American swimmer Nathan Adrian has won an incredible 32 medals in international competitions, including five Olympic golds. So we thought he’d be an ideal person to ask for competition advice ahead of the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018… 

Competing at a major event
I was never able to personally experience the Youth Olympic Games as a competitor, so I can only imagine the immense pressure that some people feel representing their country on the world stage for the first time. 

The best advice I could give would be to take each moment as they come and “control your controllables”. 

What I mean by that is trust your own personal process. Now is not the time to practise a brand new routine or eat different food from what you are used to. Stick to what is comfortable, and don’t get caught up in what others are doing.

Managing your nerves
I like to characterise the feeling that I get leading up to a competition as “energy”. That energy can be negative in the form of pre-competition anxiety or nervousness. On the other side of that coin, you can look at it as “readiness”. 

I know that I am ready to compete when there are some flutters in my stomach, I have trouble sleeping, or any number of other ways that the pre-race jitters make their way into my body. 

Everyone else is feeling the same way; and if they say they’re not then they are either lying or genuinely not going to perform as well as they could, because those symptoms I mentioned are the body’s fight or flight response. 

Don’t fear failure
I think one of the most important things I have learned is summed up in the famous Franklin D. Roosevelt quote, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” I think this is especially important when it comes to the fear of failure. 

Win, lose or draw, the sun is going to rise tomorrow. My parents, friends, family and fiancée are all going to still love me. I think that confidence is what has enabled me to compete at the highest level and do it without hesitation.

For information and resources about the YOG Buenos Aires 2018, visit Athlete365’s “Get Ready Pack” here.