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Cougars swim team primed for big things

Imagine getting to train here?/Pomakis
Imagine getting to train here?/Pomakis

Our swimming team is gearing up for their biggest competition

From Dec. 27 to Jan. 7, the Cougars swimming team made a trip down to Cancun, Mexico for an extensive training camp. First-year head coach Abderrahmane Tissira, head of both the Cougars and the Regina Optimist Dolphin Swim Club and a swimmer since 1988, says that the camp presented an environment that tested the athletes who were involved.

“The weather is hot, over thirty degrees. It is the same as high altitude training and it is a challenge for swimmers in this environment to do adaptation to training.”

Said workouts involved the athletes training for six and a half hours a day, three and a half hours in the morning and three in the afternoon, involving both dry land and in the water practices.

One such person who was involved in this rigorous schedule was Daniel Gomez Saenz, the University of Regina’s current record holder in the 800-metre freestyle.

“I’ve been swimming for fourteen years, so I’ve gone to some training camps, so I expected it be harder than normal practices, obviously. It was harder than I expected.”

Saenz went on to describe the extent to which the athletes worked during their morning sessions.

“Every second day at six we would go for a half an hour run then we would come back and have some breakfast. At 8:00 we would leave for the pool and then we would practice from 8:30 until 10:30 in the pool, then from 10:45 we would do some dry-land until 11:30.”

For all of the handwork put in, there was some well-earned time for relaxation involved for Saenz and the other swimmers.

“We had two days off. We rented a catamaran and we went to this little island and we snorkeled a little bit, still in the water.”

On the second day, the athletes stayed at the hotel and spent time at the pool and on the beach.

Relaxation time aside, it is the aforementioned schedule that Tissira thinks positions the team well for success going forward.

“We have only three weeks until CIS [nationals], and I think we can have a pretty good result this year. We have very good preparation. This preparation is more focused in swimming and specific work. I think it is the first time the Cougars swimmers have [had] this opportunity to work together.”

With the success of this camp, Coach Tissira says that plans are in the works for a training camp much like the one in Cancun.

“Maybe[ 3:47] for the world tryout qualify [sic] swim camp in Colorado Springs [at the] USA Olympic Centre, or [in] Flagstaff.”

With five swimmers having already secured the standards needed to compete at the CIS Championships in Victoria, British Columbia from Feb.19 to Feb. 21 (Brent Hill, Eyad Albassaiony, Jacee Kaczmar, Eva Madar, and Chris Myers), the team looks primed to have a pleasant showing and prove to the country that a landlocked province like Saskatchewan can produce high-level swimming talent.

About John Loeppky

I am an athlete with a writing problem, or a writer with a sports problem, you decide. When I’m not editing, playing wheelchair sports, or advocating for the disabled, you can find me de-stressing with friends.