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Get the lowdown on our athletes, browse our fitness and wellbeing features and hone your technique with tips from the pros.

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Race preparation by Thiago Pereira

With Brazil 2016 approaching, Olympic silver medallist and Brazilian swimmer Thiago Pereira provides an insight into how he prepares for world-class competitions. 

The next two years are going to be very important for my career, so I’ve already started doing everything I can to prepare, both mentally and physically, in order to achieve my best performances.

You might think of swimming as something you work on by yourself, but when you’re an athlete there’s a bunch of people with you, behind you, working on the same end goal. I work with a psychologist once a week, I go to the physio twice a week to help prevent injuries and I see a nutritionist. I need to prepare for every eventuality, so this is what I’ve been doing since I got back to Brazil, and I’m pretty motivated about it. The result is I’ve been feeling good in the water, I’ve felt good underwater and I’ve felt good in competitions.

My average training day

What we do in each training session depends on my coach, but on an average day I get up at 7.20am and I’m in the pool by 8.30am. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I have two sessions swimming in the pool (morning and afternoon), each lasting two hours. I also spend an hour and a half in the gym lifting weights and working on my core. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I only have one session in the pool, but I see my physiotherapist. On Thursdays I see my psychologist. On Saturday it’s just one training session in the water, and on Sunday I have a day off! 

Preparing my mind

Sometimes we focus too much on preparing our body for competitions, when we need to prepare our mind too. For the Olympic final in 2012 and the world championships, it wasn’t just my body that needed to be ready – I needed to be ready mentally, too. So once a week I visit a psychologist who helps me with mental preparation. We talk about swimming, what I’m doing and we go through things that could happen during competitions to help me prepare. We also go through exercises that I can use to help me concentrate, focus and stay motivated. I’ve been doing this for the last couple of years and I’ve really enjoyed it. Even better, I’ve been feeling a difference and seeing results in my performance.

My biggest motivation

One of the most important moments in my career was the 2007 Pan-Am Championships in Rio. [Thiago won 8 medals, including 6 gold medals]. They were held in my home country and 80 percent of the pool was Brazilian. It was so important to me – everyone was cheering and saying my name. I’m very excited for the next two years because I’ll be competing in my country again with another opportunity to set some records at home. And I think that’s the best motivation I have right now – to do the best I can at home, representing my country, in front of my friends. - Thiago

Next week… Thiago reveals what motivates him in the pool. Plus, read his motivational tips.

To read more features designed to help improve your swim, visit our News, Tips and Techniques area. 

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