Swimming with Olympian Michelle Weber in January 2018
Dad and I drove down for the December holidays after a very tiring KZN Premier champs. Our trip takes us from Durban on the East Coast, through the Free State to the Western Cape with a one-night stopover at Colesburg (half way). Mom is working in Cape Town on contract and we will spend Christmas with Granny in a small place called Dwarskersbos, 12 km from Velddrif.
The first day is an eight-hour drive and we arrive safely in Colesburg. The next day will be a nine-hour drive to Dwarskersbos. It is very sad to see how dry it is everywhere. Continue reading →
Swimming consistency is a success cornerstone. Consistency in swimming counts in training and plays a huge part in how swimmers race.
Swimming is a lifestyle. Not just a sport, and in our case, not just a way of making Monica’s lungs stronger to prevent asthma, but a true and honest part of her daily routine.
Success at swim meets does not come without commitment and routine. Every morning at 10:00 am Monica packs her bag, puts on her swimsuit and dad coach drives her to the pool for training. No complaints, no question about the program. Just happy to do what she loves the most.
Pre-season swimming or training takes places between 1 May to September every year when the official swimming season opens during the KZN Junior championships.
Opening address 2015 KZN Junior champs (Click to read)
The swim calendar starts with 2 short-course swim meets (Seals Pietermaritzburg) in June, followed by the Prestige gala in July and Age group galas up to August.
The 2016 KZN Junior championship is scheduled for 23-25 September.
KZN Aquatics adjusted age groups for this championship to 13 & Under in 2015. The goal is to allow Coach Graham Hill and fellow coaches an opportunity to spot young talent to be selected for Project 2022.
Project 2022 is a comprehensive program placing the most talented 13 – 14-year-old swimmers in training for the 2022 Commonwealth games.
Minimum age is 13-years-old. Monica is, therefore, too young to be selected. She also does not swim KZN Junior times, which is the minimum requirement. (We mention this as some fans asked.)
What do you focus on during pre-season swimming?
During pre-season swimming we focus on three elements:
Basic fitness and core strength after the resting period.
Stroke correction – i.e. do what we do better and smooth out any stroke-related issues.
Set goals: Review the results from the Swimming South Africa database and set new goals for the season with a plan to achieve these goals.
How do you decide what your focus should be during pre-season swimming?
Monica did not have a good SSA Level 1 champs. Her times were 3 seconds off her personal bests throughout the swim meet. (Regardless of the gold, silver and bronze medals which we are immensely proud of.)
We allow Monica to enjoy her swim holiday as she calls it during April (the swim box is closed, no training, not even talking about swimming). In May, we sit down and we do a review of the previous year’s results. During this review, we watch her 200 IM videos. Monica asked if we could work more on Breaststroke and Butterfly as she aims to improve her stroke and times in these events.
Yes, dear subscribers, we do have a very mature and wise 9-year-old swimmer. Her level of commitment is above average for her age. She is also fully aware of her strengths and weaknesses. We love the level of maturity she displays even though, at the best of times, she is just a kid.
Based on the discussion we all agreed on a to-do list of stroke correction points which needs attention and set off to the pool on 1 May to start our preparation for the 2016/2017 season.
Pre-season swimming achievement:
The above video was taken during a fun Saturday session at the pool with Monica’s friend. As everybody knows, Monica still battles at the best of times with asthma.
We have been working towards increasing her lung capacity over a 3-year period. At the pool on the day, we were all trying to see how far we could swim underwater without stopping to breathe. What a surprise! 25-meter underwater without taking a single breath.
This is progress at its best.
One can clearly see how she starts with a breaststroke start but then change her mind and do dolphin kicking the rest of the way as it is faster.
Now that we know she can swim 25-meter without taking a breath we can focus more on underwater work at starts and turns.