Tough decisions on the road to Beijing

PUBLISHED: 13:01 19 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:56 26 October 2009

Richard Charlesworth before the Docklands Open Water race last year

Richard Charlesworth before the Docklands Open Water race last year

HERE is the first entry to the WHT s exclusive Olympic Games preparation diary from Hatfield Swimming Club competitor and future 2008 Beijing Olympian Richard Charlesworth. May 2008 THE news is only just sinking in after I found myself as the last auto

Richard Charlesworth in Australia

HERE is the first entry to the WHT's exclusive Olympic Games preparation diary from Hatfield Swimming Club competitor and future 2008 Beijing Olympian Richard Charlesworth.

May 2008

Richard Charlesworth coming out of the surf on the Gold Coast

THE news is only just sinking in after I found myself as the last automatic qualifier in this year's Olympic Games at the final day of the Olympics trials in Sheffield.

Needless to say I have got straight back into training because competing in the distance events means that every second in the water is valuable and I must cover many more metres than the sprinters.

The past few weeks have meant that I had to make some very difficult decisions about my training regime.

My time in the British Swimming Offshore programme in Australia had come to a natural end, having already graduated from school out there and finished the programme.

Fortunately, expert advice was on tap at the Olympic orientation day that was held after the World Short Course Championships in Manchester.

In the immediate future, we decided that the best place to prepare for the Olympics was back in Australia for 10 weeks, before returning to England for a meet in Liverpool.

Unfortunately, this was a bitter-sweet decision.

I love training on the Gold Coast, it's tough but the conditions are perfect.

However, to make this viable I had to withdraw from the World Open Water Championships in Seville, Spain, which I qualified for at the South African Nationals in February.

This was a personal blow but sometimes you have to make sacrifices for even bigger goals.

I am also missing an invitation to see a Chelsea match and a presentation that was arranged by King of Shaves as part of their Young Blades programme.

I'm now back in Australia and am continuing my training under Offshore head coach Chris Nesbit after spending two weeks at my home club, Hatfield, under Nick Juba.

I'm no longer staying in The Southport School boarding house but in an apartment a short distance away with team-mate Chris Fox, from Wolverhampton, who qualified for the Tri-nations meet in Canada.

This means that we have to get up a little earlier each morning, around 4.30am to cycle to morning training sessions with bikes on loan from the Offshore Centre.

This will help build up my aerobic base and act as a warm-up before each training session.

One of the benefits of being in an apartment will enable me to tailor my diet appropriately, which was previously difficult with school meals.

The next step is to organise the weekly shopping, and learn to cook.

I've brought my first couple of cookery books and am planning a gastronomic extravaganza.

Watch this space!


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