The weekend is almost upon us! You know what that means…it’s time for another Ambassador Spotlight! Diving off the blocks this week is John Wood from @tri_coaching. John has a wealth of experience in swimming and triathlon competition but turned to full-time coaching in 2013. Over to John to tell us more…
U Perform: So John, sum it up for us – how did you get into swimming, into sport?
John: I've been involved in sports as long as I can remember! I've always loved being active - although when I was young I hated the water - kicked and screamed and refused to get in! Some might say that nothing has changed ;)
I ended up winning national medals from age 13, and representing GB at open water and in the pool between 16 and 21 at different events - swimming at the Olympic Trials in 2004 but never quite being good enough to make a major championship.
After university, I took up triathlon - and the swimming helped me grow a decent engine for the bike and run which helped me make a few age group teams - with the best result of 4th at the European Championships at standard distance. I've done a couple of IM races, but I think I prefer racing shorter, partly because that suits my physiology, partly the amount of training time, and partly because you can do one in a weekend and it doesn't interfere in life too much!
U Perform: That’s quite the sporting career. But it doesn’t stop there. How did your transition (triathlon pun intended) into coaching come about?
John: I've been a qualified swim coach since I was 16 - so more than half my life now, and a triathlon coach since 2010. I set up Tri Coaching in 2013 and have been a full-time coach now for 6 years.
I love being able to help - both technically and with information; whether you're an experienced athlete trying to find the extra couple of per cent, or a complete newbie who is scared of the water. Both ends of the spectrum give a real buzz!
In an ideal world, I want to help more and more people enjoy being in the water!
U Perform: We totally agree. Swimming is such an important life skill as well as sporting pursuit. As a coach you’ve had some experience working with high level athletes. Could you tell us a little more?
John: I've been really fortunate to work with some amazing athletes over the years, including helping Andy Lewis on his way to Paralympic Gold at Rio and assisting with the development of Siobhan Marie O'Connor who won silver at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in the 200 Individual Medley.
U Perform: That must have been a fantastic experience working with those athletes. Bringing it a little closer to home then. How did you first hear about U Perform and why did you choose to partner up with us?
John: I'm always looking at making sure that I am looking after myself - as well as being able to recommend the best products for my athletes. I met Greg a few years back as a masters swimmer - having known him for his work with Comic Relief - and was incredibly impressed by his knowledge even while talking at a swim meet!
When I saw that he was involved with a sports nutrition company, it was a no brainer to check out what U Perform was all about. I have tried collagen previously, knowing how useful it can be, and for Greg to be involved, I knew it had to be worthwhile.
I really liked the idea of the active collagen in really easy sachets appealed for its ease as well as how good it might be. I have really enjoyed using it!
U Perform: Would it be fair to say then, that the active collagen gels are a must-have for you?
John: I have only currently used the active collagen and the active vitamin d3, and I can see the benefits of the vitamin d. But the collagen feels like it's had an all-round effect. I am looking forward to trying the active whey & collagen imminently - as that is yet another convenience as well as being technically very worthwhile.
U Perform: Over the last few weeks we have been mixing things up a little with our ambassadors and a fun fact never goes amiss.
John: Fun fact about myself…I have Indian grandparents! None of my family lives there anymore, but I went to India for the first time last October to explore the country and find more about where I come from. It was the first time in many years when I have been away not thinking about sport in some way!
U Perform: A very unique and important experience for sure. Looking ahead then, what do you have planned?
John: This year I had been hoping to race at the Olympic Trials for swimming in April before everything locked down, the first time since 2004! Fingers crossed I can race at them next year - when I looked at the rankings I was more than 10 years older than everyone else qualified!
I also intend to race at the European Masters Swimming Champs in Budapest - trying to build on my success of lifetime PB's in Korea in 2019, and a couple of world bronze medals. I also intend to do a couple of triathlons, having enjoyed getting back into running through the lockdown.
An action packed schedule which is sure to keep you busy and active! We’re with you step of the way.
Are you an active person? Do you share our passion for fitness, exercise and nutrition? Personal trainer, Physiotherapist, Coach or Nutritionist? Yes to any of the above - then you can join the team as one of our Ambassadors too! To find out more and apply - head to the 'Become an Ambassador' page on our website.