Olegas joined Spencer in September 2016, and has become a firm fixture in the fast lane at training and at competitions. He fondly recalls his first encounter with the head coach Steve Baker. Olegas walked up to the pool side with his swim kit in a bag and said that he had come for a trial. Steve shot back “Well, get in the pool then!”.
Olegas grew up in Vilnius, Lithuania in a very sporty family. His father and sister were accomplished rowers, but in rowing 2000m is considered a sprint, which in Olegas’s mind was 1950m too long, so he stuck to swimming. From the start Olegas loved competing, preferring sprinting and short course events and concentrating on freestyle until his coach decided he was also a backstroker. Now he will compete in any event under 100m, although he might occasionally consider a 100m freestyle or an IM.
The strong pool competition ethos at Spencer suits him well. Competition gives purpose to Olegas’s training and makes it easier for him to set personal targets. His current target is to reach the top 10 at this year’s Nationals in his main events. At last year’s Nationals, Olegas swam close to his teenage PB in 50m freestyle and beat his 50m backstroke, 50m fly and 100m freestyle all time PBs.
“Race day is the day when all of the hard work comes together and hopefully pays off, and if it does not, then after a period of self-reflection you get back to the pool to chase those elusive goals.” His training revolves around his competition schedule, training four times a week when preparing for a competition but slipping to two to three sessions a week in the low season. As he discovered at university, if you do not train regularly, swimming galas are physically devastating.
Competition is not without its moments. Many years ago, Olegas was on the blocks for the start of a very competitive 50m freestyle when his goggles broke. He was so focused on the race that he simply tossed the goggles aside thinking that he could race without them. Unfortunately he did not see the wall and slammed his arm hard against it, severely pulling a tendon. He now always takes spare goggles to a race.
Olegas claims his favourite training set is the swim down, and as a sprinter he detests long distance endurance sets. He has learnt so much from Coach Steve, and is also thankful for his endless barrage of carefully crafted jokes to keep swimmers entertained and motivated, and for picking Olegas up if he misses too many sessions!
Olegas combines swimming with working as a paralegal in a niche litigation firm. This leaves little time for his other hobbies, which would otherwise include tennis, basketball and ultimate Frisbee, but he does cycle to work and get to the gym for some swim-focused land based training.