Changing Lanes

Swim training 14

Swim training 14 (Photo credit: Michael Lokner)

In my 31 December post Don’t Call It A Comeback’, I advocated that sports stars should have a Plan B in place, so they know what else they want to do with the rest of their lives, once they leave their field of excellence.


By coincidence Rebecca Adlington seems to have done that sort of thinking, before making her announcement this week that she is moving on from competitive swimming.


I love the clarity of her vision, set out at her press conference.  Quoted in the Daily Telegraph she said:

“I want to create a legacy, which is trying to get every single child to be able to swim 25 metres before they leave primary school… That would be my absolute goal in life. I know it’s very ambitious but I wouldn’t have said five years ago that I would have had four Olympic medals in my drawer at home. I know with a lot of hard work you can achieve things. It’s such a life skill and it would overtake anything I’ve achieved medal-wise. It would be greatest legacy of all for every child in the UK to be able to swim”.

That sounds to me like she has had some effective coaching during her competitive swimming career.  In fact it sounds as if she has answered the question of what else she wants in her life, to her own satisfaction.  I don’t doubt she has the motivation to succeed in her new goal too.

Swimming Lessons

English: Mark Foster, British swimmer, at the ...

English: Mark Foster, British swimmer, at the parade in London to celebrate the achievements of British competitors at the 2008 Summer Olympics. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Interviewed by Benenden Healthcare Society’s ben health magazine in February 2012, former Olympic swimmer Mark Foster offered some views about success in and out of the water.


I thought I would share the highlights of what he said, since they have a general appeal.


Speaking about what it takes to succeed in his sport, he said:


“You have to be mentally strong and believe in yourself 100 per cent.  You need to be the one who trains harder and wants it more and is willing to go that extra mile”.


In the working world he emphasised the importance of taking “…responsibility for your job – for your part of the big picture”.


Finally he offered some thoughts about striving to succeed:


“Never be afraid of failing.  The real winners are those who have a go and go that extra mile.  Don’t be someone who doesn’t try because they don’t want to fail.  Be the best you can be”.