Swimming sensation and RLSS UK ambassador Jazmin ‘Jazz’ Carlin has recently made the exciting announcement she is diving into the world of competitive open water swimming. Here she talks to Lifesavers about her move into open water, her aspirations for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and the importance of RLSS UK and British Triathlon’s joint SH2OUT open water initiative.
An Interview with RLSS UK Ambassador Jazz Carlin
You’re well known for your outstanding achievements in the pool as a 400m and 800m freestyle swimmer, why have you made the move into open water?
I’ve decided to begin open water swimming because it’s a new challenge for me. Turns have always been a weakness of mine and with open water there are no turns so it’s something new and exciting and obviously, it’s completely different to me racing in the pool. I’m still planning on competing in the pool and that’s still a big focus, but I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into open water.
As an Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European multi-medalist, how are you hoping to achieve the same level of success in open water?
Coming up, it’s mainly all about preparing for the 10km FINA World Cup Open Water events in China and Hong Kong. They will deﬁnitely help to give me an idea of where I’m at and I think I’ll learn a lot along the way. I’ve got a lot to learn, it’s kind of like trying out a new sport really. I’ve got to try and master it and learn how I can improve so undeniably, it’s going to be tough but an exciting journey and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in and begin racing at the World Cups!
Following your two silver medals in Rio 2016, tell us more about your hopes for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and your aim to medal in both the pool AND open water?
Obviously, it’s still a few years away but for me, I just want to learn as much as possible about open water in the meantime and try and get myself in a good position heading into Tokyo. The Commonwealth Games and Europeans are next year’s target and they will include a lot of open water events so it’s just about getting more experience in open water, preparing to tackle Tokyo and see how I get on.
What training tips do you have for people starting out in open water swimming?
I think my advice would probably be just to get involved and try it out. I think it can always seem a bit daunting when you try something new and it’s not something you’re used to but it’s an amazing sport and I’ve loved every minute of it so far. It’s so refreshing going out in the open water and it’s nice doing it outside. During the summer months it’s also great having the sun on your face too.
RLSS UK recently set up a partnership with British Triathlon to launch the SH2OUT initiative. It aims to improve and standardise open water swimming venues across the country. How important do you think the initiative is?
I think the SH2OUT initiative is fantastic and hugely important. We should definitely be encouraging people to try out new activities, and open water is such an incredible sport, but it’s equally important to make sure people stay safe and are doing it the right way. I love swimming in open water but safety comes first and it’s important to make sure as many people as possible can get involved, but in a safe environment.
It is an honour and a privilege to become an Ambassador for such a great charity. I was so impressed by the variety of work RLSS UK does, in all areas of water safety and education and was also shocked by some of the dreadful and upsetting drowning tragedies and statistics. I am looking forward to doing what I can to encourage participation in open water swimming, highlighting the importance that this is done in a secure venue. With its work in all areas of promoting open water safety, strong partnerships, Government support and exciting open water event calendar, RLSS UK is a perfect fit for me. I think it’s great that you have even created a bespoke Open Water Lifeguard qualification to ensure lifeguards have the best possible training when keeping people safe. I am looking forward to continuing to support this work as Ambassador going forward!