India can have multiple ‘A’ cuts: Sokolovas

India can have multiple ‘A’ cuts: Sokolovas

Representative image. Credit: Reuters File Photo

Indian swimmers have the capability of breaching the Olympic ‘A’ qualification in the future, but Tokyo Olympics might just come too soon feels Dr Genadijus Sokolovas, renowned physiologist and sports science expert, who is currently conducting clinics, test and workshops for coaches and national campers at the Dravid-Padukone Centre for Sports Excellence.

Sokolovas, commonly called Dr G, is a sports science expert who has headed the Department of Physiology and Sport Science of the USA Swimming Federation for eight years and worked with the legendary Michael Phelps among others as a consultant.

Having reached the city on Friday, Dr G has been conducting tests on swimmers to check where there are room for improvements and has also been working with over 40 coaches, who have come in from across the country.

“We have done multiple tests on swimmers. Like the Swim-Power test, that allows us to check every aspect of the stroke and breathing. It shows intra cycle velocity changes and techniques that can help keep the drop in velocity minimal. Based on that we will check on what they need to work on,” explained Dr Sokolovas. Biomechanics based technique analysis, start and turn analysis and lactate profiles for training zones and recovery protocols are also being done. The results have shown where improvements can be made.

“Main thing for the Indian swimmers is to develop better beginning to the strokes. It’s important not to overuse the arm. Some of them need to work under water as well,” he explained. “If they improve these, then they will be much faster. I would expect top Indian swimmers, by next Olympics, to have multiple ‘A’ cuts. Tokyo Olympics will be hard, there is just six months. But these swimmers are young, they have got another 4-5 years to get to their peak performance.” No Indian swimmer has clocked ‘A’ qualification time, which remains a moving target every cycle. 

Srihari Nataraj and Kushagra Rawat, both Olympic B qualification holders, are among the swimmers in the camp and they already feel a change since making adjustments following the tests.

“I thought ‘do I even know how to swim?’ That is how many changes I could make. I tried making some of the changes and I felt a lot more smoother and also in control. Just shows how much is there for us to work on and improve,” said Srihari.

Meanwhile, Swimming Federation of India secretary Monal Chokshi revealed that the work with Sokolovas will be a long-term project.

“SFI has entered into a long term MoU with Dr G. We are jointly going to work with talent identification and development. Dr G’s toolkit will be available for coaches and we will have Dr G’s expertise with top level swimmers on a one-on-one basis as well,” he said.

He also stressed that the programme will be made available for the Indian swimmers training in the US as well.

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