The Olympic athlete and Fit Republik coach shares his thoughts on swimming standards in Dubai
Your first name is Hercules. What was it like growing up with that name – did it make you want to be an athlete? It’s actually my family name, so I wasn’t give much of a choice. I was always called by my second name though, which is Troy or Troyden, so growing up everyone knew me as Troy. It was only when I started competing in international competitions that people started asking me about it.
How old were you when you started to compete? I only started swimming when I was eight years old, but by the time I was ten I was entering competitions. You’ve competed in two Olympic Games so far.
What’s the atmosphere and camaraderie like? With the Olympics there’s always a four-year build-up to try and get there. I first qualified for the Olympics when I was 22 so it was basically a 14-year dream for me. From the time I started swimming that was all I wanted to do. Being there with your team mates and guys that you trained with at college is a pretty cool feeling.
You run the aquatics programme at Fit Republik in Dubai’s Sports City. Do you think you’re training anyone right now who could reach an Olympic standard? Definitely. You can identify kids with talent – but there also has to be a strong work ethic from them, which I’ve seen.
What’s your favourite stroke? Which one do people struggle most with? People struggle with butterfly most. My favourite stroke in the pool was always distance freestyle and 10km in the open water.
Why did you make the switch to open water swimming? Because I had achieved every personal goal I had set in swimming, so I wanted to shift across to open water and challenge myself.
What do you think of the attitude towards swimming here? Do you think Dubai could host an Olympics? Definitely, considering the facilities they have and the way they’re growing and developing all sports and bringing some of the best athletes from around the world. The sports facilities here and in Abu Dhabi are great; they have a good set-up, so everything they put into sports is very exciting. Swimming is very popular here, which is cool to see. I hope there is an Olympics in Dubai one day – I think it would be phenomenal. If they went for it, they could certainly pull it off.
Are you going for Rio 2016? No, I’m not going for Rio. I’ll see how the next few years pan out and maybe I’ll think about 2020. At the moment all I want to do is give back to Fit Republik, share my passion with the kids and help them reach their dreams. Aquatics courses available at Fit Republik Fitness Centre, Dubai Sports City (04 556 1800).