After a busy month of training and competing abroad in Austin, Texas and Flanders, Belgium, 16 year old City of Leeds star Georgia Coates spoke to AquaZone about the trips away, how 2016 is going for her so far and her Olympic dream...
How do you feel about your performance at the meet?
I was really pleased with how I swam. It was my first time at the meet and I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially after a long flight from Texas where we’d been training as a team before the competition. I came second and third in my events and came close to my PBs, so overall I was happy with my performance.
What was it like being part of such a successful team?
It was so great to see the team doing well and seeing others win really drives me to want to do well too. There were quite a few Olympians on our team and I’d love be an Olympian too, so it was fantastic to be around those I look up to.
It was so great to see the team doing well and seeing others win really drives me to want to do well too.
How is training going for you so far this year?
Really well! We’ve been training in Austin, Texas which was a brilliant experience. Training with the Americans was interesting as you can learn a lot from watching what others do. I usually train with about 12 others at my club, but over there there were about 40 of us at some sessions. Training with different swimmers meant I had to be confident, and I used the opportunity to speak to and get to know new people.
Is there anything in particular that you’re working on?
I’m just working on doing all the little things that extra bit better, as it’s too close to British Champs to make any major changes.
How do you balance your studies and training?
I try to use all my time as best as I can and to stay organised. For me it’s about prioritising - sometimes school has to come first and sometimes I’ll put swimming first. Luckily my school is really supportive, so I don’t get too stressed.
For me it’s about prioritising - sometimes school has to come first and sometimes I’ll put swimming first.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
I would absolutely love to make the team for Rio, but I’m only 16, so it could be too soon for me - but I definitely won’t rule it out! I'm aiming more towards Tokyo 2020, by which time I'll be 20 years old. If I did manage to make the RIo team this would just be a huge bonus!
I’m most looking forward to racing lots and generally enjoying swimming this year.
What it's like to go away with the GB team
Did you share a room on the trip?
Yes, I shared a room with Holly Hibbott and we’ve been roommates on a few different trips now. We’re from different regions, so it’s always good to catch up when we’re together.
What was the food like in Antwerp and Texas? Did you try any of the local specialities?
In Antwerp it was all really normal European food and we mostly ate at the hotel as we weren’t there for long. In Texas it was very typical American food – lots of burgers etc. As a team we found it quite tricky to find any healthy food, so we had to look around quite a bit.
Some people take their own pillow, a good luck token or even a food package when they’re travelling. Did you take anything in particular with you for the trip?
I always take some competition snacks and cereal bars in my bag, as you can never know for sure what food there will be at different places. I also have a toy dog called Bonnie who comes everywhere with me. I’ve had Bonnie since I was really young, so I guess she’s a bit of a good luck charm!
I have a toy dog called Bonnie who comes everywhere with me.
What did you do in the time you weren’t competing when you were away?
In Texas we had a few competition-free days where we had training and some time to see a bit more of local life. One of the highlights was a barbeque hosted by the parents of a swimmer there. The house was incredible, overlooking a golf course and pool, and everyone there was so friendly, so it was a really memorable experience.
What’s the best thing about going away as part of a Great Britain team?
The best thing is having the opportunity to see the world and to go to such great places. Swimming has given me the chance to meet so many new people and to have some amazing experiences, which I don’t think I’ll ever forget!
Swimming has given me the chance to meet so many new people and to have some amazing experiences, which I don’t think I’ll ever forget!