The postponement of Tokyo 2020 means different things to different people, but for Freya Anderson, it may come as a blessing.
Still just 19 years of age, the freestyler has time on her side, and so an extra 12 months to fine-tune her craft may well work in her favour.
After the announcement that the double European Short Course champion will be moving to the Bath National Centre once the current UK lockdown is lifted, Freya was in good spirits.
“Having an extra year, for me, is going to be really beneficial. Doing that in Bath, where it’ll be a new start, will help me re-focus and I just can’t wait to get going. I’m even missing the feeling of jumping in a cold pool – I never thought I’d say that!”
Clearly chomping at the bit to re-start her normal water based routine, how is Anderson passing the days at home, when life is a far cry from what she is used to?
“I’m not enjoying it, but I’m not hating it as much as I thought I’d be. I don’t like not having a routine, but I’ve planned and created my own lockdown routine, which has actually been going quite well, so I’m just trying to stick to that.”
“Every day I do some sort of cardio, whether it be running, biking or on the rowing machine and then pretty much every day I’ll do a core workout. Then every other day I’ll either do arms or legs, switching it up as much as I can. I’ve obviously only got a certain amount of equipment; I’ve got a med ball and some kettle bells, but I could have nothing, so I’m pretty lucky. For the rest of the day I’ll just try and chill out and recover.”
Whilst some athletes are thriving on the variation in exercises, others would much rather be doing what they know best, so whilst Anderson is happy enough with the mix she’s got, she did say:
“I’m hating the running as I don’t think my knees can keep going any longer, so I might have to stick to the rowing machine a bit more!”
Once she makes the move south at the end of the lockdown period, running will be very much on the backburner, as she gets back to what she knows best.
“I’m really excited to get going in Bath - it’s a really good environment down there, with all the senior swimmers, which is something I’ve never had before as I’ve always trained at a junior level.
“I went to Australia on the Bath camp, which was amazing. We spent three weeks out there in January/February time and then I’ve taken visits down to Bath to see myself on the underwater cameras and have a week training with the group, so I’m used to what it’s like down there already. The transition has felt really seamless and Dave has been amazing, so I can’t wait to work with him.”
Anderson praised everyone involved in, what so far, has been a successful phased transition.
“Everyone has made me feel really welcome, especially Dave. He’s an amazing coach and we get on really well – it’s nice that we’ve got a head start on our coach-athlete relationship before I’ve moved down there.”
After a long period under the guidance of Alan Bircher at Ellesmere College, the World medallist was quick to pay tribute to how he has shaped her career to this point.
“It’s going to be sad as I’ve been there for five years, but I think it’s the right time to do it and have a new start. I’m forever grateful for what Alan’s done with me and the programme at Ellesmere.”
For now, it’s all about staying fit, healthy and strong until given the green light to get back in the water.