Re-evaluating the way forward

2009-09-02 12:51
Sport24 columnist Roland Schoeman (File)
Roland Schoeman

I’ve had my standard couple of week's vacation and now I am back to the grindstone. This cycle of training is going to be the longest by far. I have the World Cup series starting in the middle of October. This is a grand prix style competition. The format is a short course and will see us competing in Durban, Rio, Moscow, Stockholm, Berlin and Singapore. This series provides the ideal opportunity to race against the best in the world as well as giving me the opportunity to travel the world.

Next year our major competition will be the Commonwealth Games which will be held in India in October. Having our major competition in October presents its own challenges. Traditionally the major international competition of the year takes place in July/August. This gives us an ideal training block of about 15 weeks between SA Champs (trials) and the international competition. 

This training block gives us just the correct amount of time to maximise strength, speed and endurance. It also allows for a few weeks to taper for the competition. Now however our training cycle is going to be almost double the normal length. It’s going to take a good deal of planning to figure out the best way to approach this cycle of training. I think it will present its own challenges, but at the end of the day I believe that it will be a good thing. 

The way forward

My performances at the FINA World Championships in Rome left a bit to be desired. I’ve taken time to reflect and to figure out the things that I could've done better. I’ve sat down with my strength and conditioning coach and we’ve planned the way forward. I’ve started with more dry land circuit training and will move into a strength and power phase in the weight room within the next couple of weeks.

In the swimming pool, I’ve decided to switch back to my old stroke. I moved towards more of a straight-arm stroke almost a year ago. It’s more of a power stroke and relies less on technique. It's great in short course swimming, but far less efficient in long course swimming.

Part of my strength is my technique and it's based on this that I have moved back to my old stroke. It’s going to take some time to re-groove it (much like a golfer making changes to his swing). I do however believe it to be the best decision, especially with FINA’s decision to move away from the bodysuits in January next year. Swimmers will not be able to rely on the suits to assist in body position and performance. Swimmers will have to be technically sound and rely far less on strength and power than is now the case.

From January 2010 I will be dividing my time between South Africa and France. France provides the ideal base for training and being able to compete against the world's best. The coach and programme out there has produced Olympic medalists and will continue to do so - hopefully - so I am excited that I’m going to be involved in swimming both here in SA and abroad.

Roland is a multiple Olympic medal winner... and an avid Blue Bulls supporter.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.


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