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Old 22nd September 2011, 01:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Swimming: Tao Li short(!) in two key areas

Swimming: Tao Li short in two key areas
By Low Lin Fhoong, TODAY | Posted: 21 September 2011 0712 hrs



SINGAPORE: It was only Tao Li's third official training session with new coach Ian Turner and, already, he had her working on her stamina and physical fitness.

The 21-year-old may have finished fifth in the women's 100m butterfly at the 2008 Olympic Games, she is the reigning two-time Asian Games 50m fly champion, but surprisingly, Turner has identified those two areas to work on as Singapore's swimming star plots a historic breakthrough next year.

Tao Li aims to become the first Singaporean swimmer to win an Olympic medal in the 100m fly in London next year and, speaking to TODAY just before she took the plunge at the Singapore Swimming Club (SSC) on Tuesday, Turner said: "There are two areas to work on, which are speed and endurance. I find Tao Li is a little behind in her cardiovascular background and physical fitness. The basic speed is there, but she has to be able to sustain that throughout.

"When you're swimming against the rest of the world you've got to be as fast in the second 50 metres.

"We saw the video footage of her final in Beijing, and one thing that stood out was her return 50 metres. She needs to return to being good in the last 50 metres."

There are roughly 10 months to go, and if Tao Li is to have a realistic chance of a medal at the 2012 Olympics, which will be held in London from July 27 to Aug 12, she will almost certainly have to go below 57 seconds. Her national record, set at the Beijing Games in 2008, stands at 57.54s.

She only clocked 58.24 when she won the silver at last year's Asian Games, and was even slower at the world championships in July when she posted 58.78 in the semi-finals.

At 60, Turner has already guided a number of swimmers to success at the Olympics, world championships and Commonwealth Games.

The Englishman, who replaced Barry Prime as Tao Li's coach, has already lined up time progressions and targets for his charge.

Her training programme will involve nine weekly sessions in the pool at SSC, which will go up to 10 after she finishes her diploma studies at Auckland University of Technology next month.

Each week, she will undergo four strength and conditioning sessions with a trainer at the Singapore Sports Council, and she will spend one session at Toa Payoh Swimming Complex dedicated to analysing her reaction times, dives and turns.

She will also work with a physiologist, nutritionist, biomechanist and physiotherapist.

"We haven't got that luxury of being able to have meets where she's rested and tapered so we have to monitor by test sets that we do and general feel on how things are going," said Turner.

Tao Li is pencilled in for the 2011 FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup here from Nov 4 to 5, and the first test of speed and endurance will come at the SEA Games, which will be held in Jakarta and Palembang from Nov 11 to 22.

She will compete in six individual events - the 50m, 100m, 200m butterfly and backstroke events - and in the 4x100 freestyle, 4x200 freestyle, and 4x100 individual medley.

"We're expecting her to be fitter by then ... I think she might surprise a few people with the times that she's doing from what I've seen," Turner predicted.

She will also likely feature in the New South Wales State Open Championships in February, and the British Olympic trials the following month.

Tao Li is game to tackle the next 10 months.

"I'm not very fit now and I would say I'm at about 60 to 70 per cent of my full fitness, but I'm working on it. I don't care about who I'm racing, I'm just going to focus on getting the race done."

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...154487/1/.html

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