As we reported last week, World Record holder Xu Jiayu joined Chinese teammate Sun Yang and others at altitude camp in the city of Kunming, situated in the middle of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. Grinding out meters in these lower-oxygen conditions, Xu and his squad mates are getting it done in the name of performing when it counts at this year’s World Championships in Gwangju, Korea.
“I enjoy the hardships,” is how the 24-year-old described his recent training at over 1500m above sea level.
“Training at high altitudes helps us be better prepared physically,” said Xu.
Although Xu indeed logged a new SCM 100 backstroke World Record with the 48.88 thrown down at the World cup in Tokyo, the Chinese star fell short of gold at his home-country hosted Short Course World Championships. Instead, Xu settled for silver, just .03 behind America’s Ryan Murphy who took gold in the event.
“It’s really a pity that I didn’t bag the title last year as the championships were held in my own country. People had high expectations of me and I also put too much pressure on myself,” Xu said.
“However, winning and losing are all quite normal for us. We are all fighting to be champion, and competing against top swimmers makes me stronger.”
Xu was the 100m backstroke at the 2017 edition of the Long Course World Championships in Budapest and intends on defending his title against Murphy and any other would-be rival. But, that doesn’t mean he’s losing sight of the details.
“It’s more important to focus on the daily training,” he said.”It’s hard but I’m striving to be more mature in dealing with pressure,” he added.
All quotes courtesy of china.org.