London 2012 Q&A: Audrey Lacroix

Editors note: As part of the Canadian Sports Media Blog’s coverage of the London 2012 Olympics, I am happy to partner with Alexandre Duval to provide interviews with three of Canada’s Olympians. Alex has kindly provided these three interviews to the Canadian Sports Media Blog. One will appear each day through the Opening Ceremony. First up is swimmer Audrey Lacroix, who will swim in the women’s 100m butterfly in London.

Audrey jumped into a swimming pool for the first time at the age of six in her hometown of Pont-Rouge, Quebec, and has been addicted to her sport ever since. Now 28, she owns the Canadian record for the 200-metre fly, and her best career results include a 2nd place at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and a 5th place finish at the 2007 World Championships.

Audrey finished 13th in the 200-metre fly event at the Beijing Olympic Games, in 2008. Less than a week before she stars in her second Olympic Games, I asked her seven questions, since seven is known to be a lucky number…

Alexandre Duval: Audrey, you will be swimming in the 200-metre fly competition at the London Olympic Games. Would you say it is a good thing for you to be able to focus on this single event, or would you have prefered to compete in other swimming events as well?

Audrey Lacroix: I have been training specifically for the 200-metre fly over the course of the year, knowing that my chances of qualifying for other events were not that high. I thus decided to focus exclusively on the 200-metre fly from the onset of the season.

AD: The experience you had at the 2008 Beijing Olympics allows you to head to London somewhat feeling like your are on familiar ground. Do you think you are better equipped to mount the podium than you were four years ago?

AL: Since I participated in the Olympic Games before, I know better which challenges we face in the Olympic environment. All Olympics, however, can be peculiar in their own ways, but I do believe that experimented athletes have more strategies to remain on top in that evironment. As to me, I think there will be as much emotion as there was four years ago; the main difference is that those emotions will not take me by surprise, meaning that I should be able to better cope with them.

AD: In the past few months, there have been many reports in Quebec’s media about your anxiety disorder. You even discussed it on Radio-Canada’s Tout le monde en parle. What did you do to overcome this problem and how do you feel days before the opening of the Olympic Games?

AL: A lot of work has been done with the whole team of the National Swimming Centre, where I train. Trainer Alain Delorme worked things out so that I was able to spend the months of (last) September and October focusing on the improvement of my general physical condition in order to help me better cope with the physical symptoms that come with my disorder. The team’s physician made sure I was medically followed in an appropriate way. She also touched base with a performance-specialized psychologist whom I have been working with on a weekly basis over a period of two months. Our nutritionist elaborated a bunch of strategies with me so that I would be able to gain back the weight I had lost due to my disorder and to make sure I would eat enough even on those days where I was anxious. Sport psychologist Wayne Halliwell also contributed by helping me focus on the task to accomplish and by helping be plan my performance peaks. My coach, Benoît Lebrun, has been very caring and patient throughout this process. He learned about anxiety disorders to better know how to manage different situations.

AD: Until the 31st of July – that is, the day of the 200-meter fly heats – on which element(s) will you work during your training sessions?

AL: Technically, over the past few months, I have been working on my starts, turns and finishes, because these were my weaknesses, they can be improved relatively easily, and changes in those areas can result in significant time gains.

AD: Do you display superstitious behaviour or do you perform wierd or funny rituals before a competition?

AL: I am not a superstitious person. I enjoy my little routine on the morning of the race, but there is nothing really unusual about it.

AD: If you end up winning a medal, will you:
• Cry?
• Faint?
• Jump all over the place hysterically?
• Eat everything that has been prohibited in the past months?
• Party all night?
• Do something else?
AL: I think I would jump a lot! But I would be to tired to party all night after that…

AD: Audrey, now that you are 28, how do you foresee the “post Olympic Games period”? Do you want to carry on with your career or do you already have other plans in mind?

AL: I may swim one more year. After that, I will probably undertake something in the world of communications since I studied in this field. I don’t know what I will do for sure, but maybe something related to the media?

About the author :
Alexandre Duval is a blogger for Merlin Assurance Auto. He is also currently completing his master’s degree in political science at the University of Quebec in Montreal. Alexandre also studied in Toronto, in France, as well as in the United States, where he was an NCAA Division I tennis player.

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