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2018 Commonwealth Games – Elite Athlete Interview

By admin | June 9, 2016


Elite Swimmer: Elijah Winnington (15 Years)




Swimming Australia:

“Elijah Winning ‘tonnes’ at Australian Age”

“Age2014 – Day Five Finals

Thirteen-year-old Elijah Winnington is living up to his promising surname after collecting his fourth gold medal and second Australian age record at the 2014 Georgina Hope Swimmers Foundation Australian Age Championships in Sydney.

After setting a new age group record in the boy’s 12/13 years 200m freestyle earlier in the meet, Winnington was at it again in the final of the 400m free, leaving the rest of the field behind as he chased the clock, hitting the wall in a time of 4:07.78 to eclipse the previous record, set in 1995 by just 0.02 of a second.”

Read more:




ULTIQA: What made you want to start swimming?

EW: I really just started swimming to learn how to swim to be water-safe. I was about 6 months old. My parents said that I loved it and just couldn’t stay out of the water. So then, when I got to competitive swimming I was way ahead of the swimmers of my age. I did enjoy being ahead so kept on and have loved it ever since.


ULTIQA: Why do you like swimming more than other sports?

EW: I guess it is the independence in the water – you are in your own head and you don’t have to rely on anyone else. It is just sort of you and your coach


ULTIQA: How long have you been swimming competitively?

EW: I think my first competition was about when I was seven years old. So, it has been since then and I am now 15 years old.


ULTIQA: What is your favourite stroke?

EW: It probably would be Freestyle.


ULTIQA: What is your favourite event?

EW: I love the 100m, 200m and 400m Freestyle. I also do the IM’s (Individual Medley) – both the IM’s (200m and 400m) and the 200m Fly – but my favourite is probably the Freestyle events.


ULTIQA: What is you fastest time in your favourite event?

EW: Probably the 400m Freestyle would be my best one and my fastest time is 3:56


ULTIQA: What is your training schedule like these days?

EW: At the moment, leading into Nationals, we are doing 10 sessions: That’s two on Monday; two on Tuesday; we run as a squad on Wednesday morning; one on Wednesday afternoon; two on Thursday; two on Friday and one on Saturday.


ULTIQA: What are your short-term swimming goals this year?

EW: Well, I’m going to National Age and Olympic Trials, of course. I’d love to break a few Queensland records at the Nationals, especially the 200m Freestyle, which is mainly on my mind. I would also like to make a semi-final at the Olympic Trials – this is a pretty big goal of mine too.


ULTIQA: What are your longer- term swimming goals after this year?

EW:  Definitely making a Junior Team for Australia this year – hopefully – and then in the next two years making a Senior Australian Team, like the Dolphin Squad.


ULTIQA: How important is goal setting to your training?

EW: I believe it is really important because it just gives you something to strive for – like, you’re not just going into training thinking, “I got three months away …”, I’m actually training towards a specific thing. So I believe writing it down and looking at it every day to motivate you towards something you want to do.


ULTIQA: What is your proudest moment as an athlete?

EW: It will probably be when I was thirteen and I won my first National Gold Medal and broke the Australian Record for the 200m Freestyle. That was my proudest moment. It was in 2013.


ULTIQA: When you have an “off” day when motivation seems to elude you, how do you push through it?

EW: That leads back to my goal setting and remembering my goals and thinking that this will not set me back. I must just focus on my goals and motivate myself even more.


ULTIQA: What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your swimming career?

EW: I would probably say having the training schedule. Having the training from 5am – 7am, every morning, means that it is hard to get up. I have to go to bed early and I miss a lot of social activities. That’s the most challenging thing for me and it is sort of being excluded from many things, but then again, it’s going to make you the world’s best.


ULTIQA: Do you reward yourself when you reach goals?

EW: Yes, I normally do – I normally just binge out and eat a fair bit or if I don’t hit a goal, I just keep looking back and set an even harder one to beat.


ULTIQA: What are your favourite go-to meals and snacks?

EW: I love eggs and toast – that’s always really good. I always whip myself up some eggs and toast and even just, like biscuits and small muesli bars. That’s probably the best.


ULTIQA: How important is cross-training?

EW: Yes, well we run every Wednesday and do gym and Med (Medicine) Ball and I believe that it builds strength away from just the swimming aspect of building your strength. Those muscles help you get fitter as well.


ULTIQA: What do you do for cross-training?

EW: I do Human Med Ball, which is doing exercises with a partner. The weight of the Medicine Ball is

5kg. and we throw the ball to each other.


ULTIQA: What are you going to do today to make yourself the best possible athlete?

EW: Because I’m on school holidays, I’ll go home after training, have a massive breakfast, probably sit down and watch a movie, then go to sleep around 1pm, wake up by 2pm and then leave for training at around 3.15pm. I always sleep before either training or racing


ULTIQA: What would you regret not fully doing in swimming?

EW: Probably, some sessions when I’m feeling a bit fatigued and unmotivated, I might slack off a little bit and just think, “This is just one session …” I really regret that – say, when I don’t hit that goal – I say to myself, ‘Why did I do that?” and I could have easily just pushed through.


ULTIQA: How do you function best?

EW: I always sleep. I sleep a lot. If I’m not on school holidays there’s not much I can do except be a normal kid at school, but when I’m on school holidays I normally always sleep and I think that works really well. I sleep at least one hour during the day and about eight ½ hours at night.


ULTIQA: Thank you very much for your time and good luck with your swimming.

EW: Thank you.

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