Seebohm not running from troubled waters

Emily Seebohm feels she has handled herself well after her emotional issues and is also proud of her achievements this year.
Emily Seebohm feels she has handled herself well after her emotional issues and is also proud of her achievements this year.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A world champion at 15, and an Olympic gold medallist at 16, Emily Seebohm has found great success in the water. But it is running that the 26-year-old swim star has turned to as she seeks solace from anxiety and depression.

In a conference call ahead of the Nov 15-17 Singapore leg of the Fina World Cup series, she did not shy away from discussing her high-profile split with fellow Australian swimmer Mitch Larkin in July, and the impact it had on her.

"I am just dealing with it like how most people do by doing other things and getting back to what I love doing," said Seebohm, who also credits her 17-week-old dalmatian puppy Pongo for her recovery.

"The biggest help is keeping active. It gets worse when I am not doing anything or when I get sucked into the bad feeling of having anxiety and depression.

"You never know when you are going to feel it; when it happens, it happens. I recently started running to keep moving. It has been a massive help to take my mind off what I am feeling."

Seebohm is no stranger to overcoming adversity. She was diagnosed with endometriosis, a painful disorder in which cells from the uterus' lining are found outside the uterus but she put off surgery until after the 2016 Olympics.

She went to Rio de Janeiro as the 100m and 200m backstroke world champion but won "only" a medley relay silver to add to her Beijing 2008 medley relay and London 2012 4x100m freestyle golds.

In typical Seebohm fashion, she bounced back to win the 200m world title in Budapest last year and, this year, she won two golds, a silver and a bronze at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

MOVING ON

The biggest help is keeping active... I recently started running to keep moving. It has been a massive help to take my mind off what I am feeling.

EMILY SEEBOHM, on what helps her most in overcoming anxiety and depression.

At the last World Cup leg in Budapest last month, she swept the 50m, 100m and 200m back.

"I love swimming and I love racing, and that is why I do it. This year has been massive with the Commonwealth Games, Pan Pacific Championships and emotional issues as well," she said.

"But I have handled myself really well and I am proud of what I have achieved this year."

The 2020 Olympics remain a target and Seebohm insisted she has nothing to prove after 12 consecutive years in the national team.

She added: "It is about enjoying the rest of the ride. I think that you can be so focused on a goal sometimes that you don't see anything else and you don't enjoy it.

"I see myself going to 2020... I am working towards that goal and ticking off every box of every year that comes along."

The Fina World Cup presented by Yakult, held at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, will feature stars such as Singapore's Olympic champion Joseph Schooling, Australia's Kyle Chalmers, Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom and Hungary's Katinka Hosszu.


 • Fina World Cup Singapore tickets ($30 a day or $60 for three days) are available at www.sportshubtix.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2018, with the headline 'Seebohm not running from troubled waters'. Print Edition | Subscribe