Great tips from Gillingham

Nick Gillingham with some of the swimmers
Nick Gillingham with some of the swimmers

Rugby Swimming Club joined together with Solihull Swimming Club for a first ever Performance Day, in an attempt to show swimmers that there is more to swimming than getting wet.

This consisted of over 75 swimmers from both clubs, attending three separate sessions, all hosted at KMLC. The group was split into three subsets, 9/10 year olds, 11/12 year olds, and 13/over.

The three sessions were Swim Skills headed up by Nick Gillingham, on his return to Rugby some two months since his first training session, Nutrition with Martin McDonald, and Strength and Conditioning with Arjuna Thiruchelvam.

Martin is a graduate of Loughborough University and is a consultant nutritionist for the ASA, Amateur Swimming Association, Arjuna is a highly qualified Sprints and Jumps specialist.

The session varied between an hour and two, depending on the discipline and the age, and many preconceived ideas were well and truly squashed, particularly by Martin. He had the kids chanting “Fat is not bad” “fat is not bad”, has to be taken in context, but good to know. Though he did decline to assist the older swimmers in their choice of wine.

Several of the teenage swimmers mentioned that the land training was extremely hard as well as enjoyable, and many were walking just a little gingerly the following day.

Nick’s sessions were based around starts and turn drills, as particularly on short course this can make the difference between a good time and a great one, or a medal or not.

Simple techniques, easy to remember drills and aide memoires were used to help even the youngest swimmers to improve. These are interspersed with interesting stories and facts from his vast experience over the years, from swimmers, coaches and training partners.

Nick managed to spend time signing autographs, singling out one or two of the very youngest for special attention, as well as the Rugby Masters swimmers, as he commented on their recent success in the National Championships. He mentioned that he had specifically looked up our results having taken the first session back in September.

Simon Rigg