“Pool swimming is a highly technical sport- focus on biomechanics to decrease resistance and drag is constantly being addressed whereas the sea is of a capricious nature in which unreliability and inconsistency is ever-present” – Suzie Schuster
As the country prepares for the 2019 Pacific Games, the Government and China Aid have joined forces to refurbish the Aquatic Centre, much to the dismay of the training squad.
“As the games are not until July 2019, to have swimmers out of their training facility for ten months is a tough challenge. Facility upgrades tend to be prioritized over athlete training,” says Coach Suzie Schuster.
With that challenge, the team embraced a new training environment and the coach had to put together a new training plan to accommodate for no pool sessions.
They are now training daily at the Taumeasina Island Resort beachfront area, putting in up to 25km per week. Schuster explains that there is not a compatible translation from open water training to the pool.
“Pool swimming is a highly technical sport- focus on biomechanics to decrease resistance and drag is constantly being addressed whereas the sea is of a capricious nature in which unreliability and inconsistency is ever-present,” she said.
“While we can work on endurance, load, and training effect of resistance, we will be challenged in finding smooth water, walls and timing elements that are critical to a swimmers’ success.”
“Also, swimmers, in nature, are gravitated towards training solely in the water. As it is too much load to do 5km plus of open water per day, we now must compensate with a larger dry land and running programme, something the swimmers are being tested in.”
Schuster continues to explain that the equivalent of 25km training per week is likened to a 100km running per week.
“Dry land training is a 4 to 1 ratio- meaning the swimmers must do at least 4km running to compensate for 1 km of swim training, therefore the time spent in training is significantly longer.”
While the squad focuses on sea-based trainings, Samoa Swimming’s imminent challenge is continuing the successful learn-to-swim programme for children.
Samoa Swimming is looking for assistance from the community if there are pools that can be offered for learn to swim lerssons so the development program can stay on course and continue to develop swim skills for children. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if there is an available pool or facility for lessons.
While Samoa swimming is familiar with environmental and facility challenges, the team looks forward to attending a summer holiday training camp and competition in New Zealand. Hats (or swimming caps) off to the swimmers for persevering and moving ahead with a new training program.
The support of Taumeasina Island Resort Management is phenomenal and the Samoa Swimming Federation is grateful for the assistance.