The first SwimBC Regional Camp took place October 18-19, at the newly refurbished Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre in Kitimat, where 30 young age-group swimmers from the Northwest clubs in Kitimat, Terrace, Smithers, and Prince Rupert came together to gain knowledge and inspiration in further developing their swimming.
We were very pleased to have for the first time at one of these camps, World Championship and Olympic medalist, Brent Hayden, on-hand to assist on-deck, as well as delivering powerful messages on his path to success with the young swimmers.
Brent’s talk to the swimmers, at times very emotional and moving, spoke of the obstacles he overcame on the way to his achievements; he pointed to many times on his journey where the challenges and failures he experienced became useful tools to not only further motivate him, but more importantly, to teach him things that would later prove to be invaluable in pressure-packed situations at major international events.
Regional Coach, Mike Flegel, led the pool sessions for the swimmers, focusing on technical development and stroke progressions for all four strokes. The BIG IDEAS that were emphasized throughout the camp with each of the strokes were as follows:
- Activation: Gone are the days of the swinging arms and stretching shoulders and whatever to "warm-up" prior to getting into the water; we spent a lot of time educating and instructing the swimmers on the activation protocol espoused by the Eugene Liang at the Canadian Sports Centre - Pacific. The aim of these exercises is to put teach the swimmers how to activate the proper muscles in upper back and core to maintain the most beneficial position in the water for the body, as well as establishing the
- Fish kick / dolphin kick – powerful fast (25 in 10 seconds), small kicks; aiming for four fish kicks and two dolphin kicks off each wall.
- Body Position & Balance: The key to speed in swimming is minimizing resistance; and the key to minimizing resistance is attaining a horizontal position in the water strictly through core activation.
- Recovery - arm recovery is exactly that: recovery of the anatomical "arm" (shoulder to elbow); move this forward instead of thinking of moving hands forward
- Anchor - initiation of pull in each stroke is accomplished by establishing an "anchor" point by pushing elbow up/forward; this is achieved by activating the scapulae - worked on through the activation protocol
The camp concluded with a circuit that allowed the swimmers to break off into smaller groups and receive specific feedback on starts, turns, and an underwater view of their body positioning coming off walls.
For the first time, SwimBC also delivered a presentation to parents on how they can most effectively support the efforts of their children as they move along the swimmer development pathway. The interest and inquisitiveness of the parents who attended was very encouraging to witness, and we look forward to being able to deliver this presentation to more areas of the province this season.
Big thanks to Head Coach Jason Cathers and the rest of the Kitimat Marlins Swim Club for their help in organizing the facility, as well as to all the swimmers.
Video of the timed 25m underwater kick is below.