Emily Seebohm: Eyes on the prize

Champion backstroker Emily Seebohm describes what keeps her focused throughout the toughest times.

Written by Emily Seebohm
Uncle Tobys Commonwealth Games athlete portrait session in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/mattrimages.com.au)

Making a serious splash in Glasgow’s Tollcross pool at the Commonwealth Games, Australian swimmer Emily Seebohm defended her 100 m backstroke gold medal and set a new Games record in the process. Aspiring for Olympic gold, this determined athlete and Uncle Toby’s Ambassador spoke to be. magazine about pre-race rituals, her competitive nature and why she never sleeps through her alarm.

What influence have your parents had on your swimming?

My parents have been a great support for me. They have been one of the major reasons I have been able to achieve the goals that I have to date, and they continue to support any aspect of my life.

What do you love about swimming?

I love the competitive nature of the sport and going up against other great swimmers. I have always loved competing and been a very competitive person –that's what keeps me going.

How often do you sleep through your alarm?

Never! My coach would definitely not be happy with me if I was to do that!

At the local pool it is lane after lane of freestyle – why should people add a little backstroke to their session?

Freestyle is good, but with backstroke if you are outdoors you can look at the sky – not to mention the fact that you can breathe all the time!

What do you enjoy doing when you are not swimming?

I love hanging out with my horse, Platinum! He is great company after a long day in the pool or gym and provides a nice distraction from my daily routine.

When it hurts, how and why do you push through it?

I use my goals that I have set and all I want to achieve to push through that pain barrier. My desire and determination to win an Olympic gold medal helps me push through those times in sessions.

Who would you love to race against?

If I could race against anyone it would have to be Ian Thorpe. He’s such an amazing swimmer and was a great representative for Australia in the pool.

Do you have any race day rituals?

Prior to every race, I always put my cap on from the back of my head to the front.

What are your favourite items of training gear?

I have many pairs of bright coloured Arena togs and caps for my training sessions. The Arena gear is fantastic and they are always great to wear.

If you had to watch one swimming event to motivate you – what would you look up on YouTube?

I don’t know if I could pick one particular swimming moment to motivate me, but if I ever need motivation I draw on the imagery of winning an Olympic gold medal and the feelings that would accompany that.

Written by Emily Seebohm

Emily Seebohm, OAM is an Australian swimmer. She won silver in the 100 m backstroke at the London Olympics in 2012, along with a silver and gold as part of the 4x100m medley and freestyle relay teams.

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