Have you been wondering how the SwimAnalyzer 1.0 app can aid in the goal setting and training preparation of your swimmers? To give you an insight into how this great tool can be used practically, in every day training and competition, SwimAnalyzer 1.0 founder and swimming coach Benoit Grattepanche has provided us with some information on the training and preparation of his Olympic swimmer Elinah Phillip. Benoit began coaching 16-year-old Elinah Phillip at Bishop’s Stortford College Swimming Club (UK) a mere 6 months prior to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. In this short period of time Elinah qualified for the Olympics in the 50FS, continuously achieved personal best times at each meet in the lead-up to the Games (and at the Games itself…more on that later), and made history as the first swimmer to represent the British Virgin Islands at an Olympic Games.
The following information shows you part of Benoit’s process for preparing Elinah for her race in Rio on 12 August 2016. Benoit utilised the race model generator for continuous goal setting through the preparation phase, and the race analysis tool at each preparatory competition to monitor her progress, identify weak spots, and guide subsequent training to enable her to improve and achieve a string of successive target times. With 6 months of focussed training, Elinah dropped exactly 1s from her 50FS time, from the first competition in March to her race in the preliminaries in Rio in August. That’s impressive! An overview of the process is outlined below.
26 March 2016: Long-course competition, UK
Goal 50FS: 27.00s (red)
Actual 50FS: 27.26s (green)
This is the race analysis of Elinah’s 50FS (green) compared to the race model (red). Following this race, a new target was set for the 50FS, 26.80s, and the race model was created. This new model was then compared to the race she had just completed in 27.26s, to determine which areas need to be improved.
New goal (26.80s) vs. race analysis of 27.26s
Benoit and Elinah focussed on the elements required to swim the new time of 26.80s in training for the following 3 weeks, and then Elinah swam in another competition, with the aim of achieving the new goal time of 26.80s.
14 April 2016: Long course competition, UK
Goal 50FS: 26.80s (red)
Actual 50FS: 26.93s (green)
As Elinah was very close to the goal time of 26.80s (save for the finish), a new goal time was then set moving forward for the next training block. The new goal time was set at 26.50s, and was compared with this race of 26.93s to identify the areas for improvement.
New goal (26.50s) vs. race analysis of 26.93s
Elinah’s start is very good (time to 15m), it appears to be the last 15m of her race and the finish that could be improved. These elements were incorporated into training, and Elinah put these to the test when she competed again just 2 weeks later.
30 April 2016: Long course competition, UK
Goal time 50FS: 26.50s (red)
Actual time 50FS: 26.54s (green)
In just 2 weeks, Elinah dropped 0.39s off her long-course 50FS time! She has greatly improved the first half of her race and consistently has a good start (time to 15m), and she has even improved in the last 15m though it is still a bit slower than the race model suggests. Moving forward this time, the new goal was the Olympic target time that Elinah was aiming for in Rio 2016. This was compared to her race of 26.54s to identify the target areas to improve.
Olympic Games goal time (26.20) vs. race analysis of 26.54s
It can be seen quite clearly, that the improvements need to come from the last 15m, and in the finish from 45m-50m.
After an intense phase of training, Elinah and Benoit set off for Rio, to put their plans in action. In the preliminary of the 50FS, Elinah placed 3rd in her heat, thanks to a rocketing start off the blocks which propelled her through the rest of the race. You can watch the video of Elinah’s preliminary heat at Rio 2016 Olympics here, and view the race analysis from this event compared to the goal time below. A lovely video was also made by Elinah’s sister in the lead-up to the Olympics, including Elinah’s preliminary race, which you can also watch below, and on the SwimAnalyzer Facebook page.
12 August 2016: Rio Olympic Games Preliminary, Brazil
It is great to see the race plan come together so well, to allow Elinah to achieve a 0.28s personal best time at the Olympic Games – a feat not many athletes can achieve. Most importantly, Elinah improved one of the weaker aspects of her race, the 35m-45m segment, swimming faster than the model up to 45m. Elinah’s time of 26.26s also earned her a new national record for the British Virgin Islands.
At 16 years old, Elinah has a very promising and exciting swimming career ahead of her. They have their sights firmly set on Tokyo 2020…but first, the next race goal.
New goal 2017 (25.90s) vs. Olympic Games 2016 personal best (26.26s)
We can’t wait to see what Elinah can achieve in 2017 and beyond! We hope you have enjoyed this insight into the preparation of an Olympic swimmer, and how the race model generator of the SwimAnalyzer 1.0 app can keep you on track towards your gaols with continuous planning and analysis throughout the season.
Do you have a similar success story for your swimmers using SwimAnalyzer 1.0 which you would like to share with us? Please get in contact, we would love to hear about it. You can also share your thoughts with us in the comments below.