The one when Amy met Commonwealth swimmer Robbie Renwick (and stroked his legs)

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I was quite a late starter to the whole swimming thing. A very dramatic near drowning experience in a water park aged 10 encouraged my mum to enrol me in swimming lessons -cue me being awkwardly surrounded by 5 year old water babies who were practically nailing the butterfly in lesson 1. Still, I powered through and actually really enjoyed the water despite the hair wreckage and post swim chlorine reek. With uni beckoning, my weekly swimming sessions took a nose-dive and other than a casual lap here and there, or a one –off aqua fit class, I haven’t managed to make it back to the lanes yet.

Until Sunday.

When Stathmore water got in touch, asking if I’d want to take part in a wee session with Robbie Renwick, Commonwealth swimmer as part of their “Do more” campaign, I’ll admit my immediate thought was “ sure… it’s always good to support TEAM SCOTLAND and heck, there might even be some nice sarnies afterwards.”

Sunday rolled around pretty sharpish and in a last-minute email check I narrowly caught the small print…I was in fact, going to be IN the pool with Robbie, a bunch of other bloggers plus a professional photographer and videographer. SHEEEEESH. After the initial meltdown and mild panic at getting my cellulite out, I dug around for my old faithful swim suit and headed to LA fitness in Glasgow where it was all about to kick off. There I met a bunch of the loveliest and equally apprehensive bloggers – quickly bonding over the fact that we were about to get semi naked together. Always an ice-breaker. We then headed into the pool and got our swim on.

Robbie Renwick is a bit of a legend.  He’s only 26 and has managed to bag himself a Commonwealth GOLD at the 2010 games in Delhi, qualified for the olympics in 2008, has competed in numerous championships and currently holds the British record for the 200m freestyle. Not only that, but he’s also working with Team Strathmore to big up swimming and getting people active in Scotland as part of their #DoMore campaign. That said, he’s also one of the most chilled out athletes I’ve ever met. Considering this guy is up at 5am everyday, bashing out around 7000 metres a session, putting in some serious hours at the gym and has been competing for years and years, he still had this total drive and love for his sport. Pretty inspiring, especially when I felt like spewing after about four lengths.

We got working on techniques of each stoke, breaking it down to pulling and kicking along with focussing on streamlining our bodies and engaging our core to really help our speed. No doggy paddles here folks. When he got out the foamy boards to do some drills, it took me right back to swim class, but I realised how amazing it was to zone into an area and really go for it. I’ve still to master the old tumble turn at the end of a length- mostly because I have a completely rational fear of bashing my face on the wall, but hey…it’s a work in progress.

aandr3-polaAfter we got dried off and semi decent (it’s hard to look chic when you’ve got chlorine eyes and snot face. Note to self: goggles are your friend) we made our way up to the Radisson for some chat. And cake. That is what I’m talkin’ about. Now, I may not be a strong swimmer, but if chat was an Olympic sport, I’m pretty sure I could Bring It.

For a guy who is weeks away from the race of the year with billions watching on TV and in his home country, he was pretty casual about it all. So when the Q and A kicked off I wondered…how does he get his game face on?How does he revv his engine? And without thinking, this face-reddening beauty just dribbled nonsensically out of my mouth:

what makes you unleash YOUR beast….(nervous giggle/hastily adding)….in the motivational sense of the word….?

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

Totally unassuming, he just said, “I race for me – I do my training justice. It’s not about anyone else or the build up or the screaming crowds, but it’s me, my coach and the pool.”

That’s pretty deep man.

I don’t know how he can’t get wound up by all the hype, but I guess after 4 years training from the last Commonwealth for this one event, you’ve got to be right in the head.  They work with sports psychologists, massage and physiotherapists to get them into that optimum state and mind and fitness. They even do this thing called a “taper”. Instead of going mental on the run up and peaking too soon, 3 weeks before a big race, they basically reduce it all so it’s actually less work, but more intense when they do swim. I couldn’t believe there was so much science behind it.aandr1-pola

My next question was to do with will power. Quote: “How do you resist eating all the pies and do you ever just want to stuff yourself with cake?”

For the record, he does eat cakes and pies, but this lad spends almost £120 a week purely on fruit, veg and meat. All things in moderation and eating wisely – even when eating out he sticks to cleaner foods like Wagamama’s and Nando’s rather than fried food. He also is burning a tonne of calories a day, so he can afford to eat cake. Me? …hmmm…I might need to do a few more lengths.

Other bloggers started to ask some more good questions about fitness and motivation, but I just couldn’t focus as his legs kept catching my eye. Not in a pervy way, I mean, sure, they were toned… but they were completely smooth. I couldn’t not ask….

aandr2-pola01“Now Robbie, this could be borderline inappropriate, but ehhhmmm…I’m noticing your legs are ridiculously smooth and ,so it appears, is every part of your visible skin. The question on everyone’s mind is…why, and also…shave or wax?”

Well, I’m not sure he quite knew what hit him, but ladies, this man shaves. A lot. News to me, but most swimmers do – apparently it makes them swim faster as the extra hair would cause drag and is also more weight in the water. WHO KNEW?! Perhaps I could be a swimmer after all…!

What a GREAT day! Myself and Mabel will be cheering our socks off for big Robster and Team Strathmore at the Games. #TEAM SCOTLAND.  #DoMore