Australian Cameron McEvoy has certainly got a lot of attention over the last couple of years. Now 19 at 16 McEvoy broke Ian Thorpe‘s age group record in the 100 freestyle, posting a 49.70 and has gone on to set the 17 years (48.58) and 18 years (48.07) age group records in the same event as well as the 17 year old 50 freestyle mark (22.26).
He qualified for the 2012 London Olympics in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 freestyle relays and at last year’s World Championships in Barcelona finished just outside of a medal, four one-hundredths of a second behind bronze medal winner, American Nathan Adrian.
“Sometimes when you lose you win,” McEvoy told The Australian.
“It was good to have the experience of my first big international final, but if I’d won a medal I may not have had that extra motivation to improve.”
And what has he done since that point? He has not only headed back to the pool with that extra motivation, but according to The Australian he has read at least 11 books on physics.
McEvoy, who is currently preparing for next week’s BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series, has been spending a lot of time outside of the pool studying physics, in fact he has recently started a research fellowship in the field. He feels that his love of physics is something that has kept him grounded and balanced, “Before that I had all this spare time and only had to focus on swimming,” McEvoy told The Western Australian.
“But with that it’s sort of made me really manage my time really well and be more efficient with my training. Within the past three or four weeks it has really improved a lot.”
“I try to keep the variety in my life as wide as possible so I can have a well-balanced lifestyle.”
“I like physics because it drags my mind away from the pool.”
McEvoy has a very unique perspective and has used that to learn how to have the emotional control that an athlete must have to succeed at the highest level. Before his races he imagines what aliens would think if they saw a swimming competition, “How weird it would seem to them (aliens)?” McEvoy asked Nicole Jeffrey of The Australian.
“In the end it’s only a swimming race and I’ve learned that getting nervous doesn’t help me. So when I get behind the blocks for a final, instead of thinking about the race and the people in it, I just sit back and relax.”
The mix of interests and his uncommon way of looking at the world, has been working for him so far. McEvoy hopes that the steady improvement he has been experiencing continues at the Super Series and then in Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games,”The Commonwealth Games is such a different competition to the world championships,” he told The Western Australian.
“All I can do is focus on myself and my times.”
“I am still 19 so hopefully I am still growing and getting that strength that you get between 19 and 22ish.”
“Hopefully there is some natural improvement coming.”