London or bust!
He was a teenager before he began seriously training, but sprint swimming world champion Eamon Sullivan reckons he was always destined for a career in the pool. We spoke with the 26-year-old as he gears up to compete at London 2012, where his eye is firmly on the prize: Olympic Gold.
A. I was 6 years old when mum first took me down to our local swimming pool for lessons. We had a pool at home, which helped to build my confidence in the water.
Q. When did you begin to realise you had the potential to compete and take things further as a swimmer?
I think I would have been about 13 when I started to really enjoy training and competing. When I started getting serious about training as a youngster, I was doing 10 sessions a week. In training for the games, it can be close to 20 different elements a week of swimming, weights, gym and pilates.
Q. You not only have the backing of your fans and supporters as you head into the 2012 London Olympics, but also Gillette. What does your role as ambassador involve?
A. As an ambassador for Gillette I filmed a television commercial in Barcelona last year, which was a great experience and I’ve been working with them on their current campaign, as Proctor & Gamble is an official sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Having the support from Gillette through the lead-up to the London has been a huge boost to me.
Q. As you prepare to compete in the summer games, do you have a unique ritual or any routines that you do in the lead up, or on the day before you step up to the block?
A. I have the same stretching routine that I do before each race, and I rub tiger balm into muscles and joints to loosen them up. Getting a great start and being prepared is paramount in competitive swimming, so my pre-race shave-down is also important in my mental preparation for a competition.
Q. What about when you’re standing up there, ready to dive in — what goes through your mind?
A. I try to keep a clear head on the blocks, and not get distracted by everything going on around me. When you're competing in the pool, you’re certainly aware of your competitors, but at the end of the day I just focus on my own stroke, speed and performance.