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Loughborough swim team counters jet lag ahead of the Olympic Games (VIDEO)

As the Olympic Games officially start tomorrow, many athletes will be adjusting to a new environment and indeed a different time zone, with Tokyo eight hours ahead.

However, one Loughborough swimmer offset this challenge early on by converting to Japanese time in Loughborough well ahead of the Games.  

Austria’s Felix Auböck, alongside his coach Andi Manley, made early changes to their day-to-day schedule to adapt:

“The standard protocol would be two weeks before the Olympics, each country would head for a holding camp…with Felix and the Austrian team that’s not open to us,” commented Andi Manley, Loughborough’s Director of Swimming and Felix’s coach in Tokyo.

“We’re actually going to arrive in Tokyo five days before his first race, which is his main event. Now, with an eight-hour time change and five days, that just doesn’t work.”

Felix continued:

“We are taking steps to adapt here before, which will be over a nine- / ten-day period and we will reduce the time difference every day by thirty minutes / sixty minutes.

“So when we get to Tokyo, we are already adapted by six hours. When we get to race day we’ll be fully adjusted and there’s no difference anymore and we don’t feel like we’ve come from a different time zone.”

But just how important is sleep preparation and ensuring that athletes, coaches, and practitioners readjust to local time as soon as possible?

Speaking as part of the #lboro2tokyo campaign, Emeritus Professor Kevin Morgan added:

“If you live the disciplined life of an elite athlete, the chances are that you are accustomed to going to bed at a particular time, getting up at a particular time, training at a particular time, and basically looking after your body according to a schedule. Flying eight hours across the globe disrupts all of that.

“Sleep is not likely to be the factor that degrades performance, but if you suspect, and if you maintain the suspicion that your sleep is going to be degraded, then it could undermine confidence and your performance on the day.”

Professor Morgan speaks in more detail about sleep in a special edition of Loughborough University’s Experts in Sport podcast. The episode, Tokyo Talk: Maximising sleep patterns for Tokyo, can be viewed in full by visiting HERE.  

Loughborough’s dedicated 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games website will feature all the latest news, videos, and medal tables from Japan. 

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 21/135

About Loughborough University

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2021 QS World University Rankings and University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2019.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 7th in the Guardian University League Table 2021, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.

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