Groves not daunted by Olympic dream
19 January 2016
SWIMMING: She trains alongside some of the biggest names in Australia swimming, but Madeline Groves isn’t daunted taking to the pool at St Peter’s Western in Brisbane.
The 20-year-old is hoping her name will be the one up in lights at the Rio 2016 Games, after a standout 12 months including her first World Championships and a personal best swim at Nationals.
The Queenslander is coached by Michael Bohl and trains alongside the likes of current World Champion Mitch Larkin, dual Olympic medallist Bronte Barratt and fellow World Championships teammates Madison Wilson, Grant Irvine and Emma McKeon.
The butterfly swimmer said it’s been amazing to swim alongside Olympic medallists.
“I started swimming there as average 12-year-old. To see the older guys swim was amazing, Stephanie Rice, Meaghan Nay..
“Bohly (Michael Bohl) is awesome. I’ve known him since I moved to the club in 2008. He’s so supportive of everyone. The amount of work he puts into the club is just amazing.”
Swimming hasn’t always dominated Groves’ life – it’s been a slow-burn for the university student.
“After year 11 I had a year off but I came back to it at the end of high school in 2012.
“Growing up in Queensland I was always in the pool and beach in summer. I like it because it’s an individual sport where you’re always working on yourself.”
She said swimming was easilyher sport of choice at school.
“In primary school I did every sport but when you get older and are at high school and have to choose, that when I got into it seriously.
“It’s an individual sport where you’re always working on yourself. I wasn’t good at team sports because I wanted to play every position!”
She said choosing her favoured stroke was also simple.
“I’ve always done butterfly. I was always average at backstroke and breaststroke. It’s really a 200m squad, nearly everyone does it in the squad.
Since making that decision in her teens, Groves has stepped onto the podium at the Commonwealth Games, with a bronze at Glasgow 2014 in the 200m butterfly.
“I had no expectations at all there, it was fantastic.”
Groves smashed Nationals with a swim of 2min 5.41 sec but just missed out on the finals at the World Championships finishing 11th in her semi in the 100m butterfly.
“I’ve had a lot of breakthrough swims but haven’t had a lot of consistency.
“I set a PB [personal best] at Nationals last year but unfortunately wasn’t able to back it up at the World Championships but I learnt a lot.
“I think it’s a bit of inexperience and immaturity not to be able to carry that on.”
Groves isn’t just busy in the pool, swimming around 24 hours per week – or five to six kilometres per session.
She also combines laps with three sessions of gym per week and two nights of Pilates.
“The Pilates is a bit extra. I’ve been doing it on and off for a few years. Everyone likes to have that one extra thing to do away from the squad.
“It’s nice to go away and do one on one with a coach – that little extra time to focus outside of the pool.”
With the 2016 Australian Olympic Team Swimming Section to be decided at trials in April, the next few months are all about training and building consistency for Groves who will attempt to qualify in the 100 and 200m butterfly as well as the freestyle relays.
“I’ll swim at a few domestic meets, the Victorian and NSW trials.
“It’s all about the little things adding up to big things to make the Team at Rio.”
She said the possibility of making the Team alongside her Queensland training partners is fantastic.
“So awesome. Seeing those people do so well gives you confidence, there’s no reason to not to well.
“To be a part of the Team would be the most amazing thing. Wanting it for a long time, it’s surreal to think if I put in hard work I could make the team.”