SwimBC’s third Regional Camp of the season took place in Chilliwack on November 2-3, as 32 of the Lower Mainland’s best swimmers came together to learn about and work on their swimming skills and gain inspiration.
We were very pleased to have Canadian Record-holder and two-time Olympian, Scott Dickens assisting at the camp, as he provided significant insight for the swimmers on what it takes to make it to among the very best in the world.
His key message was that it was NOT solely hard work, and that in fact, just getting in the pool and working as hard as you can may be detrimental to swimming performance; rather, there is the need to swim better and smarter, not harder, that will ultimately make the difference.
The swimmers were challenged to set aside the “first to the wall” mentality that often sets in when competitive kids get together, but rather, to take that message to heart (and head) and think about what they were doing and how they could change their strokes.
Much of the camp focused on core activation, once again using the same activation protocol developed and promoted by the Canadian Sport Institute’s staff of physiologists, trainers, and biomechanists. While there was some “going through the motions” during our first couple of sessions, by the time we got to Sunday, the execution of the exercises had improved immensely.
Regional Coach and Interim Provincial Coach, Mike Flegel, once again led the sessions, with each one focusing on each of the strokes and the “Big Ideas” of the camp,
- Fish Kick (four fish kicks / two dolphin kicks EVERY wall)
- Body Position - Be able to balance in the water and hold that while moving and (maybe even more challenging) NOT moving (aptly and ably demonstrated by Scott Dickens, despite still having a cast on his arm from a recent fracture in his forearm)
- Anchor - Anchor the hand/forearm in the water before starting the pull
- Recovery - Recover the arm (not the hand, not the forearm)
As with our other camps this year, it was great to have Graham Olson, video guru with CSI-Pacific there to have underwater video on a big screen running on a delay so the swimmers could review their performance after they touched the wall.
Our 25m underwater fish kick / dolphin kick test saw four swimmers get under the "Killer Kicker" (we're still working on the name) standard which we've created to encourage swimmers to develop this skill and recognize those who put up solid times.
Cristina Sutter came in and delivered a talk on nutrition, focusing not only on day-to-day nutrition, but also on how to manage eating properly at a competition. A couple of the slides from her presentation related to this are at the bottom of this page.
We also had Carl Nienhuis come in to talk with the swimmers about the necessity and how to start working on mental skills - particularly goal-setting, visualizing and imagery, and having a passion for what one does.
Sue Northey, an Athletics coach in the Fraser Valley worked with the swimmers for an hour about the value and benefits of developing running skills, then led them through a number of drills and exercises to teach some of the basics. This included the "A"s and "B"s drills, keeping shoulders above hips when running, and how the feet should strike the ground when running at various speeds.
Big thanks also to the City of Chilliwack for making available the pool and classroom space necessary for us to hold the camp and minimize logistical issues.