Swimming: Kiwi star Lewis Clareburt dips toe into new training environment before Paris Olympics

Being happy in your work place is a basic concept and arguably, as an athlete in an Olympic year, it's more important than ever.  

Kiwi swim star Lewis Clareburt didn’t realise how crucial it was, but now, with a new coach, new training group and a new experience under Michael Phelps’s former mentor, he has every reason to believe he can win gold at Paris.

It may not seem like much, but his new environment means the world to Clareburt.

Mitch Nairn and Lewis Clareburt at training.
Mitch Nairn and Lewis Clareburt at training. Photo credit: Newshub

"I was surviving in Wellington," he told Newshub. "I'm thriving in Auckland."

The two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist left his longtime base in the capital in October, frustrated with training times, pool sizes and a lack of support.

He now doesn't have to worry about those and new coach Mitch Nairn is making his mark.

"He's loud, ss you can tell," said Clareburt. "He's great motivation.

"There's not many coaches that you can hear while you're swimming."

Across the board, Clareburt's already noticed the differences.

"I never realised how much happiness helps my swimming," he said. "Being happy is the No.1 priority for me at the moment."

Nairn agrees.

"You've got to be happy. If you're not happy, it's a hard slog.

"It makes things very difficult and that's why we're trying to make things exciting."

Among the changes was spending time at Arizona State University, where world champion Léon Marchand trains under Bob Bowman, Michael Phelps' former mentor.

That's given Clareburt reassurance and helped him identify areas to work on - his back and breaststrokes, his turns and starts. He and Nairn can now plot a plan for Paris.

"Those conversations are usually between Mitch and I, but I think we might've found the solution," he reflected.

Clareburt is now swimming - and smiling - his way towards Olympic gold.