Fitter, faster, stronger - Grace Alvaranga wants weight training for young local swimmers
Grace Alvaranga - the chaperone for young swimmers Zaneta Alvaranga and Jordan Hinds, who completed a one-week swim camp at Nova Southern University Complex in Miami, Florida, between June 3 and 11 - said the local association needs to take a deeper look at implementing weight training for young local swimmers as an integral part of their development.
Alvaranga, who attended classroom theory sessions at the camp, said the Jamaican swimmers were open to the teachings, improved their skills, and had returned with a wealth of knowledge and experience.
However, she pointed out that the myth surrounding adolescents and weight training was a major factor in parents and coaches being reluctant to add gym training to their young swimmers' programme.
"It (gym training) is missing from most of Jamaica's swim clubs and the national programme. Parents and coaches are reluctant to add the gym, but this camp stressed that it builds core strength and ensures joint integrity to take the pounding of high intensity training," she said. "ASAJ (Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica) should look seriously into gym sessions for national swimmers as a lot of the older swimmers here showed weakness in gym/dry land sessions."
ASAJ Vice-President Georgia Sinclair is unsure of how widespread weight training is domestically, but says that the association understands the importance of strengthening and is willing to implement it going forward.
"This is something the association buys into. This association does not have a gym. We rely on the various clubs, who incorporate weight training into their programme. This is something we endorse, once age appropriate, of course," she said. "A number of clubs use stretch cords for resistance, but we can't comment on how many persons go to the gym in the traditional sense. There is a cost, and we are not averse to developing such a programme, but it requires research and funding. We will look at the facilities that exist. At Independence Park (National Aquatic Center), there is a gym, and we are talking to the relevant persons to establish a partnership where the resources can be shared."