With the British Swimming Championships 2019 firmly on the horizon we caught up with Commonwealth champion Aimee Willmott to find out about the all-important prep for Glasgow, the Gwangju World Championships and beyond.
After a challenging and injury plagued season in 2017, Willmott took a step into the slight unknown, moving from the bright lights of London to join the University of Stirling’s performance programme and work under the guidance of coach Steven Tigg.
So far that change has proved fruitful, as after less than a year at her new Scottish training base the individual medley specialist stepped onto the top of the podium at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games for Team England, winning gold in the Women’s 400m IM.
Working alongside other top British swimmers, such as the highly decorated Duncan Scott and Ross Murdoch, Willmott has thrived in the new environment.
Commenting on the changes, challenges faced, and her next steps, Willmott said:
“I really enjoyed accepting the new challenge; it was a massive shift in terms of living in the city to moving up to such a small place like Stirling. I think the biggest change is I am a lot more independent now, I have a bit more onus on what’s going on and what kind of things I need to be able to perform well.
“From my perspective, the only major thing I needed to train better is working smarter. Training with somebody as a training partner has been a huge benefit for me, as it just creates such a good atmosphere and everyone here is working towards similar goals whether that is the world champs, the Olympics or the next commie games, it’s just nice to be part of a programme with such big ambitions. Everyone wants to be here.
“This year I have the World Championships in my mind, so hopefully I’ll qualify for those at the British Championships. The next step obviously would be to perform well at the worlds in Gwangju and see how close I can get to the medal podiums.
“Then after that we’re only another year to Tokyo, so the focus would then switch to looking at those things that I could be a bit better and get myself to be the best I can when Games arrive.”See Aimee in action next month at the British Swimming Championships at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow 16-21 April – click here to secure your tickets and out more about the event here.