YSN® partners, Doncaster Dartes first brought Hannah to our attention in 2017. The Yorkshire based club host one of the top elite swimming programmes nationally, in which Hannah has flourished. Hannah is a talented elite youth swimmer, with huge future potential and we hope to help her on the journey.
We caught up with Hannah poolside to dig into the ethos, tactics and techniques of a successful youth swimmer.
How did you get into your first sport, and how old were you?
Hannah: I first started swimming through lessons and joined a development squad at the age of 9. From there I was encouraged to go into triathlons but preferred the swimming side and joined a club at the age of 10.
How do you cater for your sports nutrition? What sort of meal/nutritional strategies did you utilize?
Hannah: I know that nutrition is extremely important and plays a big role in the way I perform in the pool, at training and at competitions. I make sure I eat plenty of carbs and protein, and I like to make smoothies as you can pack them full of good nutrients. I enhance my smoothies using PROTEEN® as I know I am getting what I need back in my body, and it makes them taste great! Water is also extremely important in helping you recover, and I make sure I drink at least 2 litres a day.
As a very successful youth athlete, how often do you train, and how has this changed depending on your sport?
Hannah: At my old club, I used to train 5 sessions in the pool and do no land based training. Since moving clubs to Doncaster Dartes, I have now progressed to training 16 hours a week, doing 7x2 hour sessions in the pool, and 2x1 hour land based sessions.
How do you stay healthy? Any nutrition tips?
Hannah: To stay healthy, I take my diet very seriously and avoid any processed food and sugary sweets etc. I take multi-vitamins, and my PROTEEN® shake every day after training. I recommend eating lots of vegetables, fruits and nuts such as spinach, bananas and walnuts.
What are your future aspirations?
Hannah: In the future I would like to achieve national medals and progress in swimming as far as I possibly can. I would one day like to go to America and study around my swimming career in one of their universities.
What does your ‘internal chatter’ look/sound like in the run up to your event time. What strategies do you use to calm nerves and remain focused?
Hannah: Before a race, I constantly say to myself that ‘I can do this’. I make sure I stay relaxed by talking to my friends and other swimmers. However, I make sure I stay focused and keep my mind on the race and how I’m going to swim it. I find that I feed from my nerves and use them as an extra boost of excitement and determination to do well.
What advise would you offer to Parents of young athletes regarding their training, pressure to perform (academic and sporting) and catering for nutrition?
Hannah: I advise that parents always reassure their children that as long as they are putting in 100% to everything, school and sport, that its all that matters. Never make them feel more pressure about a race or doing well in a particular set in training, or getting certain grades at school as this can build up and make them more worried about things than they need to be. For catering for their nutrition, give them tips and advice on what is best for them, but also let them make there own decisions and sometimes prepare their own food.
Any tips for balancing training, academic studies, competitions/games and social life?
Hannah: Balancing everything, especially fitting in school work can be extremely hard. However, I feel like I do it quite well and have a good balance with fitting in time to see and spend time with my friends and family around training and school. To help me, I make sure I complete all of my homework on the nights I have free, which are Tuesdays and Fridays so that on a weekend I can make plans to see my friends and do other things. My advice is to do your homework when you can rather than leaving it till the last minute as this makes things very stressful.
What are your objective thoughts on Youth Sport Nutrition designing PROTEEN®, the first safe supplements for high level youth athletes to support their recovery post training/match?
Hannah: I think that Youth Sport Nutrition is a fantastic new approach to sport and health for young athletes. It reassures me that after training, I am intaking the right nutrients that I need to help me recover and repair my body.
Feeling inspired? Get in touch with us if you would like to share your story and help others to get in to sport. Help us in our mission to spread the word around the importance of correct nutrition for young athletes in top level sport.