Alicia takes a clinical approach to her future

Olympic swimmer Alicia Coutts tells reporter DANIELLE NOHRA that the going’s been tough since she retired from competition, but she has a plan for the future

Family time… Alicia Coutts, baby Noah and husband Steve at home in Macgregor.

FORMER Olympic swimmer Alicia Coutts went from doing 10 swim sessions, three gym workouts, multiple ab exercises and three six-kilometre runs weekly, to looking after seven-month-old Noah.

Does she miss it? To an extent. But mostly she misses being fit.

Alicia, 30, retired last year after coming fifth in the final of the 200m individual medley at the summer Olympics in Rio, but jokes that she was ready to retire after winning five medals in the 2012 London Olympics, which was her ultimate career highlight.

Alicia now spends most of her time in her Macgregor home where she takes care of little Noah.

“It’s definitely been a big change, life revolves around Noah now,” she says. “I’d love to be able to get fit again but it will get better once he’s older.

“The biggest struggle was the financial side. Not that there’s a lot of money in swimming but when you’re a stay-at-home mum, we’ve had to adjust.”

Alicia’s husband, Steve, works full time teaching high school students, while Alicia works part time at a club to help keep on top of things financially.

It can be a bit of a juggle for the pair, who have family in other states, lacking that desired support network.

Alicia’s family is in Brisbane, which is where she moved from 12 years ago to attend AIS, and it was there that she met her husband, who was working there at the time.

Former Olympic swimming star Alicia Coutts with eight-month-old Noah. Photo by ANDREW CAMPBELL

Over the years she also met Rosemary Goode, who was the program co-ordinator for swimming at the AIS and “resident mum”.

Rosemary, who says she is more like an “older sister”, is now helping Alicia transition into her life post athlete.

Alicia says retirement was good for her because she was pregnant and had that to focus on.

“But a lot of others don’t have that distraction,” she says.

“I definitely think people do need to concentrate on what they do after sport. “I know a lot of athletes don’t work or study, all they do is train, and then they have no life skills.

“Unfortunately being an Olympic swimmer, as cool as it is, doesn’t give you the skills to get a job when it’s over.”

But in retirement Alicia has been missing a big passion of hers, swimming. So together, with Rosemary, they have designed the Alicia Coutts Swim Clinic, which aims to coach and inspire young swimmers of the future.

“I feel like I have so much knowledge and experience that I can pass on,” Alicia says.

“It would be such a waste to not be involved in swimming at all.”

Throughout the Alicia Coutts Swim Clinics, she will be giving them tips and pointers on things such as stroke correction, starts, turns and drills.

Alicia wants to encourage young people to swim and would like to see passionate young swimmers stick to it and represent Australia.

“I found when I was 15 or 16, a lot of girls I used to race against dropped off because they wanted to focus more on a social life,” Alicia says.

“So many people say to me: ‘I could have been a really good swimmer but I quit’.

“I want to pass my experiences on to the next generation of swimmers because swimming was such a big part of my life.”

Alicia hopes to run her swim clinics all around Australia with sessions coming up in Belconnen on March 24 and 25.

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