In our final interview we switch focus from individuals to teams as we talk to Chris Jones and Richard Schafers from the Swimming Team Performance Programme (TPP).
All of these guys should be looking at international swimming over the next few years.
Head of Performance Swimming
The Swimming TPP currently supports twelve University of Edinburgh students competing at National and International standard.
We spoke to Head of Performance Swimming, Chris Jones (CJ), and team member, Richard Schafers (RS).
CJ: Three swimmers on the Scottish Commonwealth Games Team for Delhi 2010. For the team in its infancy, that has been very important and so far in terms of international recognition that has been the highlight. In terms of university wide results, I think it’s important to point out that we were BUCS Teams Champions in 2010 and over the past few years we’ve been gaining in strength.
RS: I probably go to around five or six meets over the year. It shows what the percentage of racing to training is!
CJ: Richard as a sprinter means he’ll focus more on specific events so between five and eight meets per year is normal.
RS: I start at 05.30 for two hours swim training and I’m at Uni by 09.00 till about 16.00. I go back to the gym for a second gym session after Uni on a Tuesday. Most other days are roughly the same with a combination of one or two gym and one or two swimming sessions each day plus university.
CJ: Richard is quite unique in that respect because his degree is very demanding. Chemical Physics is very difficult and then to manage the time on top of that is tricky. With Richard being a sprinter we can be a bit more flexible with regards to time in the water and gym sessions.
RS: I have to work late and try to get as much done at Uni but most of the time I don’t get it all done so just need to work harder!
RS: If you want to do a degree like mine, Chemical Physics, and you want to swim at the same time - don’t do it! Especially if you’re a middle distance swimmer.
RS: Access to training in a really nice gym. We get help through Chris and the strength and conditioning sessions with John Watson and Steve Bishop - the CSE’s full-time Strength and Conditioning coaches - as well.
CJ: These guys are really well supported for example to go down to the Olympic trials, water bottles, help with kit which these guys appreciate so much.
CJ: Most recently, Louise Pate who graduated with a Cameron Blue of the Year who retired after the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.
But now we’ve got a new breed of swimmers coming through, all of these guys should be looking at international swimming over the next few years. The Olympics might be a bit soon but a home Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014, World University Games, World and European Championships in the build-up to the next Olympics in 2016 in Rio, Brazil.
CJ: There are 12 athletes who have qualified to swim at the Olympic Trials which is no mean feat! It’s very difficult to actually get there.
We’ll go down to London in a week to swim in the new Aquatics Centre! It’s not just a British selection swim for the athletes but it’s also a test event for the Olympics too. I know that my boss, Jim Aitken - Director of the CSE - and John Watson have tickets for the finals so no pressure there!
RS: It should be really good, a huge experience to go there and race against the best people and an opportunity to see what we can really do.
The University of Edinburgh sent 12 TPP swimmers down to the Olympic Trials in the new London 2012 Aquatic Centre where both Emma Bird, Corrie Scott put in great performances and associate member Michael Jamieson made it into Team GB for this year’s home Olympics!
The following week our swimmers headed to Sheffield for the British University Team Championship and finished second overall with great individual performances again from Emma , Corrie, Sarah Eaglesham and finally Richard Schafers who broke his own Scottish record. So a big well done to every member of our TPP swimmers!
RS: I’d take John Watson because he wants to take a spaceflight with Virgin and then end up in Russia for some weightlifting as that’s his dream!
Interviewed in February 2012.
This is the final article in this years ‘A Minute With…’ interview series. The Centre for Sport and Exercise and Edinburgh University Sports Union would like to thank you for reading about our IPP and TPP athletes and remind you that all interviews published throughout the 2011-12 academic year can still be found here:
This article was published on Apr 6, 2012