Three swimmers from Hemel Hempstead were invited to a Talent Training Camp on 11th July.
Three swimmers from Hemel Hempstead were invited to a Talent Training Camp on 11th July by virtue of their BAGCAT placings at Counties. Megan Pirrie, 9, Kyle Holmes, 10, and Freddie Woodcock, 12, went to Haileybury School to spend an intensive day with double-Olympian, and twice Commonwealth Gold medallist, 100m breaststroker Chris Cook.
Coach Alan Doyle went along too.
The day began with a session in the pool with Chris getting in amongst the swimmers and helping them out with their breaststroke technique. Amongst many useful tips Chris gave was the importance of streamlining, the skill of building up speed over the first three strokes of the race rather than trying to go at full pelt from the start, and the fact that you don’t need state-of-the-art facilities to make it to the top – Chris spent most of his international career training in a three lane 25 yard pool.
After an hour and a half in the pool, Chris treated the swimmers to a land training session, again emphasising how unnecessary fancy equipment was, using simple drills to build physical fitness and strength.
Lunch was followed by an inspirational talk by Chris which began with film footage of his greatest moments at both the Athens and Beijing Olympics. Perhaps more instructive, however, was the PowerPoint presentation which followed, in which he listed all the failures he’d had to suffer along the way. These included failing to make his first Commonwealth games, along with two World Championships. The message to all budding “Little Olympians”, as he referred to his audience, was clear: if you can’t accept failure and learn from it, you won’t get very far.
The day ended back in the pool, with every swimmer being filmed on all four strokes by underwater camera – the results being copied onto a CD for everyone to take home.
To see pictures from the day, go to the photos section of this website