Claire Cashmore is a Paralympic swimming champion who has won a total of 4 bronze medals, 3 silver, and 1 gold. After winning gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic games, Claire shifted her focus to triathlon and has since become ITU World Champion in the PTS5 classification.
Claire is based in Loughborough where INCUS HQ is located and has been an INCUS Enabled Athlete since our inception. Here, Claire talks to us about her triathlon journey and how INCUS has supported her along the way.
How did you first get into triathlon?
I was a swimmer until 2016 but triathlon had always been something I really liked the look of. Triathlon made its paralympic debut at the 2016 games so after competing there, I was inspired to switch over ahead of Tokyo 2020. It’s an incredible sport and I’m so glad I made the switch.
Do you have any advice for beginners looking to get into triathlon?
My advice for triathlon beginners is to set yourself a few manageable goals, as it can get overwhelming when there are three sports plus transitions to train for and you want to nail everything. Choose one or two goals for each sport rather than making a long ticklist.
How do you use INCUS to train/prepare for your races?
I use INCUS mainly through swimming to look at my body rotation. Most recently I’ve been using it throughout my run training as I have a big imbalance between my left and right sides, taking a lot of extra weight through the right side of my body, which has been causing me some issues. Having the INCUS data readily available after each session allows me to see how that extra load is impacting my performance and getting to the bottom of what’s causing it. Of course, missing the lower part of my arm does mean there will be imbalances, but being able to see how I can reduce the effect means I can reduce my risk of injury.
Have you faced any setbacks and if so, how did you overcome them?
I have faced a lot of setbacks! An athlete's journey is never smooth, but it makes the success so much sweeter. In Tokyo, I got a drafting penalty which was enforced incorrectly, meaning I ended up serving the penalty twice. This meant I was way behind both the gold and silver positions which was a huge blow as I was in the best shape of my life and ready to go for gold. But that is life! Currently, I’m struggling with a knee niggle which has meant I’ve had to reduce my training and that’s really frustrating. But with all setbacks it’s about how you deal with them and finding ways to improve in other areas.
Do you have any examples of how INCUS metrics have personally helped you in your racing career?
INCUS has really helped me to assess my imbalances and analyse my run technique without having to go and see a biomechanics specialist. It’s made it so much easier being able to analyse the data straight after every run.
Would you say that INCUS is accessible for all athletes and why?
INCUS is definitely accessible for all athletes. For myself having a limb difference it’s about realising that my swim stroke is never going to be ‘normal’ or look like that of someone who has two arms. It’s about helping me find what my normal is and being able to use that to get the best out of myself, rather than comparing myself to others. Also, INCUS is a lot cheaper than getting 1-2-1 biomechanics support every time I need it.
Do you have any insider tips for other athletes looking to level up their performance?
I find that sometimes it’s easy to overcomplicate things. Trying to set too many goals, comparing yourself to others, or following too many training plans is the downfall for a lot of people. My advice is to find simplicity and be consistent. You can achieve consistency by utilising tools like the INCUS device to identify potential injuries and see when things aren’t going in the right direction. Eat well, sleep well, be consistent - if you do those things well, the outcome will take care of itself.