James Guy was educated with Lord Coe’s son at a southern public school but he is a proud northerner. Bury born and bred, the accent remains from his Greater Manchester beginnings as he prepares himself for the challenge of his life at Rio 2016.
Britain’s recent involvement in Olympic swimming — Rebecca Adlington apart — has been little more significant than Mozambique’s to grand opera. You have to go back to 1988 to find the last male to win a gold medal at a Games: Adrian Moorhouse at Seoul. But now Guy, along with his team-mate Adam Peaty, can conceivably put that right.
Guy, the man to beat in the 200metres freestyle, started out at Swim Trafford in Altrincham aged five. Within four years he was into the typical swimmer’s grind: up before 5am for training, length after length. At 13 he won a swimming scholarship to Millfield — a training ground for distinguished sportsmen including Lions heroes JPR Williams and Sir Gareth Edwards — and he remains based at the Somerset school. Now, though, he has moved his morning training back from 6am-8am to 8am-10am.
‘I was homesick when I started at Millfield as a boarder,’ he remembers of the north-south dislocation. ‘The teachers were great but I was a mummy’s boy. My parents moved to Somerset thankfully to help my swimming. I became a day boy and liked that more.
‘I remember my first day at Millfield. The nephew of Manchester City’s owner and Seb Coe’s son were in my class. The son of the guy who owns VO5 [hair product manufacturers], was there too — a lot of people doing very well. I met friends there for life. But I have never forgotten my northern roots.
‘I was with James Disney-May, who went on to swim at London 2012. It was nice to look up to someone. He was a big inspiration. At the pool they have a list of all their Olympians and that makes you sit up and take notice.’
Competition is in Guy’s family. His late grandfather George was undefeated in 26 bouts when he boxed for money in India during the 1950s. He came back to England with a £5 note and had five children, one a boy, Andrew, who is James’s father and a former Army PE instructor.
‘My grandfather always believed in me and he was an inspiration. With Dad being the only son, we had a special relationship as heirs to the Guy family name. I think of Granddad a lot as I prepare for Rio.’
Guy, 20, is favourite for gold, having won the 200m freestyle and 4x200m at the world championships in Kazan, Russia, last year, as well as silver in the 400m. And should he win a title, he will celebrate with Ryan Lochte, the party-loving 11-time Olympic champion from America.
Lochte rips into every party night he can, and appropriately enough was there when Prince Harry played strip billiards in Las Vegas.
Guy’s hobbies are more sedate. Lochte once tore a meniscus break-dancing. Guy is instead likely to be found coarse angling.
‘I love the relaxation,’ said Guy, who recently netted 130lb of fish to beat 12 anglers to qualify for the All Winners’ national final In October. ‘I enjoy being out in the country. Six hours by the lake is bliss.’
Guy is swimming under the aegis of Jolyon Finck, director of swimming at Millfield. ‘I didn’t like him,’ said Guy, thinking back to their first encounters. ‘I thought who is this guy? He doesn’t have a clue what he is talking about. Obviously, he does and I trust him with my life.
‘In 2011, my times just dropped. My 400m personal best improved by 17 seconds. I went from coming 10th at the Nationals to coming second. The combination of Jo and Euan Dale, my other coach, did that for me.’
And Rio and all the pressure?
‘My preparation is good. I feel as if I am in the right mental place all the time. I have never had a problem getting there.
‘When you look at how a lot of guys train and race, you ask yourself whether they really want it. You hear them say “I am a bit tired today, I might go and do this instead of training”.
‘Adam Peaty and I want it. We want to go there swim fast, set PBs.
‘They put the work on the board and I just do it. You are born with it. You have it or you don’t. I really want it.
‘I have watched videos of Michael Phelps winning all his medals. I don’t know how he did it, but it would be nice to do that one day.’
Michael Phelps once refused to have a selfie with Olympic refugee swimmer Ramis Anis leaving the Syrian “devastated”, Anis’ coach said Saturday.
Anis, 25 and now based in Belgium, hopes to finally get a picture with his American hero in Rio when they could even be in the same event.
“Rami really, really, really wants to meet Phelps,” the Syrian’s coach, former Olympic swimmer Carine Verbauwen said.
“He’s tried already. For Syria, he’d been an international swimmer since he was 14 and competed at two world championships.”
Anis competed at the 2009 and 2011 world championships for Syria. He will be a member of the Olympic Refugee team in Rio.
“At one, he asked Phelps if he could have a selfie with him and Phelps said no. He was devastated,” Verbauwen told the Rio Olympic organisers news service.
“He understood, of course – Phelps is so busy and has so many demands on him – but I hope he will now find out that Rami is a refugee.
“He was so upset, I said to him, ‘One day, we can try to get you to meet Phelps and have a photo with him’. We’re going to try to arrange that here.”
Anis is competing in the 100 metre butterfly and while is not considered a medal contender could compete against Phelps in the heats.
The Russian swimmers Vladimir Morozov and Nikita Lobintsev have lodged appeals against their bans from the Rio Olympic Games with the court of arbitration for sport. Their move comes as the International Olympic Committee announced last night that a three-member IOC panel will have the final say on which Russian athletes can compete at the Rio Games, reviewing all decisions taken by the international federations.
Cas has set up a base in Rio for the Games, and Morozov and Lobintsev have become the first athletes to bring cases there.
Last Monday, swimming’s world governing body Fina banned both swimmers, along with their Russian compatriot Daria Ustinova, because their names appeared in Richard McLaren’s damning report into state‑directed doping in Russia.
Four more swimmers were withdrawn from the team by the Russian Olympic Committee as they had previously served doping bans, after the International Olympic Committee ruled that any Russians with past such offences would be barred from competing.
Cas said in a statement: “The ad hoc division of the court of arbitration for sport at the Rio Games has registered its first procedures. The Russian swimmers Vladimir Morozov and Nikita Lobintsev have each filed a request for arbitration against the International Olympic Committee and the International Swimming Federation (Fina).”
It said the pair had asked Cas to rule as “invalid and unenforceable” the key section of the IOC executive board’s ruling that specified nobody implicated in the McLaren report should be accepted for entry into the Olympics. The statement added: “The swimmers also request that the decision of the Fina bureau of 25 July 2016, declaring both of them ineligible for the Olympic Games in Rio, be set aside. Furthermore, they request that the IOC validates the entries submitted by the Russian Olympic Committee for them to compete in the Olympic Games in Rio.”
Morozov, 24, is a freestyle and backstroke specialist who has spent several years living in the US, training and competing for the University of South Carolina. Lobintsev is a 27-year-old freestyle swimmer who has acknowledged using the medication meldonium, which is often used to treat heart issues, but only before it was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list at the start of this year.
The U.S. swimming team has just one practice left before it leaves for the Rio Olympics.
Women’s coach David Marsh likes what he’s seen at the 12-day Atlanta training camp.
“It’s been a beautiful camp so far,” he said. “The captains are leading it well. Very relaxed. There’s nothing having to be contrived here to create things.”
Jason was a 14-year-old swimmer with ADHD. His biggest challenge was maintaining a healthy weight and eating a healthy diet. Although his parents felt swimming had a positive impact on his daily living, including improving his attention and learning, they also struggled with meeting his nutritional needs, especially with getting enough calories and minimizing unhealthy treats.
Jason didn’t have a big appetite and was frequently uninterested in eating, stating he wasn’t hungry. His parents were thrilled when he showed an appetite and interest in eating, so they allowed most of his food requests. He was getting a lot of sweets and highly processed foods. Jason was thin, and although he performed in the pool, his energy level varied during the day.
Children and teens with ADHD are often managed with medications that suppress their appetite. As a result, parents may see a pattern of lowered appetite during the day when children are at school (when the medication has its greatest effect), and bursts of appetite later in the day when the medication wears off. Although appetite is naturally enhanced with exercise, it can be challenging for the child or teen with ADHD to match their nutrient requirements when medications negatively affect their appetite and eating.
Additionally, growth and swimming place a hefty demand on calorie and nutrient requirements for the young swimmer. It can be a challenge to manage appetite, eating, and caloric demands, but with the following strategies, young swimmers with ADHD can overcome these challenges:
Use Structured Meals and Snacks
Offering the young swimmer a regular time for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks allows opportunities for eating and matching nutritional needs. Even if the swimmer isn’t hungry, this framework for meals and snacks helps create a rhythm for eating, which can help draw out the appetite. Meals and snacks should occur every 3 to 4 hours and should represent the components of a healthy, balanced meal (protein, grains, dairy (or non-dairy substitute), fruit and vegetables), offered as solid food or liquids (ie., a smoothie).
Add a Bedtime Snack
When children and teens sleep, growth hormone circulates and promotes overall growth, including muscle repair and new development. Sleep time is growing time! A bedtime snack provides calories and nutrition that won’t be burned off with activity. It’s an easy way to build in more calories and nutrition in the diet. Keep it healthy! Try a bowl of cereal and milk, a fruit smoothie, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Take Advantage of Hunger
Many kids and teens with ADHD have predictable times during the day when they are known to be hungry. Parents want to capitalize on this. For example, if the appetite is high after school, offer a robust snack or a fourth meal such as nut butter on a bagel or leftover pasta with meatballs and sauce.
Tame the Processed Food
When kids with ADHD become hungry, they may eat anything they can get their hands on. This may end up offsetting a healthy diet to one that is full of sugar, artificial colors, additives and preservatives. Research tells us that some children and teens with ADHD are sensitive to these food components, leading to changes in behavior. Keep an eye on the types and quantities of processed food the young swimmer eats, and try to keep them to reasonable amounts, such as one or two a day (this is a good rule of thumb for all young swimmers). If a child demonstrates sensitivity to any of these food additives, it’s best to avoid them.
Address Nutrient Gaps in the Diet
Some children and teens with ADHD may miss out on certain nutrients because they skip whole food groups, such as vegetables, or they don’t meet the USDA minimum intake for nutrients. Research also highlights certain nutrients that may be deficient or inadequate in children and teens with ADHD, such as iron and zinc. Young swimmers with ADHD may benefit from a multivitamin and mineral supplement offering 100% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Always check with your nutritionist or doctor before adding a micronutrient supplement.
Every bite matters in the young swimmer with ADHD. Good nutrition can optimize growth and athletic performance, attention and focus, and keep the swimmer energized throughout the day.
Jill Castle, MS, RDN is a registered dietitian, childhood nutritionist, and youth sports nutrition expert. She is the author of Eat Like a Champion: Performance Nutrition for Your Young Athlete. Learn more about Jill at www.JillCastle.com and check out her free list of 70 Awesome Pre-Workout Snacks for Kids.
The marathon is the blue riband race that brings the athletics program at the Olympic Games to a fitting close but swimming’s equivalent is still an emerging event and a long way off enjoying the same gravitas, says open water world champion Chad Ho.
The South African is part of a 25-man field for the 10-kilometre race on Aug. 16 at Fort Copacabana against the backdrop of the world’s most famous beach which will bring the swimming program at the Rio Games to a close.
“We could definitely do with a lot more recognition for the sport,” Ho told Reuters.
“I can understand that people don’t want to sit down and watch an event for two hours; they want racing to be over in a matter of seconds.
“But if you actually watch the race there are so many things that go on. It’s just as exciting as the pool events. A lot of races end in photo finishes. But I feel it’s on the way up.”
It will be only the third time the event has been held at the Olympics.
“I can see it getting very popular,” added Ho, winner of the 5km race at last year’s world championships in Kazan.
The Olympics does not have a 5km event but Ho’s focus is usually on the 10km, in which he finished less than a minute behind American Jordan Wilimovsky in Kazan.
“Being the world champion at 5km title could help me to a certain extent but I swim both distances and have no preference,” Ho said.
“This is a race where there are no favorites, where past times don’t really matter. It all depends on the day, who wants it most, who is feeling good, who takes the right line. All 25 have a realistic shot at the medal. The sea conditions also pay a big part,” he said as he prepared to depart for Rio.
The location for the open water swim has been flagged for the potential of water-born diseases but Ho says he swam the course in December and the water quality was fine.
“I feel it’s not an issue at all. I didn’t see any pollution. Obviously with the Zika virus it’s a concern but we have to be careful and take precautions.”
The Cinderella nature of open water swimming means the 26-year-old Ho is very much the “other Chad” in the South African team, behind Chad Le Clos who won the Olympic 200 metres butterfly title in London four years ago.
“In a way I’m grateful I stay under the radar,” Ho said.
“I can live a good social life and not have to worry about being in the newspapers. Whatever he does is in the spotlight and makes headlines. But on the other hand it would be nice to get a bit more recognition for being a world champion but I think that time will come.”
Ahead of his much-anticipated clash with the celebrated Michael Phelps at the Olympics Aquatics Stadium in Barra da Tijuca, South African Chad Le Clos has announced that he’s the best out there.
Le Clos created ripples in 200m butterfly London Olympics snatching a fifth gold from the American superstar who later ended his career only to return for Rio in what will be a second swansong for the 31-year-old.
“Mentally, I believe I’m the strongest athlete out there. Not a lot can break me,” the 24-year-old told PTI in an email interview, ahead of his much-hyped 200m butterfly duel against Phelps.
“It will be a lot different to how it was in London. I feel like I almost have a target on my back. Coming into the Olympic Games in London, I was an underdog. I wasn’t really given a shot. So it was almost like I had no pressure coming into the event.
“What changes now is that there’s a lot of media hype around me. But I think I’ve learned to deal with all sorts of pressures. I’ve prepared myself in ways that no one else has.”
Le Clos’ rivalry with his one-time idol has taken the sport to a new height and the latest swimming sensation said he’s shifting into sixth gear to finish hard into the wall (touchpad).
“You have to go through the gears. A car has five gears, but you almost have to push into 6th gear and get that final burst of speed. In practice and in butterfly especially, I’m always finishing with my head down and into the wall,” he said.
“Obviously at the Olympic Games in 2012 there were some very tight races, especially the famous one against Michael Phelps. What I’ve been working for this year is tweaking the small things. It’s been all about sharpening my tools and getting ready for the biggest week of my life.”
“We’ve mastered the details of doing the long mileage and putting in the hard yards. Now, it’s all about fine-tuning my starts, fine-tuning my turns, and making sure that I’m finishing right on a full stroke,” he added.
A brand ambassador for OMEGA since 2011, he said the luxury Swiss brand was part of his family since his grandfather’s days.
Terming it a special relationship, he said, “It’s actually 80 years. My grandfather would be 103 or 104 today. He had that watch for many years and it’s still in the family. I felt like it was destiny when I signed with the brand,” he said adding that he would be sporting his favorite Seamaster Planet Ocean.
OMEGA is the official Timekeeper of the Olympic Games since 1932.
An investigation has been opened after a small fire erupted in the Australian building in the Rio 2016 Athletes’ Village here today.
Around 100 athletes and officials were evacuated, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said, although nobody was hurt.
No fire alarm was sounded, and staff were only alerted to the fire by the smell and sight of smoke.
The fire has since been put out by the emergency services.
This marks the latest of a series of problems in the Athletes’ Village, with Australian athletes belatedly moving into their apartment three days later than planned due to concerns with facilities.
No definite cause has been given for what started the fire, although their are suggestions it originated due to discarded cigarettes by workmen in the basement of the neighbouring building.
It is also possible they deliberately turned the fire alarms off while conducting their work.
“At 4.40pm a small fire broke out in rubbish in the underground car park of Building 23 in the Olympic Village causing smoke to rise through the building,” said an AOC statement.
“The AOC Emergency Response Plan was activated and approximately 100 athletes and officials were evacuated in an orderly and controlled fashion.
“The stairwells filled with smoke but the fire was confined to the car park and no one was injured.
“The fire was extinguished by the Fire Brigade and team members were allowed back into the building after about 30 minutes.
“An investigation is underway involving Rio 2016 and the AOC.”
The Athletes’ Village was described as “neither safe nor ready” by Australian Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller last week.
She highlighted blocked toilets, leaking pipes, exposed wiring and darkened stairwells as the key concerns.
Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes worsened the situation further by quipping that all they needed was a kangaroo in the Village, although he has since met with the team following their belated.
Organisers and International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials had already insisted earlier this week that all remaining challenges would be addressed by today.
Other teams have hired local staff to alleviate problems, while the Argentinian team have accused their Brazilian neighbours of deliberate sabotage in their apartments.
The Australian Swim Team were treated to drum lessons as part of a team activity organised to help them fine tune their rhythm and connect as a team ahead of their departure for Rio.
In a meeting room at the Auburn University Hotel, the local ‘Spicer Music Group’ divided their 70-drum-haul amongst the athletes, coaches and support staff for the evening session.
The Spicer group, which last night consisted of Father and Son duo Tim and Tom Spicer, specialise in group music and team building activities with key messages revolving around the importance of listening, sharing, creating and accepting – all while playing the drums!
The swimmers were tasked with a ‘Chinese whispers’ style activity which saw a ‘beat’ passed from person to person. As the game went on, other beats and distractions were added but the original beats had to be continuously received and distributed.
Similarly, when the team arrives in Rio they will face many distractions but will need to remain focused on their race and their teammates’ races to ensure they don’t miss a beat when it comes to their racing opportunities.
With a strong carnival vibe in Rio, there will no doubt be many a drum playing in the background but the Australian Swim team will be marching to the beat of just one.
A leading Dunedin coach is welcoming a move by Swimming New Zealand to scrap national championships for under-12s but says the move is only a first step to retaining swimmers.
Swimming NZ announced recently it will stop national championships for the age-group in an effort to remove pressure on young swimmers and increase enjoyment.
Statistics show only about 10% of New Zealanders aged 15 to 18 participate in swimming, compared with almost 50% aged 5 to 6.
Dunedin Swim Coaching Board head coach Gennadiy Labara said the decision from Swimming NZ to remove national competition at such an early age was a positive one.
“I think it’s a good move, because these kids need some friendly competition.
“This is the first stage [in changing the structure]. Whether it’s enough or not, I don’t know. But it’s a good step.”
Labara said children as young as 10 to 12 often just swam for fun and did not need the extra pressure of comparing themselves to other swimmers.
“I think competition at that age can expose kids too early.
“The younger kids who just want to have fun, they [often] get pushed by their parents, expect high performance, then it all completely collapses.”
It took a long time to build the foundation to be a good swimmer and teenagers should not expect to improve year by year, Labara said.
Swimming NZ events and membership manager Kent Stead said the move was only a minor adjustment and the organisation had considered more drastic changes.
National junior championships had been held in Auckland or Wellington and were often cost-prohibitive for families, especially those further away from the cities, he said.
The national championships would be replaced by four zonal championships, and a national champion would not be crowned.
“One of the problems was we tended to get some pretty excited parents who thought if their kid won something at juniors they were going to be the next Olympic champion.
“We’re trying to take the pressure off. There will be medals awarded within each zone but there will be no blanket set of results.
“We thought that age was a bit young to start calling people national champions.”
The four zones are Harlequins (upper North Island), Aqua Knights (central North Island), All Stars (lower North Island) and Makos (South Island).
“We have a national database which is freely available to everyone, so kids can go on there and compare themselves to other kids,” Stead said.
“But we’re trying to take away the focus from putting someone on a pedestal at such a young age.”
Swimmers accumulated an overall score which was not based on just one discipline, he said.
“We don’t want them to be focusing on 50m freestyle [for example]. We want them to swim everything.”
The zones were established in 2013. The youngest age-group national championships are contested is for swimmers aged 12-13.