The Guernsey Island Games Triathlon team responded enthusiastically to the specialist swim coach who visited the island last weekend. The visit by Steve Bailey, a Swim Smooth Coach, was made possible thanks to a bursary from Generali Worldwide, the Guernsey Island Games Association sponsor.


The coaching day started with the swimmers’ techniques captured on film in the pool followed by classroom-based feedback. Pool-based drills and more technique work followed, based on each swimmer’s personal needs.


The aim of the session was to support the team’s swim training programme and to improve the freestyle techniques, looking at breathing, body roll, kicking, rhythm and timing. The coach was able to suggest individual stroke modifications for each team member.


The triathlon team will also be given individualised 10-week training programmes to follow, which will help to maximise the benefits of the course. In addition, everyone retained their film with the commentary, which will serve as a useful reminder of the lessons learnt on the day.


British Triathlon partners with Swim Smooth and the coach, Steve Bailey, was impressed with the Guernsey team: ‘It was clear right from the start of the day that the athletes were already competing at a very high level within the triathlon so it was a real pleasure to work with a group of that standard,’ commented Steve. ‘Everyone was very receptive to the Swim Smooth style of feedback and course content and we covered a lot in the day.’


Several of the participants have reported that the course, and what they learnt on the day, has boosted their confidence in the water and all have a much clearer understanding of their own stroke strengths and weaknesses.


‘Swim technique is often where triathletes need the most help,’ explains Richard Stapley, one of the team managers. ‘Having the support of the Generali Worldwide Island Games bursary meant we could provide this specialist coaching and the team have all responded very positively and we are all looking forward to taking our training forward.’


Alan Rowe, one of Guernsey’s more experienced triathletes, felt the course was ‘impressive’ and praised Steve Bailey’s engaging coaching style. Like all the attendees, he found the video analysis to be invaluable and commented: ‘Whilst aspects of ageing affects my physical attributes, I can counter physical decline by improving technique and effectiveness in the water so it will be a key focus for me in the build-up to the Island Games.’


Max Thornton, who will turn 18 in Jersey at the next Games, was also impressed. He learnt a lot about his stroke rate and how to improve his efficiency in the water with a higher stroke rate. He feels that, with continued practice, he’ll be coming out of the water further up the field. James Gower, agreed: ‘I hope that I will be able to take a minute or so off my swim time and improvements in my efficiency will set me up well for the rest of the race.’


Amy Critchlow also believes the effects of the training will be seen on race day. ‘I will be concentrating on building bilateral breathing into my swim. This is a necessary skill for open water swimming and will allow me to adapt my swim to the conditions on the day.’


The Island Games team sponsorship is part of Generali Worldwide’s commitment to sport in the community.


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