It is often said champions are made in the offseason – or – when people aren’t watching.
That is the goal for five teenage swimmers, and their coaches, who have been selected to participate in this year’s Fall Technical Camp in Victoria under the watchful eye of Swimming Canada’s National Development Coach, Ken McKinnon.
Kyla Leibel (Red Deer Catalina Swim Club), Ryley McRae (Kamloops Classic Swimming), Alexander Pratt (Cascade Swim Club), Sebastian Somerset (Cascade Swim Club), and Avery Wiseman (Triton Swimming) along with their coaches have been racking up the miles in the pool while grinding through the long days of the weeklong camp.
“This is the fourth time we have held this type of camp which was created to provide a unique opportunity for the best talent coming up the ranks who have not had lots of international exposure,” said McKinnon. “The goal is to make meaningful improvements in the technical areas of our sport that they can bring with them to their daily training.”
Modeled around training programs that matches well with the High Performance Centre Victoria, the camp provides technical interventions in the athlete’s daily training programs, focusing on four key areas:
Underwater kicking work;
“The coach and swimmers agree on goals and solutions from the outset. Interventions are then made with the swimmer and the coach through video analysis at the beginning, middle and end of the camp,” said McKinnon. “We identify technical errors and find solutions with their personal coaches in an effort to improve their development.”
The camp also provides a long-term investment in coaching. Each of the swimmer’s personal coaches including Scott Wilson, Brad Dalke, David Johnson, and Greg Kozell are heavily involved in each stage of the camp process.
“The swimmer’s coaches play a key role in this because we want them to take these learnings with them back to their regular training,” added McKinnon.
The camp is no easy task for the budding athletes.
It simply would not be possible without the strong work of biomechanist and Integrated Support Team Director, Dr. Allan Wrigley along with the head coach of the HPC-VIC, Ryan Mallette, and the IST staff. When all was said and done, camp leaders guided the athletes through 10 stints in the pool where they logged up to 14 kilometres/day of swimming, followed by three weight training sessions, a number of workshops including sleep and recovery, hydration, along with dryland training that supports the technical work the coaching staff is changing in the pool.
“Training out here is quite challenging. It is high energy and intense. We work together as a team to keep encouraging the athletes through it. Together we provide positive reinforcement, monitor progress and evaluate with the ultimate goal of making them better athletes,” said McKinnon.
Swimming Canada is planning to schedule another technical camp in January 3-10 at Swimming Canada’s High Performance Centre – Toronto.