At the start of 2012, coach Gary of swimfast aquatic club told me to be prepared for a group of Indonesian swimmers coming over for a year of training in preparation for their PON swimming championships which occur every 4 years. It is their version of inter city championships and apparently it is a big deal in Indonesia. At first I thought these were just club level swimmers coming over, but little did I know that these were the best of Indonesia, the top guys who have been to the Olympics and are some of south east Asia's best swimmers. It was a bit overwhelming at first, these guys were proven athletes with their own ideologies and training methodologies. I had to prepare myself.
When I first met the group, it felt like I had to sell them my ideas and training methods, I didn't know if they would accept it. Everything that I learnt in University would now be put to the test. The first few sessions started slowly, getting to know their training status and personalities. at the start it was really difficult, most of them were questioning my methods. Some did not see improvements in their times while they were racing or felt heavier in the water, some even lost their feel of the water. This was where I had to stand firm with my methods and tell them that they had to trust me and that they will see the results at the end of the year once the training cycle is over.
As the months went by, they started to adapt and see that my methods and programming made sense. They said they have never trained so specifically to their events before. In the past they had general group training with the whole team, here, I grouped them according to their distance and strokes they specialized in. The sprint guys needed more strength and power, the distance guys did more strength and muscular endurance work. They also realised that injury prevention and recovery were just as important as strength training. It was great to know that they were slowly getting used to the training.
When PON came around, the swimmers did exceptionally well. They won multiple medals, some set new records and many had done personal best times. I must say it was an Interesting year for me and the IFC Team. I hope that the swimmers learnt as much about training and themselves as I have learnt from them. I wanna thank Coach Gary for giving us the opportunity to work with top athletes.
Carl Jan De Vries