Ever wondered what the life of a prospective Olympian is like? Meet professional windsurfer Tom Squires. He’s part of the British Sailing Team, having first set sail at 11 years old on a family holiday in Cornwall. He was hooked, taking his new-found passion for the sport straight back home to Oxford where he learnt to windsurf at a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) training centre.
Since hitting the competitive windsurfing scene at the age of 15, Tom has been taking part in international contests all over the world. He’s a double winner of the annual Princess Sofia Trophy regatta held in Palma de Majorca, Spain – and now he’s got his sights set on representing Team GB at Tokyo 2020 as an Olympic windsurfer.
Journey to Japan
This summer sees Tom spending two entire months in Japan, training and preparing for the Tokyo 2020 test event that’s being held off Enoshima Island from August 15-22. It’s this test regatta – ‘Ready Steady Tokyo’ – that will determine whether he makes it through to next year’s Olympics Games.
All the athletes chosen for the test event have been picked by the RYA’s Olympic Selection Committee. There are just two spots available for one man and one woman in the RS:X class, so the competition is fierce – particularly as Tom is up against close friends he’s known since the very beginning of his competitive windsurfing journey.
It’s intense to say the least – and the same goes for the training. Tom’s schedule is jam-packed as he prepares for the test regatta, with each day carefully choreographed to include two or three sessions and strict meal plans. When he’s out on the water, Tom works with his coach on his technique, tactics, strength and cardiovascular fitness. And he doesn’t stop there; on-land fitness and cardio sessions are another crucial component in the run-up to Ready Steady Tokyo.
Recovery is key
All this preparation would be wasted without some dedicated down-time to rest and recover, so Tom spends his evenings on the mat doing recovery sessions.
He’s no stranger to injury, having suffered from tendonitis in his wrist and back pain in the past, so Tom’s stretching and mobility exercises are designed to ensure he’s always on form and ready to hit the surf the following day.
While a win at Ready Steady Toyko would mean we’re likely to see Tom at Tokyo 2020, he’s got even more going on in the meantime. Next up on his competition calendar are the RS:X Windsurfing World Championships 2019, taking place from 22-28 September in the windsurfing mecca of Torbole, Italy. And after some brief time off, Tom will get stuck into another intensive period of winter training.
Britain’s Olympic sailing team has won more Olympic golds than any other nation – so if Tom makes it to Tokyo next year, then the pressure is on to build on this record.