A February trip to the Caribbean was all work, no play for an Okotoks Stingray.
Finlay Knox earned one of the coveted 16 invites to Swim Canada’s 2018 Male Training Camp in Trinidad featuring the top under-17 swimmers in the country.
“We went to the beach one of the days,” Knox said. “Because it was a Canadian training camp they did try to give us more metres then we would normally swim, it’s meant to be one week of absolute training. Our total mileage for that week was 65 kilometres. Every practice was get in swim and keep on swimming.”
For Knox the contrast in training at home and at the camp was stark.
The Stingrays put an emphasis on shorter, intense and race pace training while the Swim Canada camp put the young athletes through the ringer.
“It was a lot more metres,” Knox said. “It was nice to have a different kind of training that we normally do, it changed my mindset of how much more I prefer the shorter training.”
One of the chief highlights of the trip was the sessions with arguably Canada’s most famous swimmer Mark Tewksbury, the 1992 Olympic gold medallist and chef de mission of the 2010 Winter Games.
“He’s a really nice guy. He normally does his talks with professional businesses and said he would like to do his talks and come to Trinidad with us,” Knox said. “It was really nice talking to him, knowing that he was an Olympic gold medallist and how we can relate, how he went through all the training we’re doing right now.
“He said if you set your mind to something it will happen, you just have to be dedicated and work as hard as you can when you’re younger so when you get older it carries over.”
It was a captive audience to hear the decorated Olympian and talented communicator.
“Everyone could relate to what he was saying,” Knox said. “It was things we’ve never thought of doing that we all decide to do as a group, different type of visualization techniques, different types of power words, things you would think of before a swim to keep in a positive mind to keep strong.”
One of the primary goals of the camp was to get the top swimmers in Canada, the Olympic hopefuls, to get to know one another with the hopes of them competing together on the biggest stage in the years to come.
“It was good to train with someone I’ve never trained with before, never raced before,” Knox added. “There were a couple guys saying they wanted to take away from this camp some different techniques other people are doing. It was nice to share ideas and talk as a group, all 16 of us and show what type of training we do at home.”
To make the team the racers had to be one of the top performers in the country in at least one stroke. Knox made it in the breaststroke and individual medley.
“Because we were training as a team together it was really fun and lightened up the mood a little bit,” said Knox, a Foothills Composite student. “Instead of seeing someone as a competitor you see them as your training partner and how you can benefit from one another.
“The experience was good, it was nice to train with the fastest 16 swimmers in the country.”