Pedersen focused only on what she can control
Compared to the weather in Europe these are ideal temperatures to be in the water here in Bermuda.
And that’s exactly what the Denmark national swimming team intend to do over the next couple of weeks, plenty of it, sun or no sun. They are using Bermuda as a winter base and the National Aquatic Centre for their training as they prepare for this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“It seems an ideal place to come and enjoy ourselves,” said Nick Juba, the head coach who is accompanying the group of about 20, including eight swimmers who are aiming to meet the Olympic qualifying standards.
Four, including Rikke Moller Pedersen, who set a new world record in the 200-metres breaststroke last year, and Mie Nielsen, the world bronze medallist in the 100-metres backstroke, have already qualified for Rio. Pedersen, who is 27 years old, just wants to improve on her time and fourth place finish four years ago.
“I can only control what I’m doing and I’m preparing myself for those two minutes and something,” Pedersen said.
“I just can’t control it if the girl next to me is going to break her personal best by five seconds, and then all of a sudden she is going to be the one with the world record. I’m just trying to stay in control of what I have to do.
“My main goal is just to perform better in the time I did before, and if I manage that I think I’ll be quite happy. Then, I’ll just have to see what that leaves me with when I hit the wall and I see the time. Everybody is going to be really sharp.
“At the last Olympics I came in number four so it is a goal of mine to place better than I did before. But, that was four years ago, a lot of things change, new girls come up and improve a lot.
“My fastest competitors are girls about 20 so they are very young in my mind. I feel a little old compared to some of them.”
Juba, the England-born coach, said the training will be quite intensive during the two weeks the Danish team are here.
“They will spend four hours in the pool and an hour, hour-and-a-half in the gym each day,” he said.
“We could have opted to go to a warm weather climate, but what I wanted to do was go to a climate that was similar to Rio in July.
“I was in Rio in July and it was hot some days, rainy other days, colder some nights and dark early. Quite similar to here.
“It is five hours different here from Denmark, as it will be for Rio when we go there. Because the Olympic Games sessions times are late, because of American television, we’re going to train late at night. We’ll be here late at night some days next week.”
Michael Dunkley extended a Bermuda welcome to the Danish swimmers and presented them with a Bermuda crest.
“This is our winter, about as cold as it gets, the weather might get a little worse than this but you’re going to have some great weather,” the Premier told them.
“It’s wonderful to have you in Bermuda. We’re delighted that you have come here to share not only in the Bermudian hospitality but what we have to offer. Bermuda can be a home for people who want to get away from their usual training environment.”
Added coach Juba: “We’ve only been here a couple of days but we’ve been made to feel incredibly welcome. This is a friendly place and every aspect from the hotel to the pool here and the transport back and forth, we have found everything pretty good so far.
“The weather, I wanted it to be a little unpredictable and already it has been a little bit. So, for those reasons it is positive for us.
“This is a high-quality team of top-class athletes. Of course there is a certain amount of pressure as we run into Rio and we wanted to come here and relax and not feel too much pressure right now.”
Pat Phillip-Fairn of the Bermuda Tourism Authority revealed more overseas athletes could be coming to the island for off-season training.
“The partnership we have established with the National Sports Centre is yielding a lot of interest from sports teams overseas who want to come here and do their spring training,” she said.
“We anticipate that over a dozen teams will be confirming and are in the process of making their arrangements.
“This does demonstrate what can happen when we put great facilities, good strategy and partnerships on the island together.”
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