The final Regional Age Group camp of 2014 took place at the Chilliwack Landing Leisure Centre this past weekend, with 26 swimmers from across the Lower Mainland coming out to the camp.
It was a fantastic group of young athletes, with almost all of them completely engaged and interested in learning how to become better swimmers, asking good questions, interacting with each other and the coaches well, and enjoying the experience from start to finish.
We were joined throughout the camp by 2012 Olympian, Alec Page, who shared his story of starting out swimming in little lakes on Cortez Island off of Campbell River, to walking onto the pool deck in London in 2012 to swim the prelims of 400IM in the same heat as Michael Phelps.
While it’s easy to talk about the successes and moving forward, Alec also spoke about some of the frustrating times in his career - time during which he really thought long and hard about whether or why he should continue swimming. In the end, though, he came to the realization that he wanted to continue because he still loves going to the pool each day, enjoys the challenges involved in being a professional athlete, the camaraderie of working with his teammates, and striving for success at the highest level. His obvious love for the sport, his passion to continually work to improve, and his enjoyment in working with the athletes was clearly evident.
Alec was the one who led the swimmers through the activation protocol that has been developed by the trainers and biomechanists at the Canadian Sport Institute - Pacific in Victoria, leading them along to kick off each of the four pool sessions.
Once in the water, the swimmers were led through stroke progressions in all four strokes, working on the key areas of achieving optimal body alignment and balance in the water, getting a firm catch and anchoring their arm at the start of their pull, pulling themselves past their arm, and then recovering the arm (as opposed to simply moving their hand forward).
Time and again through the water sessions, the activation exercises were referenced in discussing the techniques and drills the swimmers were doing throughout the strokes.
Even with CSI-P video analyst, Graham Olson, away in Doha with Swimming Canada for the World SC Championships, we were still able to provide ongoing immediate video feedback to the swimmers, which they consumed and acted upon probably better than any group we’ve seen at these camps.
We are working on having the underwater video of the 25m dolphin kick test posted to the web, but while we await that, the results, compiled alongside the results from all of the other Regional Age Group camps, are here.
It’s been great to see the improvement of those swimmers who were at these camps last year, and we look forward to following their continued development as we see them at upcoming meets.