I have some friends at work from Australia. I will have to ask them if they refer to their country as “Aussie”. Certainly, they seem to refer to themselves as ‘Aussies’, but I hadn’t heard that term for the country. Added later: My Aussie coworkers do say their country is sometimes also called ‘Aussie’. My mistake.
Well, until I read today’s Korea Times, which has an article about Olympic Gold Medalist Park Tae-hwan moving to “Aussie” to train for future events. In that article you can read about the Beijing Olympic Gold medalist or “Park, the 400-meter freestyle golded boy in Beijing…”
There is s0me interesting information how intensive training is at his level. For me, as a struggling sort-of national level swimmer in Canada, there were only one or two competitions I would prepare to race in best condition for in a year. Let me break that sentence down. I competed at several small competitions, and, at those times, I focussed on technique and pacing and the like. I swam as hard as I was able. However, on the day before such a competition, I may have trained for six- or seven- thousand metres in the pool. I was not rested, did not alter my diet, and skipped other preparation activities before race day. It takes a long time to get to peak fitness, and you don’t actually race at peak fitness. you reach peak fitness, then begin to rest. The total metres per day drop and the content of those metres changes. When I swam at Canadian University National Championships (CIAUs – I think one of those initials is for ‘union’, but can’t remember; no one ever used the full title), I had trained hard for four and a half months and rested for a month. Around Christmas, I might have competed in a 10,000 metre race, but in February, I wouldn’t be swimming much more than that in a week.
In the week before the race, I followed a high-protein diet followed by a high-carbo diet. The consensus was that it wouldn’t really help for the distances we would race, but it helped us focus. The thoughts about the upcoming races followed me everywhere. Even into my dreams. On the Wednesday or Thursday before the competition I would have nightmares about the races. Friday and through the competition, the nightmares would end and the dreams would be about swimming well and with laser-like focus.
On Friday or Saturday morning, I would shave -everywhere the bathing suit didn’t cover. The suit itself was new, lycra, and six sizes too small.
Wow, I really went on about it, didn’t I?
Anyway, the point of all that is to help explain why Park will not compete in ‘real’ competitions for over a year before his next big one.
Park won three gold medals in the Doha Asian Games in 2006 and snatched one gold and one silver medal in Summer Games in 2008.
However, he collapsed in the Rome World Championships in 2009 in all events he swam in ― the 200- 400- and 1,500-meter freestyle.
However, while training in Australia he took part in the New South Wales State Open Championships and captured three gold medals in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter freestyle.
This time he will not compete in any events during training.