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FINA Marketing & Broadcasting: Names and Times? Nahhhhh

FINA Marketing & Broadcasting: Names and Times? Nahhhhh

The FINA World Aquatic Convention is actually split up into two main parts: the Conference Program and the Golden Coaches Clinic. Hardly anyone attends the Conference Program because it’s normally just people that work for FINA receiving awards from people that work for FINA. 

Peter Hall is the Head of FINA’s Marketing & Broadcasting. He spent some time discussing engagement rates. Did you know that Sarah Sjostrom has a higher engagement rate than Kim Kardashian? You learn something every day.

The thing that concerns me the most is that they are trying to build a wall (pay to view) around their castle (the sport of swimming). That’s a good model if you are Disney and own Star Wars and Marvel. 


Zhu Zhigen: Training Champions (like Sun Yang)

Zhu Zhigen: Training Champions (like Sun Yang)

“Translating English to Chinese is difficult. Translating Chinese to English is very difficult.”

I had heard this over and over again but didn’t truly understand until I was watching presentations at FWAC with a translator in my ear. Following along was nearly impossible. It was choppy and I think even the translator was having difficulty deciding on what English words to use. Have no fear, though, as I took plenty of pictures and notes.

Zhu Zhigen, Sun Yang’s coach, gave more of an overview of what is important to him as a coach rather than providing exact training blocks, sets, or drills — the stuff the audience pines for. Honestly, I enjoyed this presentation probably because I believe in much of what he discussed. 

Coach Zhigen talked a lot about the importance of posture, line, and balance. He kept bringing it up in almost every slide — he reminded me of Skip Kenney beating it into your head.

He also seems to be in love with altitude training not only before a big competition but afterwards for recovery. Coach Zhu said that it is very common for most of his swimmers to attend a National meet a couple of weeks after a major championship and go even faster. Though, you must be careful due to the increased chances of an athlete getting sick at altitude. 

What I found most interesting was him being so adamant about not over training your athletes. Most practices are comprised of 65-70% race pace training. Sun Yang would ask him to swim more and he would deny him.

“Anyone can swim a lot. This is not a trick.” – Zhu Zhigen

My favorite takeaway from Coach Zhu Zhigen was for coaches to have more empathy towards their swimmers. I couldn’t agree more. I see some of the sets coaches are throwing up on their white boards and they themselves can’t even touch their toes because they are so grossly overweight. Yet they think 10×400 IM’s for an 11 year old is totally doable.

Oi vey. 

Enjoy the slides:

Balazs Virth: Preparing Boglarka Kapas for the 2016 Olympics

Balazs Virth: Preparing Boglarka Kapas for the 2016 Olympics

The final presentation of the FWAC 2018 was with Hungary’s Balazs Virth, the coach of Boglarka Kapas. If you aren’t familiar with Boglarka, she was the youngest Hungarian at the 2008 Olympics at just 15 years old. Eight years later she won Bronze in the 800 Free at the 2016 Olympics. Most recently she won the 200 Fly at 2018 European Championships, stating that, “I love this event because it is so short.”

Balazs Virth was the only coach that dove deeply into their respective physiological training plan. Neither Xu Guoyi nor Zhu Zhigen provided training sets when discussing the training regiments of Ye Shiwen or Sun Yang. Coach Balazs’ very first slide explains how he defines his Energy Zones, or loading specification.  

Coach Balazs breaks his energy zones down like this:

A1 = Aerobic
Take your best 200 time, divide by 2. Add 15 seconds.
Kapas: 1:13.5
A2 = Aerobic/Anaerobic Threshold

Take your best 200 time, divide by 2. Add 7-10 seconds.
Kapas: 1:05.5 – 1:08.5

A3 = Anaerobic
Take your best 200 time, divide by 2. Add 4-7 seconds.
Kapas: 1:02.5 – 1:05.5

LE = Lactate Production (25-50-75 meters)
LT = Lactate Tolerance (100-200 meters)
G = MAX with full rest

Everything that Coach Balazs Virth was saying was reminiscent of old school distance training. Boglarka works on all the strokes as well as distance free. If you look close enough, you can see how many meters she is putting in. A few days a week, when she is doing doubles, she is hitting 14,000 meters or thereabouts.

Here are some of the test sets that they do. Interesting enough, Coach Balazs was explaining how some of the more aerobic sets will be scaled back as Boglarka gets older because she will no longer need it. It seems to me that he is incredibly organized, prepared, and is always forward thinking. When your biggest swim meet only comes once every 4 years, you need a detailed plan in place.