Jazz Carlin is preparing to make history.
Never before has a female swimmer won open water and pool medals at the same Games but, with Tokyo 2020 on the horizon, the 27-year-old is dreaming big.
Winning 400m and 800m freestyle silver at Rio 2016, Carlin has since had an extended break from the pool, not alone in her experiences of the post-Olympic countdown.
But with the rest period over, the pool returned to and a new challenge in store, this double Olympic medallist is certainly revitalised.
“I definitely think open water has added a new spark to my life,” she said.
“It was tough after Rio. When you’ve trained for something for so long, it’s hard when it’s over.
“The older you get the more you want to challenge yourself. It is really exciting and I’m looking forward to the next few years learning more about the discipline.
“It is all about learning. I’m a bit of an amateur now and I need to learn how to get the best out of my races.
“The experience I get in the next couple of years will be vital. It is something completely fresh and new."
Transitioning from the pool has been difficult for the Welsh swimmer, who now has to train for the demands of the 10km distance and swimming in close proximity to her competition.
Following an 11th place finish in the Marathon Swimming World Cup back in October, Carlin remains eager to improve, but this month will also see her challenging others to try something new.
That will see her take part in the #SwimWithJazz campaign by coaching four adults as they learn to swim in just four weeks, part of a campaign organised by Yakult which has found that more than 20 per cent of those older than 55 are unable to swim.
More pertinently, almost half believe it is too late to try, with Carlin – fortunate to be introduced to the pool at an early age – confident this is not the case.
“For me, swimming has always been such a huge part of my life from a young age and it’s hard to hear that so many people aren’t able to swim or haven’t had the chance to learn,” she said.
“I’d love to see them enjoy being in the pool. I’m so passionate about swimming and to see more people enjoying it would make me very happy.
“The older I’ve got, the more I’ve found myself doing things that felt easy when I was younger.
“Someone once told me that fear is just a feeling, it’s not actually real. Once you get over that feeling of nerves, it gets a lot easier.”
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