SWIMMING: Jazz keeps her eyes on the prize
JAZZ Carlin is determined not to let the impending departure to Australia of long-time coach Bud McAllister disrupt her assault on Commonwealth Games medals this summer.
Carlin learned earlier this week that American coach McAllister, who has overseen the former Wootton Bassett School pupil’s career for the last seven years, is taking up a new coaching position in Perth.
It follows the closure of their Swansea base as one of British Swimming’s intensive training centres last month, although Carlin continued to base herself there, and comes just six months before the start of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The two-time Commonwealth Games medallist admits the departure of her mentor came as a shock but will join McAllister for training stints Down Under prior to the Games and is refusing to let the upheaval undermine her positive frame of mind ahead of the summer.
“It came as a bit of a shock, but now it’s about making sure plans are in place to make sure that, when the Commonwealth Games come, I am in the best possible shape,’’ she told the Gazette & Herald.
“I’m happiest when being coached by Bud and it’s about making sure that I keep that going as much as possible.’’
The closure of Swansea as an ITC base and exit of McAllister have ensured Carlin will have some big decisions to take regarding her swimming future, but the 23 year old will shelve those worries until this summer’s business has been taken care of.
McAllister previously coached US swimmer Janet Evans to four Olympic titles and an 800m freestyle world record that stood for 20 years and, after starting work with Carlin when she was aged 16, helped guide her from a promising youngster to regular international performer.
“Swimming has got to be my focus for the next six months and I know the relationship works and brings the best out of me,’’ she added.
“I’m really focussing on the Commonwealth Games and things might be a little different after that. Swim Wales might have a new head coach, but I’ll leave those decisions until after the Games.
“When I first joined Bud I was 16 and just a young girl, but I’m now 23 and I’ve achieved things with him that I never thought I would do.
“It was a really hard decision for him to take, but Bud has a family to support too and I know he’s still keen to work with me.
“Even when I’m not training with him, I’ll still be doing his sessions, so nothing will change in that respect.’’
Carlin will contest the Flanders Cup international event in Belgium at the end of the month before joining McAllister in Australia in March.
She will then return for the British Championships in April and hopes to have another McAllister coaching stint after that.
“Training is going really well, I’m really happy with how it’s gone so far,’’ she added. “I’m a lot further ahead this year than I was last year, but I have to keep training hard.’’
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