7 Key Things that Led to Christian Sprenger’s Success in Swimming

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Christian Sprenger is the former World Record Holder for 200m Breastroke who won a silver medal in the 2012 Olympics and Gold and Silver for the 2013 World Championships.

He came by to the Swimfast Aquatic Club on Monday for a motivational speech for our club and we’ve learnt several key tips about how we can improve our swimming performance. We had a Q&A session after his speech and here are some of the questions that we’ve asked:

1) What is the best method of recovery after training?

Try to grab a protein+carbohydrate drink 20 minutes after training as our body has lost a lot of these nutrients from the tough workout in the pool. Carbohydrates can be in a form of simple sugars or simply just grab a banana as that is a good source of carbohydrate.

2) How do you handle the pressure before a race? (e.g. Olympics and World Championships) 

Well to be honest pressure is not always a bad thing, in fact, it’s a good thing if you learn how to use it to your advantage. The increase in adrenaline and butterflies in my stomach, these are the signs that actually signals me that my body is ready, and I’m ready to race.

3) How do you stay motivated?

Well for me it’s always about setting goals and taking small steps to get there. Like I’ve always wanted to be a world champion, but it doesn’t mean that if I plan to be a world champion today, I will be one tomorrow. It starts off with aiming to get in the finals in Australia, after that goal is achieve, it would be to be the top in Australia, followed by being the top in the Commonwealth Games, then winning an Olympic medal. Setting reasonable goals and taking a step at a time motivates me to train harder.

Another thing that motivates me is one of my competitors and great friend Cameron Van Der Burgh. Waking up at 5am being sore and tired has never been an easy task for any swimmer, I know, but for me I always picture Cameron training harder than me everyday, and if I don’t wake up, that would be a session advantage for him and I can’t let that happen, so that motivates me to get up and train every morning as well.

4) Where do you learn your Breastroke technique from?

I learn my Breastroke technique from myself. I watch how world class swimmers like Cameron Van Der Burgh swims, analyze it, and make it my own technique. My coach also helps me out with my technique but it all depends on whether it works out for me. It’s not always about listening to your coach, you have to see what suits you best and stick with it.

5) How often do you gym? 

We have 3 gym sessions a week, and for every gym exercise I try to focus more on engaging my core as core is an important element in swimming. An example would be for a pull up, before every pull up, I would make sure that my core is tighten before I start my repetition. That helps a lot in strengthening my core thus it helps in swimming.

6) How many hours do you sleep a day? 

I try to get 8 hours of sleep every night with naps in the mornings. That would add up to 10+ hours of sleep a day. But sleep varies among individuals. I know some swimmers who sleep less and they find that that helps them to have better performance so sleep is very subjective. Do what suits you best!

7) How do you get rid of the pressure of swimming? 

It’s about having a balance of social life, academics and swimming. You don’t have to be thinking of swimming 24/7. Like for me when it’s time to enjoy with my friends outside I enjoy, I don’t constantly think of swimming all the time. And out of the pool I study as well which helps to keep my mind off swimming. So as long as you have a balance in life, you wouldn’t have much pressure when it comes to swimming.

Christian Sprenger and Pang Sheng Jun

Hope this gives you a greater idea on how to better your own swimming performance because it has definitely helped me out and motivated me to train harder! And thank you to Christian Sprenger for taking time off to come and visit our club.

 

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