Q & A with Trent Grimsey

A couple of weeks after his record-breaking English Channel swim, I put some questions to Trent, from myself and some of you on Twitter, and quite a lot from fellow Aussie English Channel and Sandycove swimmer Craig Morrison. Most the questions are a swimmer’s point of view.
I’ve been asked how much long I could make Trent’s story continue on the blog and the answer is this is the last one. For this year anyway..
In the meantime, Trent has been nominated for Male Swim of the Year on the marathonswimmers.org forum. You need to be a member to vote. Membership is open marathon and aspiring marathon swimmers. On the forum he has also been nominated for the Barra Award for Overall Performance of the year.
And Trent has also been nominated for two World Open Water Swimming Awards, where nominations are open to the public, Man of the Year, and Performance of the Year.
Also I put together a short 6 minute video of Trent’s Channel swim.
Feeding, best feeding interval for long & short stuff?

In long races I normally feed every 15 minutes but with the Channel I knew every second would count so that’s why I decided to feed every 20 minutes!

Pre-race eating pattern, a week of pigging your self or always the same?

I always try to keep it the same although if it’s a race over 5 hours I really eat a lot of food the day before just for the extra fuel.

What do you eat before and after training, say morning session?

Before training a bowl of cereal, then after training I eat my big breakfast… 3 pieces of toast, baked beans and fruit.

How many calories do you consume daily, healthy or anything goes?

I try to eat as healthy as I can from Monday to Friday then on the weekends I eat whatever I want! I don’t count calories.

Land base training. How much how important, if you had to pick 3 exercises what would they be?

Three months ago I finished my personal training degree so this is something I’m really interested in. I do weights two times a week, I ride the exercise bike three times a week, I do a little bit of core everyday.

Stretching, is it crap or important?

I think stretching is very important. I try to stretch everyday!

What’s a typical workout when training for EC, as opposed to 10k?

The training is not too different, just a couple more aerobic sessions a week and a couple less speed sessions.

Any cross training, how much?

Exercise bike, weights, core

Typical interval work ie. 100×100, 10×1000 etc. how much rest between sets?

Most of my aerobic work is done on a 1.10 to 1.15 cycle.
This reminds me of something I forgot to put in the final section of the story of Trent’s Channel records, when we were returning. After Damián and Trent returned to the boat, Harley and Trent were discussing the end of the swim. Damián was able to say that Trent has been swimming at 1:11 to 1:11:5 per 100. For swimmers, two thing sleep out from that. the first is the speed that Trent was still swimming after crossing the Channel. The second is that Damián was able to so accurately identify swim speed to within half a second, from experience.
Anything scientific out of the normal, that elite swimmers like yourself do compared to the rest of us?
While swimming the Channel this year I had some duck tape on my swimming cap because I didn’t want it to fall off!
Were you scared or nervous steaming out to the beach?  
No I wasn’t nervous or scared, just excited. I knew I had done everything I could have possible done to have prepared myself for this so there was no reason to be nervous.
I was enormously impressed by your calm in the face of Mike Oram’s, um, unique way of dealing with swimmers, and became an 100% fan right there, no reservations. How much negativity do you have to deal with as a world-class swimmer?
There are a lot of athletes that like playing head games with their competitors in marathon swimming. I believe you need to be very mentally strong to deal with some of these games. You learn to just discard what you know is not true and don’t let it affect you!
I told Harley that I thought it was important that you say you’d booked the Channel three years ago, when Mike O (or most of us) wouldn’t have had a clue who you were. How and when were you infected by the Channel dream?
I must have been about 10 years old when I found out people could actually swim the English Channel. Ever since I found this out I have had a dream of being the fastest person to have ever swam it. I hate not being the fastest or best at something!

Photo courtesy of Owen O’Keefe

Has the enormity of what you’ve achieved started to sink in? The Channel is a huge deal. The Channel community says it changes you. Did you ever hear the Chad Hundeby English Channel story? Nearly 20 years ago, it was a different time. He’d been World Number 1 a while, but he said when people asked how his Channel was, and he said he hadn’t done it yet, the other swimmers would just nod and say nothing. He said he felt until he did the Channel he hadn’t really arrived. Like you he set the record on his first swim. 

Yes, I think the enormity of what I have done has only just now started to sink in. I’m so glad to be able to tell people I have swam the English Channel, I feel I can finally say I’m a real marathon swimmer now I’ve swam the Channel.
What does your training and racing year look like generally? Do you work it out with Harley?
For the rest of the year it will just be a big training block really. I have a few smaller races here and in New Zealand that I’ll be doing but that’s about it. I tell Harley what races I want to do and we work out together what the best plan will be to get there.
If this isn’t too difficult a question, what would say were the key components of your success? (excluding pilot)
The extra weight I put on, drinking all my feeds, and the encouragement I got the whole way from my crew.
How much stroke/technique/out of water work do you do? I know from talking to Harley you changed your diet, decreased running, to put on weight, he said it decreased your recovery time and illnesses. What are your thoughts on it?
I’m not a very strong swimming, just very rhythmic. This is why I do two weight sessions a week to get me stronger and that in turns helps with my stroke.
Yes, I believe having the extra weight on helped me recover faster from training and races. It also helped with recovering from sickness!
How do you plan and deal with all the travelling and living on two sides of the world?
It does get a little hard sometimes living in Australia because we are so far away and it’s so expensive to travel anywhere but in saying that it’s so fun travelling and racing on the circuit!
You and Harley seem like a really close team. How have you both previously dealt with the adversity of people not believing in you? I don’t think it’ll be a problem in the future.
I think the best way to deal with people not believing in you is to prove them wrong!
Everything I saw you do was 100% connected to getting you to France quicker. Swimming, feeding, technique, positive thoughts and encouragement. It was an awesome display of comprehensive scope. How did you learn to focus so much on the positive mental side ? Any tips there?
I believe the only way to get better at focusing and thinking positive during a race is to practice it as much as you can.
What next?
World Championships next year. I think I can win a gold medal there!
Can I crew next time? 🙂
Definitely, you and Owen. I am going to book in again for 2014, around early September or late August. I believe I can take another 5 to 10 minutes off the record!
Finally Trent’s got some new t-shirts ..
Well folks, that last line isn’t a bluff, Trent is actually in the planning process for 2014, hopefully Owen and I will be there again, and therefore so will you be, if loneswimmer.com last that long.

9 thoughts on “Q & A with Trent Grimsey

  1. Pingback: Channel and Marathon Swimming Articles Index & adding a Donate to LoneSwimmer.com, the world’s most popular open water swimming blog option | LoneSwimmer

    • The CS&PF are now the larger organisation with more successful crossings. Also being a CSA soloist is not a hindrance for Triple Crown Aspirant, as CSA swims are no longer automatically eligible for MIMS entry due to the CSA’s Secretary invalidly claiming a Round Manhattan stroke record.


  2. Great post, one more time.
    By watching the video, I noticed that his swimsuit is rather “long”. I was always thinking that only the traditional Swimsuit was allowed according to the CSA rules…Things have changed?


  3. This was a very interesting read! Thanks for another great post. I’m very curious about the duct tape on the cap. Did Trent tape the cap to his face/neck with it?


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