Why Hydration Should Be Every Athletes’ Top Priority

Want to know the secret that every top athlete in the world shares? It’s hydration! Believe it or not, staying well hydrated is the number one thing that you can do to improve your performance. It is such a simple thing but so many of us forget to stay on top of it.

Keeping hydrated at training

Photo cred: @clare_zappala

Whether you are working out at the gym or swimming laps, you absolutely must stay on top of your hydration game. Not only is it critical to your performance, it is also a health and safety must! When you exercise, you sweat. You might not really notice it when you are in the water but you are still losing fluids and you need to replace them to keep your body going.

Your body is always working to maintain a delicate balance and without water everything is out of whack. As soon as your body starts to get dehydrated, you are going to slow down. Your performance will suffer as fatigue starts to set in. And, not only does dehydration affect your body, it affects your brain. Your judgement and decision making skills immediately begin to suffer when you are parched. All of the things that are normally second nature to you suddenly start to seem like chores.

So, what is the solution? The easiest way to stay hydrated is to make it part of your normal routine so that you never even need to think about it. Every time you are planning to exercise, drink at least 0.5 litres about two hours before you plan to start sweating. When you start working out, drink at least another 0.75 litres per hour of activity. If you are working out for more than one hour, go for sports drink that will give you a boost of electrolytes and carbohydrates.

And remember, guys, these are the minimum amounts. If you are thirsty, drink! You really aren’t at risk of drinking too much water. Whenever you are swimming, keep a bottle of water right at the edge of the pool. Take a quick break at least once every 20 mins to rehydrate.

The best thing that you can do as an athlete is learn to pay attention to your body. Never ignore feelings of thirst, especially in warm weather and during workouts. If you aren’t really sure if you are getting enough water, check the toilet! The easiest way to check your hydration level is to look at the colour of your pee. Generally speaking, your goal is to create urine that is very pale yellow. The darker your pee is, the more dehydrated you are so pay attention regularly.

 

 

British Summer Championships 2016

We are super excited to introduce our all-star AMANZI Girls team racing at the British Summer Champs this week. It has been an exciting start to the competition, with 11 medals for our AMANZI Girls and countless personal best swims in just the first two days of competition.

Ellesmere College Titans swimmer Freya Anderson has had an amazing two days to date winning three medals, including gold in the 15yo 200m Freestyle and 200m Breaststroke and silver in the 15yo 50m Breaststroke. Becky Sherwin also won gold in the 16yo 200m Freestyle. Anna Fleming set a new Scottish record in the 15yo 50m Butterfly with a time of 27.28 and also secured the gold medal. Holly Hibbott won gold in the 17/18yo 800m Freestyle, as well as silver in the 200m Freestyle.

AMANZI Girl Anna Fleming

AMANZI Girl Anna Fleming

AMANZI Girl and Rio Paralympian Hannah Russell won bronze in the 100m Backstroke Multi Class.

Other standout swims from the finals sessions include:

Lily Boseley – 2nd 15yo 100m Backstroke.

Rosie Arnold – 2nd 16yo 200m Breaststroke, 4th 16yo 400m Individual Medley

Lucy McKenzie – 3rd 19yo 400m Individual Medley 

Jade Kennerell – 6th 15yo 50m Backstroke

Megan Morrison – 3rd 17/18yo 50m Breaststroke, 7th 17/18yo 200m Breaststroke, 7th 17/18yo 50m Butterfly

Becky Sherwin – 4th 16yo 100m Backstroke

Kiera Henley – 7th 15yo 400m Individual Medley

Anna Newlands – 9th 17/18yo 50m Butterfly

Harriet Perfect – 10th 16yo 100m Backstroke

Erin Robertson – 6th 17/18yo 50m Breaststroke, 10th 17/18yo 200m Breaststroke

We can’t wait for even more to come in the next few days of competition.

What Makes a Fast Pool?

AMANZI Guy Jye

As every swimmer knows, not all pools are created equal. Some much-loved pools, known as fast pools, help us fly through the water at top speeds. As soon as you get moving in a fast pool, you can tell that something is different.

Every wonder what makes fast pools unique?  Some of the biggest differences between a plain, old pool and a fast pool are turbulence, pool depth, circulation and starting blocks. Small changes in these factors can make a world of difference in your swim times.

Let’s have a quick look at each factor of a fast pool.

Fast Pool Factor: Turbulence

The biggest difference between a standard pool and a fast pool is the level of turbulence. Anyone who has ever fought against waves knows that turbulence can make all the difference in the water. Turbulence can be reduced by separating swimmers with a lane rope that absorbs some of the waves that are often pushed back and forth between competitors.

Turbulence is also reduced by designing the pool so that waves aren’t bouncing off the sides of the pool. Some fast pools are even designed with extra lanes so that no swimmer is working too close to the sides. This makes a major difference in every swimmer’s speed across the pool.

Fast Pool Factor: Pool Depth

While we often pay attention to the sides of the pool, waves in the pool can also come from below! When swimmers move through the water, they send out waves in every direction including downward. Those waves bounce back up at them and make it harder to move through the water. The deeper the pool is, the gentler these waves will be when they come back and hit swimmers. By adding pool depth, swimmers are fighting against less turbulence.

Fast Pool Factor: Circulation

Want to know the most unexpected thing that can make swim competitions unfair? It is the water jets! Unfortunately, most pool have water jets placed randomly around the pool and this means that some swimmers are impacted more than others. While they can give swimmers a boost when they are pushing off from a wall with jets, it can also push them away from wall that they are swimming towards. Swimmers at the far sides of the pool will also find themselves being pushed sideways and slowed down by jets at the side of the pool. By evenly placing jets, the circulation of the pool is well balanced.

Fast Pool Factor: Starting Blocks

Starting blocks in pools around the planet have changed so much lately! The old days of too-high, too-slippery starting blocks are slowly but surely becoming a distinct memory. After being introduced at the Swimming World Cup in 2009, the new track-style of pool starting blocks with a back lip have become all the rage and are seriously affecting swimmers times. After seeing the new starting blocks in full use at the London Summer Olympics, this new style of starting blocks has seriously transformed the swimming game.

So, swimmers, next time you are in a fast pool, take a moment to appreciate all of the intricate planning that went into that amazing pool.

Diary of a Teenage Diver

Entry #1 Diver hair
You permanently sport the same short, wet hairstyle – be it to school or out with friends there is only so much you can do with your constantly wet, chlorine-damaged hair. While your friends all have long, luscious locks, that little wet bun on the top of your head is your signature look. On the plus side you don’t have to go to the hairdressers that often cause your hair never needs cutting and it has permanent chlorine streaks.
Entry #2 The Smack
You don’t realise the pain water can actually cause unless you too have dived off one of the towers. You have probably done a belly flop right, well times that by 100 and that’s what a smack feels like. Did you know you travel up to 60km/h entering the water from the 10m tower? So when something goes wrong there is definitely an impact and your body is left with almighty bruises to show for it. With most sports you only get nervous for competitions but in our sport the nerves can show up just in practice.

AMANZI Girl Jade Sweeney

Red legs after a big splat off the 10m Platform

This sport has definitely had an impact on my heart; I couldn’t imagine a life without it -bruised limbs, damaged hair and all.

Until next month,
Jade xx

WTS Stockholm

AMANZI Girl Laura Lindemann

AMANZI Girl Laura Lindemann finishing the swim leg strong

Congratulations to AMANZI Girls Vendula Frintova and Laura Lindemann finishing in the top 20 at the ITU World Triathlon Series race in Stockholm. Vendula finished an impressive 9th place, with Laura Lindemann not far behind in 16th place.

Following these impressive results over the weekend, both girls jumped up the World Triathlon Series rankings.  Vendula now sits in 11th place and Laura Lindemann in 26th with only two races of the season to go before the ITU World Championship in Mexico later this year. AMANZI Girls Amelie Kretz, Gillian Sanders and Kaitlin Donner sit in the top 70 of the ITU World Triathlon Series rankings.

10 Reasons Why us Girls Live in our Activewear

Celebrating the last day of Junk Free June with these delicious breakfast parfaits from @thebitingtruth . Big thank-you to our friends at @thebitingtruth  and @ahealthyappetite  for getting us through the month with delicious and nutiroius food inspiration. We are pretty excited for a tomorrow though  #junkfreejune #nutrition #amanzigirls #lookgoodswimfast

From cycling to coffee dates, active wear is perfect for every occasion.

Can’t get out of your activewear? You are not alone! There are a million and one reasons to love activewear. Here are our top ten reasons why it is perfect for every single day of the week, whether you are at the gym or just hanging out.

10: It is built to last. There is so much that can go wrong with girls gear. Between buttons falling off, jeans getting ripped, and shirts fading, it’s serious work to keep our clothes looking good! Active wear however is pretty much fool-proof. Wear it for a few years then toss it when it gets too many holes.

9: It’s high tech. Gym clothes know when you are too cold or overheating and they are made out of just the right high tech gear to deal with it. Who says you have to ditch the built-in AC when you leave the gym?

8: It reminds you to workout. There is nothing like slipping on your favourite Nikes to remind you to get out and start moving your body. Keep motivation at hand 24/7.

7: You look amazing in it. Who doesn’t look great in a pair of yoga pants and a perfectly fitted t-shirt? There’s no need to change if it’s working for you.

6: It is easy to take care of. Forget about special laundry cycles, dry cleaning and all the other hassles that come with getting clothes clean. Toss your activewear in the washer on whatever cycle and you are good to go. Moisture-wicking fabrics also dry ultra fast.

5: It is so soft. Speaking of fabric. There is nothing better than a cosy t-shirt and comfy bottoms. Cotton just feels amazing. And, by the way, if you aren’t rocking a cotton shirt to the gym, pick up one that is at least 60% cotton and you’ll never want to take it off.

4: It is trendy. Why invest in the latest and greatest workout gear if you can’t show it off outside the gym? Rather than tossing them in the hamper when you get home, show them off!

3: It is perfect for travel. Need to throw some stuff into a suitcase and not worry about wrinkles? Have to go through the security at the airport? Grab your activewear! It isn’t going to wrinkle and you don’t have to worry about a belt or metal in your shoes. As a bonus, it’s ultra comfortable on the trip!

2: You are always ready for a workout. We do more when we are more comfortable. Who is going to take the stairs when they are wearing a dress and heels? Are you really going to run across the street if you are wearing impossibly tight skinny jeans? Keep yourself active by making it easy to be active!

1: You don’t have to change clothes. Haven’t you done enough already?! After going to the gym or out for a run, do you really want to pick out a whole new outfit? You already look amazing so why not rock your activewear all day long?

 

 

Top 8 Reasons You Need to Know Who AMANZI Girl Hannah Russell Is

AMANZI Girl Hannah Russell

  1. Hannah is the World Champion in the S12 50m Freestyle. Hannah was crowned World Champion after winning Gold at the 2015 International Paralympic World Championships in Glasgow. She also finished with two silver medals in the 100m Freestyle and 100m Backstroke.
  2. Hannah was born visually impaired with a genetic condition that continues to deteriorate her eyesight. Because of this Hannah got involved with swimming, a safe and contact-free sport, and almost instantly fell in love.
  3. Hannah was scouted at age 13 for the Playground to Podium program which aims to identify and support talent potential in young disabled athletes.
  4. Three years later, at only 16 years old, Hannah won three medals at the London 2012 Paralympics, including one silver and two bronze medals.
  5. Hannah is now gearing up for her second Paralympic Games in Rio later this year.
  6. Hannah trains alongside fellow AMANZI Girls Jessica Fullalove and Jessica Lloyd at the Manchester training center.AMANZI Trifecta Jess, Hannah and Jess
  7. Hannah is a great role model for all disabled athletes and swimmers alike.
  8. Hannah has achieved all these things at only 19 years of age, so we’re excited for even more to come and can’t wait to see what is to come at this year’s Paralympics!

Ironman Cairns Race Report

Ironman Cairns, set in tropical Far North Queensland (which happens to be my birthplace) always promises to be a spectacular race. Swim 3.8km in the stunning beaches of Palm Cove, ride 180km along the Captain Cook Highway up to Port Douglas, taking in breathtaking views of the ocean and rainforest then run 42.2km along the Cairns Esplanade with unparalleled atmosphere and crowd support.

When I arrived at Palm Cove (the swim start) on race morning it was still dark and had been sprinkling/drizzling rain. Looking at the ocean it didn’t look appealing at all, the water was brown and choppy, the 70.3 athletes had already started and I was meant to do a warmup swim but was reconsidering.

AMANZI Girl Chloe Kay

The swim was somewhat uneventful for me, I know it was rough and a lot of people were thrown around out there, quite a few were pulled out by rescue boats so I guess I was kind of lucky. But I was relieved to feel the sand under my feet and hear my Mum on the beach cheering.

The ride began pretty nicely, despite having rained whilst we were swimming it was clear to begin with… For about 7 minutes. Just as I got around the first little corner and was heading on the Captain Cook Highway it started to rain, then pour. My nutrition plan was to get some Infinit in and a Cliff Bar eaten nice and early to replace what energy I had used during the swim and set me up for a good day. The rain meant I needed both hands on the bars and my full attention on the road, not unwrapping a bar.

The ride course is definitely interesting and variable, no one can argue with that. The hills are rolling, you pass through parts where the rainforest meets the sea, acres of cane fields, townships with people braving the elements to cheer and of course the famous Rex’s lookout. Riding towards Port Douglas there is a longer gradual climb to the lookout, and returning it’s a shorter steeper hill. First time round it wasn’t so bad and you wonder what all the fuss is about. Second time when there’s strong headwinds, horizontal rain and my legs were cramping I wasn’t loving it.

I absolutely loved the first part of the run, the crowd support was phenomenal. I had spotted Sue my training budding, Hannah and a few people more people I knew and tried to get into some sort of rhythm. I regularly run off the bike so know it usually takes me about 2-3km to shake out the bike legs and feel alright. After about 5km I was struggling, my coach Scotty had written in my race plan ‘You’re never going to feel as good as you do in the first 10km’ which had me worried… You mean to say it’s only going to get worse than this?

I know I have done a couple of Ironman races already, so technically I should know what to expect. Maybe the memories of the other races have faded with the pain. But it felt like I was hurting more than I had ever hurt before. I was struggling and not in a good place mentally or physically.

But just as I was writing the day off as a bad one, admitting defeat that I didn’t achieve any of the goals I had set out to do my coach appeared. I had passed Scotty a few times, the first time I told him I was dying and he answered with ‘Well this is an Ironman.’ Tough coach, thanks for keeping it real… But this time he ran up alongside me and said if I maintained my pace I could make it under 12 hours.

I thought that was already out of the picture, I asked him what pace I needed to run and he said 6min/km. I looked down at my Garmin and was doing 7:10min/km. Suddenly with a burst of motivation and light at the end of a long dark tunnel I picked up the pace and ran it home. I think Scotty was running to make it to the finish line in time to see me to finish so I tried to keep up with him (pretty much impossible). I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face and got so many compliments and cheers on that last kilometre that I looked strong it actually made me feel a bit embarrassed (they hadn’t seen me walking and in despair not so long ago). But I soaked up the atmosphere and loved every minute of running down that finishers chute.

I made it over the line in 11:59:35 and my day from hell was suddenly all worth it, I had finally broken the 12 hour mark.

Until the next one, Chloe.

Read Chloe’s full race report here.

Introducing the New Backstroke Wedge

Wondering about the introduction of backstroke wedges for backstroke starts? You’re not alone! Here’s everything you need to know about the change.

AMANZI Girl Penny Hayes backstroke start

The new backstroke wedges will add that extra oooomph to your start. Photo credit: @pennyhayesnz

These wedges were approved by FINA during a meeting at last year’s new rules committee gathering during the July sessions in Barcelona. The backstroke wedges first hit the scene at the grand prix circuit last summer and are now starting to be used more regularly.

The purpose of the new wedges is to create a standardisation of the starting foot placement for backstroke swimmers. With all of the different types of pools and touch pads out there, there is a lot of inconsistency for backstroke swimmers and this is an attempt to fix it as well as to reduce the number of slips during backstroke starts.

One of the best things about the backstroke wedge is that it’ll give you a grip that has been unheard of in the swimming world until now. As swimmers, we naturally pull up to the balls of our feet then rest most of our weight there during backstroke starts. The backstroke wedge allows you to put your weight onto an angled piece of material to push off, rather than trying to grip your feet onto a flat wall.

We’ve all seen swimmers who get disqualified at the very start of a backstroke event. They pull their bodies up in preparation for the start but then drop down a bit too far before they take off. It can happen to the best of us! In fact, these unfortunate slips have happened even at the highest levels. One of the fastest backstroker swimmers on the planet, Elizabeth Beisel, qualified for the 2014 US National Championships then was immediately taken out of the race when she slipped off the wall. It’s so unfortunate but so common! It has happened to top swimmers around the world at events like the World Championships and even the Olympics. If it can happen to an Olympics swimmer, it can happen to any of us.

The goal of the backstroke wedge is to act like a high heel shoe and force your feet to stay in place so you never have to worry about slipping and being tossed out of the competition. On top of that, the backstroke wedge also creates a more even weight distribution so you aren’t killing your arms if you pull yourself high out of the water.

On top of creating stability, the backstroke wedge will also give a push factor. When you stabilise your body, you are in much greater control. Since you are completely still on a backstroke wedge, you can push off with greater force at the start of a race. With your body exactly where you want it to be, you will always start every swim meet at your best.

This new change is definitely something that we are excited about. Hopefully we will be seeing more backstroke wedges rolled out quickly at pools across the globe!

Why we love the Olympics

Is there anything better than the Olympics? You can just feel the hope and energy floating through the air as people pour their hearts and souls into capturing their dreams. While we would all love to make it into the games ourselves, watching it from at home can be a pretty amazing time too!

Can you believe it is already time for the Olympics again? While it seems like we were just celebrating the last summer Olympics in London, we are now ready to direct our attention over to Brazil for the next big event!

In case you missed it, the Rio Olympic Games 2016 begins on Friday, 5 August and ends on Sunday, 21 August. More than 10,500 world class from more than 200 countries will be competing for 306 sets of medals in 28 Olympic sports. This exciting group of competitions will take place in Brazil’s largest city São Paulo, Brazil’s capital Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Salvador and Manaus.

While we are all definitely going to be glued to the TV for the entirety of August, it is the water sports that we’re the most excited about! In the swimming there is going to be a total of 34 swimming events with 17 women’s events and 17 men’s event including two 10-km open-water marathons. In the diving events, we will get to witness some world class acrobatics in the 3m and 10m Platform events, as well as the synchronised diving events.

We also very excited to see the Womens Triathlon Event on Saturday 20th August with three of AMANZI Girls having already qualified.

Even if you can’t watch the entirety of the Olympics, you will most definitely want to mark your calendars for 6 to 13 August to watch 2016’s impressive group of swimmers. We will be watching this year’s big events in the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. For the open-water marathon, block off your schedule for 15 to 16 August to watch the planet’s top swimmers race through Fort Copacabana.

Only 50 days to go!