GB swimmer Freya Anderson boosted on high altitude camp in USA
By Mark Ashenden
Last Updated: 13/11/19 10:41am
Brutal training outside of your comfort zone, over 5,000 miles from home and 7,000 feet above sea level.
These trips that push all your boundaries may just be the difference to some of Great Britain's athletes on making the podium or not in Tokyo next year.
Just ask Freya Anderson, Sky Sports Scholar and teenage swimming sensation, who recently had three weeks in Arizona on a high-altitude training camp.
So what did she get up to?
I set off to the USA with some of my GB team-mates, on a 10-hour flight for our group of 19 for the altitude camp at Flagstaff.
Altitude training here has so many benefits. It makes you work harder and you really feel it when you got back down to sea level.
I had been away to altitude before last year but this was for rehab purposes with my back injury so technically this was my first time to experience it.
I was definitely nervous over how hard I would find it - things like training and being away from home for three weeks, as well as the different environment and training long course. I usually train short course (25m) at my home in Ellesmere.
The group was really motivated. It's an Olympic year so tensions are high! I found it really good to be away with a different group of athletes than what I'm used to at home!
The first few days were more of a warm-up to get into the camp and then the hard work started.
We trained every morning and on four evenings, with the Sundays off. The training was different to what I was used to.
I loved doing the speed workouts. They're a lot more fun than the long boring sessions! We also got time to chill and visit the sites and Flagstaff.
It's a small town but it was really nice. There's a few decent cafes and shops for clothes and plenty of food places. In the second week, I got to visit the Grand Canyon which was amazing - it just didn't look real!
I was also there with fellow Sky Scholar Max Litchfield, as well as former Scholar Siobhan-Marie O'Connor, so it was really good having some familiar faces while being away.
Another bonus of being away was that your meals were cooked for you!
As always in sport, things don't always run smoothly and during my time there, my shoulder started playing up - even though I was doing my rehab daily.
Sometimes I did get really tired, but the challenge is to turn it around and try to get yourself ready to swim, even when you're not feeling like it. Being around friends and staff really helps.
I covered a fair few metres as I have been the whole season, to make sure I have that endurance base. But I can't wait to get into the fast stuff!
Overall, I just loved going away. It was a different scene and I have a few things to take back with me, like dealing with my energy, managing my recovery and keeping my anxieties under control.
Little things like this can make a huge difference to how I train so it's key that I get these under control.
Being away also taught me to stop being scared of new things. Flagstaff was new to me and I enjoyed it - I shouldn't be nervous to go away.