Canadian High Performance team swims up a storm in Jamaica
Dania Bogle, Senior Gleaner Writer
A new way to approach land training and working in the gym are just two of the skills that locals with the Tornadoes Swim Club have been able to acquire from a group of swimmers from the Canadian High Performance Intensive Training Programme, who spent two weeks in the island on a training mission.
The Canadians, from Montreal, Quebec, arrived in the island at the end of December and were scheduled to leave today.
The group, which was accompanied by their coach, Tom Rushton, included seven 15-year-olds hoping to qualify for the next FINA World Championships, as well as several open water swimmers. They trained at the National Aquatic Centre and joined the Jamaicans during their training sessions as well.
Tornadoes swim coach, Wendy Lee, told The Gleaner that the fortnight included an exchange of ideas on how to manage a swimming programme.
"I've learned about the gym work," she said. "Our local swimmers and coaches do not spend enough time in the gym. They do a lot of weight training and none of our swimmers are doing any weight training. I've learned to introduce a lot of younger swimmers to weight training.
"I'm now able to train my athletes, with confidence, in that programme," she added.
Lee told The Gleaner that she invited Rushton, whom she met during a high-level FINA-sponsored coaching clinic in Colorado, to come to Jamaica.
"We met there and just came together ... I invited him and he came, and we are in discussion now about our coaches and swimmers going to Canada," Lee explained.
"It's been about shared experiences. Their weight trainer has also done land training on the beach for the first time. They also adopted some of our land training and beach training ideas into their programme. Our senior swimmers have trained with them and it's about becoming better swimmers all around."
Meanwhile, members of the Tornadoes Swim Club will be participating in a senior meet at the Nova Southeastern Aquatic Centre in Florida, later this month.
The swimmers are currently in preparation for the Carifta Swimming Championships, which will be held in Barbados in April.