What's your game plan?
She’s just 22 years old but Madi already has the bigger picture in mind when discussing her life and swim career. She packs her days with training, university and charity work: sounds hectic but this world champion has the energy and lust for life to keep it all in balance and develop as a role model inside and outside of the pool.
This is Madison Wilson’s game plan.
You are a world champion, a student and a volunteer in a hospital. How do you find time without getting stressed out?
I am pretty relaxed (laughs). I do get stressed sometimes, but it is all things that I really enjoy doing. I enjoy what I am studying at uni and for me going to the children’s hospital and volunteering are actually like a relief to me. I do not find it stressful at all, but trying to fit it all into one week, as well as training and everything, can be tough sometimes. Once I get it done, it is nice.
Are you strict about time management or are you more laid back?
No, my University is very good at working around what I really want to do. I get to choose when I go, like to the hospital. It is just like whenever it fits into my week.
Why is voluntary work so important to you?
When I stand behind the block, representing Australia and have Australia written on the side of my cap, I know that everyone in Australia is supporting me and that they will probably have my back forever.
How does your volunteering influence the way you behave as a professional athlete and vice versa?
I think that giving back to the community and doing the charity work that I do helps me understand that swimming is not everything. There are people that have way worse issues than what I am going through on that day and I see them every week. It’s just a sport and it keeps me relaxed.
You shared a picture on Instagram from your pool party during the Olympics. It showed you super relaxed on a giant pink flamingo. Would you say you are more laid back than most professional athletes?
Yes, I would probably say that. I still get stressed out, but I just know how to have fun at the same time. I also think that because I have such a bubbly and giggly personality, people think that I am a lot more relaxed than maybe what I am in the changing room or behind the block… (but) I am just always smiling I guess.
So fun is the secret to success?
Well yes, I would not spend so much time and energy doing something if I did not love it or enjoy it, so yes fun is the secret.
You were an Olympics newbie and on top of that still very young, but media and the swimming scene already labeled you as a ‘rising star’. What mindset did you take to your races in Rio?
I think in Rio I had a little bit more pressure on me, because I had performed so well at the World Championships the year before. I definitely liked racing with the mindset that I am the underdog and I am not that highly ranked in the world, so that there is not as much pressure on me. And I think that is definitely something I want to keep continuing – not thinking of myself as something so big. No matter how successful I will become.