Taking Five with Cate Campbell – The Art of Rest and Recovery

by SwimSwam Contributors 1

January 31st, 2023 Lifestyle

Courtesy: Eney Jones.

“When you rest, you catch your breath and it holds you up, like water wings…”

Anne Lamott

Malawian-born Australian swimmer Cate Campbell is one of the most decorated swimmers in history: in longevity, resilience and accolades.

Cate was a two-time bronze medalist at the 2008 Olympics. Then at the 2012 Olympics, she was a gold medalist. In 2016 she earned a gold and silver medal in the Rio Olympics, and in Tokyo in 2021, she became a gold medalist once again.

As the month of January draws to a close, a month in which swimmers across the globe perfect their bad technique and exhaust themselves with 100 x 100s on New Year’s Day; it’s time to reexamine our needs and implement an important part of training that is often overlooked. Rest and Recovery.

Here are Cate’s top 5 recovery tips:

Sleep. I can’t stress this one enough. If you could put sleep into a pill, it would be the greatest-selling supplement of all time. If you’re struggling to sleep, try and switch off from electronic devices 30 minutes before bed. Try listening to sleep stories or an audiobook. (This has been a game changer for me, I want something engaging enough to keep my attention, but not so exciting that it keeps me awake. Sometimes it’s the audiobook of a book I’ve read – while I was at the Olympics it was Becoming, read by Michelle Obama, her voice is also so soothing.)

Staying hydrated. If you’re like me, and not a big fan of plain water, try some Hydralyte and switch out coffee for tea.

Easing up on exercise as needed. Listen to your body and what it’s telling you. Never mind what your brain is telling you you ‘should’ do.

Saying ‘No’ to something, and being okay with prioritizing recovery.

Rest is an important part of performance, so don’t feel bad if you need a quieter week!

Cate’s acumen brings me to the experiments of Dr. Curt Richter, a Harvard professor who performed a series of experiments with water, buckets, and both domesticated and wild rats in the 1950s. In the first experiment, the rats were placed in buckets of water and died within a few minutes. In the second experiment a few moments before the rats died, he pulled them out and they were given rest. Then when replaced in the bucket they could swim and survive up to 60 hours! The scientists often referred to this experiment as the “hope” experiment, but maybe, just maybe, the key was REST.

For more information on the experiment, click here.

Does Cate live by her advice? Recusing herself periodically from electronics and social media? Just read this…

Hi Eney,

Sorry for the late reply, I have been taking a break from life (and emails) over the christmas period.

I’d be happy to arrange a time to chat next week.



Be like Cate!


Eney Jones has achieved remarkably diverse success as a leading pool, open water and Ironman triathlon swimmer.

  • Masters National Champion 100-200-400-500-1500-1650 5k freestyle 2009
  • Open Water 5k Champion Perth Australia, May 2008.
  • National Masters Champion 200-400-1500 freestyle Champion, Portland Oregon, August, 2008.
  • Overall Champion Aumakua 2.4k Maui Hawaii, September 2008
  • Waikiki Rough Water Swim 3rd place 2006, second place Overall 2009, 3rd place 2012
  • European Record Holder and Masters Swimming Champion, 2005. Records included 200, 400, 800, 1500 m freestyle
  • Over twenty time finalist in U.S. Swimming Nationals, including Olympic Trials 1980
  • Gold medal NCAA 800 yd freestyle relay 1979, silver Medalist 200 yd freestyle 1979. United States National Team 1979-1980.
  • Professional Triathlete 1983-1991. First woman out of the water in every Hawaiian Ironman participated (6).

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1 month ago

She won at least 3 medals in Tokyo, 2 gold and 1 bronze.