Loughborough University trio Alice Dearing, Hector Pardoe and Toby Robinson share an insight into their preparations for the final leg of the World Aquatics Open Water Swimming World Cup 2023.
Eight British athletes will dive off the pontoon at the World Cup event taking place in Funchal, Portugal across the opening weekend of December – providing a high level of internal competition among a strong international field.
In preparing for their closing race of 2023, Alice Dearing and Hector Pardoe spent a three-week period in Flagstaff, Arizona at the start of November as part of Andi Manley’s Loughborough University training group.
“I had a really good time training at Flagstaff in Arizona.” said Dearing
“Day to day, it was very busy, there was a lot of swimming – often 2 sessions a day with gym work or a core circuit. I got a lot out of it and look forward to putting it into practice soon.”
With Pardoe adding: “The altitude camp was great, it was a great place: good food, hotel, we were able to do some big meters – I had two weeks of 105 (kilometres) and one of 70 (kilometres), which were the biggest weeks I’ve ever done.”
At nearly 7,000 feet above sea level, Flagstaff is one of the highest elevation cities in the United States. Speaking on what it’s like ‘heading up the mountain’ for a training block, Pardoe explained some of the noticeable effect on his sessions:
“I think in terms of intensity, you can’t do as much, so that’s why we go for more of a larger volume-base of work, and as we come down in altitude, gradually integrate the intensity back in. Since we’ve been back, I’ve really noticed the benefit during my hypoxic work and being able to breathe a lot more.”
With Dearing backing this up, adding: “You notice the effects of altitude in that you can’t move as far underwater, you can’t hold your breath for as long and in general swimming aerobically feels a lot more difficult – it’s a lot more strenuous and your heart rate goes a lot higher than usual.”
Returning back to the UK has its adjustments too with dialling in the focus ahead of race day.
“The first focus is to re-adjust to the time zone, I really struggled with that over the first few days” said Dearing
“From here on in it’s just making sure that my body and mind feel as fit as possible, and just to feel confident in knowing that what I’ve done can allow me to perform.”
For Toby Robinson the training yards have been built up on home turf, and the three-time world championship competitor is looking ahead to Funchal with a positive view on the depth of British talent involved.
“I think the British competition will be really strong in Funchal,” he said,
“It’s a selection race not just for the British team, but for many other teams ahead of the World Championships in February, so I think it’ll be a strong race on the whole, as well as internally amongst the British athletes who are competing for those World Championship positions.”
With a finish inside the top ten at the Fukuoka World Aquatics Championships over the summer, Pardoe has already met the selection criteria outlined to be considered for February’s in Doha and is looking forward to bolstering his readiness by putting in a well-executed race to round out 2023.
“So my immediate aim is to execute a race strategy that I can replicate in every race hopefully leading up to Paris, if I can qualify in Doha next year.”
“I’m looking to use this upcoming race in Funchal as a real confidence booster ahead of those World Championships, and to see how I’ve reacted to this altitude camp in Arizona, how my body has adapted to the work that we did, and you know, at the end of the day race performance is the biggest indicator [of progress], so we’ll see how it goes.”
The full British team competing this weekend comprises of Leah Crisp (University of Bath), Alice Dearing (Loughborough University), Ella Dyson (Wycombe District), Nathan Hughes (Swim Wales High Performance Centre), Daniel Jervis (Swim Wales High Performance Centre), Amber Keegan (City of Sheffield), Hector Pardoe (Loughborough University) and Tobias Robinson (Loughborough University) - Read more HERE.
Live streaming of the World Aquatics Open Water Swimming World Cup 2023 in Funchal, Portugal will be available on the World Aquatics YouTube Channel across the 2nd and 3rd December.