Interview | Georgia Davies
Double Olympian & multiple Commonwealth Games medalist Georgia Davies has been at the sharp end of elite sports since 2010, when she broke through into the senior Welsh swimming team.
Picking up a bronze medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, she went on to secure a Gold & a Silver in 2014 in Glasgow. To this, she also added a handful of gold, and silver medals from the European Championships in 2014 & 2016.
We had a few moments with Georgia, to find out how she has fueled her career over the last 8 years...
Georgia, thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions! Pre-race; a number of athletes that have spoken to TPK have said how important it is to eat the right sort of meal the night before a game or a race; what sorts of meals are you having the night before a race?
"I wouldn't say I change my diet the night before a race, I would always try to have a pretty balanced meal with some sort of meat, vegetables or salad and then some form of carb. I also quite like a pasta meal such as spag bol or something pretty simple but tasty".
So on the day of the race, what are you eating & how early/close to competing do you eat? "In the morning before a heat session I would usually have cereal or porridge and maybe some toast and always a coffee. I would also take a banana with me and maybe have that before I warm up in the water. I would usually also have a protein bar or shake after the heats session is over to help recovery and keep me going until lunch.
For lunch before a semi or finals session I eat quite plain food maybe some pasta rice or a jacket potato with some form of protein. I may then want another snack like some toast and honey or peanut butter around three hours before I'm due to race again. In the evenings for dinner I'm not too picky about what I eat again as long as it's balanced".
What are you having after a race? Can you eat whatever you like, or do you still have to make sure you're having the right amount of protein/carbs/etc? "After a race I get some protein in as quickly as I can with a shake or bar and also usually have a banana. I think during racing I tend not to worry too much about what I'm eating because you can't always control what food will be available depending on the hotel or athlete village that you're staying in. It's always good to bring some familiar snacks and supplements when traveling to competitions".
Does your diet change much between off & on-season, do you still have to worry about staying healthy & fit whilst on holiday?
"I think it does change a little bit. Swimmers tend to have big appetites and unfortunately that doesn't go away when I take my break over the summer. I try to be quite disciplined most of the time during the training and racing season whereas on my break I do allow myself more treats. That being said I still have some treats every now and again throughout the season because I think it's really important to be happy and have the things you like in moderation".
Do you eat much at the gym or during training, do you always have some protein powder or a bar within easy reach? "I usually have a protein shake post a gym session and I always keep a carb gel in my bag in case I need some extra energy before or during a tough training session. I tend not to eat during sessions because I hate feeling full or bloated while I'm training".
How important is hydration to an athlete at your level?
"Hydration is really important. I sometimes use hydration tablets or add some salt to my drink while I'm training and I try to keep a bottle of water with me throughout the day. Currently I am based in Turkey where we train outdoors and the temperature can get up to forty degrees. It's even more important for me to think about hydration not only because of the heat but also unlike other sports where you see how much you sweat and how much fluid you are losing, it's very hard to tell with swimming".
Max Lahiff (pro rugby player down at Bath) came down to our studio and said sleep and nutrition are king for recovery, do you find the same? "Yes I do agree. Most nights I aim to get nine or more hours sleep and if I get the chance I will also try to take naps in between my training sessions in order to recover and be prepared for the next challenge.
Also I see the food I eat as the fuel that keeps me healthy and able to train. If I give myself good quality food I feel more confident in my body's ability to perform and recover efficiently".
What are the most common meals in your house? Do you have to make sure you're eating XX amount of calories per day/week? "I am so fortunate at the moment to have my meals prepared for me here in Turkey where I'm based for training. The selection is always huge and there are always amazing healthy options.
But when I used to cook daily I used to make risotto most weeks and probably a big bolognese or chilli once a week. I like quick options like some sort of marinated grilled meat with veg or salad and maybe some sweet potato".
What is your 'cheat' recipe? "I love the chicken a leek pie from the Body Coach's book. It's quick and easy and I absolutely love pastry. Also I love pizza so maybe a home made pizza with a tortilla base and plenty of mozzarella".
Is there anything you actively avoid? "I try to avoid deep fried foods as much as possible. I definitely do like them but I tend to feel quite queasy and sluggish after I eat them".
Stepping away from nutrition for a moment, do you have a favourite place to compete? "There is an amazing out door pool in Rome which is surrounded by trees. It's so pretty. But backstroke (which is my main stroke) outdoors in the sun is quite challenging".
Is there a particular race that stands out in your career so far? "I would say that winning the 50m backstroke at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games is a personal career hi-light because I love representing Wales and hearing the Welsh anthem play for me was incredible. Also I have been fortunate to swim at two Olympic Games and the home crowd in London when we walked out for our races was deafening and completely insane".
Do you have any pre-race rituals i.e. putting your left sock on first, or always wearing the same swim cap? "Before I get in the water I like to jump in from the left side of the block. I have absolutely no idea why I do this but I do it every time. I used to be a bit superstitious about racing suits goggles and swim caps but I'm less so now that I'm a bit older. I still always have spares with me in case any break. Also I usually travel with my fins in my hand luggage in case my suitcase goes missing because they are my favourite piece of training equipment and I would be lost without them!"