SA swimming stars Natalie du Toit, Chad Ho, Riaan Schoeman and Heerden Herman trained at the International Distance Camp 2010 in Potsdam, near Berlin from January 3-17, on invitation of the German Swimming Federation.
The SA swimmers, who were accompanied by Durban-based coach Alisdair Hatfield, were among six countries that are attending the annual training camp.
ÔÇ£I believe in international networking and the camp allowed for interaction between the international coaches and for discussion on long distance issues regarding training sets┬áand training philosophies,ÔÇØ said German national coach Dirk Lange, who spent four years in SA as mentor to the country’s national team.
ÔÇ£The idea was to increase the technical pressure in quality (very fast┬ásets) and quantity (more than 100 km per week) on the athletes.┬áThe first week was guided by Germany and the second week by Australia and SA.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£South Africa had very strong athletes. They are still making me proud because I can see the performances of┬áthese swimmers which are the result of their┬áindividual home coaches and the SSA strategy up to 2008,ÔÇØ said Lange.
SA swimmer Chad Ho, who finished third in the five kilometres open water swim at the FINA World Championships in Rome, Italy last year, said: ÔÇ£The camp was important because it gave us an idea of how swimmers from other countries train and what we have to do to improve our standards. The most important aspects that came to mind during the camp were to stay strong, focused and train hard.ÔÇØ
Dr Kerith Aginsky was Swimming SA’s representative attending sports science programmes at the camp in order to ensure that SA’s swim structure on this front stays in touch with international standards.