The 2014 edition of Prospects West - a development training camp and competition that started seven years ago as simply BC / Alberta - took place April 10-13 this year on the frozen wind-swept prairie in Saskatoon. In the past, the camp had hosted up to 96 swimmers, with 2/3 coming from BC and Alberta, but in an effort to deliver a more focused experience, the camp this year had just 60 swimmers - 24 each from BC and Alberta, and 6 each from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, with the caveat that all attendees had to be qualified for Age Group Nationals at the time of selection.
As has been the case in the past, Dave Johnson, former National Team Head Coach and current Head Coach at Cascade Swim Club in Calgary, led the pool sessions, putting an emphasis more on how to train than simply showing up and "swimming hard".
The workouts, along with comments from SwimBC Provincial Coach, Rocco Meiring, are downloadable in .pdf format here.
National Team physiologist Shane Esau delivered a session on the importance of hydration as well as strategies to maintain optimal hydration levels in training and competition. Heather Hynes, like Shane, a former competitive swimmer, provided similar information with regards to nutrition; and a sport psych session was also delivered to the swimmers.
2012 Olympian and 2014 PanPacs and Commonwealth Games Team member, Alec Page, was on hand through the weekend to provide mentorship to the swimmers, as well as being the leading the swimmers through the activation protocol developed and supported by the Canadian Sport Institute's experts working with the National Team swimmers. Alec also gave a talk on Saturday after the dinner, recounting his progression from swimming in water holes on Cortez Island to standing on a starting block alongside Michael Phelps at the 2012 Olympics.
The culmination of the camp was a Tri-meet which pitted the three teams against each other in a World Cup-type timed-final format. In the past, this has been a closely fought battle between BC and Alberta, with no more than 10 points typically separating the two teams; last year, for example, Alberta prevailed by a mere three points.
This year, however, the BC swimmers delivered standing knockout shot in the first event, sweeping the top three places in the boys 800 Free and never looked back, winning by almost 100 points. Final point scores had BC on top with 554 to Alberta's 469, with Man-Sask pulling in 156 points.
Overall, it was a great experience for the athletes, who, despite putting in extremely long and challenging days, left Saskatoon with big smiles on their faces.
Big thanks to our partners at SwimSask and the Saskatoon Goldfins for their efforts in coordinating on logistics, the staff at the Shaw Centre in Saskatoon, the coaches who participated in the camp, Tara Ryan who acted as TeamBC chaperone, and of course, the swimmers who truly put forth a first-class effort in doing their part towards enhancing the future of swimming in BC and Canada.
Results from the Tri-meet are available here.
The swimmers and coaches in attendance from BC were as below:
|Elena Penner||DELTA||Sprint Free|
|Eden Kormendy||GTS||Distance Free|
|Meredith Levorson||VKSC||Sprint Free|
|Mackenzie Padington||CRKW||Distance Free|
|Tai Long Singh||WDSC||Sprint Free|
|Paul Zou||WDSC||Distance Free|
|Colin Gilbert||KCS||Sprint Free|
|Josh Zakala||KAJ||Distance Free|
Bill Park (TRAX)
Scott Wilson (ISC)
Kris Bell (COMOX)
Jason Brockman (CONNU)