Superstars Of The Sport - Trent Grimsey

Superstars Of The Sport – Trent Grimsey

This lean, focused 21-year-old professional is an emerging – and established – open water swimming superstar.

If he continues his upward trajectory, he will be one of the favorites in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in not only the 2012 London Olympics, but also the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Besides winning the 2.4-mile Waikiki Roughwater Swim, US$10,000 at the RCP Tiburon Mile (see below), the Eyeline 1000 Noosa Ocean Swim, the Australian 5K and 10K Open Water Swimming Championships, the 10K King of the Sea Challenge (Rei Do Mar Desafio), the FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and the New Zealand Ocean Swim Series, he also was a member of the winning Maui Channel Swim and won a silver at the 2009 World Swimming Championships 25K race.

Known as a workhorse in the pool and an independent strategist on every open water course, Trent is nicknamed Trento and was born in Sunnybank, Australia. His personal best time in the 1500-meter freestyle is 15:12 (where he placed third in the 2008 Australian Olympic Trials) and is coached by John Rodgers.

In addition to participating in a variety of invitational swims and the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit, he intends to participate in the Commonwealth Games 2010 and we expect to see him to be a force to be reckoned with throughout 2016.

Prior to competing in the 5K, 10K and 25K races at the 2009 World Swimming Championships in Rome – the only competitor to tackle such a grueling schedule – he spoke with us:

Q1: What is the allure of open water swimming for you?
Trent: I guess it’s an Olympic sport now so that has a fair bit to do with it, but I also like that it’s very tactical, so you don’t have to be the fastest swimmer in the field to win.

Q2: When did you first realize that open water swimming was for you?
Trent: I think I realized that open water swimming was a path to seriously consider during 2008 when I really started to have a lot of success with it.

Q3: How many ocean swims do you think you have done in Australia or around the world?
Trent: Well, in Australia, there are quite a few ocean swims every year. In south east Queensland where I live, they have ocean swims probably every 5 to 6 weeks, that are anywhere from 1K to 3K long. Also, in New Zealand, they have a really good ocean swim series that I like to compete in. Other than that, I have not done a lot of racing overseas…although in 2008 I did a few races in the US including the RCP Tiburon Mile, Maui Channel Swim and the Waikiki Roughwater Swim.

Q4: What do you think about when you start an ocean race in Australia where hundreds of people head down the beach in a mad craze?
Trent: If there are hundreds of people in a race then start is crucial, I’ll try and find the best place on the line to start from and just try and relax… maybe put my hands on my hips so as people do not stand to close to me.

Q5: Australian swimmers and lifesavers are notoriously competitive, aggressive and experienced. What do you think about when you are in a pack going around a turn buoy (can)?
Trent: I will try not to be in the middle of this pack, but if I am, I would be trying to find ways to get out. Its probably not the best thing to lift your head when going around a turn buoy.

Q6: When the surf is high, what do you think about when you are heading into shore during a tight race?
Trent: I hope my legs are fresher the the guys next to me. You also have to know if there’s a wave building up behind you and know exactly when to stand up to start running.

Q7: What was your most difficult swim – either short ocean swim or longer marathon swim?
Trent: My most difficult ocean swim would of been about two months ago in New Zealand, It was the King of the Bays, a 2.8K swim in Auckland. The conditions were really bad. It was something like 15 to 20 knots. It was cold, wet and windy, I couldn’t get into a rhythym and the bouys were spaced a long way apart – I couldn’t see anything.

Q8: What was going through your mind as you were doing this swim?
Trent: I hope I’m in front and I hope there’s hot showers at the end.

Q9: When conditions get difficult in the open water, do you ever about quitting?
Trent: I guess the thought might cross your mind, but then you think, wait…everyone else in the race is hurting just as much as me and everyone else is having just as much trouble as me…I find that aways helps.

Q10: Are there any particular song or words that you repeated to yourself over and over again during the swim?
Trent: Pain is temporary, but pride is forever!

Q11: Are there any kind of mental games that you play to help you overcome the cold water or tough conditions?
Trent: Not really, I do get very nervous before a race so I am aways trying to control my breathing and trying to relax.

Q12: What are some of the most difficult workouts you have ever done – either in the pool or open water?
Trent: Well, my type of training is very aerobic based and I swim big KMs. About two years ago, I swam 120K in one week over 11 sessions.

Q13: The Europeans have recently dominated professional marathon swimming. How do you plan to change that?
Trent: This is a good question. I guess experience has a lot to do with being a good open water swimmer. Experience and hard work. I believe I am doing the right type of training – it’s just getting the international race experience. Living in Australia, I guess doesn’t really help with that because we are so far away from the rest of the world, so I think the next best thing to international racing is talking with people who have been there before and done that. I find talking with people like Josh Santacaterina and Brendan Cappel (both former 25km world champions) really helps. They are both full of great advice and are not afraid to share what they know. These guys have helped me out a lot with advice and how to prepare for a race and, I guess, even race tactics.

Copyright © 2010 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones