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Melanie Costa’s dream beach

13-08-2013 · Mar Rovira

“When I went into the pool I knew exactly what I had to do: follow Ledecky and not her go. The idea of sinking can’t cross your mid, because if it does, it will happen. You swim the last part of race with your heart. If I would have thought about how tired I was, I would have lost the medal”.

Melanie CostaMelanie Costa has gone from being unknown to being front cover of many Spanish sports newspapers because she’s done something amzaing: she’s reduced her best mark by 4 seconds and won a very valuable silver medal after swimming 400 meters in 4,02,47min in the Swimming World Championships organised in Barcelona in July 2013.

Mirea Belmonte’s achivements are still on everyone’s mind but this Mallorcan girl has matured as a swimmer, she insists that her time in USA has changed her life. Living and training over there helped her realise that she could also do it, that she was as good, or could be even better, than her peers.

Her CHANGE OF ATTITUDE has allowed her follow up work in Spain to be so successful.

I love it when professional athletes teach us lessons on how to do our best at important events. Here’s Melanie’s recipe:

Having a Clear Action Plan, Demanding but Realistic

Melanie and her trainer designed a strategy for the race. She had to swim fast during the semifinal to get a place next to Ledecky at the final. She achieved that.

The next step was to swim next to her all the time, keeping her always in sight until the end.

The strategy is realistic – she could achieve it with her own demanding training plan- but she had to give her best, pushing herself to the limit – and this was a motivation for her – a challenge that would measure her strength.

Three perfect ingredients that gave her a reason to give her best:

Believing in one’s plan

There’s no room for any doubt at this point.

If you don’t believe in what you are doing, don’t do it.

Melanie was completely sure and she thought she could follow her plan. A certainty and self confidence that she felt inside her after training for so many hours and her previous experience at seminfinals.

This is the ideal mindset to compete: to know where you are going to and to to absolutely sure of that you’ll get there.

Focusing on the essential

“You cannot think that you could sink, because if you think it, it will happen”
“If I’d thought how tired I was, I would have lost the medal”

Our brain is obedient and does what we tell it to do. If we tell the brain that we want to swim next to Ledecky, it will find a strategy and the resources to achieve that with all its strength.

If instead of that we send the order that swimming next to Ledecky is insane, our brain will do exactly that, behave as if the idea of swimming next to Ledecky is insane.

Melanie’s objectives were very clear. Her thoughts were focused on achieving them and she got rid of anything that wasn’t relevant. It sounds easy but, it’s essential to know how to focus on what is really important when competing with this level of physical demand.

When you go to spend a relaxing day at the beach, do you think of the traffic jam that you will come across to on the way there, on the sunburn you’ll get, on how crowded the beach will be, or that your in-law will be there?
If you really think all that, you’re better off going to the countryside.

Luckly, Melanie decided to go to the beach so she put everything she needed in her bag, drove with determination and enjoyed the journey to the beach of her dreams.

The rest was irrelevant.

Mar Rovira
Article published in Mar Rovira’s personal blog.

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