When Jeremy Phillips graduated from Inly in 2007, he never imagined he’d be on track to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “This wasn’t at all what I envisioned for myself,” he explains. “Basketball was always my thing, but when I started running track it clicked with me immediately. Luckily, I loved it instantly and I’ve proven pretty good at it too.”
Talk about an understatement. From holding the all-time records for 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at his alma mater, Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, to his NCAA All-American honors at the Division 3 National Championships, to his title as Male Track Athlete of the Year 2015 for the South/Southeast Region, to his second place finish in the 200m race and his first place finish in the 100m race at the 2017 Ireland National Track and Field Championships, Jeremy has been racking up the victories and accolades.
But these victories aren’t free. A rigorous six-day-a-week training schedule including full days of sprint training as well as weight training four times a week and yoga at least twice a week means Jeremy is always putting in the hours to make his dreams come true.
“Although I love it, I treat this as my job,” he explains. “Track is such an individual sport. You’re always competing with yourself. You’re always pushing yourself. As with any other athlete, you need resilience, you need dedication. You’re always striving for perfection even though you’re aware that that’s not always attainable. You have to constantly evaluate yourself and ask, ‘how can I improve?’”
He does take a day off though and on Sundays “I’m watching any sport that’s on TV. I really try to do as little as possible.”
When it comes to what he learned at Inly: “Inly taught me to challenge myself. There was such an emphasis on being independent, on pushing yourself. I see that’s transferred to what I’m doing today.”
The dual citizen (Irish and American) is looking forward to competing in the 2018 European Championships in August and the World Championships in 2019. He’s using these milestones to gauge his progress and prepare for the ultimate goal, qualifying for the 2020 Olympics where he’ll be competing for Ireland.
His lesson for future competitors: “It’s important to have a constant belief in yourself; a belief that when you do the right thing, it’ll go the right way. That confidence, plus resiliency – things don’t always go your way, but you have to keep trying – I’d say, those are the most important keys for success. That, and plain old hard work.”
Jeremy, your Inly family wishes you the best of luck!