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Synchronised Swimming workshop: models for success
12 June 2015

 Story by Brad Scott, WAIS Athlete, Paralympic 800m; 1500m runner
For this workshop, I once again teamed up with the amazing Amanda Schonfeld. This time, to help educate the State’s best Synchronised Swimmers. To help as best I can, I prepare for these sessions, by trying to envisage what it is required to be an athlete in their sport. As a land athlete, I found it extremely difficult to comprehend, I had no idea what to expect. Now that I have an idea what is involved, all I can say is... I’m glad I’m a runner.
After hearing that they were going to have a five hour session (5 Hours!!) the following day, I felt that it was fitting to have Injury Prevention and Recovery as the starting topics. We discussed the different types of fitness and how they not only help performance, but can also minimise injury risk. I was blown away with the stretching and warm up exercises these athletes did before each session. They really understood the importance of a proper warm up and cool down, which was very comforting.
Next up, Amanda educated the athletes through the process and benefits of practicing mental imagery and creating a routine. As this would assist with their performance by the athletes focusing on the variable that they can control whilst understanding and accepting that there are variables that they cannot. As someone who likes to have control and practices mental imagery often, I can vouch for the power, strength and peace of mind that this can give an athlete.
Lastly, we spoke about what types of people we identify as role models, what are their attributes and how they conduct themselves in society. Once the athletes identified how someone acts as a role model, they reflected on their own behavior to understand how their actions and behaviours can influence the younger athletes. It was a great response when these young ladies realised that they themselves were role models.
I now have a much deeper appreciation for Synchronised Swimming. What these athletes go through in training and competition is amazing. They are very mature and their ability to learn was second to none. I was really grateful to have the opportunity to spend a few hours with athletes that I myself, learnt a great deal from what they have achieved, and I am sure they will continue to achieve much more.
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