This high season, Asia’s leading sports resort and one of the finest aquatics facilities in the world hosted a number of international swimming teams. Between December and February, Thanyapura Phuket has witnessed the national Czech, Hungarian, Dutch, German, and French teams as well as the British National Paralympics Swim Team and Canadian National Youth Swimming Team kickstart their training for the Rio 2016 Olympics season.
For the teams, coming to Phuket at this time of the year is a growing tradition. This is the fourth year at Thanyapura for the Royal Dutch National Team, whose coaches recommended it to their German colleagues now here for the first time. According to Henning Lambertz, head coach of the German Swimming Federation, Thanyapura is “the best place to be for the moment.”
The swimmers and coaches make full use of the excellent swimming conditions and facilities — their main reason for coming to Thanyapura. The superb swimming pools, hotel, and exercise facilities all in close proximity to one another make their days full of hard work that much easier. Training outdoors with a national park as a backdrop, and delectable food freshly prepared daily complete their experience.
Additionally, the coaches explain that sun exposure helps their swimmers gain strength, as sunshine in Europe is scarce this time of the year. During winter months swimmers tend to get ill due to low temperatures and being in and out of water, which can disrupt the preparation period. Here in the tropics, they not only get that extra vitamin D but they also get used to swimming in hot conditions, which later helps them during worldwide competitions.
For Ellie Simmonds, a Paralympic swimmer from the UK who won her first Olympic gold medal at the age of 13, training side-by-side with other world-class swimmers keeps her motivated. “I’ve achieved my dreams,” she says, “but being able to come away on a training camp like this is what I enjoy doing.”
As a professional swimmer, Ellie keeps herself motivated not only by doing what she loves, but also by visualizing her past victories and reminding herself what it felt like. She also recognizes that swimming gave her the confidence to go after her desires. In her view, limits don’t exist as everyone sets their own.
“Any training is a mind game,” says Martin Truijens, one of the coaches of the Royal Dutch National Team. Everything swimmers do in the pool or gym has a strong mental component to it; therefore, training strategies he and his team implement are highly customized to suit each player’s abilities.
According to Martin, one can be talented in many ways both physically and mentally; a high standard in every one of those areas is a prerequisite for becoming a champion. But being an elite swimmer also requires dedication, discipline and motivation to stretch their talent as far as they can go – as possibilities, Martin agrees with Ellie, truly are unlimited.
Thanyapura’s swimming facilities include a 50m Olympic competition pool, a 25m training and teaching pool, Omega Track start blocks, a Daktronics timing system and scoreboard, and underwater video analysis window, ozone filtration and sports science services.
Thanyapura plans to start building the first 100-meter training pool in Asia this coming April.