VIR Regional Camp - Nov. 24-25

SwimBC’s Regional Camp program took its traveling roadshow to the Crystal Pool in Victoria – site of many a Provincial Championship competition prior to the opening of Saanich Commonwealth Place in 1993 – for a camp with most of the best young swimmers from the Vancouver Island Region.

Helping us out at this camp once again was National Champion and Record-holder, Scott Dickens, who, as always, impressed the swimmers and coaches in attendance with his stories of what it takes to become among the best in the world, and lessons learned – some the hard way – along that road.

As always, we utilized the pool sessions to work on all four strokes, focusing on five key “BIG IDEAS” for the camp:

  • Body Position – balance at the surface
  • Fish Kick – kicking underwater on the side
  • Recovery - of the ARM (not hands)
  • Anchor – before pulling
  • Finish – each stroke

We were very pleased also to have Victoria Academy of Swimming and National Team athletes, Eric Hedlin and Alec Page, come out to lead the swimmers through the Canadian Sport Institute-advocated activation protocol that we are delivering at all of the camps.  

Once again, we had each of the swimmers do a timed 25m underwater dolphin kick from a dive.  Results for this group are available here, while results for all camp attendees so far this season can be seen here.

Scott led a good portion of the sessions on Sunday, working with the swimmers primarily on the importance of good body position, as well as the mechanics of an efficient kick.

Key points:

  • Zero position is vital – learn how to balance at the surface perfectly streamlined, from hands to pointed toes; practice holding that for 15 seconds
  • Kick is narrow - barely outside hips.
  • Heels come up, keep thighs as flat as possible
  • Kick fast to butt before kicking back – and kick straight back (not around)
  • Breathe later than is comfortable – only after insweep of pull has begun
  • Recover hands with speed, at the surface (“surf” hands), while minimizing shoulder width
  • Get back to zero position and hold it for a “beat”

On the dry side, we were pleased to have CSI experts Sharleen Hoar lead a session on mental skills and Ashley Armstrong do the same with one on nutrition for performance, training, and recovery, while Mike Neill of Human Powered Racing led the swimmers through a lively session on running technique.

Some underwater video from the camp: