Magical medal moments like that of Bethany Firth’s Commonwealth Games gold glory on Wednesday (August 3, 2022) don’t happen overnight. They are the product of years of work by the athlete and the tireless support of the staff around them.

If it takes a village to raise a child – it takes a team to make a world class athlete.

We caught up with Lisa Gordon, Strength and Conditioning Coach at the Sports Institute and a member of Bethany’s team before the Games to get an insight into what it takes to make it!

How have you been preparing Bethany for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham?

“We’ve been preparing Bethy from the start of season and Worlds was the first major goal and then that will lead into the Commonwealth Games.

“We had three gym sessions a week working in a multi-disciplinary team within the Sports Institute. We meet on a weekly basis and Bethy will see us quite frequently.

“Bethy broke her foot at the end of November, so our first real goal was to get her over that. We had a multi-disciplinary team, which included a doctor and physio, nutritionist and physiologist working together to get her back into the pool post her foot break.

“That really involved getting her starts and her turns back up to scratch and putting a load through that foot.

“For the World Championships the real goal was her backstroke, whereas now the focus will change for the Commonwealth Games will be for her 200m free (style).”

Lisa Gordon, Sports Institute Strength and Conditioning Coach

Lisa Gordon, Sports Institute Strength and Conditioning Coach

What is Bethany’s training routine?

“I see Bethy three times a week, she’ll typically see physio first for an hour and then she will come into the gym.

“Bethy’s based at Bangor and so sometimes her gym sessions will be in Bangor but normally they’ll be at the Sports Institute because there is a bigger gym and staff group here.

“She’ll come into the gym and get some of her shoulder rehab done because that is quite a common injury for swimmers and then she’ll go through her lifts for that phase.”

What do you enjoy about working at the Sports Institute?

“You get to work with a multitude of athletes from all different sports you’re not just stuck in one sport so that’s a real nice benefit of it. You get to work with athletes who are at the top end of their sport. Like Bethy came back five gold medals from the World Championships and you can go to another team sport or work with other sports, so it’s a nice mix and a nice mix of athletes both male and female, team sports and individual sports.”

Do you watch Bethany compete?

“I get so nervous watching Bethy compete because I know of all the work that has gone into it, so you do get nervous, and I know that she’s nervous.

“So yes, I do watch her but I’m half watching through my fingers normally and I usually end up screaming at the TV!”

Bethany’s win is definitely worth shouting about!