Ambitious Hallett learned valuable lessons in Gotland

A CHANGE of focus and a revised school timetable will help Charlie-Joe Hallett make bigger ripples in the next Island Games.

Picture By Peter Frankland. 24-11-17 Swimming. Channel Island Championships at Beau Sejour. Charlie-Joe Hallett. (22935271)
Picture By Peter Frankland. 24-11-17 Swimming. Channel Island Championships at Beau Sejour. Charlie-Joe Hallett. (22935271)

Young Hallett focused on the 1,500m and distance medleys in Gotland 2017 but returned empty-handed in a very strong field.

One year on at 17, the Guernsey Swimming Club star now hopes to be competing at a new level at Gibraltar 2019.

‘It was a valuable experience, the Games, because it sets me up better for this one,’ he said.

‘Although it wasn’t how I wanted it to go, it was what I needed to build to the future.

‘It was a lot different to what I expected it to be – I thought it would be all there for me but in a way it wasn’t, I had to work for it.’

Hallett has been pushing hard ahead of his Island Games rendezvous and has shifted his focus to the shorter events, where he has been quite the competitor.

The former distance specialist has recently set new GSC records over 200 backstroke and breaststroke, together with many local race wins and four UK top-20 rankings.

He credits a fruitful summer nationals appearance for breathing confidence into him, as he is far from done with racing for the year.

‘Nationals in the summer was a good building block for what I needed for the end of the year, where all of our galas are held,’ he said.

‘It gave me a lot of confidence – I mean when you do an event as big as nationals, you get a flavour for what big competitions are like.’

Indeed, Hallett is still in the midst of race season as he hopes to advance his rankings further and gain more qualifying marks for Gibraltar.

He is currently competing in Jersey’s Tigers Open gala and also eyes the following weekend’s South East Winter Regionals in Portsmouth, with the Channel Islands Championships soon to follow.

It takes a lot of training to keep a swimmer of his level fit and raring to go.

‘I train 13 hours a week and do two-and-a-half hours of gym work a week, which I do at school,’ said Hallett.

‘It’s challenging at times, it’s hard to get into the right mindset when we’re doing specific sets – when you’re doing a big distance set, it’s quite hard to get your mind activated to do that sort of thing.

‘You get yourself up for it and the feeling you get after doing a set like that is really good.’

Balancing schoolwork with such long training hours is a challenging equation for Hallett.

But the new Elizabeth College sixth-former feels he is on top of it and ritually takes to the pool after school each day.

‘We have a load of free periods and study periods, which helps me get my work in during the day ... once I get home from swimming, I try to get a bit more work in no matter how tired I am,’ he said.

‘It’s been really beneficial and a lot more relaxed, I’m not as stressed as I was during GCSEs when I had to get a load of homework done for different subjects.’

Hallett’s end-year goal is simply to continue chipping down his times and one round figure has proven particularly tempting.

He came close to breaking 1min. over 100m backstroke at the GASA 100m Championships and this is the barrier most in Hallett’s sights at the moment.

And in these early days, his big target for Gibraltar is an individual medal – although with so many options, ‘which event?’ might be a tougher question.

‘Winning a medal in the relays would be amazing, but to think I’ve got there myself would be very satisfying,’ added Hallett.

‘At the moment, it’s quite hard to say but I think my best shot would probably be either the 50/200 breaststroke or maybe the 400 IM.’

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