Meet: Anthony James

How do you top racing against Michael Phelps at a home Olympics? Easy, you simply get back in the pool and start training for the next Games, as MA student and Sporting Excellence scholar Antony James, 26, is currently doing in a bid for Rio glory. To get there, he’s training for 30hrs a week, on top of studying and running a swim coaching business on the side. The key is in the planning, he says…

Plan, plan, plan
I plan out my day before it starts, so I have a clear plan in my head of what I should be doing and when. This also gives me a chance to prepare everything I need to before hand – even meals. I normally wake up at 4:45am, get to the pool for 5am and train for 3.5hrs, shoot home, eat, sleep, work, eat, then back to the pool for another 3-4hrs of training, then home, then eat, then sleep. The University has been amazing at supporting me throughout my undergraduate degree and now my masters.

Financial gains
The scholarship goes a long way to supporting my swimming, but I also run a business with one of my best friends, called AquaElite. We do various things, such as running training camps, to generate extra income. I also do appearances at primary schools for an agency called Sports for Schools, trying to inspire children to get involved in sport.

I eat a lot. Each day I try to eat various fruits by making smoothies. Then lunch and tea will involve a lot of veg and meat, and every meal has a lot of carbs. When I go out to eat at a restaurant, I normally order two meals, because one never fills me up.

Race prep
I see each competition as an individual competition, different from the previous one and with different goals. I try not to judge them on opposition, and use preparation methods to cut out all external factors – although that was very tough when racing Phelps.

Always improving
Whether it’s different types of training, or more stretching at home, I’m always looking to improve. This year I’ve focused on lots of shoulder rehabilitation – I had a bad shoulder injury in 2014 and I don’t want to repeat that.

In it to win it
The British Championships in April act as a qualification meet for the Olympics – I have to go there and win, or do a qualification time. I’m currently ranked number 1 in the UK for my event (100m butterfly), but anything can happen on the day – there are maybe four or five of us in with a chance of going. If I make it to Rio, my goal is to progress through the rounds of the 100m butterfly and hopefully make it to the final.