Cayman swimmers train in the mountains

| 18/07/2018
CNS Local Life

Training in Colorado (kneeling, L-R) Stephanie Royston and Sarah Jackson; (standing, L-R) Raya Embury-Brown, Elana Sinclair, Kenneth Glidden, Samantha Bailey, Liam Henry and  Alex Dakers

(CNS Local Life): Senior members of Stingray Swim Club (SSC) recently spent two weeks at an altitude of 4,664 feet in the mountains of Colorado training at a summer camp. The 14 swimmers took part in the University of Northern Colorado camp, run by swimming and diving programmes head coach Lisa Ebeling and associate swimming and diving head coach Will Leonhart. Stingray’s head coach David Pursely, who is Ebeling’s brother, accompanied the swimmers and worked with them throughout the two weeks.

“Training at altitude is painful and tough, but the benefits are many – and are proven. That is why so many athletes of all sports regularly train at elevation,” said Pursely in a SSC press release. “This experience for our swimmers has been incredible in so many ways. They have experienced high altitude training, focused on their mental development as an athlete and have gained depth in understanding of so many key areas of their holistic development as a student, an athlete and a person.”

Ebeling added, “It’s been an honour for the University of Northern Colorado to host the Stingray swimmers for the past couple of weeks. Our coaches are incredibly impressed with the work ethic, dedication and commitment this group of athletes shows each day.

“It’s been especially fun for me to see my talented brother build this programme into something so special and to watch the passion he has for helping each of these swimmers develop and become the best they can be in and out of the water. This has been a great experience for all involved and we are thankful to have played a small role in the development of this great team.”

The daily itinerary included dry land conditioning and lifting, in a Division 1 weight facility, and pool training usually twice a day. A full schedule of team activities included educational talks on nutrition, body language and team atmosphere, preparing for college, work ethic and sportsmanship, and motivational talks by Olympians Anton McKee, Lacy Nymeyer and BJ Bedford (who has visited Cayman and taken part in the Flowers Sea Swim) on their personal Olympic journeys.

McKee, an Icelandic swimmer, competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics, finishing 31st in the 400m individual medley; and Nymeyer was a member of the 4 x 100m US freestyle relay team that won silver at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Bedford was a member of the US team that won gold and set a new world record in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The swimmers lived on campus in the University of Northern Colorado’s dorms, ate healthy meals in the dining halls and did their own laundry, said SSC in the press release, calling those activities “all great preparation for their future college experiences”.

They competed in a meet a mile above sea level, at a world-class facility in Denver; and took part in the 4 July celebrations which included a parade, fair and demolition derby. They visited and hiked at Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater, went whitewater rafting; hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park, where they put in some open water swimming, and then paintball and a little shopping.

“It was great working with such dedicated swimmers,” said Leonhart. “Getting to know the difference in background and culture for both the swimmers and myself was a memorable experience for all.

“I wish them the best of luck with the remainder of their season and am confident their time here will pay off in the future.”

The swimmers are training again at the Lions pool, after which they will join the rest of their teammates from all Cayman clubs to compete in the Tar Heel States meet in North Carolina 26-30 July and the TYR Summer Champs (ISCA) in St Petersburg, Florida, 30 July-5 August.

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Category: Sports, Swimming

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