Sunday, October 9, 2011

Train to Compete Camp October 2011

From October 7th-9th, swimmers from all over Ontario were invited to participate in the Swim Ontario Train To Compete Camp at the University of Western Ontario. Swimmers were selected by highest combined FINA point score between the best 2 200m events and 400IM. Swimmers who were selected are as follows:

Females 1998: Jenna Malone, UCSC, Nicole Bullock, OAK, Alexis Bragman, TSC
Females 1997: Melanie McDonald, ESWIM, Rachel Hansen, GGST, Esraa Abdel-Khalik, ESWIM
Females 1996: Samantha Stratford, GMAC Riley Konrad, GMAC, Madison Pulfer, NKB
Males 1997: Alexander Jin, NYAC, Tyler Tong-McDermott, CCAC, Zach Shalovsky, NEW
Males 1996: Evan White, OAK, Oliver Straszynski, TSC, Teddy Kalp, NYAC
Males 1995: Tristan Cote, ESWIM, Kyle Haas, HHBF, Alexander Hamilton, NYAC

The purpose of the weekend was to push these swimmers to challenge themselves (against their peers) to learn to swim smarter and swim better under stress. The initiative of these camps was to identify Ontario swimming talent and to nurture that talent for the future.

The swimmers arrived on Friday October 7th for lunch, a quick briefing and then a 3 hour water workout. The briefing laid out the expectations of the weekend (Including the meaning of "World Class Swimming"). The workout involved some test sets that would be used later in the weekend. Dean Boles ran the camp. His briefing after warmup can be seen below.

The swimmers were challenged with a descending 50s set and some fast kicking; the results of which would be used on Saturday and Sunday during the main sets. Dean had challenged the young athletes to display something at a world class level. Swim Ontario had printed up some "gold" caps for boys that could kick 25m under water in under 12.50 seconds and girls that could do the same in 13.50 seconds. All athletes got a chance to try that out and practice it before the end of practice and debrief. You can listen to Dean's debrief from the first day's water session HERE.

The water session was followed up by an extensive outdoor team building session which included a high ropes course as well as some other team work games. The swimmers seemed to really enjoy this and I feel that, even though most of the swimmers already knew each other, these games allowed for some better cohesiveness throughout the group. Each of the swimmers learned something different about themselves and the "vertical playground" really brought out the athleticism in some individuals (HHBF's own, Kyle Haas, was exceptionally strong in this event).

The next day, the swimmers were challenged in several sets including a set of 20x100@1:40, where they had to even split each 100, hold their stroke count the same and hold a time that was derived from a set the day before. They also had 9x100kick @ 2:10 where every 3rd 100 was fast. The fast 100s were then added up and made into a 300kick time which would be challenged again on Sunday. The athletes also got their chance to swim a 25 kick under water to try to obtain one of Swim Ontario's "golden caps". Only 2 swimmers made the cut on Dean's "world class" times: Newmarket's Zach Shalovsky and HHBF's Kyle Haas. Dean also did a quick dive clinic with the swimmers, the video of which can be found below. Dean's debrief of the second water workout can be found HERE.

Day 2 finished with a 3 hour dryland session lead by Steve Topham. The athletes were challenged with functional exercises, movements and stretches. While it didn't look like much, Steve made these kids sweat! In the process they learned many new things about how their muscles and joints work as well as a few new things to get themselves activated before practices and meets.

On Sunday morning, many of the athletes were exhausted. Dean commenced his briefing (which can be found below). Many of the athletes felt that this was the hardest of the 3 water sessions, as it contained 400sets, a fast 50kick for time, a 300kick for time and a broken 200IM (amongst other sets). That did not stop many of them from attacking the day with enthusiasm and toughness.

The thing I noticed as a coach and observer (this having been my 5th consecutive T2C Camp and 2nd consecutive with Kyle Haas and many other of the same swimmers from previous camps) was how much faster the athletes were training but also how much better they had become at splitting, kicking off the walls and many other technical aspects of swimming. I was pretty impressed by the speed of some of the kicking as well as many of the 400s done early in the practice. HHBF's Kyle Haas was fastest in the 50FR kick by quite a bit (time of 31.47 seconds) and 3rd overall in the 300kick for time. Some remarkable improvement from the field. The camp wrap up can be found HERE.

I took as much info as I could from this camp as possible to share with others. As I often say, its great for a few coaches to get the information, but the technology exists to share it with everyone and the goal should be to better the landscape by sharing it all with everyone. It is my hope that swimmers and coaches will view, read and listen to this info and share it with others. The more people that can share in the info given by these camps, the better off Ontario swimming will be going forward, which is a very positive thing. For more information, please check the Swim Ontario site in the coming days and check for my newest podcast, available FREE for download from iTunes (and on Wednesday October 12th.

Workouts now available to see: FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY

*PLEASE NOTE: these workouts are designed for the TRAIN TO COMPETE athletes (Defined as 13-18 aged swimmers who are competing at a National level). The content should not be used for other LTAD ability levels, but the concepts and focuses can be used for any level.