympic silver medalist Keri-Anne Payne was in Stockport this morning to kick off the proceedings. We managed to grab a quick five minutes with her to discuss her training, how she’s prepping for London 2012 and how to get more young women involved in competitive swimming.
Spikes: We heard when you first made the switch from pool swimming to open water swimming, you hated it. Why is that?
Kari-Anne: I didn’t hate it, it was just a shock to the system. It took a bit of getting used to. But now I love it. I love the freedom of it. Every swim is different. It’s not like when you’re in the pool and you’re counting the tiles at the bottom. With an open water swim, even if you’re doing the same stretch of water, it feels like a different swim every time.
What is your training schedule like at the moment?
I’m doing 10 session a week – each swim is two hours. I also do two gym workouts a week where I focus on my cardio and two yoga sessions a week.
What’s your hardest session of the week?
Wednesday mornings and Thursday nights. Those are the longest sessions. I’ll do about 8K of hard swimming. We mix it up, sometimes with 9 or 10 800m repeats and heart rate sessions. I love those sessions, I really like to push myself.
You were one of the first Team GB athletes to qualify for London 2012. With the Olympics now just around the corner, how are you preparing?
Well there’s so much preparation to do but in terms of the training, that doesn’t really change. We have competitions every year that we have to prepare for so mentally, it’s the same. Obviously as this Olympics is on our home turf, you definitely feel the anticipation a little more. It’s exciting, but I’m approaching it just like any other competition.
Swimming is often seen as ‘gentle exercise’ – do you have any advice for people who want to push it and get the most out of their swimming sessions?
Well I’m not sure myself or anyone I train with would think it’s gentle exercise! You often see ladies doing breaststroke and not getting their hair wet – I say get in there and your hair wet, get on with it and get your heart rate up. Set small goals, see if you can increase the number of lengths you do each session, then see if you can do them faster.
Do you think enough is being done to get young women involved in competitive swimming?
I think events like Swimathon really help with that. And athletes like myself and Rebecca Adlington show that you can have a great lifestyle and swim and our bodies are in great condition all the time. I hope young girls see that and give it a go.