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Q&A with Irish Swimmer, Fiona Doyle

24 May 2016; Team Ireland Swimmer Fiona Doyle has always had dreams of Olympic glory alongside her twin sister and fellow swimmer, Eimear. However, due to a back injury that ended her career, Eimear was forced to give up on her dream. Fiona reveals, as part of Electric Ireland’s #ThePowerWithin, that she takes inspiration from her sister and that when she competes in Rio, she will be doing it for both of them. South Studios, Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Irish Swimmer, Fiona Doyle, Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

sportswomen.ie caught up with Limerick woman, Fiona Doyle before she heads to Rio to compete in her first Olympics in the 100m breaststroke. Fiona has a special place in the history of sportswomen.ie as she was voted our first Sportswoman of the Year by our readers in 2015.

How have your preparations gone for Rio so far and what did you do specifically for Rio ?

My preparations for Rio are going really well so far. After the Europeans I attended a training camp in Barcelona that brought me back to hard work. From there I traveled back to Calgary and continued that hard work. Training wise we have not done anything significantly different to what we have done before; what we have done before is tried and tested so it would be unwise to sway from that. As the Olympics is still two weeks away I have stayed in a longer period of hard work so we have had to become more creative with recovery so that we can keep the intensity up.  My legs tend to take the longest to recover, and because the nature of the stroke they take on the most load. As we did not want to back off I have been a lot more vigorous with outside recovery.

What are your hopes and aims for Rio ?

I am a very ambitious and determined person. As such, I have very high expectations for the Games. My main goal at the moment though is to get out of the heats and progress to the semi-finals. From there it is a matter of keeping my head together and working on the small things, to ensure that the race goes my way. The Olympics is unlike any other competition in the sense that your mental state can make or break you. As it is such a huge event, nerves and stress are usually heightened. I am working on just staying in the moment and treating it like any other event so that hopefully I can be successful.

How do you think you will handle the excitement and hype of the Olympics, especially as it is your first Olympics ?

As I mentioned before, I am working on treating the Games just like any other major competition I have attended. I am focused on just staying in the present and doing everything I can to ensure I am at my best, so that when I stand on those blocks I can be confident and just enjoy the experience.

When did the dream begin for you ?

My dream began at twelve, when I watched the Athens Olympics. I did not fully understand what it took to get to the Olympics, I just knew it was a big deal and I wanted to some day be a part of it. To show people what I could do.

What other sporting events do you hope to see while you are there ?

I would love to see as many events as possible. As for most, gymnastics is definitely on my list, as well as boxing, diving, and sailing.

What will be your no 1 selfie ?

(With a laugh), I am not a very big selfie person. I have been criticised for being poor at taking pictures of anything. Honestly, I would love to get a picture at the Christ the Redeemer statue. That is on my bucket list.

How do you prepare on the day of the main event ?

In the mornings I generally like to wake up as far out from my race as possible. I pack my bag the night before, so I do not need to worry about that. I like to have a good solid breakfast as it is usually a few hours until my race and I know I will need the fuel. When I get to the pool, I like to take some time before starting my land warm-up so that I can take everything in and just relax. After my pool warm-up, and after getting into my suit, I like to just chill out around the team before heading to my race 20-30 minutes before the start.  Once I get to the call room I like to go over everything I need to do in my race, while also trying to stay calm by listening to music. If I know someone in the call room I might talk to them too for a bit.

What support will you have with you in Rio from home ?

My parents, my two brothers, my aunt, and my grand-dad are all flying over to Rio. I also have some very close friends flying over too. Of course I will also have my sisters, nana, and many other friends and family cheering me on from home.

Give us one unknown fact/skill/talent about your self that most people don’t know about ?

This is a hard one. I think I can come across as stuck up if you do not know me because unless you start a conversation I generally will not talk to you. I am actually just really terrible at starting conversations. I get really nervous, and worry you won’t like me so I usually say nothing. Once you get me going though I am okay to keep the conversation going.

Are you the only athlete from Limerick on the Irish Olympic Team and what does it mean to you going to your first Olympics ?

I will have to look this one up. I think there might be one or two runners that made the team recently. Having the opportunity to represent Limerick means a lot to me though. Limerick has such a rich sporting history that I am honoured I get to add to it.  Although I do not live there currently, I am still a Limerick woman at heart and am always proud to tell people that when I meet any Irish in Canada. I am forever promoting it, and telling Canadians they need to visit!

The complete swimming schedule can be viewed here with Fiona’s heat taking place on Sunday 7th August 2016.

Good luck Fiona !

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