Bengaluru, February 26: Acclaimed Sports Science Expert Dr Genadijus Sokolovas sees a lot of potential in the Indian swimmers after conducting a six-day workshop at the Dravid-Padukone Academy for Excellence here. Dr Sokolovas also interacted with top coaches during a two-day clinic organised by the Swimming Federation of India.
A total of 45 swimmers - including 23 national campers - were put through various tests such as biomechanics-based technique analysis, swim power test, start and turn analysis, lactate profiles for training zones and recovery protocols. During the 6-day stay of Dr Sokolavas as part of the national camp in Bengaluru, SFI also conducted a two-day coach's clinic for which 42 coaches from across India.
Dr Sokolavas who has advised more than 70 world champions, sees a lot of potential in the Indian swimmers and expects a few of them to make the 'A' Cut by 2024 Olympics.
He said: "I'm really happy to be here. It's anyone's desire to be in India at least once in their lifetime. Hopefully, we can collaborate with more athletes, especially in swimming which is my specialisation. We conducted many tests with the Indian swimmers. I have developed many innovative tests that we are using on athletes. For example, the swim power test, which we used on close to 35 athletes - it's a test that I use to analyse how intra cycle velocity changes for any stroke in swimming. The swimmers can find out where they are making mistakes - whether in the beginning, middle or at the end of the stroke."
"We also went into great detail with respect to the breathing techniques. We have been developing different drills customized for each individual. This will help the coach and the athletes to understand what exactly they need to work on. We are also doing lactate tests, to determine the ideal training intensity for each individual," stated Dr Sokolavas who left for the USA on Thursday from Bengaluru.
"After taking these tests, the Indian swimmers can confirm that there is a lot of room to be faster. I believe everybody can swim faster, including world record holders. My prediction is that these guys can swim much faster than they are swimming right now."
"Using the individualised recommendations after testing, I expect top swimmers to make considerable improvements. I also expect more swimmers, especially younger ones who are there are at the camp, to reach an elite level faster. So, by the next Olympics, I am expecting multiple 'A' Cuts in India. I would expect the Indian swimmers to be way more competitive by the next Olympics. But we need to keep in mind that the 'A' Cut is a moving target."
Srihari Nataraj, Indian swimmer: "It was really nice having Dr Sokolavas here and the methods used for testing our technique are great. He pointed out how many changes I could make to go faster. As for yesterday's workout, I tried making some of the changes and felt a lot more in control, a lot smoother. It showed how much there is to work on. This technology is something that we've never had access to and it will definitely make a big difference. It is going to make a huge difference going into the next Olympics. The technique matters a lot when you are underwater and we have ignored that aspect for years."
Monal Choksi, Secretary, Swimming Federation of India, said: "SFI is working towards a long-term MoU with Dr Sokolavas to make sports science-backed tools available to swimmers and coaches"
"We are going to work on a talent identification and development programme, which he has already designed and developed. This will be a long-term engagement where the toolkit will be accessible to all coaches and swimmers who want to use it. We will continue to have Dr G's expertise for our TOP level swimmers on a one-on-one basis."
"We are very happy that SFI and Sports Authority of India are one the same page, on the need to bring in global best practices for the development of swimming in our country. I'd also like to thank the Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) CEO Cdr. Rajesh Rajagopalan for sparing time to join us during this visit by Dr Sokolavas, in order to better understand the impact of this one-of-its-kind camp in India."
Source: SAI Release