||London 2012 swimming medal prospect Lizzie Simmonds has been going camping for some “different activities” in preparation for next year’s Olympic Games.
Writing in her Metro column, the 20-year-old Yorkshirewoman described how she purchased sleeping bags, tents and wellies and took part in over 48 hours of outdoor exertions - “including cycling, rock climbing, raft building and canoeing” at a campsite in Derbyshire.
“This kind of cross-training has become commonplace in the ever-evolving world of sport,” Simmonds said. “When the outcome of a swimming race can be determined by a mere millisecond, an athlete needs to have covered every base to have some kind of advantage over the rest of the field.”
And she would have certainly needed all those advantages when she was caught trying to put up a tent in gale-force winds with eight other slightly baffled international swimmers!
“There are skills such as balance, agility, co-ordination and flexibility which can be more effectively improved by practising these strange ‘extra-curricular’ activities – hence the weekend on a blustery hillside.”
As well as camping, Simmonds has been taking up kickboxing and ballet as she aims to build up her balance, core-strength, flexibility and co-ordination.
Simmonds represented Great Britain at the 2008 Summer Olympics in the 100m and 200m backstroke swimming events.