Olympic hopeful Harris on how she manages pre-race preparations

England cricketer Sarah Glenn and world sprint champion Dina Asher-Smith are among the elite athletes who have shared the positive impact of their self-care routines on performance.

Porthmadog’s back star Harris is the latest, regularly wearing gel nails for training and competition, with white toenails being one of her favourites.

“Swimming isn’t the most glamorous sport, but some girls like Abbie Wood have their own routines,” said the 20-year-old, who trains at the Swim Wales Performance Center in Swansea.

β€œIf you feel good out of the pool, you feel good in it.

β€œIt takes the pressure off of the races when you have a set routine and helps me calm down before racing. I’ve always loved doing it.”

It’s one of several active steps Harris takes to slow down his brain with a particular focus on staying in his own lane.

β€œIf I overthink things, I can worry too much and it will take time away from what I could be doing best for myself,” he said.

β€œI usually run faster when I enjoy the running process and have fun. I’ve tried not to expect anything and just work hard, because you can’t know what other people are going to do.”

Harris is one of the fastest rising stars in British swimming and walked away with five medals in her first summer in the senior team.

She is the latest addition to a bumper crop of British backstrokes that includes Olympic gold medalist Kathleen Dawson, Katie Shanahan and Cassie Wild.

Harris will compete with the likes of Dawson for the spot on the British 4x100m medley relay team that are the reigning Olympic champions.

β€œWe’ve all been to camps together and done a few sessions together,” Harris said. β€œAll the girls are very nice, we are all here to help each other and encourage each other.

“It’s a positive environment and I have nothing bad to say about any of the girls.”

Harris’ junior career didn’t capture many headlines. She attended the Junior European Championships in 2019 and finished eighth in the 100m backstroke.

His senior career immediately caught fire when he swam unburdened by outside attention.

β€œI was never the top name as a junior, but I think that helped me make a better transition to senior swimming,” Harris said. β€œI didn’t have the medals to put pressure on me and I could go unnoticed.

“I’ve always had a lot of people to look up to and all of British swimming has been very supportive.”

The road to Paris 2024 continues for Harris at the British Swimming Championships, the premier national swimming event taking place at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge between April 4-9.

That match will play a key role in the selection process for the World Aquatics Championships in July in Fukuoka, Japan.

“I’m definitely excited,” Harris said. β€œIt’s a chance to see everyone and there’s always a great atmosphere among the swimmers. I love competing against the girls at the British Championships.”

Tickets are still available for the British Swimming Championships in Sheffield (4-9 April). Head over to The Ticket Factory to secure yours, or catch all the action from each session on British Swimming’s YouTube channel.


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