September 3rd, 2015

In world-class swimming, “Have a good summer,” means something different than it does to most people.

“Have a good summer” can refer to expecting good results at major international competitions. If a swimmer wins an international medal, breaks a record or sets a personal best they may consider it a “good summer.”

It’s also something Team Canada swimmers could be heard saying to one another as they went their separate ways on Aug. 11. For most people summer was almost over, but in that case “Have a good summer” referred to perhaps enjoying a short vacation after completing a long period of competition between the Pan Am Games and FINA World Championships.

Well even that short break time is over now and most of Canada’s top swimmers are already back in the pool working towards the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games.

“It’s back to business for our key athletes and the High Performance Centre – Victoria is leading the way in getting back into training,” noted Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson.

The reason is clear: “As a nation we have an Olympic year ahead of us and we need to capitalize on the steps forward we made in 2015. We need more finallists at the Olympic level and the task is to convert those final swims into medals. It is therefore really important to have the athletes ready to swim fast at the Olympic and Para-swimming Trials next April,” Atkinson said.

“The preparation for that starts now.”

HPC – Victoria Head Coach Ryan Mallette feels his group owes it to themselves and to Canadians to do everything they can to prepare to excel in Rio.

“I think that being a world-class swimmer is a privilege and not a sacrifice. There is no need for a long break to get away from the pool,” Mallette said. “We want to stay in touch with the water to maintain a basic level of fitness. It is way easier to swim once a day in August than restart after a month off and fight for months just to get back to where you were.

The centre is home to two-time Olympic medallist Ryan Cochrane, as well as world championship medallist Hilary Caldwell and fellow 2012 Olympian Alec Page.

 

 

 

“Getting back into training is something I’m very passionate about,” Cochrane said. “With an Olympic year beginning, there’s no time like the present to get started on that journey and just like the work we will be met with this year, we are ready to face it head on. It’s a privilege to be a professional athlete and starting early in the season is part of the job.”

Elsewhere, emerging sprint star Santo Condorelli is also back in the pool. Condorelli represented Canada and his mother’s hometown of Kenora, Ont., with pride this summer. He won four medals at Pan Ams, helped Canada to a bronze in the first ever 4×100-m mixed freestyle relay at World Championships, and came an impressive – but agonizing – fourth in the 100-m free.

“Getting fourth place in the 100 free was absolutely terrible,” Condorelli said with a laugh. “I know it’s my first time, but I feel like I should be up there (on the podium). That’s why I’m already back in the pool.”

Condorelli is taking the year off from the University of Southern California to train full-time with Coley Stickels at Canyons Aquatic Club in Santa Clarita, Calif. He took just a five-day break with his family after worlds before getting back to work.

“I’ll only be 21 in Rio but that doesn’t mean anything. I want to be on top,” said Condorelli, who also wants to improve in the 50-m freestyle and 100-m butterfly.

 

Source : Swimming Canada