Verge Meets: Jazz Carlin

Double Olympic medalist Jazz Carlin has teamed up with Yakult in the SwimwithJazz initiative. Put in place to encourage new swimmers to learn to swim in just four weeks with the help of Jazz. The competition was open to over 18’s who had never learned to swim, with contestants detailing their reasons behind this from personal to emotional. We got to have a chat with Jazz about her involvement with Yakult and training for the Olympics 2020 in Tokyo and the next commonwealth games!

We know you as Jazz Carlin, Double Olympic silver medallist. In three words describe you?
Personable, energetic and driven.

How did your swim story start? Tell us about how you got to where you are now?
As soon as I was allowed in the pool as a baby, my dad would take me to the local pool and from there I just felt so natural in the water, my dad used to have to drag me out of the pool to take me home. I love swimming because this is an exercise that you can take part in wherever you are in the world, whether it is in a pool or in the ocean, you can feel so natural and free in the water. Swimming helps me relax and escape through tough times. I swam for my local club and it just progressed from Regional’s to Nationals.

You are currently working with Yakult on a pretty big project, which is very inspiring. Tell us about how this collaboration came about?
I started working with Yakult a few years ago and the #SwimWithJazz concept was born. We are now just wrapping up the second campaign, which has been amazing; in just four weeks non-swimmers have become swimmers. I think we are all blown away and proud of what they have achieved, of course with the support of Yakult, trainers and myself. Yakult have always been heavily involved in promoting well being and supporting swimming and I am so passionate about getting more people to learn to swim, so we found there was a natural synergy to us working together. It has been so great to see this project unfold and I look forward to the next campaign!

Always believe in yourself and don’t let anyone say otherwise.

The Swimwithjazz campaign will be life changing for many. What do you think the benefits of swimming are? (Especially the benefit of learning in four weeks)
There are so many health benefits to swimming as it works your whole body and muscles that you don’t normally use day-to-day – toning up your muscles and building strength. Additionally it can be a great sport for all abilities as the water helps support your body, reducing stressful impact, and is known to be great for cardiovascular fitness, it truly is an all-rounder! By making it part of your regular fitness regime you can improve your confidence and stamina in the water. Keeping a lot of variety in your sessions, and introducing short interval training, you’ll see improvements quickly, gain confidence and learn to love the water. Learning in just four weeks means you really need to practise and dedicate more time to master it but the benefits are more instantaneous and that applies to the nutrition aspect to.

What is a day in the life of Jazz like?
For my normal training routine I wake up at 6.30am and I have a session in the gym on the Versa Climber, working 30 second maximum efforts and repeat that 6-10 times. I then get in the pool at 7 for a 2 and a half hour swim session. The mornings are normally aerobic training, so I try to keep my heart rate around 150-160bpm. After my pool session, I normally have physio or massage and then I return home to refuel and rest. I will normally have an hour nap between sessions. I’m back in the pool for 2.45pm to swim 3.30-6pm. The evening sessions are more intense and I work anaerobically, trying to get my heart rate around 185-190bpm. After the pool session, I then have weight sessions from 6.15-7.30pm, working on specific exercises for my stroke and techniques that I am concentrating on. A typical swimming session would be 7-8km. I have been doing Pilates twice a week which I find a great way to build up my strength. If it is not a typical training day then I like to hang out with my friends, go shopping and maybe have a nice meal out, I love a curry!

You are about to head off to the commonwealth Games, what sort of advice would you give to wannabe athletes on how to achieve such goals?
Always believe in yourself and don’t let anyone say otherwise. Make sure what you do remains enjoyable and make the most of every opportunity.

You won the double silver at Rio, so are you aiming for the Gold?
I am always striving to be the best I can so gold would be nice!

How do you prepare yourself for such an event like the Olympics?
It is an enormous challenge both mentally and physically and training is intense in the build up to any competition. Having experience from other events such as the Commonwealth Games prepares you somewhat but the Olympics is on a much larger scale.

Outside of swimming which takes up a large portion of your time, what else do you enjoy?
I love to catch up on TV and I have just started the first season of The Punisher. Having recently renovated my house, interior shopping is my new past time.

What are your plans for the future?
To experience more open water races, as well as trying to fight for medals in the pool. Following the Commonwealth Games I hope to compete in the European Championships this year too and medal in both! I also have an interest in Interior Design so it would be really great to explore this for when I hang up my goggles.

Sign up for news and alerts on the #SwimWithJazz campaign at www.yakult.co.uk/Jazz or follow on Facebook @yakultUKIE