How Some of the World’s Best Swimmers Are Staying Performance Ready During Lockdown

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After four years of training for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the unforeseen circumstance of the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown athletes’ plans into disarray. The world’s best swimmers were in peak condition to battle it out down the black line. However, in March of this year the decision was made to postpone the Olympics until July 2021. The global state of lockdown has forced athletes to soldier on with their training within the constraint of their own home.

With pools closed, swimmers worldwide have taken to social media to show how they aren’t letting the pandemic get in their way of their Olympic dreams. They are displaying an array of creative methods to stay fit, strong, and work on specific swimming skills in order to be performance ready for next years games.

Olympian Cate Campbell's hardcore backyard workouts | The Courier-Mail

Simone Manuel

With no access to the pool, training specific skills can be difficult. Yet Simone Manuel from team USA has shown how she is practicing what she describes as “flip turning without a pool”. Tucking into a ball and rolling back on a gym mat, she then propels herself forward and jumps into a streamline position. A fantastic way to maintain powerful, quick turns.

Katie Ledecky

Katie Ledecky from the United States has shared on Instagram how she is maintaining her explosive dive starts with one simple exercise. With her cap and goggles on, she crouches to a start position. At the sound ‘go!’ she mimics a dive start and sprints forward. Repeating this exercise in a series of sets, she says it is a great way to “work on that reaction time”.

Cate Campbell

Cate Campbell from the Australian Swim Team isn’t letting a lack of gym equipment get in the way of her training, telling her followers on Instagram, “no weights, no worries!” The athlete is seen showing her strength by demonstrating a set of backyard pullups, with two ten litre water jugs strapped to her waist.

Mack Horton

Many swimmers have taken to their backyard pools to get a workout in the water, using a swim harness to swim on the spot. Australian Mack Horton has shown his backyard set up on Instagram, where he is suited up with his swim harness attached to a tree by his pool with his pull buoy and paddles at the ready.

Adam Peaty

Cycling has been a hit workout for swimmers in lockdown. World record breaststroker from Great Britain, Adam Peaty, has taken to stationary cycling in his backyard (beyond having a flume dropped into his back yard). In April he rode 100 kilometres in one afternoon, stating that he is “still pushing every day, just in different ways”.

The Australian Swim Team High Performance Paralympic Coach, Nathan Doyle, has implemented strength and conditioning programs for his athletes in order to maintain their muscle mass and fitness. Doyle told me that they “are now around 500 days away which is plenty of time”, and “are making sure that they use this time as an opportunity”. With swimming being a very unique sport, the Australian swim team has been prescribed activities with the ideal swimming physique in mind. Doyle favours cycling and specific skill-based exercises, such as resistance band work and shoulder loaded drills. He explained that “too much running isn’t great for swimming because it tightens up the ankles. We want our athletes to return as swimmers, not marathon runners.” With limited access to equipment, he has provided athletes with mainly body weighted exercises.

The world’s best swimmers have been creative with their dryland workouts while in lockdown. Whether you are training for the Olympic Games or your next club competition, there are many ways to stay fit and strong from your home.

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