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No Nationals, but F-Teamers remain positive

23 April 2020

 Stef McCarthy

Our F-Teamers, like so many Australian swimmers, were training hard in the lead up to the Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Championships, which were due to start today in Perth. It has been a tough pill to swallow. Swimming Australia summed it up best in their official statement: "We understand that there will be significant disappointment for our swimmers who have put in so much time and effort to be in peak condition for this event, but these are unprecedented times and the welfare and safety of our athletes, coaches, staff, technical officials, members and their families is paramount." We checked in with Funkita athletes, Abby Schoorl, Emma Malcolm and Stef McCarthy to see what they were most looking forward to at Nationals and what their experience would have looked like.

Which race were you most looking forward to and why?

Abby - Surprisingly, I was most looking forward to racing the 100m Freestyle at Nationals. I'm normally a backstroker but I was looking forward to this race because I've done a lot of freestyle training and my 100m Freestyle has been improving quite nicely

Emma - I was most looking forward to my 100m Butterfly! It's my favourite race and I was ready to give it a good crack as I haven't PB'd in it for a couple of years!

Stef - I was looking forward to all of my races, but probably most looking forward to the 100 Butterfly because I had recently started to do more fly in training and I felt like it was coming along really well.

What is your PB in that race?

Abby Schoorl

Abby - My PB for the 100m Freestyle is 56.9 which I swam untapered at NSW States earlier this year, so I was really looking forward to racing it having had a bit of a taper leading into Nationals.

Emma- I was looking to improve on my current PB in the 100m Butterfly of 1:01.68.

Stef - My PB for the 100 Butterfly is 1.01.57.

How many races were on your schedule?

Abby - I hadn't quite decided my full schedule before the event got cancelled, but I was probably going to swim the 100m Freestyle, the 50m and 100m Backstroke, the 50m and 100m Butterfly and the 200m IM - so about 6 races.

Emma- I was meant to be competing in 4 races ? the 50m and 100m Butterfly and the 50m and 100m Freestyle.

Stef - I was entered in five individual races. I would have been in a few relays as well, hopefully!

Which race were you least looking forward to?

Abby - I was kind of looking forward to all of my races but if I had to pick the event I was least excited about I would probably say the 200m IM. The breaststroke leg always kills me!

Emma - Given all of my races are very short and sharp, being a sprinter, I was looking forward to all of them!

Stef - The race I was least looking forward to racing in was the 400 Freestyle as it isn't something I train for or race all that often - and it is the longest race on my schedule.

What were you looking forward to the most about competing at Perth, have you been before?

Abby - I've never been to Perth so I was excited about seeing a new city and racing in a new pool I'd never swum in. I love going to new places to compete, it makes the whole experience more exciting.

Emma - I was more excited for racing this time around because it was my last age competition and I wanted to go out with a bang. I'm annoyed I will never get to compete in an age group again but there's not much we can do! I have never been to Perth so I was really keen to go over there to see the beautiful state, get some good racing in and enjoy the sunshine!

Stef - I was really looking forward to going to Perth as I have never been there before so it would have really exciting going somewhere new. Catching up with friends from other states and cheering on my club mates were also things I was looking forward to.

If the event were still on, what would you be doing a few days out before flying to Perth?

Abby - I would have been sitting my end of semester exams at Bond (lucky me) I would have sat my last exam yesterday and then driven straight from the Gold Coast to Brisbane to catch a flight to Perth in the afternoon and get there in time to have been ready to race tomorrow! I'm not sure how well I would have gone the next day with dealing with the time difference and travel as well as having to compete but anyway - don't have to worry about that anymore!

Emma- If I was still heading over there I would probably be slowing down the kms at training and starting to pack! I like to be packed early because it makes me excited that I'm leaving in a few days.

Stef - Normally a few days before the meet we would have been at the end of taper so hopefully I would have been ready to go physically. I would also have been getting myself ready mentally and emotionally - National Age sure takes it out of you!

Do you have anything in particular or unusual you would have packed for your trip?

Abby - I don't usually pack anything unusual when I travel for meets but if I was feeling a bit stressed for my races I might have packed some pens and a colouring in book. Colouring in keeps me relaxed!

Emma Malcolm

Emma - I always pack my favourite Powerades - because I get worried they won't have the flavour I like or that they won't be on sale wherever I'm going! I also always pack a different pair of Funkitas for each time I'm going to be in the pool. I'm a bit superstitious - I don't like wearing the same pair twice!

Stef - When packing to travel, I usually pack the standard items and always have a list of what I need to take which is pretty much the same wherever we are going. We always pack our NutriBullet so we can have lots of yummy smoothies that are also really nutritious.

With all the nerves around racing, are you somewhat relieved it's cancelled? Or do you handle nerves well?

Abby - I'm disappointed it's cancelled to be honest, because I think I handle nerves pretty well. When I get nervous I know it's because I care about my race, but at the end of the day it's just a race. My family will still love me regardless of the outcome!

Emma - I used to not handle nerves well at all due to the fact that I suffer from anxiety, however, I have learnt to control them and to use them in a positive way

Stef - In terms of nerves before a big race, I always have them, but that adrenaline also helps me focus on the race ahead. For me, being nervous shows that I care about the result. I have been working on controlling my nerves recently, so I was ready to turn my nerves into positive energy and swim fast.

Who would you have been rooming with?

Stef McCarthy

Stef - I would have been staying with my family, so I would either have been in a room by myself or sharing with my sister who was coming to support me.

Do you think your coach is at home right now writing sets for your return?

Abby - I think it's been hard to know what kind of work we will go back into when this is all over because no one knows when any upcoming competitions will be scheduled. So I don't know what type of training block we will go into when we get back in the water. But I have no doubt that my coach, Rich, has prepared some sets for us - once we're back I think he'll be pretty keen to get stuck into work in one way or another!

Emma - I know for a fact that my coach is at home right now writing sets for me as he sent us some of them today! We are also planning a Zoom call to discuss goals going forward individually and as a squad in the next few weeks.

Stef - I know he is! My coach is always planning ahead and letting us know what is happening.


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