Olympian Emma Robinson talks about swimming to success

Wellington born and bred, Emma Robinson is one of the capital's finest swimmers. Having landed back in the New Zealand after competing in the Rio Olympics, the 22-year-old's career is just getting started. Although she missed out on a medal, she has only just dipped her toe into the water when it comes to reaching her potential.

When did you realise you were good at swimming?

I am a 800-metre freestyler. I also swim in all the freestyle events, expect sprint. Long distance freestyle is where it is at. I guess I still don't realise I am that good. I would like to be a lot better. When I made my first team for the Junior Commonwealth Games in 2011 it was a moment to enjoy.

What do you think about when you are in the pool?

I think about my technique a lot and keep in the zone. Sometimes I zone out and sing a few songs in my head. I would usually think of a top 20s song. I get annoyed if the radio is not good on my five-minute drive to training because I get a bad song stuck in my head.

If you could invite four people to dinner, who would they be?

Serena WIlliams, Beyonce and Michael Phelps. And I would probably invite fellow Olympian Lauren Boyle with me too, for moral support.

Can you describe your perfect Saturday?

Probably staying in my pyjamas all day. I usually train till about 12pm on a Saturday. After that I sleep and then maybe go out for dinner. Something where food is involved is good. At the moment I am really enjoying Japanese food. Cooked Japanese food, not just sushi.

What book are you reading at the moment?

At the moment I am reading Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall. It is a really good book about ultra-marathon running based around a tribe in Mexico.

What was it like to get to Rio?

I think I was more in shock when I went to Commonwealth Games, that was my first village experience. This time I was a little more experienced in the village scene. I was used to seeing the big body builders, the super-tall basketball players and the tiny gymnastic girls. Everyone is after that one thing, which is gold. Everyone will do anything to get it. It is cool to be in a place where we have all got the same mindsets, goals and understanding.

What was the highlight of the games?

Because I live in the Gold Coast the highlight was being a part of the New Zealand team. It almost felt like home. It is nice to be part of something which does feel like home.

What music have you been listening to?

At the moment at the top of my playlist is a song called Papercuts by Illy or Crash by Usher.

Where is your favourite place in NZ?

Home, in Lyall Bay. Maybe Queenstown or Arrowtown.

Did you ever feel unsafe in Rio?

No, I think the fear was hyped up. I never felt unsafe. I always felt comfortable, there were never any times when I thought, 'Oh come on, we need to get out of this place'.

Do you ever eat fast food?

No, but I did eat it in the Olympic village. I don't eat too many sweets. Me and my flatmate make raw slices or sometimes I'll eat some chocolate. I eat what I like, but it is pretty healthy. I wouldn't eat fast food or takeaways. If you eat sugar you have to make sure it is healthy sugar.

- Stuff

Photo credit Ross Giblin

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