Today it is our privilege to bring you an interview with double Paralympic gold medallist, Ollie Hynd. We discuss how Ollie’s passion for swimming began, his personal stand-out moments from his career so far, his advice on how to get started with a fitness lifestyle, plus much more…
How did your passion for Swimming begin and develop?
Well I first learnt to swim when I was around aged 2, and from that moment I’ve always loved being in and around the pool, but I guess my real passion for the sport came when I joined my first competitive swimming club, Sutton In Ashfield swim club, around age 8. I was always a competitive kid, so to combine the swimming which I loved with the competition side of things, was great. I still remember my first competition even to this day, I guess that’s really what kickstarted my career in the sport!
What are your personal stand-out moments from your career so far?
I’ve been so fortunate to have many great moments in my career, both in and out of the pool, so it’s tough to just pick one or two. I would have to say winning a gold medal at a home games in London ranks pretty highly, even just competing there to be honest. Of course, I would also say winning two golds and breaking two world records in Rio ranks very highly, and from a sporting perspective that would be number 1. Ever since the London games finished, my entire life revolved around my performance peaking during those two weeks in Rio, so for everything to come together like they did was very rewarding. That entire year was just very special to me for many reasons so it’s one I’ll never forget! Medals aside though, many of the great memories I have in training and competition with my teammates are the ones that mean the most to me!
What does a typical week of training look like in preparation for a competition?
So I would do 8 or 9 swimming sessions a week and 2 sessions in the gym. That would add up to around 50 thousand metres in the water, so quite a lot of swimming. On top of that I would have physio/massage sessions to help me recover from the hard work, so they are usually busy weeks!
What advice would you give to someone who is demotivated or doesn’t know where to start with getting into sport and fitness?
I think for anyone wanting to get into the sport or fitness world that feels a little demotivated, my best advice would be to try lots of different forms of exercise and different sports. Even for professional athletes like myself, it is refreshing to change things up every once in a while, to keep things fresh and exciting, and is a sure-fire way to keep you on track and maintaining those gains, whatever level you’re at! I would also advise that you set very specific goals for yourself, and track that progress you make. If you’re very clear about what you want to get out of your fitness journey, tracking your progress should be a great motivator.
Are there any people, books, or experiences that you would be willing to share with us, that have really helped shape your mentality?
Wow that’s a really great question! There have been many different sources of inspiration for me along the way. Well I think from the start of my journey I’ve been very fortunate to have had great people around me and on my team. Of course, it all begins with my parents, who were always very supportive of my swimming, and instilled my work ethic in me, so they’ve certainly had a massive impact on my mentality towards swimming and life. They taught me that if you want something really bad, and are willing to put the work in, you can achieve anything! Oh and of course drove me to training at silly times in the early days!!
I would also say my coach, Glenn Smith has had a huge impact on my mentality. He’s been my coach for most of my career, so he’s been there for the great times and also the tough ones. I remember when I broke my wrist leading into the 2012 trials. This was a dark time for me, but Glenn was there to pick me back up and get me motivated to keep pushing to achieve my goals! I’m also of course hugely inspired by other athletes from around the world. Michael Phelps is a huge inspiration for me. The way he changed the sport of swimming and achieved things that nobody even thought possible. It is just amazing to me. What he achieved over his career is mind blowing. Conor McGregor is another favourite of mine. His complete, impenetrable belief in himself is inspiring, and something I’ve always tried to work on.
What are some of your favourite sneakers/trainers out of your collection?
Another great question! Those that have seen my Instagram will know I’m a bit of a sneakerhead! At one time I was buying multiple pairs weekly! I think it would be hard to just pick one out as my favourite, but it would have to be a Yeezy of some sort. Maybe the Yeezy 700 Wave runners!
Do like to practice any other sports/areas of fitness in your free time in addition to swimming?
To be honest, with my swimming schedule I don’t really have much time for any other sports, or I’m too tired from all the swimming up and down! My usual program does include two gym sessions weekly, but that is to compliment my swim training. I have, however, during lockdown quite taken to boxing training! Of course, with the pools closing I needed to find another way to keep fit, and I love watching combat sports and so I thought I’d take this opportunity to give it a go! It will certainly be staying in my training schedule going forward!
What advice would you give to someone who is trying to take their passion and turn it into a successful business/ career?
I would say it’s really important to have great people around you, people who are going to push you to get the best out of yourself. If you want to truly achieve something great you need to have a team of people to help you along the way. I think it’s also really important to set goals for yourself and write them down! This is a message I often pass onto the next generation of swimmers. We need goals to keep ourselves motivated and to track our progress, and by writing them down on paper we take accountability for them. I truly believe in the power of this!
What are you goals and plans for the future?
Well my goals in the pool are still to try and make Tokyo 2020 (now 2021) and try and win more medals and swim faster than I ever have. These are the big goals of course, and in between that there’s little steps to get to the big goals. To be honest, I’m trying to take it day by day and really enjoy the process of training and working hard! I’ve also tried to dig a bit deeper into who I am away from the pool this last year, so I want to continue to work on that. I also want to try and inspire as many people as possible! I think that will always be one of my goals, and maybe one I will never get to the end point of, but will be really rewarding along the way!