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How does an Olympic swimmer train for the world championships?

Friday 21 July 2017

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Sheffield Hallam student Max Litchfield is going for gold in Budapest.

Last summer, Max Litchfield came fourth in the 400m Men’s Individual Medley final at the Rio Olympics, with a fantastic performance that saw him setting two personal best times.

This month he takes on the World Swimming Championships in Budapest. We caught up with him during a break from his training.

Hi Max. It’s a year since your first Olympics. What’s it been like since then?

‘The Olympics changed me massively. It was a surreal experience. People ask me how it felt and it's hard to put into words. But it's made me want it more. Coming fourth gives you a little push to want to do better next time.’

What does training for the World Championships involve?

‘I’m in the pool 10 times a week, for two hours at a time. I also do three to four land sessions a week, doing circuit-based exercise. I take Sundays off for rest and recovery.’

All while studying your degree! How do you balance your training and your study?

‘I’m part of the High Performance Athlete Support Programme at Hallam, which means my lecturers know I need to train and they make sure they’re flexible with me. For example, I've not been able to do my exams this year, but I’ll be taking them next year instead.’

What's going to be the biggest challenge in the World Championships?

‘Just the same as normal – the best in the world competing against you. The times people have been putting in this year show it’s going to be very competitive. I'm in good shape and looking forward to seeing what I've got.

‘I think I’ll need a time of around 4:08 to have a chance of a medal. As always, I’m hoping to medal, and aiming to win!’

Max will be competing in the following events.

• 26 July – 200m individual medley heats and semi-final
• 27 July – 200m individual medley final
• 28 July – 4x200m freestyle relay heat and final
• 30 July – 400m individual medley heat and final

Follow his progress on Twitter and Instagram, and on BBC television.

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