My experience with post-SAISA swim training has been extremely limited because generally, as soon as a season finishes, all of OSC’s athletes just move on to the next sport. For myself and my teammate Andrew, this year was going to be different. We concocted a tentative training regimen which consisted of a once-weekly swim workout (until the end of the track season; at which point we would increase the intensity and frequency of our sessions) as well as some independent weight training. The two-week period lying between SAISA swimming and TISSL swimming seemed like the perfect time to implement the program, and we decided to see what it would look like in practice. I believe that based on our TISSL results, the training was successful and we should move forward with it until the track season is completed.
I arrived at Sugathadasa Stadium at around 1:30 to prepare for my race. Ritheek and Takuro awaited; having just completed their individual events, and after a short waiting period in which we cheered for our teammates, we began to warm up for the relay. For the first day, we opted to focus on a land-based warm-up due to how crowded the warmup pool was. We did some dynamic stretches and a few light exercises and headed to the marshaling tent. The order for the medley relay would be the exact same as it had been at SAISA. Karven would start off with backstroke, Takuro would then swim the breaststroke leg, Ritheek would swim butterfly, and I would anchor with freestyle. The race began with a strong 33-second swim from Karven, after which we were in fourth place. Takuro managed to make up some time with a 35-second breaststroke leg, placing us in third, and Ritheek flew threw the pool with a 27-second butterfly leg. As he touched the pad beneath me, we were in second place by approximately one second. After a 26-second freestyle leg, we ended up winning by a full 3 seconds. This win was a critical self-confidence boost, especially coming out of a disappointing defeat at SAISA which ultimately resulted in us failing to secure the competition record. Furthermore, we had beaten out multiple Sri Lankan national swimmers to secure the gold, which made the victory even sweeter.
Day 2 of TISSL began in a similar way to the first session. I arrived at the pool and was greeted by a cohort of other OSC swimmers competing in individual events. Today though, we decided it would be beneficial to warm-up in the pool, especially since we had made several changes to our lineup. Firstly, Andrew would swim instead of Takuro, and secondly, I would swim the anchor leg instead of Ritheek. Our warmup consisted of a few quick relay exchanges and some brief work on finishes. The race itself started off extremely strong, with Ritheek swimming a blistering 25-second leadoff leg. Andrew and Karven maintained the lead, and I dove in about three seconds ahead of the competition. This proved to be enough for us to secure another victory by a margin of over two full seconds, thus rounding off our swim season with resounding success.
The team after winning the 4×50 freestyle relay (left to right: Karven, me, Ritheek, and Andrew) (Photo Credits: Hana Hettiaratchi)
Almost as soon as the race was over, the medal ceremony began. We collected our two golds and received certificates with our times printed on. This medal ceremony was the last of the season, and it felt great to end on a high note.
Although we were not successful in breaking all three SAISA relay records, the two gold medals we received at TISSL act as a much more valuable marker of our progress as a team and our overall achievement. My original TISSL goal was to “replicate last year’s success” by winning the 4×50 freestyle relay, which we managed to do by a decisive margin. In fact, my team and I went above and beyond the criteria stated for meeting my goal by winning both relays instead of just one. Moreover, we managed to achieve this in a much more competitive age group with much stronger swimmers than last year. Ultimately, my team’s success allowed me to meet my CAS goal for the TISSL competition; a feat that was reflective of an extremely successful and enjoyable swim season.
Final Reflection for the swim season
As I mentioned previously, in the approximately two-week period between SAISA and TISSL I implemented a training program in which I swam only once per week (on Thursday morning) with my friend Andrew, which I will continue to do for the duration of the SAISA Track and Field season. Following the close of the track season, I plan to bolster my regimen by joining a local club and continuing to train there for the rest of the school year, which will allow me to compete at a much more competitive level than I have been able to in the past, while also enabling me to be a greater asset on relay teams. Ultimately, I believe that this season was incredibly successful and I look forward to the coming year and watching myself improve.
- Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth
- The relays at TISSL were an incredible chance for me and my team to identify strengths and weaknesses. One thing we learned is that we are generally faster in a 25-meter pool, which was unsurprising but still valuable information.
- Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process
- As I discussed in my SAISA swimming post, the entire swim season was a challenge that allowed me to develop a multitude of new skills.
- Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences
- The team demonstrated perseverance to the utmost degree at the TISSL competition, especially considering the fact that we went in as the underdogs and were still able to secure the victory.
- Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively
- Collaboration is at the core of sports, and this was certainly true at TISSL. None of us could have been as successful as we were in the relays without each other, and our collaborative efforts helped us to win two gold medals.