Austin’s Nitro Swimming National Group Trains at the Olympic Training Center

Nitro Swimming’s National Group recently received a rare invitation and had the opportunity visit and train at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. There aren’t many programs doing this sort of thing with their kids and this isn’t something that parents just starting swim lessons in Austin are concerned with, but it is the kind of dedication to our swimmers that we show here at Nitro and the enthusiasm is contagious throughout our organization.
Here’s National Group Coach Tim O’Brien’s recap:
This was an amazing trip on many levels and two of the swimmers quotes from that trip were” great team bonding” and “now I feel I can do anything”. That is a quick synopsis of a great week both in the pool and definitely out of it. The swimmers trained six sessions in the OTC pool averaging 6,500 LCM at altitude which was a very tough adjustment for all but also very rewarding and dryland was done twice and weights once in the state of the art OTC weigh room. Here is a trip recap:
1) Arrived Weds night at around 7 pm and the swimmers rode in the OTC shuttle from the airport with the Olympic Judo team. Checked in and ate dinner at the amazing athlete’s dining hall, team meeting and then sleep.
2) Stretching and then am practice from 9-11 LCM and we had the entire 10 lane facility to ourself after the Para-Olympians finished their practice. We filmed a video for USA Swimming which will be up on that website in about 2 weeks and then did 30 minutes of dryland parts of which were also filmed. The Para-Olympians were extremely inspirational as well as friendly!
3) The swimmers ate lunch, rested and toured the OTC campus before having a great weightroom session from 2-3 pm in the state of the art OTC performance weight room directly next door to where the US Olympic wrestling team was training with the Swedish team.
4) PM practice was from 5-7 again LCM and we split the pool with an all star team from California. Helping to make the training sessions enjoyable at altitude…the swimmers hooked their ipod’s into the speaker system and listen to their choice of music above and below water during practice.
5) The swimmers finished the day with dinner in the athletes dining hall and then off to the athletes recreational center and dorms for some movies, pool and other games and fun.
6) On the slate for Friday was above and below the water video taping for each swimmer, am practice LCM from 9-11, a motivational speech by former NCAA Champion and current USA Para-Olympian Dave Denniston, a nutrition and drug talk, afternoon practice and then a meeting with a member of the USA Swimming Sports Science Department on biomechanics and technique and then dinner and rec activities.
7) The Dave Denniston talk was absolutely amazing as he spoke to the group for about 35 minutes and it was a laugh, cry and purely inspirational talk and I for one will never forget it. Dave then spent an additional 45 minutes with the breastrokers and imer’s on breastroke dryland and stretches that he used to do with Ed Moses when training for Trials. We were able to interact with Dave daily after that and he provided swimmers feedback for our group.
8) That night after PM practice and dinner our swimmers as well as the Pacific All Star Team had a private meeting with Dr. Genadijus Sokolovas who works with swimmers like Michael Phelps, Dara Torres and Jason Lezak. Dr. G as he is known gave an eye opening talk on biomechanics, technique and velocity and how it relates to swimmer drag. I was very proud because every question he asked was answered by swimmers from our group and they were really in tune with what was being taught. Very productive hour and fifteen minutes to say the least!
9) Saturday AM we had a very strong training session and I told the swimmers that if they did so we would forgo PM practice in the pool and head over to the Pikes Peak area and attempt the famous “Incline”. We ate lunch in the dining hall and the swimmers had some nap time before we headed over to the Incline and basically it is 5000 steps of railroad ties that go up 2011 feet of elevation gain and 1 mile straight up a mountain. It is extremely challenging and all 10 of our swimmers as well as myself made it up between 27-51 minutes ( top male was Zach Gunn and top female was Tera Bradham ). The scenery was absolutely amazing as well as inspirational and we took team pictures and wrote Nitro in the snow at the top. For the walk down we took the trail next to the incline and what was supposed to take 45 minutes took closer to 90 minutes as there was ice on the trail down. The swimmers helped each other through communictation and enouragement and it really became a highlight of the trip. To get an idea of what it look like try this link Family – Hiking The Famous Manitou Incline (5000 steps!) in Colorado . Went to a team dinner off the OTC campus to wrap up the day and Felicia’s mom treated all to dessert for Felicia’s 17th birthday!
10) Sunday AM we finished with one last training session and our last set was the traditional ” All Days” to wrap up the training. The team then ate at the dining hall and took pictures all over the OTC grounds before taking the shuttle to the airport and heading home.
11) As stated…amazing trip on so many levels and we will be making this an annual trip for Nitro. Swimmers that make LCM Senior National cuts are completely free ( minus air which was under 200.00 ) so extra motivation for LCM!
That is all for now…keep your focus on the big picture as our Nitro shave meets are in March and the month of Feb needs to be a strong training month for us to set that up. Please email me with any questions and thank you for being a part of Nitro!   Tim



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