2013 National Junior Team Blog: Day 2


Aaron Peirsol talks to the 2013 National Junior Team.The National Junior Team Camp is being held April 4-7 at the U.S. Olympic Training Complex in Colorado Springs. National Junior Team coaches and athletes have volunteered to blog from the camp to give you an idea of what this weekend’s all about. Here’s a look at day 2:

From Swimmer Jackson Miller:

April 5, 2013, was day 2 for the USA National Junior Team at the Olympic Training Center. The day began with an 8 a.m. meeting with Ladonna Reed, a representative of USADA, and then transitioned directly into another meeting with a sports psychologist .

In this meeting, the team worked to perfect our mental game, an aspect of swimming that many people skip over and don't put much thought into.

From this meeting we left for our first practice. Practice was short but was swum at a high intensity. The team was focused and excited to put together a good morning practice.

Once practice ended, the team headed off to lunch to put in some calories before another set of meetings. The next two meetings covered the topics of supplement safety, and then stroke technique and video breakdown.

Next was our afternoon practice, this one was a little bit longer than the first. We spent the first hour and a half hitting some yardage and pushing our aerobic threshold in the high altitude. The last 30 minutes the coaches took swimmers individually and broke down their starts and turns and made sure our techniques were sharp and as close to perfection as possible.

Following the second practice, the team was blessed by the presence of Tyler Hamilton, former Tour de France cyclist and first hand witness and participant of the doping and PED issue in high level cycling. He told the team about his experience being brought into the terrible culture developed in the sport and the emotional and physical toll it took on him and the ones he loved. He was one of the original cyclists to come clean and tell his story, as well as testify in court against Lance Armstrong and the U.S. Postal Team. Hamilton's speech was very moving and was one of the most personal and passionate speeches I have personally ever heard.

After long day of training and meetings the team headed back to the dooms and prepared for another day of hard work. Day 3 is incline day!

From Girls Team Captain Chelsea Chenault:

Today was a busy day filled with meetings and swimming. We started the day with a USADA meeting. Here we learned about the doping control process. When we answered questions after the presentation, we got prizes.

After this we had our morning practice, and it was really fun. We immediately went to a meeting on sports psychology. We learned about how to deal with pressure-filled situations and swimming well even after we have already had a bad race. We also filled out sheets to help us weigh our self-confidence to gain a better understanding on things to work on with our mental state in competition.

We rushed to lunch after the meeting because we had some down time before our next set of meetings. Prior to the next set of meetings Annie Zhu and I arranged a last-second girls meeting so we could all get to know each other. We shared our names, where we were from, the events we swim, and our biggest celebrity crushes. This really allowed everyone to form a common ground, which really helped the more shy people to relax and open up.

With our newly made bonds, we walked over to the next meeting as a team. Our meetings consisted of high performance and supplements, and technique work. In our second practice we put some of the technique tips to work. We did drills emphasizing the skills and worked on dives. We got a little carried away with the workout, and cut it really close to the cafeteria closing time for dinner.

We ended with day with a talk from Tyler Hamilton. He shared his experience with doping during his cycling career. Something about his story was just so moving and I know I can speak on behalf of the entire team when I say we were all so blessed to have him come and speak with us.

Today was just an incredible learning experience for everyone, and I can't wait for what's in store for tomorrow.

From Coach Allison Beebe:

Being a part of the National Junior Team Camp is a special opportunity, and we all made the most of that opportunity on Day Two.

The coaching staff kicked off the day with a 5:30 AM coaches meeting. With coffee available, the staff spent a couple of hours discussing workouts, coaching philosophies and season plans.

At 8:00 a.m., the day officially began with a talk from USADA, a talk with USOC sports psychologist Sean McCann, and our first morning practice. The teams also voted on captains this morning, and they chose Annie Zhu, Chelsea Chenault, Jack Conger and Kyle Darmody to be our captains.

The swimmers and coaches had a quick lunch and headed back to the West Wing for talks with Dan McCarthy and Russell Mark. Dan spent time talking with the athletes on the dangers of supplements. One of the many things that Dan shared was that WADA and USADA do not certify products, so athletes should be wary of products that make this claim. Russell showed footage on ten ways athletes can get better, and the swimmers spent nearly two hours in dialogue with Russell.

The camp then headed to the pool for our second practice of the day. While the coaches started to increase the intensity of the workouts, the National Team athletes walked the deck answering questions and giving technical feedback. After a quick dinner, everyone headed back to the West Wing to meet Tyler Hamilton and hear his story.

While it is easy to get caught up in the busy day’s details, from a coach’s standpoint, today’s highlight was watching Katie, Brendan and Aaron interact with the National Junior Team. In a society where giving back is becoming the exception rather than the norm, these three are clearly genuinely invested in helping the campers. From technical feedback to advice on leadership, the present National Team athletes are empowering our future National Team athletes, and the future looks great.

Day Three is a promising day, and I look forward to watching Team USA grow closer and stronger!


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