James, Emma, and I left for the Singapore leg of the Fina World Cup on Thursday 1st October. Upon arrival we were informed that the Pollution Index (PI) was very high and if it went beyond a 200 reading the meet would be cancelled for the day.
James and Emma trained that afternoon at the hotel pool and on the Friday they eventually got to swim in the official pool. Unfortunately the pool was open at the sides and the pollution was not improving that much. Saturday’s heat session went ahead and both Emma and James made finals to be swum that evening. However, when we arrived for the finals the levels were heading towards the dreaded 200. The sessions was called off and at 8.00pm the PI was 242!
Sunday turned out to be better and Emma got to the finals in the 100m freestyle (10th in the final) and James made the 100m breastroke and the 50m freestyle. We pulled him from the 50m free which allowed him to concentrate on the breastroke, where he came 6th in a very respectable 1.02.6.
The meet provided an invaluable experience for both swimmers against international competition and also gave them confidence in moving forward towards their prospective National Olympic Trials.
The accommodation was fantastic with a view from every room (when there was no pollution). Food was also good and a good time was had by all, coupled with some skilful swimming at International level.
On Monday 5th October we flew to Phuket to meet up with Alex and Cameron for a 9-day training camp at the British International School (see photo). The School has excellent facilities with a 25m and 50m pool, gym etc. Our accommodation block was walking distance to the pool, gym, food hall and a great coffee shop with the School. We had the whole block to ourselves, which meant that our common room or more precisely space (4 rooms), allowed for regular pool games and table tennis challenges. At one stage the losers had to do 20 push ups to accompany their loss. I soon became a winner!
The guys trained very well and adapted to the hot conditions quite easily.
There was also the daily weigh-in to check our food intake and the swimmers loss of fluid. We all lost between 1-2.5kg over the 9 days!
We will definitely go on this camp again as everyone was so friendly and encouraging.
The swimmers could concentrate on swimming with none of the regular distractions.
That’s not to say that we were locked up in the School for 9 days. We found time to eat out, go to the beach, enjoy a massage, shop at a night market, listen to some blues from a Singaporean band, and Sunday was a trip to the islands snorkelling, canoeing and hanging out with the Marion Swim Team, which was also in Phuket on a training camp.
I believe the swimmers identified their own areas to work on and did so very well during this period. The challenge remains to now take that experience back into our environment in order to develop better skills and attitude, in order to allow goals to be meet and dreams to be realised. We need to imagine the journey with all the pitfalls, and develop the mental, physical and emotional aspects to allow a successful outcome.
I would like to thank the STARplex Swim Club, STARplex Swim Centre and in James and my own case, SASI for their financial and moral support.
Head Swim Coach STARplex Swim Club