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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How the Brownlee Brothers Made History in Rio

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Jonathan and Alistair Brownlee show off their silver and gold Olympic medals in Triathlon, Rio, August 18, 2016
If there’s any sibling rivalry between the Brownlees, it wasn’t visible in Rio.

Moments before Alistair crossed the finish line to win his second consecutive Olympic gold medal, an historic first in Triathlon, he paused to look over his shoulder for his younger brother, Jonathan, just a few seconds behind. On the other side, panting on the pavement, the two held hands.

How they came to dominate the sport is, of course, a story of grit and determination. And while you’d never know it from seeing the brothers atop the podium with their gold and silver medals, it’s also a story of successive injuries rehabbed with aquatic therapy.

Brothers in Arms
The improbably named Coz Tantrum, their former swim coach and still a family friend, has had a privilege vantage point into the brothers’ unique bond.

Alistair “tends to think a little bit more outside of the box,” she observes in this interview with BBC Radio last week. “Alistair does take risks. He did prior to 2012 when he injured his ankle. He said, ‘Well, I’ve got to do something here to get back in the water, but I can’t put any weight on my ankle.’ So we trained in an Endless Pool on a treadmill.”


As she recalls, in the six months “prior to the 2012 Olympics, he’d done hardly any [dry-land] running. So when he got on the line, he knew he could swim, he knew he was going to be able to bike, but he didn’t know how his ankle was going to hold up. And as it turned out, he did the fastest 10K.”

The Endless Pool retained its rehabilitative role this time around. Alistair suffered a stress fracture to his ankle just nine months ago. As he maintained one of the leading positions on the bike, and then as he took a commanding lead over his co-frontrunner, Jonny, in the run, the injury seemed a distant memory.


The Race in Rio

The brutal course, worsened by sweltering heat and humidity, had been called the toughest in Olympic history. The waters off Copacabana beach are notorious for their choppy waves, and the bike course achieved gradients as steep as 20 percent.

The pair stayed side by side through most of the race, always near or at the front of the pack. Only in the last 2 km did Alistair break out to take a solo lead.

Alistair stands as the first triathlete, man or woman, to earn successive gold medals in the sport. He and Jonny are also the first brothers to take gold and silver together since Rome 1960.

A photo posted by Jonathan Jonny Brownlee (@jonnybrownleetri) on

A photo posted by Alistair Brownlee (@alistair.brownlee) on

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Week in Swimming

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Rio Olympics' Men's 10k Marathon Swim at Fort Copacabana
For all of its benefits and fans, why does the U.S. only love swimming every four years? (Quartz)

Called "gymnastics without breathing," synchronized swimming is riskier business than most Olympics fans realize. (NPR, with audio)

Swimming more than 10 times longer than Katie Ledecky’s longest event, the women of Olympic open water swimming get a steel-eyed appreciation for their “cruder … more primal” sport. (New Yorker)

A current in the Rio swimming pool may have given an advantage to lanes 5 through 8 in 50m races, researchers are now finding. (Deadspin)

The first African American woman to win an individual swimming gold medal, Simone Manuel could inspire a new generation (NY Times), which would suit USA Swimming, where they’re actively working to bring more racial diversity to the sport. (NPR)

The latest episode of The Memory Palace podcast explores the life and achievements of pioneering marathon swimmer Florence Chadwick.

At IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene, a narrower chute will make swim start safer for the triathletes. (KREM)

Get inspired by this prostate cancer survivor who’s competing in the U.S. Masters Swimming Summer Nationals this weekend. (D&C)



A photo posted by MySwimPro (@myswimpro) on

Thursday, August 18, 2016

TODAY: Watch the Brownlees Defend their Olympic Titles

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World Champion triathlete and Olympic medalist Jonathan Brownlee in his Endless Pool
This morning, Alistair Brownlee could become the first person to win back-to-back gold in Olympic triathlon. He and his brother, Jonathan, who took the bronze in London 2012, both acknowledge that their Endless Pool® has played a crucial role in their preparation.

Six months before the London Olympics, Alistair tore his Achilles tendon. In the low-impact environment of his Elite Endless Pool, he was able to continue running on the Underwater Treadmill. He credited the pool with giving him a “massive, massive benefit” in the crucial months before his gold-medal victory.

Training about 35 hours a week, the brothers know that injuries are unavoidable in such a demanding sport. “I got a stress fracture last year,” Jonny tells UK television presenter Charlie Webster in this video, “and I got told I wasn’t going to be able to run for 12 weeks. Thanks to the Endless Pool, I was back in seven or eight weeks.”


The brothers also use their Endless Pool for swim training and stroke refinement. As Alistair observes, “Every day when you swim, you can definitely learn technically.” Jonny adds, “If you use an Endless Pool, you get that constant technique feedback” from their pool’s underwater mirrors and video.

Last August, Alistair underwent ankle surgery. Again, he turned to his Endless Pool for training and rehabilitation. “Days or weeks when I’m injured, I actually spend as much as 10 hours just running on it.” This summer, he returned to the sport, winning World Triathlon Series races in Leeds and Stockholm.

This morning in Rio, they swim 1.5 km in the waters off Copacabana beach, bike into the hills for 40 km, and then run for 10 km along the coast. In an interview this week, Alistair claimed, “I feel like I'm in my best shape since London.”

from left, TV presenter Charlie Webster , triathlete and Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee, and in the Endless Pool, triathlete and Olympic bronze medalist Jonathan Brownlee
“Having an Endless Pool meant that when I was injured, I could still get the hours in,” reports triathlete and Olympic medalist Johnny Brownlee, seen here on his pool’s Underwater Treadmill. “You’re still getting the same long workout, but you’re not getting the same impact on the ground.” He and his brother, gold medalist Alistair (center), also use their Elite Endless Pool to refine their swim strokes.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

6 Steps to Swimming for Lose Weight (Part 3 of 3)

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Jenni Brozena, MS, CSCS, CES, of Aqueous
By Jenni Brozena, MS, CSCS, CES
Owner/President of Aqueous
www.aqueous.co

Part 1 of this series explored the effectiveness of swimming for weight loss, and Part 2 reviewed training strategies. Here, we consider practical strategies to build a regular swimming weight-loss regimen.

Work, kids, family, school, LIFE ... There are so many (legitimate) reasons that can intrude on our workout schedule. Yes, there are only so many hours in one day, and some days there simply isn’t time to work out. And no, we should not feel terrible when we miss a day here or there.

Swimming, by nature, takes more time than say, running or living-room aerobics. There’s a bit more prep and unless you swam competitively growing up, most adults aren’t cool with walking through parking lots wrapped in a towel and ready to swim.

As a result, the time involved with changing, pre-showering (per the guidelines that we all follow), and dancing on the edge of the lane prepping for the cold shock of a morning open-swim lane can seem like a barrier.   


A Practical Guide to Swimming for Weight Loss
Now that we got that out of the way, here is a practical guide to incorporate swimming for weight loss into your daily routine.

Swimmers have exceptional discipline, so write the word “discipline” everywhere you will see it: smartphone, calendar, sticky note, everywhere. By choosing swimming for weight loss, you’re joining a community, and this community works hard both in and out of the pool.

Swimmers, as a demographic, are internally motivated, high-achieving, and competitively driven. As such, swimmers are typically good students and grow to be committed to their work, families, and workouts.


Six Steps (or just One)

Swimming for weight loss is worth the few downsides. So how can you schedule time to swim and still keep up with the rest of your life? One way is to buy an Endless Pool and avoid all the scheduling issues, but if you don’t do that, try these:

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Week in Swimming

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Team USA wins gold in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay
The Olympics have a 1500-meter freestyle event for men only, and that’s being called an “injustice” for Katie Ledecky. (Slate)

For the first time since LZR-style suits were banned in 2009, swimmers like Ledecky and Adam Peaty are leading a “renewed assault on swimming’s records.” (FiveThirtyEight)

This multimedia presentation shows the innovative turn that’s helped Ryan Lochte surpass Mark Spitz to become the 2nd most decorated male swimmer in Olympic history. (NY Times)

After her finger-wagging beef with Russian swimmer Yulia Eifmova, Lilly King has been declared “swimming’s newest badass.” (Rolling Stone) But is swimming’s new Cold War missing the “bigger questions” about doping? (The Star)

Were swimmer Mack Horton’s doping accusation against China’s Sun Yang really “fair”? (Time) And were they related to the attack on Swimming Australia’s website? (ABC)

While Team USA finally made strides in the “oddball” breaststroke (WSJ), consider this ‘modest proposal’ to ban it, along with backstroke and butterfly. (Gawker)

From the circular “cupping” bruises to the pre-race splash, swimmers' curious habits all have their reasons. (Swimming World)

A new documentary, The Black Line, looks at the dangerous lack of diversity in swimming (NY Post), while the women of Sigma Gamma Rho work to change that (The Undefeated).

See 7 amazing artworks inspired by swimming pools. (Artnet)

A photo posted by Team USA (@teamusa) on

A photo posted by Adam Peaty (@adam_peaty) on

A photo posted by Mike Marquart (@mike_marquart) on

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Two Training Strategies in Your Quest For the “Swimmer Body” (Part 2 of 3)

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Jenni Brozena, MS, CSCS, CES, of Aqueous
By Jenni Brozena, MS, CSCS, CES
Owner/President of Aqueous
www.aqueous.co

Part 1 of this series explored the effectiveness of swimming for weight loss. Here, we consider practical strategies to build a regular swimming weight-loss regimen.

We learned last week that swimming for weight loss is an excellent strategy. Let’s look at two approaches to see which can most effectively help you to lose weight by swimming.

But First, a Recap
While weight loss requires fewer calories, we also learned that athletes require special nutritional instruction in which caloric intake is sufficient to promote recovery.

Swimming is such an effective form of exercise for two reasons:
  1. Both large and small muscles groups are used continuously throughout the exercise.
  2. Training styles vary widely so there is ongoing opportunity to avoid plateaus.


The body requires continuous changes in stimulation in order to reach new levels of strength, speed, and efficiency. That’s why some people hit plateaus in weight loss or other fitness progress: they keep doing the same exercise. Cycling through prescribed exercise programs, switching it up to keep it fresh and achieve your aims, is called “periodization.”

Periodization can be broken down into long-term cycles (“macrocycles” lasting 4-6 weeks) and shorter “microcycles” lasting no more than 2 weeks. Structured periodization – each period focusing on a specific goal, such as energy strengthening, speed and agility, and especially important, rest – can support incredibly effective results for weight loss or high-level competitive performance.

In swimming training, periodization traditionally follows the competitive swimming season – one giant “macrocycle,” if you will. 
  • Preseason and the first few weeks of training are to build a cardio base.
  • Faster training and swim meets follow.
  • This leads into high-intensity training over the winter holidays
  • A slow decent follows until we find the holy grail….
  • TAPER!
Evidence-based periodization is much more sophisticated than this extended macrocycle, which is why employing a sport scientist and human performance coach are so vital.


HIIT It…?
HIIT is the acronym for “high-intensity interval training,” which has gained incredible popularity in gyms and other performance arenas across the U.S.
 
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