Bovell to hone his skills ahead of Rio 2016

Top Trinidad and Tobago swimmer George Bovell says 2015 will be about fine-tuning his preparations and experimenting a bit to get things right for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Bovell described 2014 as a tough year in which he added too much workload and paid the price.

But it still was a fruitful one for the 2004 Athens Olympic bronze medallist who won nine medals at the FINA World Cup Swimming Series and completed a three-peat of gold medals in the Men’s 50 metres freestyle at the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) in Mexico.

“I thought that if I did everything I was doing in 2013, which was my best year; if I just improved upon it with a little bit more work, a little bit harder work, that I would be faster. But there is only so much work that your body can take. It needs to recover and I think last summer I got a little carried away, did too much work. We worked too hard and I got over-trained coming into the Commonwealth Games. But that training is in the bank, it will pay off later on and I was able to recuperate some of my speed for the FINA World Cup,” Bovell said, adding that he was just returning to the pool after a five-week break to resume his training.

Looking ahead to 2015, the all-important pre Olympic year, Bovell said his programme will be progressive.

“Things will build up this year towards the Pan Am Games in Canada and the World Championships in Russia then I’ll carry on and continue to race in the FINA World Cup,” Bovell explained.

“All in all, this year is more of a dry run for the Olympics season, another chance to work out what you need to do, how you need to do it, how you think your subjective preparation can be improved and really just a time to try things so you know next year what exactly works for you.”

At 31, Bovell is no longer a spring chicken in the sport, but he believes strongly he has been able to use his experience well and maintain his desire for top-level performances.

“Physically I feel the same. I think I am more skilful. I have the experience behind me. I think it’s a big misconception that you hit a peak in your 20s and you decline from there. I don’t think so at all, I think a man’s prime is in the whole of his 30’s and you don’t hit a peak and decline, rather you hit a big plateau and whereas your rate of improvement might not be as fast as in your 20s , you have all that experience and knowledge behind you,” Bovell observed. “You know exactly how to train smart, you know exactly how to race and you are so skilful, the biggest details come like second nature, which is a huge advantage for the older swimmers.”

He added: “I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t think it was going to be that way. If I thought my best days were behind me, I would hang the suit up.”

On the three-day George Bovell Dive-in clinic held at three locations last week, Bovell thanked his sponsors Oasis Water, Atlantic and SPORTT and said it was the most successful of the programmes to date.

“The level of athletes we were working with this time... surpassed (what we had in the past),” he said.

He noted that, “with an Olympic gold medallist and world champion (Roland Schoeman of South Africa) ...this served to really inspire and uplift the swimmers in the country; to show them being a great swimmer is possible.

He continued: “There is something to be said about learning backstroke from the best backstroker in the world (Arkady Vyatchanin) and current world record holder learning from two world champions in fly (Ross Burmester and Schoeman). It is a very unique, special experience for the youth, and it is something I hope we can build upon and improve upon in the future.”

Back on the Olympic path, and speaking of his own future, Bovell said his sole focus in 2016 will be one big taper for a peak performance at the Rio Games.