BERKELEY, California, October 21. NICK Folker is taking his years of success in the weight room with athletes at UC-Berkeley on the road with the launch of a new venture called BridgeAthletic that will create athlete-specific workouts for elite athletes in aquatic sports.
The new business means Folker has resigned his post as the head strength and conditioning trainer for Cal’s aquatic sports, a decision that did not come easy.
“I would love to have stayed on at Cal,” Folker told Swimming World. “A year ago, I had no idea of the traction it was going to get. “We didn’t realize how fast it was going to move.”
With help from elite water polo player and coach Michael Sharf, the two have built Bridge from Folker’s longstanding philosophy that no two swimmers require the same dryland program in order to improve. Though the website is currently in its beta phase, BridgeAthletic.com will allow athletes to get a customized dryland program based on the events they swim, their physical stature and abilities in the weight room.
Using smartphones, athletes will have a place to log in their workouts, track their physical weight and keep nutrition diaries. Though the system is largely a platform for Folker’s system of trainers to provide workouts and data to swimmers and teams, it will also give coaches a place to enter their own dryland routines for athletes during holiday break or when out of town.
Just about every exercise, workout and nutrition plan on BridgeAthletic has had extensive testing in the past decade, specifically with the professional swimmers Folker works with at Cal. Folker will still have daily interactions with such swimmers as Natalie Coughlin, Nathan Adrian and Anthony Ervin, who are currently working under Folker’s other professional venture, called FASST, or Folker Aquatic Strength & Speed Training.
“I’m moving that (FASST) into Bridge and creating a large audience for that,” Folker said. “It will still be very swim specific, doing some consulting work with teams.”
Folker has already seen a massive amount of interest in his new program, one of the reasons why he said he had to leave his position at Cal before the end of this college season. With interest building to unexpected heights, Folker and Sharf are working to get the program moving to an official launch date and serve more than elite swimmers. Folker said Masters swimmers and triathletes are anxious to be a part of the program, and at the same time, the mobile program will welcome athletes in rugby, football and basketball, among other sports.
“We’re going to have people on staff to bring it out to other sports,” he said, “but we’re not going to lose our niche. I’m very passionate about swimming, and I’m not going to lose that.”