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Meet Jorden Merrilees. With an infectious personality but a fiercely competitive streak, Jorden is putting in work every day to give himself the best chance to make the Tokyo 2020 squad. As a new member of the Australian Dolphins Swim Team, Jorden has had to work on being the best version of himself every day to get where he is. We spoke with Jorden about what that involves and the sacrifices you needed make as an athlete.
How long have you been swimming for, and what motivates you to keep competing?
I have been swimming for 15 years competitively but started at age 3. I began because my mum couldn’t swim, so we did swim lessons together. I’m driven by the fact I keep trying to find the boundary of my mind and body. Seeing how far I can push both and bounce back.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Receiving my Australian Dolphins swimmer number was a huge deal for me. It was something that meant a lot to my parents as well.
Has there been a time in your career where you have considered giving up? How did you overcome these thoughts?
Most recently yes. As I’ve reached the pointy end of swimming the accomplishments and tangible rewards become increasingly difficult to obtain, so, that’s been tough to deal with. I’ve been able to push through it with that undeniable drive to want to out so myself and prove to myself I can be the best.
Do you see yourself still competing in sport when you retire from swimming, what would this look like?
I’ve that about this a lot recently as I’ve gotten older in my sports career. I think I’ll play social sports, but it will be hard to contain my competitiveness.
What is your favourite sports quote?
- "Fake it till you make it.” For me that’s about dropping bad attitudes when it comes time to train and race. Faking yourself into feeling good.
Do you have three tips you could give to help aspiring athletes be their best?
1. Work hard and enjoy the hard work. For me fun is a huge deal and I find that in doing really hard work.
2. Be persistent. You must be there day in day out doing everything in your control to be able to get what you want.
3. Patience is key. Sometimes you simply have to wait. For me I’ve had to wait till I’ve matured both body and mind before I achieved my dreams. Patience is also extremely important during racing. For me in a 200m race you’ve got to stay patient and not rush the first half.