Danielle Huskisson is one of Britain’s most experienced marathon swimmers. Born in South Shields, England she currently trains in Stirling, Scotland, at the National Swimming Centre within the University of Stirling. Danielle has competed in the 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019 Open Water World Championships for Great Britain, as well as the 2014, 2016 and 2018 European Championships, winning the 5km time trial in 2017. Outside of swimming Danielle teaches yoga part time at the University of Stirling and also has a huge passion for animals.
After the latest Open Water World Championships Simply Swim managed to catch up with Danielle and ask her some questions about her swimming journey and what the future holds!
Simply Swim: How did you get into swimming?
Danielle Huskisson: I was 2 years old when I started swimming lessons. Ever since I was a baby I have always loved the water (mainly trying to act like a dolphin!). Initially, my family wanted to make sure that my older sister and I were strong swimmers that we could use it as a life skill. My sister began swimming lessons and then moved onto competing and like any other younger sibling, I wanted to follow in her footsteps. Before I knew it I was competing across the world!
Simply Swim: What advice would you give to young swimmers who want to pursue swimming professionally?
Danielle Huskisson: If you love swimming and have a real passion for it, you should definitely pursue it. It is not easy and involves a lot of gruelling hour and early mornings! A swimmer’s career is very short in the grand scheme of things and if you do not fully commit to the training regime early on, it will be very difficult to get that opportunity to compete internationally starting at an older age.
Simply Swim: Why did you choose long distance swimming?
Danielle Huskisson: It was not necessarily a choice to compete in open water. I had done a couple of open water England talent camps when I was younger, but once I had moved away from home to university in Stirling, I never really gave it a second thought. In 2013, after doing well in the 800 at British Trials, I was given the opportunity to compete in my first open water 10km race in Portugal. I was hesitant at first as 10km is a very daunting task. I eventually decided I would go and if nothing came of it, at least I had tried one. It turned out to be extreme weather conditions and was the hardest 10km I have ever done to this day. To my surprise, I finished top British girl and qualified for the Barcelona World Championships. Ever since then I have not looked back I have been fortunate enough to have had many amazing experiences and travelled the world because of open water swimming.
Simply Swim: Which is your favouring distance and why?
Danielle Huskisson: I’d say my favourite event is the 1500m. It is the perfect distance that is not too short that it is a sprint, and not long enough that it is a good endurance event. It can also produce unpredictable results which can make it interesting.
Simply Swim: What is the most valuable thing your coach has taught you?
Danielle Huskisson: I have had a number of coaches over the years and the one saying that has stuck with me more than most is ‘if you have a place, you have a chance.’ Essentially it allows you to believe in yourself even when the odds are stacked against you. SO many times we have seen swimmers from the outside lanes win events that they shouldn’t, all because they believed they had a chance!
Simply Swim: Who are your sporting and non-sporting inspirations?
Danielle Huskisson: I have been fortunate enough to have trained and raced with Kerri-Anne Payne for a number of years. She was with me from the very start of my open water career and helped me learn the ins and outs of open water, as well as being a good friend.
Simply Swim: What does the future hold for you?
Danielle Huskisson: My current goal is to continue to train up in Stirling with the main aim being qualification for Tokyo 2020 Olympics.