Harry Shalamon has been a big name on the islands swimming scene over recent years, but the talented swimmer is calling time after the Commonwealth Games in the Summer.
Dan Andrade caught up with the current Loughborough student about his Commonwealth call up and why he has decided to call it a day!
The full interview is below!
How was your time over in America? How much did you learn there, both as a person and as a swimmer?
America was great. I loved every minute of it, from the people to the sports and even the food. I received my bachelor’s degree in exercise science over the course of my time there which has given me good foundational knowledge in which I can use in future career paths in sport that I may travel down. I also learnt a lot about myself, who I am as a person as well as learning how to adult. Swimming wise the training was fantastic. I learnt many things about the sport such as nutrition, strength training and the in depth knowledge about swimming and training needed to compete at the highest level.
Are there any highlights which stand out for you from your time over there?
Highlights for me were both individual and as a team. Individually it has to be winning an NCAA title in the 200 backstroke. Not many people can say they were national champions in America! As a team, our men’s team dominated our conference league winning 4 conferences in the 4 years I was there.
Now you’re at Loughborough – what made you take that step?
My student visa expired in the U.S and I was looking for somewhere I could train to take me up to the next Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Loughborough are a world-renowned sports university known for training some of the best swimmers such as Adam Peaty. I gave them a message and the next thing I was applying for my masters and on the high-performance team there!
Are you enjoying it, what are the facilities like?
It’s a welcomed adjustment coming to Loughborough. After spending so long in the US there is subtle differences between universities in the UK, but I’m enjoying the experience and the challenge it brings.
How much have you kept in touch with Nathan Jegou whilst you have been off island?
Now I’m back in the UK there’s more contact with Nathan; however, I do tend to communicate more with the coaches at Loughborough swimming wise. We saw each other over the Christmas break and also in Sheffield at the Winter Nationals meet being held at Ponds Forge.
Have you had many meets recently – tell us more about them?
Covid is still affecting the amount of swim meets we can do. So far since April I’ve swam at 2 meets. One was the BUCS championship representing Loughborough and the other was the Winter National Championships. I was a little disappointed with how I raced, I am not at 100% fitness yet but it’s a long season and I still have 7 months until Commonwealths which is my next goal.
How pleased are you to be in the Jersey Commonwealth Games squad?
I am over the moon with being selected. It’s been my long-time goal since competing at Gold Coast in 2018. There’s been plenty of obstacle to overcome in the process of getting here, but now I’ve been selected its huge weight off my shoulders.
What are your hopes and aspirations for those games?
I think the only thing I should focus on is getting personal best times. I haven’t pb’ed in a long course pool since 2018 so that would be nice to do.
Do you have any plans for after the games – how far do you want to reach in swimming?
After Commonwealth Games I am planning on retiring from the sport. I believe I’ve reached as far as I can being an athlete and I am ready to start looking at life after swimming. Its been an amazing experience but there’s more to life than a black line at the bottom of a pool and I am looking forward to that challenge.
How much would you encourage people to start swimming competitively?
Swimming is such a rewarding sport to partake in. Competitively it is amazing to see how far you can push yourself with the goal of becoming better. It can teach you a lot of life lessons such as your determination, discipline and will power, and help you figure out what strengths you have. It’s also a great sport for meeting and becoming friends with people as you’ll see them almost every day in training. Tigers swimming is the place to go in Jersey. A whole host of different squats that all ranging age groups can join in on. From masters swimming to age group swimming.