Max, who did an ESF-funded KESS PhD in partnership with Swim Wales, looked at the psychology associated with tapering in elite swimmers and coaches.
"Ahead of competition, swimmers usually go through what is called a ‘taper’, during which they reduce the amount of training. However, this process can have a negative psychological impact as competitors can feel as though they are not doing enough physical preparation, which can have an impact on their performance," said Max.
"To understand the psychological influence this can have on the competitors, I travelled round Wales, interviewing the very best swimmers and coaches in the country to understand their mindset during the pre-competition period. The initial findings guided the coaches who led the swimmers who took part in the Commonwealth Games.
"I am very happy it’s all done and I’m excited to move on to the next chapter. My PhD has given me the skills, experience and confidence to achieve my goal of getting a job in academia. For example, my PhD has given me a great understanding of my topic area, as well as a fantastic grounding in both quantitative and qualitative methods.
"One of the great things about having a PhD is building up all those transferable skills: excellent organisation, time management, and written and verbal communication skills are desirable because they form the foundation of most jobs.
"Doing a PhD presents opportunities for personal development too. At USW, I was able to gain experience in teaching, marking and supervising undergraduate students, all of which were critical in helping me get a job in academia. Alongside this, I had the chance to take part in training courses (unrelated to my PhD) which taught me additional academic and employability skills.
"I loved completing my PhD at USW. The Psychology staff are great - very supportive and understanding. I acquired experience at USW, such as lecturing, which would be difficult to get at other institutions."