Few swimmers have a greater understanding of how to tease the best performance out of themselves than Aimee Willmott, who has written an academic paper on the subject.
Willmott’s dissertation, published in the European Journal of Sport Science, considers the effect clothing worn between a warm-up and competition can have on performance. She concludes that wearing the right garb can give a 0.59% boost in performance, which may not sound significant but in a sport such as swimming the finest margins decide medals.
Accordingly, Willmott touched the wall only 0.26sec ahead of Hannah Miley to claim one of Team England’s six gold medals on the opening day of the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast.
On a humid evening at the Optics Aquatics Centre, Willmott followed her own advice and togged up until the last possible moment before the 400m medley final. “I did five years of uni and finished last year and did my study based on how hot you are before you swim determining how fast you swim,” said Willmott, who graduated with a degree in sport and exercise science from the University of East London. “I practise what I preach. I dressed up really warm and was so hot before with the nerves and the crowd combined.”
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