Road to Rio

14 year old swimming superstar and AMANZI Girl, Paige Leonhardt, is well on her way to making it to Rio for the 2016 Paralympics after a huge week of personal bests and podium placings at Australian Championships last week. Paige, who suffered an irrecoverable brain injury in 2006 after a car accident, has not let this slow her down in life or in the pool. The young gun at only 14 years old took on previous Paralympians at Australian Championships last week and continues to shine this week at Australian Age Nationals. We can’t wait to follow her on the rest of her journey to Rio and beyond!

Check out Paige’s TV appearance talking about her road to Rio and Australian Championships.

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Welcome Sofie Hooghe

Sofie HoogheWhen an athlete joins the AMANZI Girls Team, she is doing more than just wearing our swimwear, she is also a role model for all of the young up and coming athletes around the world. Belgium Triathlete Sofie Hooghe is the latest athlete to join the AMANZI Girls Team. We’re here to tell you why we chose Sofie and why you’ll love her as much as we do.

  1. She is a Math Nerd!
    Sofie is currently studying a Bachelors of Accounting and Taxation! Not only is she an amazing triathlete but she is smart too! How cool is that!
  2. She has Rio on her mind
    Sofie is training and racing around the world in order to gain qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
  3. She is a world class athlete
    Sofie has been competing in Triathlons all over the world with the latest being the ITU World Triathlon in Dubai.
  4. She was an early starter
    The amount of dedication, perseverance and courage it takes to compete in a triathlon is nothing to be sniffed at. The fact that Sofie competed in her first triathlon when she was only 14 years old is impressive to say the least.
  5. She is an AMANZI Girl
    When we take on a new athlete we always look for athletes who are not only great athletes but great people. Juggling training, racing, study and work is a challenge but it is very inspiring to know that if someone else in the world can do it all, so can you! Anything is possible, if you believe.

8 Tips for Preparing for your First Race and Every Race

Race Day

Photo credit - Portia Doragas 

No matter what your sport, preparing for race day is key to preforming at your best. Even if you do not set out to win the race, obviously you are also racing against yourself and aiming for those PBs! If you follow these tips closely, you’ll be able to do your very best come race day.

  1. Fuel your Body
    During the whole process of training, you should be feeding your body the most nutritious food possible suited to your training. It is important to maintain this up to race day- especially in the last 24 hours before a race. Try to eat light and normal foods to avoid having digestive issues during the race, but make sure you eat enough to maintain energy to get through the race.
  2. Fuel your Mind
    Racing isn’t just about getting your body prepared, it is also about having the right mental attitude. Get your mind amped and confident for the race, so that you don’t encounter any mental barriers along the way.
  3. Have all your Gear Ready
    The day before the race make sure you triple check that all of your gear is packed up and ready to go. You don’t want to end up forgetting any key components on race day, because that may mean not being able to compete at all!
  4. Have a Dress Rehearsal Before Race Day
    You should have a couple of dress rehearsals before race day to ensure that your mind and body know what to expect. This will help you get a feel for exactly what the race will be like before the day of the race, so there won’t be any unpleasant surprises.
  5. Let Your Friends and Family Know About The Race
    A little bit of moral support can go a long way in the race. Even if your friends and family can’t make it to the actual race day, they can offer support and love throughout the training process. Plus, it gives you another chance to complain to someone about the crazy amount of training you’ve been doing!
  6. Train Consistently
    You probably already know this, but you should be training consistently up until race day. This means that you are going to witness the whole gamut of good, bad and ugly workouts. Some days training will be fun, sometimes it’s the last thing you want to do. This is normal, and you’ve just got to push on through.
  7. Consider Including A Friend
    Running a race? Doing a triathlon? Why not coax a friend or two into joining you? Multiple studies have shown that runners go faster when they are paired together. Plus, it gives you an outside motivator to keep you working hard throughout the process of training for race day.
  8. Keep Calm
    Race day jitters are really common, and they commonly throw off people’s performance. Try breathing exercises, meditation and yoga to train your mind how to relax in stressful situations. P.S. Racing is supposed to be fun, so don’t get yourself worked up over nothing!

7 Tips on How to Take Care of Swimwear

No sitting on rough surfaces Laura!

No sitting on rough surfaces Laura!

Getting a nice piece of sports swimwear is an investment in our love of swimming. To keep it in prime condition for as long as possible is ideal, but to do so requires a little bit of effort on our part. These tips will help you keep your swimwear in tip-top shape for longer.

1. Chlorine Resistant Swimwear
When you have swimwear that offers high quality materials and durable cuts to begin with then it is going to naturally last longer. In the long run investing in better swimwear will save you money, because it does not deteriorate as quickly as swimwear of inferior quality. All AMANZI Swimsuits are made from AMANZI Armor Chlorine Resistant Swimwear Fabric which has been designed and milled in Italy.

2. A Swimsuit for Every Activity
Having separate swimwear for the hot tub, beach, sun bathing and athletic swimming is a good idea. The first three activities mention on that list are particularly hard on swimwear materials, so maybe consider having swimwear you don’t like as much on hand for those activities. For sports swimwear always choose chlorine resistant fabrics like AMANZI Armor.

3. Multiple Swimsuits
Rotating swimsuits between swimming sessions allows the material of the swimwear to dry and recover between swim sessions, so that the material of the swimwear will stay like-new for longer.

4. Rinse and Wash with Every Use
Rinsing and hand washing your swimwear after every use can make all the difference. Bacterial, chlorine, salt water, etc. all break down the materials of the swimwear. The sooner you can wash the swimwear once you are out of the water, the better.

5. Lightly Wring Out
If you must wring out your swimwear after washing it do so very lightly. It is best just to let it air dry indoors.

6. Washer or Dryer
Even if your washer has a hand wash cycle chances are that it is rougher on it than you would be with your hands. As for the dryer, just NO, don’t do it.

7. Avoid Rubbing Against Rough Surfaces
Sitting on concrete, the blocks, pool deck etc. all are abrasive on the material. Swimwear is for swimming not for sitting anyways! Speaking of rough surfaces next time you see AMANZI Girl Laura Dennis sitting on rocks at the beach (like she is above) be sure to tell her that it’s a huge no no!!!

9 Tips to Improve Your Freestyle Technique

Laura Dennis Freestyle

Photo credit - Laura Dennis

Here are some tips to improve your freestyle technique for beginner to intermediate swimmers. Unlike other more complicated strokes, since we are so familiar with freestyle visually and mentally, it can be difficult to make minor corrections. Remember to be patient with yourself as you work to refine this stroke to help reach your athletic and/or fitness goals.

  1. Most new swimmers naturally want to keep their torso turned towards the bottom of the pool. For the freestyle stroke you really need to focus on swimming on your sides by rolling from side to side with each stroke. Not only will this technique improve your speed, it also helps you engage the muscles on your back to avoid shoulder injuries.
  2. A nose-clip for beginner swimmers who are working on their technique is a great way to help the swimmer focus. The nose clip keeps the water out of a swimmer’s nose when they are working on fine-tuning their strokes. It isn’t for everyone, but if you are easily distracted it may be worth a shot.
  3. When you are training make sure to have swimwear that allows for comfortable range of motion in the shoulders and back. AMANZI Swimwear is designed with thin straps and open back that give swimmers the freedom they need to work on their freestyle stroke.
  4. To keep good momentum as your hand enters the water, make sure that you are driving it in aggressively. Imagine the speed that a pelican hits the water, and that your hand is the beak of the pelican.
  5. Consider using power paddles when you train to help refine the position of your hand. Using hand paddles help ingrain the correct position of the hands into your muscle memory.
  6. Kick from the hip, not from the knee. This means your leg will be relatively straight when you are kicking through your freestyle laps.
  7. As you work through your laps remember to point your toes constantly to avoid extra drag. For runners, you may need to do ankle stretches to help open up the ankle to hold it in the pointed position.
  8. Work with a coach, trainer or even another swimmer, so you can receive feedback on your freestyle stroke from another set of eyes. Often our technique may feel right, but another person can see things you can’t.
  9. Keep focused with every stroke. It can be easy to drift back into bad habits when swimming. To form new and better techniques one has to constantly concentrate on their stroke until it becomes natural.

 

 

 

 

Kennedy Cooper – Young Achiever

11 year old diving superstar, Kennedy Cooper, has been awarded North Shore Times’ Young Achiever award for her accomplishments and hard work in diving. Kennedy who started out in gymnastics, has now it seems found her sport, illustrated by both her success and passion for diving. Kennedy will be busy this month with competitions every weekend, all in the lead up to qualifying for Nationals later this year.

Kennedy - Young Achiever Award

Photo credit - Melvyn Knipe

Check out the full article here.

Yoga Poses for Swimmers

Yoga Poses for Swimmers

Photo creditCourtney Home

You may have heard it through the grape vine that yoga is awesome for swimmers! Yet, perhaps due to time, money or will power, you just never seem to be able to make it to an actual yoga class. Whatever your reason, you can still get some of the physical benefits of a yoga without ever stepping foot into an official yoga class. By doing these following poses you’ll stretch out muscles that get especially tight in a swimmer’s body.

Passive Chest Opener

This relaxing pose requires minimal effort from you, but it provides a huge opening to the chest and shoulders. Roll a blanket into a cylinder shape that is the width of your shoulders and about five inches in height. Lay on the ground, so that the long side of the blanket is horizontal to your shoulders. Sit down about five inches in front of the blanket with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Slowly lay back with the goal of getting your shoulder blade tips on top of the roll. Lie back on to the roll and allow the arms to go out into a t-shape or ninety degrees for a deeper stretch. Stay in this position anywhere from two to five minutes.  

Eagle

The Eagle is a challenging balancing pose that opens up the shoulders and hips. Take your left elbow under the right, so that your forearms form an x-shape. Next, try to connect close the hands in towards one another. Ideally you want to try to cross the wrists, so that the fingertips of the bottom hand touch the palm of the top hand. Next take your hips back as if you’re going to take a seat. Lift up the right leg then cross it over the left thigh. If you can, try to hook the foot behind the calf. Stay in this pose for six breaths then when you are ready, squeeze everything in, then unfurl and release.

Downward Facing Dog

This is the one stop pose for all of your ailments, because it accesses just about every part of the body including your ankles, hips, thighs, shoulders, chest, spine, triceps, chest, neck and more. Come to your hands and knees with your wrists below your shoulders and your knees slightly back from your hips. Tuck your toes under, then push up with your hands and feet to raise your hips towards the ceiling. Try to hollow out your armpits to bring the shoulders on the back. Push down between the space of your index finger and thumb. To really get a leg stretch, try to sink the heels to the floor. Stay in the pose for as long as feels comfortable to you, remember to take deep and cleansing breaths.

Also, Try A Video!

There are tons of *free* online resources that take you through the basics of a yoga class. We recommend DoYogaWithMe.com as a good site with tons of videos with experienced instructors taking you through a yoga class in the comfort of your own home.

Laura Dennis January Update

AMANZI Girl Laura Dennis in Abisko

Summer is almost gone – or is it? I am excited because this year I get to enjoy 2 summers! One in Brisbane and one in Europe! This May I leave for France to train and compete in my first European series and French Grand Prix series. I will spend 4 months in Europe and hopefully I will find some down time to enjoy the northern hemisphere summer.

December and January saw this body push through some big blocks of training. After a few days ‘slightly’ easier over Christmas, training is back in full swing. Last week I received my new amazing bike which is a Cervelo R5 and a nice sponsorship/ambassadorship with River City Cycles, of which I am very grateful for.

This weekend, 21st February, the first race of the season is on in Devonport, Tasmania where I am competing in the Oceania championships and hope for a good race. In early March it’s off to Wollongong, NSW to compete and after that back for my first Mooloolaba triathlon on the Sunshine Coast in mid-March. It will be a big year, but a lot of fun. I’m really looking forward to it with a great support team behind me.

Laura Dennis x

Do I have to warm down after a swim?

Laura Dennis

AMANZI Triathlete Laura Dennis warms down after a hard set

Do you ever get sick and tired of doing your warm down after a race or hard training session?

SwimSci, a blog dedicated to the science of swimming, recently featured an article entitled “Are Warm Downs Necessary in Swimming?.” In this article they discuss various studies that examine the effectiveness of warm downs across various sports, but they especially wanted to find out if warm downs are still necessary after swimming.

If you are interested in the details of studies, you can read the full article here. For those of you in a rush or for those who have little interest in the science side of things, we’re just going to go ahead and skip to the conclusion!

It turns out that warm downs do enhance performance in between events at swim meets according to a recent study. The conclusion to their scientific inquiry is that while cool downs may not be as relevant to dry land sports as once thought, it is still definitely important in swimming. The scientific experts at SwimSci will be following the latest research on this topic to make sure that if there is any change in point of view of the scientific community about cool downs, they will let us know!

Most of you may not be all that surprised that warm downs are a necessary part of the swimming routine. After all most swimmers regularly include a warm-down into their swimming routine, because that is just what we do! Stay tuned to our blog in the future for the perfect warm downs to add to your swims.

 

 

 

14 Funny, Inspirational and Quirky Triathlon Quotes

jacqui-slack-amanzi

Here are some silly, inspirational and fun triathlon quotes for all our triathletes out there with one from our very own Jacqui Slack.

“I still have a big problem with confidence if I don’t have a good race it always used to get me down and still does a little. Now I tell myself to learn from the experience everyone has bad days but you have to move on. I try to surround myself with positive people my family and sponsors are always understanding and supportive whatever happens. There is always another race around the corner to prove yourself ” - Jacqui Slack (Amanzi Triathlete)

“If you set a goal for yourself and are able to achieve it, you have won your race. Your goal can be to come in first, to improve your performance, or just finish the race it’s up to you.” - Dave Scott (Triathlete)

“You can keep going and your legs might hurt for a week or you can quit and your mind will hurt for a lifetime.” - Mark Allen (Ironman)

“I’m not slow, I’m just enjoying the race longer.”

“Almost drowned, crashed the bike, puked on the run. When’s the next Tri?”

“The faster you run, the sooner you’re done.”

“I’d quit racing tri’s, but I need the T-shirts since they’re most of my wardrobe.”

“You don’t play triathlon. You play soccer; it’s fun. You play baseball. Triathlon is work that can leave you crumpled in a heap, puking by the roadside. It’s the physical brutality of climbing Mount Everest without the great view from the top of the world. What kind of person keeps coming back for more of that?”  – Chris McCormack (Two-Time Ironman World Champion)

“You can quit if you want, and no one will care. But you will know the rest of your life.” – John Collins (Ironman Founder).

“It’s easy to get caught up in our little world (what?!) of triathlon, talking about the relative dorkiness of specific activities and attire choices. But I’ve got news for you guys. According to the 99.9 percent of the population outside of the sport, we’re all big ’ol dorks. The coolest triathlete out there hovers somewhere between captain of the chess club and Steve Urkel on the world scale of coolness. Don’t worry — I don’t think it’s entirely our faults. It’s the nature of our sport, being the outcasts of not one but three more popular and established sports. That’s a lot of nerds jockeying for position.” — Jesse Thomas (Triathlete)

“The one time, and only time, I will shush my wife without getting in trouble is at mile 14 of an Ironman Marathon.” — Trevor Wurtele (Triathlete)

“Failure is failure only when we stop trying anymore.”– Sri Chinmoy

“We are judged by what we finish, not what we start.”

“It never gets easier, you just go faster” – Greg Lemond (Racing Cyclist)