We caught up with Tanja Slater to get some insight into how the Swim Camp for Triathletes can help you get faster by saving minutes off your swim. Now in its 8th year, Tanja welcomes all triathletes (over 18 years of age), regardless of distance and experience.
1) How many years have you been training and coaching swimming/triathlon?
While I was an Elite Olympic Distance Triathlete I started to coach other triathlete’s. I spent a lot of time training at Club La Santa, Lanzarote as a professional and during this time helped on various triathlon camps. Since hanging up my racing shoes I have been coaching, swim teaching and running training camps (swim, bike & triathlon) full time. So with over 10 years of coaching experience, I love helping people improve, pass on my knowledge and experiences.
I am a qualified British Amateur Swimming Teacher and love to help beginners through to top age groupers improve their technique and efficiency in the water. As an elite triathlete I worked hard at my swimming to be a front pack swimmer, therefore I know how hard it is to make changes to your technique, however I always loved my swimming and I love aspiring our guests to love swimming as much as I do. Stephan Vuckovic (the other swim coach during this camp) who is a former Olympic Silver medalist in Triathlon was also a front pack swimmer and together we love to help others improve. Both with years of swim analysis, teaching and coaching experience.
2) What did you enjoy the most when you were competing? What do you enjoy most about teaching?
When I was racing triathlon I loved the learning, the improvements, the fine details that could be added to the sport to make the gains needed. I loved the places I went to train/race and see the world while competing. Those who know me know I was a swimmer and cyclist. Running was my least favourite discipline, but I loved running once i was finished!!
Since retiring from professional cycling & triathlon racing, I spent time doing some swim challenges, learning new crafts. I dived into long course swimming and completed 42.2km open water swim for charity. It was great to experience more about the training and technique for longer open water swimming. Following that i decided to join the ‘real swimmers’ and did some events non wetsuit, again learning about colder water swimming, training and racing (not ice swimming, mmm not for me!). More recently I have raced triathlon again and I even managed a World Record Swim Time in my Age Group in the Hawaii Ironman World Championship event.
I really enjoy helping others improve and gain their potential. It is very rewarding being a coach when you can see people reach goals, understand more about the technique in each discipline and enjoy racing and competing.
3) What improvements could a guest expect to make ?
During the week at Club La Santa guests will expect to go away with sore arms and brain overload……BUT filled with the knowledge about the fundamentals of the front crawl stroke, key drills and technique pointers on how to improve efficiency, fitness and speed moving forwards. The week is full of fun in the sunshine, swimming in an outdoor 50m pool twice a day. We include a safe open water swim session, a core session to help to improve your swimming, a swim talk and an individual video analysis. Although this is a group camp, everyone receives individual attention but it is fun swimming in a group with others.
The week consists of technique sessions to improve each part of the front crawl. Drills are not easy so each session gives a fitness and interval work out, but solely focusing on technique. We have a lot of people returning to the camp year after year due to the improvements they have made in their swimming, be this over 400 – 750m sprint distance races or up to Ironman and beyond. We have emails every year of people returning home and improving their times.
4) Do you have timed efforts during the week to allow attendees to see if they have improved?
We do not have specific start of the week or end of the week timed swims, but people can see the improvements in their swims during the week itself, be this complete one length of Front crawl, or find it much easier to get to the other end of a 50m pool for beginners, up to managing more distance with the drills for the more advanced swimmers and quicker 50m when altering pace. Even with tired arms people see their improvements. The major improvements are seen once they have gone home, rested their shoulders, arms and brain!
5) Can you tell us more about the video analysis?
We tend to film people once during the week. Beginners tend to get their video analysis towards the end of the week as we can help them improve so much over the first few days, any initial video would soon be redundant. Intermediate swimmers get their videos earlier on in the week so they can see what they need to work on.
Sometimes we film at the beginning and the end of the week, but this depends more on the ability of the swimmer. Some swimmers find it easier to visualise improvements once they have seem their weaknesses, others can feel these and only need this assistance later on.
Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced everyone enjoys there own individual video analysis session in between the swim sessions at some point through the week.
As well as the video analysis we also hold a group swim talk to work through the stroke and go through the correct actions. This really helps get rid of some of the myths and errors people believe about swimming the front crawl without even being in the water.
6) Is there an opportunity for attendees to bike and run during the week too?
In between the morning and the afternoon swim sessions there is the opportunity for guests to go cycling or running or rest or even attend any of the free classes that are held by Club La Santa. Swimming is harder than people realise so some rest, sunbathe or go to a yoga or stretch class. However saying that, on Mondays we have only one swim, so people have the opportunity to go for a long bike ride.
7) Can attendees benefit from your experience on all disciplines during the week?
Of course! We normally have an open water swim session for everyone, which is great if you have never swam open water before and also useful for practise if you are more experienced. Both Stephan and I will be out in the water with our guests.
Depending on the group and what they want to do, we’ve sometimes ridden with our guests. However, we are finding that our guests realise that we can help make big improvements on their swimming, so more recently we have spent more time helping people with some more video analysis and core training for swimming. We have also helped guests with some written sessions, which can improve their other triathlon disciplines.
The camp runs for 3 weeks, as a rolling programme, there is no week 1, 2 or 3 so to speak, so you can start whenever it suits you which means you are not tied to only one flight.
Swim Camp for Triathletes starts on the 24th November and ends on the 16th December.
Date Posted: 24th August 2017