Tokyo Olympics: Freya Anderson and Max Litchfield on mental battles in swimming pool

Tokyo Olympics: Freya Anderson and Max Litchfield on mental battles in swimming pool

Eight medals, including four golds, in Tokyo was a dazzling return for Team GB in the pool.

For Sky Scholars Freya and Max, it was a hugely emotional trip to Japan, in and out of the pool.

Freya and Max were part of Team GB's most successful ever swimming team at an Olympics. A record-breaking eight medals meant third in the swimming medal table.

The Sky Sports Scholars came home with wonderful memories, but the competition was bitter-sweet.

Freya, who moved to Bath's National Centre in 2020, was at her first Olympics. The preparation for the freestyle specialist was not ideal. She tore a disk in her back in January with a scan showing problems from an old injury. She also had a bowel infection a month before Tokyo.

She finished 11th and 12th in her main events (100m and 200m freestyle) and won gold as part of the Mixed Medley relay team in which she swam the heat.

"I missed so much training and I just didn't know what to expect in Tokyo," Freya said. "I just wanted to take each day as it came. My relay race time wasn't great but I just had to pick myself up, get my head screwed back on and focus on the rest of the week.

"That was pretty much the same story for the whole competition. I just had to be really strong throughout the 10 days of racing. I had to be mentally strong.

"I thought I was the last person that would be able to get back on the horse, but something just clicked inside. I just thought that I needed to go back and get the job done. It was really hard at the time, but looking back I can say that I am quite proud of myself for that.

"It is quite hard. You think it's set in stone when you have one bad swim, but you just need to take a step back and say 'I just had a bad preparation for Tokyo'. I need to remember that because the competition was a bit demoralising. I've just got to remember the bigger picture."

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