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Lethal Leisel


Competing at her first Olympics (Sydney 2000) at the tender age of 15. Leisel has since gone on to compete in two more Olympics (Athens 2004 & Beijing 2008), winning a load of medals in the process.

 

Certainly no mean feat for a teenager to be going head to head against seasoned professionals, Leisel went one better by winning two silvers at her very first Olympics in silver and followed up her stunning debut by winning golds and setting new records in Athens and Beijing.

 

Currently competing in the 14th FINA World Championships in Shanghai, Leisel was here in Singapore to train and acclimatise to Asia’s humidity and one of Singaporesports.sg’s reporter managed to catch up with her after her training session.

 

How have your preparations been for the upcoming World Championships?

 

It’s actually been a very relaxed preparation coming into this World Championships. It’s something I’ve never really experienced before, it’s actually quite nice to be able to come into camp whenever you want and this has made us more relaxed ahead of the competitions in Shanghai.

 

Do you feel that you race better when you are relaxed?

 

Yes! I definitely race better when I’m relaxed and I’ll probably enjoy the experience more, which makes it more worthwhile. In Beijing I wasn’t over the top with my nerves, I wasn’t overexcited and I think that’s what made me race better than what I usually do and so going into this World Championships if we keep relaxed and keep it really simple I think it’ll be the best for us.

 

How has it been like training in Singapore, in terms of the facilities and if it’s a good place to acclimatise?

 

We are actually very lucky to be able to swim in Singapore before we go (to Shanghai).  We’ve had the perfect preparation, we can come in when we like, we can leave when we like. To deal with humidity is a very difficult thing, I come from Melbourne so it’s very cold and dry and it’s hard for us to acclimatise so it’s very essential for us to come to a place like Singapore to do our training. We’re very lucky to have so many 50m pools to choose from, we’ve got great facilities and Singapore definitely takes good care of us.

 

You started swimming at a very young age, how did you deal with the pressure and expectations placed on you?

 

I think it’s better now that I’m older, since I started I’ve learnt a lot and I’ve probably learnt more from my time in the sport than what most people get to experience. So being around a long time you learn how important races are, you know there are other things to life, more important things in life other than swimming.  So, once you get older you learn those things and those things only come with time because you can’t learn them instantly so I think I’ve been very lucky to start so young as it takes the pressure off.

 

What advice do you have for our young Singapore swimmers?

 

Don’t take it too seriously. It’s just sport, it’s fun you don’t have to put too much pressure on yourself to perform because it won’t last forever, it’s only a short term thing and there’s so much more to life. So I think if you just have fun and enjoy swimming for what it is. It is a great sport and learn the skills you can.