Melissa Hauschildt is an Australian professional triathlete, former elite middle-distance runner and 3-time world champion.
An enthusiastic supporter of the Starlight Foundation, this year Ms Hauschildt is encouraging swimmers to get active and participate in this exciting fundraising event.
There is only a week left of the Starlight Super Swim, plenty of time to get some laps in. We were lucky enough to have Ms Hauschildt share her tips on training, keeping healthy, motivation and open water swimming.
Tips for training & keeping healthy
What’s your favourite pre-and post-training snack?
Favourite pre-training snack – peanut butter and banana on toast. Post-training – eggs. Typically poached eggs with avocado.
What’s your top tip for keeping your muscles warm and safe when training?
A good warm-up before hitting it hard. Easy swimming, drills, fin work to loosen up.
How do you rest & relax between training sessions?
Rest between training sessions now is usually playing with my 10-month-old daughter or a slow walk along the river to put her to sleep.
How do you optimise muscle recovery?
To optimise muscle recovery I focus on massage, stretching, and a good night’s sleep (I’m usually in bed before 8:30 pm). Good nutrition, especially after a hard training session is also extremely important, this usually consists of a nutrient-dense meal full of protein, good fats and healthy carbs like eggs & salad on toast.
Finally, lots of water and before, during and after hard sessions and on really hot days, electrolytes.
How would you suggest people set up an achievable 30-day swim training plan?
Depending on your current fitness level, how much you are currently swimming, how much time you have available – start off easy. Your first week you may only swim a couple of laps a day but as you progress, get stronger, fitter and more capable you may increase your distance per day.
Get a group of friends together to make it more enjoyable and to make you more accountable. Join a swim squad. On your squad days, you may swim a lot further and just do smaller swims on the other days.
What’s your best tip for swimmers who are now considering swimming more regularly?
Join your local swim squad or get a swim coach.
How about those who are looking to use the Super Swim as an opportunity to improve their skills?
Take some swim lessons and watch YouTube clips of professional swimmers.
For open water swimmers
How can swimmers make the transition from the pool to the open water?
Get a group of friends together and head out for an open water swim. Practice one person leading and the rest drafting and then swap.
When you first started open water swimming, what tip do you wish someone had told you first?
How to best draft off the person in front. Ask these questions – your local pool coach might have some good tips. Ask the professionals via social media. Google it.
What’s your essential kit for open water swimming?
Anti-chafe cream. You may not chafe in the swimming pool but the extra salt in the ocean might leave some marks. If you aren’t confident in open water you may want to wear a wetsuit or some buoyancy pants to make it easy to sight and keep your head above water when there is no end of the pool to hang on to.
How do you ensure you swim straight in the open water?
Stay close to big landmarks. You may follow the shoreline or the rocks. Always try to swim towards a major landmark – building, tree etc.
What do you think about while you’re doing laps?
I think about my next race or goal. The times I want to hit. You could think about your fitness level increasing with each lap you swim. Your health improving.
How do you motivate yourself to train when you really don’t feel like it?
Think about the bigger picture – the next race you have coming up. The sick kids you are helping. How good you will feel once you’ve done it.
Do you have a favourite motivational quote that helps you push through challenges?
If you think you can do it you’re right. If you think you can’t you are also right.
This helps me when it starts getting tough. Once you tell yourself you can’t do it, automatically you feel tired, you feel defeated and it becomes so much harder.
If you believe you can do it, you’ll be able to push on through tough challenges and once you make the decision that you WILL do it, your body will feel lighter, fresher and it’ll start feeling easier.
Who inspires you to achieve your goals, and why?
My husband Jared. He changed his work hours to fit in with me and my training, racing and travelling schedule. He helps me out with coaching, physio, travel and arrangements. He’s always there to celebrate with me when I win or console me when I don’t.
What words of encouragement can you offer Super Swimmers?
The Starlight Super Swim is such a great initiative. I encourage everyone to get involved. You are not only helping yourself (get fitter, stronger, healthier and happier) but you are really helping out sick kids all over Australia who haven’t been as fortunate as us. Let’s give them the best life they can have by raising much-needed funds.
The Starlight connection
Why is it important to you to support sick kids?
Having just had my own baby 10 months ago, it’s made me even more aware of how important it is to help out sick kids and their families. I could not imagine my daughter going through what some of these kids are.
Hopefully, together we can raise the money needed to help these kids live a more normal life and make it just a little bit easier for their parents.
Apart from swimming what was your favourite game to play as a kid?
Anything that involved running. Tiggy (or tag) was one of my favourite games as a kid.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
To be able to heal people. I’d heal all the sick kids so they can swim, run, jump and play with all their friends.
To take part in the Starlight Super Swim this year sign up at starlight.org.au. The fundraiser runs throughout February 2022.