Raquel Matos

Name: Raquel Matos
Degree: Psychology
Nationality: Great Britain
Target: 100m Butterfly
In the past two months we've had BUCS and Scottish Short Course Championships. How do you feel the competitions went and what lessons are you taking forward?
BUCS is always a great chance to race, its always in the middle of a training block so it allows us to see where we are and how we are doing. The meet itself is great, not often do we get to race against the english and they are definitely tough competition. I think the highlight of that meet for me was definitely the two relay events. Loughborough have always dominated and this year we were able to top them! The atmosphere when we touched the wall was so overwhelming, you would have thought we had won the Olympics thats how happy we were. The big bonus too was that we broke the 9 year old BUCS record.

Scottish Short Course was exhausting. I think I really struggled this year with exams following the meet. It was hard for me to find a balance between recovering between session but still fitting in time to study. I swam well, I got a pb in my 100m butterfly which I hadn't managed to do in two years. Although, I swam the race horrifically. It was as though the race plan flew out of my head as soon as I dived in. Thankfully, all the training paid off and I was able to touch the wall first and retain my title as the Scottish Short Course Champion. I also managed to take the Scottish title in the 50m butterfly, the time was just slightly off my personal best so I was happy with the swim. I was also part of the three relays which smashed the three Scottish Senior records. All in all, I was happy with my performances, there was definitely a lot that was to be learned from this meet whether it be my time management or just focusing on carrying out my race plan.
With trials within your sights, what are you targets in the next few month?
We have a few meets in the run up to trials and they will be our last chances to refine race skills and plans. The meet I am most looking forward to is the Edinburgh International. Last year we have world class swimmers come to compete so I am sure it will have attracted a lot of attention and many more will come this year.

They have an event called the skins which is pretty much a knock out event where you repetitively race on a 3 minute interval until there is only 1 left and they are declared the winner. Last year I finished 3rd and to be honest I don't think I would have been able to finish another one if I had made it through to the next round. I was in sooo much pain finishing my last 50m, I literally thought it was never going to end! Its a great event to watch, not so much fun if you are competing in it. Definitely feels like a really hard training session!
What is life at swim camp like? (If you’re not at camp currently you can use past experiences) What do you hope to accomplish out there?
Life on camp is great! There is a few reason. I think the first and obvious reason is the weather. Especially over the winter period it is great to get away from the rain and the cold. I love training in the sun, there is something about it which is just so uplifting, I find that I am able to train harder for longer. The sun just makes me so happy.
There is a growing emphasis on resting between practices; be it a nap, a good night's sleep, or a just chilling out with friends. What do you do in your down time?
It really depends on what we have later in the day and how I am feeling. If I know I have a key set later on in the day and I'm feeling tired then a nap is essential. Otherwise, I am quite happy to sit around and chill with my friends. My new colouring book is definitely something which has been keeping me occupied when there is no one else around, its so relaxing!
What is your favorite worst set?
The worst sets for me are long aerobic sets. I hate swimming slowly but its a really important part of training so I have to suck it up and swim for what feels like forever.
Who has made the best/least appetizing camp dinner so far?
You gotta love a BBQ! They have definitely been my favourite we have had a few, we may as well take advantage of the weather and be cooking outside anyway.

You can follow Raquel on Instagram and Twitter @raquel_de_matos