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Aussie F-Teamers dive back in as pools re-open.

16 June 2020

F-Teamer Brendon Smith in Wing It Classic Briefs

The lifting of restrictions in Australia has seen the gradual return of squads to the pool. It has been the longest period out of the water for some swimmers, making their comeback even tougher. Many have had to adjust their training regimes, focusing on strength and getting used to dryland workouts but it doesn't make up for the feel of the water which is so easy to lose so quickly. So the excitement to gear up in the Funky Trunks and dive in again with squad mates is no doubt mixed with the uncertainty of how swimmers will perform when it comes time to build up to full training again.

We caught up with three of our F-Teamers, Elliot Weber, Brendon Smith and Travis Mahoney to see how their return to the water is going.

What was your first thought when you were told you could train in the pool again?

Elliot - My first thought for training resuming was how will I be able to stay afloat after quarantine and not being able to swim every day. I was excited to get back in the water as it had been a long time and I was going stir crazy from being stuck at home.

Brendon - My first thought was, did I spend all of my free time the right way because I don't think I will ever get a break this big until I stop swimming for good. After that it was just pure excitement about being able to work towards my goals again.

What did your first training session look like?

Elliot - The first training session back mainly consisted of drills and a little bit of speed training as we wouldn't have been able to handle the long aerobic swimming yet. We all must maintain social distancing with everyone even though we are all school students and are low risk.

Brendon - It was very short and low intensity; we didn't want to shock the system too much or risk any injury. We are just slowly building back up as we still have lots of time until we need to worry about racing again.

Travis - Our first session was just an easy smooth session, after being out of the water for a while, it's important to take it slow in working back up to a higher intensity level.

Elliot & Travis
Elliot and Travis both agree that missing their team mates has been tough during lockdown.

Can you train with your squad and if so, how many are allowed in the pool?

Elliot - Unfortunately, I am unable to train with the rest of my squad as they have graduated from school and must train at a different time than me. We can have between 1-16 people at the pool we are training in (excluding coaches) and thankfully I have been given the opportunity to train at my school's pool. As my club is council based, those pools are remaining closed for several more weeks due to the limit of people placed on a complex

Brendon - At the start I was only able to train with half of my squad but from the start of this week I will be training with my whole squad.

Travis - The SASI High Performance squad has continued to train fairly normally; we are fortunate to have a good amount of lane space to ensure we are socially distanced.

What measures are in place at your pool?

Elliot - The measures in place at the pool are one person entering and one exiting at a time so people don't come in close proximity with other swimmers. More importantly so we don?t spread germs with people who have graduated school as they are swimming at the same time as us. We have to use hand sanitiser when entering the complex and must wipe down where we sit with a towel and use cleaning disinfectant to prevent the spread of germs.

Brendon - We have to answer questions and take a temperature check, it's pretty standard and it just feels like routine now.

Travis - We train 1 swimmer per lane and have a sanitiser at the entrance as well as temperature tests before every session, other facilities are still limited at the aquatic centre.

What have you missed most about swimming at the pool?

Elliot - The thing I've missed the most about swimming would probably be the socialising and hanging out with friends/ teammates. I've missed being able to have the feel of the water and the daily adrenaline rush from jumping into the water every day.

Brendon - Always seeing my teammates and having a good time with them.

Travis - As we were able to have not too much time out of the pool, I put my focus into my university study so that was a great new focus for me while I couldn't train, I think it was the social side of training that I missed the most when we couldn't train.

Although not being able to swim, additional dryland training has helped Brendon return feeling strong

How have you been feeling in the water?

Elliot - I haven't been feeling well in the water as it's been a while since I have swum. From when I stopped swimming due to coronavirus to when I started training again it was 2 and a half months out of the water which is significantly more than what my normal annual break would be.

Brendon - Surprisingly not too bad actually, the first session felt super strange but other than that it feels like normal.

Travis - I've been feeling good in the water and really enjoying working on some skill-based things in the pool. Our dryland program was fairly similar when we weren't able to swim so for me it's fairly normal at the moment. We have been very fortunate in South Australia that our restrictions have been a little less severe and we have had a lot of support from SASI, the South Australian Government and SAALC.

Has your dry land helped or has it made you feel different in the water?

Elliot - Dry land has helped me in the water as I was able to maintain my muscular fitness and try to maintain some endurance work through outside exercise such as riding and running.

Brendon - Definitely helped. I was able to improve on some of my weaknesses and also make my strengths stronger.

Adapting outside of the pool has been challenging for not only our athletes but for all of the swimming community. We have our fingers and toes crossed that restrictions will start to lift all over the globe and as swimmers we can all get back to doing what we love.


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