Sunday, April 10, 2011

Swim Ontario Train to Compete Camp Wrap Up

From April 8th-10th, 18 swimmers from Ontario (list of names below) were invited to participate in a training camp held at The University of Western Ontario. These camps are held twice/season and allow a combined total of 6 athletes/birth year to learn more about their skills and training.

Females 1997
Megan Vuong, MSSAC
Rachel Hansen, GGST
Megan Carlson, TBT
Females 1996
Paige Hall, COBRA
Madison Pulfer, NKB
Bavi Basra, COBRA
Females 1995
Rachael Geiger, NKB
Adriane Lui, CCAC
Kelly Hotta, SLSC
Males 1996
Oliver Straszynski, TSC
Teddy Kalp, NYAC
Youn Ho Choi, NYAC
Males 1995
Gamal Assaad, OAK
Jake Silverthorn, NEW
Kyle Haas, HHBF
Males 1994
Donovan Taylor, FFAST
David Riley, TSC
Cameron Kingston, NEW

The camp started in a rather interesting way. After introductions, the athletes were asked to write a memorable set on a whiteboard at the front of the class room. After every athlete had gone, each was asked to explain the set, if they liked the set, why they liked it (if they did) and what it was designed for. A very interesting exercise.

We then hit the water for a 3 hour practice where we heavily worked on kick, turns and walls. Most specifically, use of the last wall in a race. Dean's message on this was clear, not enough Ontario (or Canadian swimmers) put enough emphasis on this part of their races. More people need to capitolize on that opportunity. The swimmers then did a challenging swim & kick sets (50s) working on speed control and toughness on the second half. Results were recorded and used later. The water workout was followed with a team building/mental skills session and some sleep.

The next morning emphasis stayed with "using the last wall", but this time doing it under stress. The athletes were asked to take their 6th fastest 50 from Friday (recorded info), multiply it by 2 and average that time for 20x100, while maintaining 3 kicks off of each wall and even splitting. The task sounded simple, but with limited rest (pace time of 1:40 --> many of these athletes had to hold between 1:02 and 1:04) it was going to be hard. It was quite remarkable to see how soon the athletes times began to drop and how many of them had difficulty maintaining 3 kicks off of each wall (even though many of them said that they practices 4 or 5 kicks off the wall in their own practices). Dean's message really struck a chord with the athletes; bringing value to a simple set (20x100 @ 1:40) made it excruciatingly painful... but insurmountably valuable.

That set was followed by a quick warmdown and then 9x100 kick @ 2:10. Every 3rd 100 had to be FAST. This is a very hard thing to do after blasting your legs for 2km the set before, but all of these athletes proved to be tough a good kickers. The results of this set were also recorded and to be used later.

After warming down, the athletes had lunch and went up to the gym for 4 hours of dryland with Steve Topham (Bio-Mechanist for the Canadian Sport Center: U of T). Steve's workouts are very unorthodox but are functional: by this, I mean that he teaches athletes to to warm up, workout and stretch in a way that applies to them and their sport. Many of the exercises seem light and effortless... until you do them a few times. Many of the athletes had very sore legs on Sunday as a result of this dryland. Much of it is hard to describe in video because you really need to see all 40min of the set to understand what is going on. I did get footage of the mini-circuit that he had the athletes doing (below). I have had the pleasure of seeing Steve work many times and each time if different; however, I always leave saying to myself "that was brilliant!".

Please bare in mind that this circuit was about 3 hours into the workout: many of these athletes look like they're not trying, but remember that they swam for 3 hours and had been working out for 3 hours... they're exhausted!

Sunday was our last session and it involved a lot more talk and drill work than the other 2 days (it also involved a 300kick for time and 4x50 in IM order all out on 1'). The swimmers spent a lot of time on IM turns today. I was able to get a lot of video today so I'll let that speak for itself:

Here, the athletes are working on FLY/BK and BR/FR turn drills.

Dean then took the athletes through some BK/BR turns. He used a drill where a kickboard was placed over the edge of the pool. The athletes then were supposed to keep their eyes fixated on the kickboard in order to obtain a good head position, and in turn (no pun intended) the propper body position:

Dean's talk with these athletes about IM strategy was truely invaluable. Thank you very much, Dean, for allowing me to video tape this:

Dean's Camp wrap up and debreif was pretty good as well. I apologize for the video quality, as I was not planning on taping this one. I found the points being made so good that I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

I found this camp compelling. I was lucky enough to be at the previous 2 and had learned a lot each time. It was great to be there with an athlete. It was great for that athlete to be able to see how he stacked up against his competition. Thank you so much, Dean Boles, Kelly Steves and Swim Ontario for putting it together and by adding so much value to it (Thanks, Dean, for allowing me to capture a lot on video, it really helps my do blogs quickly when I can let you speak for yourself).