March 1, 2019
NYAC recognizes the hard work and dedication of Josh Liendo and Justin Baker at the National Team Development Program!
Josh, Justin and Murray attended Training camp to prepare for the Senior National Team and International podium success.
The National Team Development Program (NDTP) Male Training Camp is a Swimming Canada initiative based on the concept of a “Band of Brothers”. Twelve athletes (aged 16-18 years) of Canada’s highest ranked swimmers were chosen. Coaches were also selected based on their experience at an international level and their track record of producing and developing these athletes. I and renowned former National Coach for Canada, Dave Johnson answered the call for Canada, along with Rob Pettifer from Richmond BC, an apprentice coach.
High Performance requires great preparation, training camps across all sports are recognized as an integral and valuable experience to reach this success and our training reflected this necessary intensity. Our days began with a 4-kilometre walk to the pool & back, twice per day. I had to get in-shape prior to leaving as each day I was logging 10 kilometres per day - yikes!
The athletes stepped up, understanding that most International events require a huge amount of walking; athletes and coaches need to be prepared. The Olympic village is a classic example.
Just to give you an idea of a typical training day:
|6:00||Walk to Pool - 4 km walk|
|6:30||Dry land activation|
|9:30||Breakfast - can you imagine how hungry they were?|
|14:00 - 15:00||Study Hall|
|15:00 - 17:00||Rest|
|17:30||Walk to pool - another 4 km|
|18:30 to 20:30||Swim|
The practice sessions were organized around 3 blocks of 5 sessions each. At the end of each block, the staff briefed the athletes on stroke efficiency, test set results and overall dynamic on their part. The Sprint Group was under my set design, I wanted to make each session was challenging and engaging.
Justin Baker right off the bat in our first test set of descending intervals 20x50’s was ferocious in his intensity. I was stunned as prior to the set, I had adjusted the set for him, he was having none of it and wanted to stay with the pack and do it all, and boy, he really did keep up with the freestylers - wow! One of the boys was puking on the deck for five minutes afterwards it was so hard.
Later in the camp, we swam a set of 150-meter butterfly pull set. I looked over at Josh and he’s really hurting! I wondered why and noticed he’s wearing hand paddles three times bigger than anyone else. They were like pie plates and you could see the tremendous power he was generating, and never breaking stroke once. I ran over to give what I thought were smaller paddles, they were not, just a different colour - oops. He never flinched and carried on. Afterwards we had a good laugh, as he thought to himself during the set, geez, these feel just as hard!
NYAC can be proud of both our boys, they were outstanding and a great example to the group. Hard working, quietly polite and super engaged in the whole program.
At the final brief, I gave a TALK about how to “EARN THIS”. A lot of sacrifice was made so you can have this opportunity. The clubs and swimmers back home who support me to be here with you. The dollars spent by SNC and the planning time and effort. EARN THIS, make this time count and be better because of it. Take it back home and be an example, especially to the young ones who see you as something to aspire to. EARN THIS and remember this time when you see each other in 43 days at Trials. The handshake, a fist bump, props or just a look will remind us all about our time together, our Band of Brothers.