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Beijing Olympics Swimming – What did you learn?

With the Olympics over for another 4 years it is time to take stock and have a close look at some of the key messages from the swimming events at the Beijing Olympics.

Did you watch their starts and turns? There is no doubt that Michael Phelps skills won him at least two of his gold medals. How awesome is he underwater?

There were many close races, favourites won and favourites lost. Swimmers swam world records and still didn’t win. The relays were very fast, with the major upset in the relays, the Women’s 4 x 200 team came out of no where to win the gold medal.

So here are the top 5 things that I learnt from watching the Olympics.

Putting Money in the Bank

I was reading an interview with comments from Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps and his coach Bob Bowman and thought I would share it with you: “Putting money in the bank,” Phelps said. “When we train every day, sometimes there are workouts you don’t like, don’t want to do. Bob says you’re putting money in the bank. I guess I put a lot of money in the bank over the last four years, and we withdrew pretty much every penny in the bank. After Bob and I both grab a little break, it’ll be time to start depositing.”

Are you investing into your bank at every training session? Make sure that after every session you know that you improved in at least two areas. To become an Olympic Champion overnight takes 10 years of hard work and 10 years of investing on a daily basis.

Rankings Don’t Matter

Who cares about rankings? Rankings do not matter when you compete at the Olympics. In many races the world record holder was beaten for gold. Everyone is capable of winning on a particular day.

Stephanie Rice beat the number one ranked USA swimmer Katie Hoff in the 400m IM. Brendan Hanson was beaten by Japan’s Kitajima in the Mens 100m Breaststroke. Hoff and Italy’s Pelligrini spent so much time preparing to race each other that the young Brit Adlington came through and beat them both in the Women’s 800m Freestyle.

It’s not over til it’s over

It is vital in every race that young finish to the wall strongly. If you do not practice finishing correctly in training, you will not be able to do it in a race. In freestyle and butterfly, swimmers should never breathe inside the flags in the last 5 metres. How many races did the finishing positions of the swimmers change in the last 5 metres? The classic two for the meet both involved Michael Phelps. The Men’s 100m Butterfly was won by one hundredth of a second…how did Phelps touch first?? The second was the finish of Italian Bernard in the last leg of the 4 x 100m relay where he looked across at the US team with three strokes to go, broke his rhythm and finished in second place.

Put Yourself in a Position to Win

No one did this better than Stephanie Rice in the Womens 200m and 400m Individual Medley races. In events that were so tightly contested, Rice gave herself every chance of being there at the end by getting out hard and leading early in the race. Another great example was the USA girl Sonsie in the 200m Breaststroke. She led out at the 100m and continued to apply the pressure. Grant Hackett tried it in the 400m Freestyle and while he didn’t medal, he gave himself every opportunity.

Consistency Conquers Allcomers

The one attribute of every Olympic Champion was their consistency in training on a daily basis, and racing in the two years leading up to the Olympics.

Are you consistently great with your effort and performance every day at training? Do you make the most of every opportunity you get to race? Do you simulate what you want to do at a State or National level when you compete in lower level competitions?

If you do not perform consistently at a high level at training and in competitions then you are kidding yourself if you want to go on to represent your country. Perform consistently at a very high level in every training session and especially EVERY time you race.

Gary Barclay

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