Olympic RelayOlympic Relay: Julia Wilkinson, Swimming

Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 | 12:13 PM

Categories: Olympic Relay, Olympics2012

Back to accessibility links

Canadian athletes are a fascinating breed of focused men and women who know what they want to achieve. We see them as they compete, and then they disappear from our view.

Here's a place where you have a chance to meet them in a way that illustrates their personalities. Their likes, their dislikes and what makes them tick. We call this the Olympic Relay and here's how it works.

A few months ago we had the idea of sending five questions to a selected group of Olympic athletes. We started with Olympic kayaker and medal hopeful Adam van Koeverden and asked for his feedback. He responded by saying it's a good idea, but it could be better? He suggested that we get athletes to ask questions of other athletes. Something like chain mail. And that is what we have tried to do.

For the past few months they have been asking questions of some of their fellow athletes who have generously taken the time to respond. Click on the images above and you'll discover the questions, and the answers. Enjoy!

Julia Wilkinson in an event last summer.  She regularly writes for CBCSports.ca. (Feng Li/Getty Images)  Julia Wilkinson in an event last summer. She regularly writes for CBCSports.ca. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Supporting Story Content

End of Supporting Story Content

Back to accessibility links

Beginning of Story Content

Those of us at CBCSports.ca are familiar with the multiple skills of Olympic swimmer Julia Wilkinson. For many months now she's been telling us about her journey to the Olympics. 

It's been fun as she has told her story of taking part in a photo shoot, her fear of swimming in open water and the importance of Team Julia.

We couldn't wait to get a chance to ask her some questions.
Julia Wilkinson
Hometown: Stratford
Sport:  Swimming

Those of us at CBCSports.ca are familiar with the multiple skills of Olympic swimmer Julia Wilkinson. For many months now she's been telling us about her journey to the Olympics. 

It's been fun as she has told her story of taking part in a photo shoot, her fear of swimming in open water and the importance of Team Julia.

We couldn't wait to get a chance to ask her some questions.

Her Olympic Events:
  • 100m backstroke
  • 100m freestyle
  • 4x100m freestyle
  • 4x100m medley

The questions are in italics and in this case they came from CBCSports.ca.

CBCSports.ca: 
Right now - today - who's the best swimmer in the world (one male, one female)?

Julia: 
Right now, I would say the best swimmers in the world are Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin. Yes, they are both American, and I apologize for not "spreading the awards around", but hey, that's the American way, right? The best is the best and it doesn't matter if second place ends up with hurt feelings. I realize that recently, Ryan Lochte has been the bigger star in the Phelps-Lochte solar system that is men's swimming, but I think Phelps is going to reign again come this summer. 

Missy Franklin is only in Grade 11, that's right, she hasn't even reached her final year of high school, nor her potential as a swimmer. I think she is the next big phenomenon and we are going to see great things out of her this summer and beyond. 

What do both these swimmers have in common? Versatility. They are the ones who seem to swim "everything", and I believe that is the mark of the "best" swimmer. Any event Michael Phelps steps up to the blocks for, he could potentially win. He won't always, but it's the fact that he is a threat across the board that makes him the best.   

CBCSports.ca: 
Swimmers are known for consuming a crazy amount of calories during training. Give us your menu for a typical day.

Julia: 
My "typical" menu for a day of training: 
 
  • pre-swim: a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of coffee with cream and sugar
  • during swim: 1 bottle of sports drink, 1 gel
  • post-swim: 500 ml of chocolate milk and a banana 
  • post-weights: turkey sandwich, raw vegetables with hummus dip, cup of soup 
  • pre-swim: Luna Bar, apple, cup of coffee with cream and sugar
  • during swim: 1 bottle of sports drink, 1-2 gels
  • post-swim: 500 ml of chocolate milk
  • dinner: grilled, seasoned chicken breast; 2 cups of spinach salad with light balsamic   dressing; 3/4 cup of quinoa 
  • dessert: 2-4 squares of dark chocolate 
  • bedtime snack: 1 cup of cereal with skim milk 

And yes, this is fairly typical, sometimes I have a little bit more fun and let myself have a bigger dessert [like cookies!] or I'll treat myself to a Latte instead of plain old drip coffee. 

CBCSports.ca: 
Days off for you are rare. Say you've got one tomorrow and, by some magical effect, nothing you do will physically carry over to the following day (eg. you won't have gained weight from eating too much or be hung over from drinking, or tired from travelling). Money is no object. How do you spend your day?

Julia: 
My parents have a cottage on Lake Huron in Ontario and I used to spend my summers up there before swimming took over my life. My older sister, Jane, used to have awesome birthday parties up there (from the time she turned 19 on) because her birthday always fell during the long May weekend. Because of my time commitments with swimming, I was never able to have one of these parties that I was so jealous of! So, if I had the day off and unlimited funds and there were no repercussions to be felt the following day, I would fly all my friends from Texas AND all my friends from Victoria up to Ontario to meet with my friends and family from home for a huge cottage bash. There would be unlimited supplies of junk food and adult beverages, and of course, the sun would be shining all day and it would be perfect campfire weather at night. That would be my idea of a perfect day off. 

CBCSports.ca: 
If you could be granted the physical ability to play any other sport professionally, which would you choose?

Julia: 
If I were blessed with other athletic skills -- and I am most definitely not -- I would want them to be in tennis. I don't really have any knowledge or interest in the sport per se, but my parents love it, so it would be more fun for them in the stands. Also, female tennis players make way more money than any other female athletes! 

CBCSports.ca: 
I'm thinking of taking up swimming on a regular basis to stay in shape. I know the basic strokes (front crawl, breaststroke, backstroke, sidestroke). How about some tips on what I should be doing?

Julia: 
Well, my first tip is this: sidestroke is not, unfortunately, a real stroke. Although it is taught in swimming lessons and often thought of to be the "fourth" stroke, butterfly is actually the fourth. Beyond that, I will tell a new swimmer the same thing I tell my exercise-a-phobic mother (who was blessed with a very fast metabolism): the first time you work out will always be the worst. You will feel like a stone in the water, you will get out of breath quickly, and you will be unbelievably sore afterwards. But, this happens to me after I take time off. You can't judge swimming based on how it feels the first time, or if you only do it once a month. It'll only get better if you stick to it and get what swimmers call 'the feel for the water.' Extended time out of the water is always going to make you temporarily lose your 'feel.' The more dedicated you are the easier and more enjoyable swimming will become.  

End of Story Content

Back to accessibility links

Story Social Media

End of Story Social Media