Quality training paying off big time

Swimming: Foothills swimmers exceed expectations at CSI meet

By: Remy Greer

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 06:00 am

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A change has been as good as a rest for the Foothills Stingrays.

The swim club points to a shift in training from quantity to quality after exceeding their wildest expectations in producing 28 podium finishes, nine age group records and three overall club records at the Cascade Swimming International, May 30 to June 1 at Calgary’s Talisman Centre.

“So many clubs train for a marathon and run a sprint,” said Stingrays head coach Todd Melton. “They do 12K (kilometre) practices a day and when you think most races are 100m, that’s about a 400m track event.

“That’s like 400m runners doing 48km a day. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Instead, the Stingrays coaching staff have implemented shorter and more intense sets in the Riley Minue Pool with an emphasis on individualized training.

“We do a lot of faster swimming in shorter distances, they’re always swimming fast and there is no meaningless training,” Melton said. “I’ve been going on this path with my coaching, I’ve got some things that I’ve been researching that’s confirming it, some science to back it up.

“Especially for this age, it cuts down on injuries because they’re not doing any crazy metres.”

The shift in training paid big dividends for a trio of Stingrays in particular.

Justin Lisoway poured in five gold-medal showings in the 50m and 100m breaststroke, 100m and 200m backstroke and 200m IM. Finlay Knox was top-dog in the 400m IM and 200m butterfly while Layne Guidinger wasn’t too shabby herself, posting five gold-medal swims in the 50m freestyle, 50m and 100m backstroke as well as the 200m and 400m IM.

Because the Stingrays didn’t taper for the meet, the swimmers got a trial run in their given events in advance of the provincial and national championships as was the case for Lisoway in the 200m IM.

“It was something I could look forward to and train towards to get ready for nationals so I could practice swimming it,” Lisoway said. “It was good I came out with a three-second best time. That really got me pumped that I’m ready to race at nationals.”

He said the revolution in shorter sets at practices is making a massive difference in competition.

“When we did longer sets, it wasn’t that I didn’t like them, but I like these sets a lot more because it allows me to visualize and feel like what I’m going to feel like in a race,” Lisoway said. “If we did a set of 20 100m (swims) I would be swimming at a lot slower pace than I would if we did 20 25m (swims).

“It allows me to get a feel for the water and my stroke rates that I would need to do during a race.”

Knox broke his own meet and club record and edged out Lisoway in the ultra competitive 400m IM final.

“Normally Justin is way ahead of me and (this time) I could see him a lot closer,” Knox said. “On the last lap I saw the bubbles from his kick and that gave me the motivation to catch him.”

For Knox, diagnosed as a celiac in January, it’s been a daily battle to round back into form. He said the evolution towards more intense, shorter practice sets have been a blessing.

“I’ve been able to work harder and get more oxygen. The past two months I’ve been working my hardest and it’s paying off,” he said. “With this training you can go all out and have two minutes recovery and by the time that two minutes is up you have your energy back.”

Elsewhere, Megan Deering added a trio of silver medals in 50m and 200m breaststroke and 400m IM, Kennedy Loewen swam to silver in the 50m backstroke and Michael McMahon was second in the 100m breaststroke. Bronze medal finishers were Carly Ede in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke and Alycia Weber in the 50m and 100m backstroke.

Outside of the podium, Foothills swimmers produced 28 top-8 finishes in Calgary. Top-8 finishers included Sophie Faye, Jotham d’Ailly, Chyanne Simpson, Nyah Hicke and Maxwell Gurtler.

For more information go to foothillsstingrays.com


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