WAKAYAMA, Japan – A group of 11 Paralympic hopefuls has just wrapped up a week and a half of training in Japan as they prepare for this summer’s Tokyo 2020 Games.
The group travelled on Jan. 4 to Wakayama, which will be the site of Canada’s staging camps for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Wakayama was also the site of a successful staging camp before the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo.
The Canadians had a chance to escape winter temperatures for a consistent training block, which included relay-specific practice and regular dryland activations led by strength and conditioning coach Tessa Gallinger. The team did a workshop defining their expectations of excellence and accountability. They also had the opportunity to scientifically monitor sleep patterns and jet lag reduction protocols.
“With an excellent hotel, outstanding pool and welcoming community, it’s easy to understand why we have chosen here to prepare for the most important swim meet,” said Wayne Lomas, Associate High Performance Director and Para Swimming National Coach, who led the camp.
“This camp was planned to provide some of Canada’s best swimmers and their coaches an opportunity to experience Japanese culture and the facilities in Wakayama before the Games in summer. It absolutely achieved this goal and more. Our whole team embraced the experience,” Lomas said. “The Wakayama swimming community were exceptional in their hosting of us, and we are excited about returning in the summer.”
The group included reigning Swimming Canada Para Swimmers of the year James Leroux, Nicolas-Guy Turbide and Aurélie Rivard, who was Canada’s flag-bearer at the Rio 2016 Paralympic closing ceremonies.
“The camp went really well,” Leroux said. “It was fun to know where we’re going to be for our staging camp before the Games. We got our bearings and learned about Japanese culture and how to be respectful towards our hosts. The team was really good and it’s going to be a great place to train before the Games this summer.
Paralympic medallists Tess Routliffe and Katarina Roxon were also part of the Canadian contingent.
“I think it was a really good experience and I really enjoyed it because we got to experience a bit of the Japan culture,” Routliffe said. “We got to see around the city, we did a great Osaka food tour and it was a little taste of what we could experience in the summer. It was an opportunity for us to get a feel for everything and how we should be acting when we’re here this summer. I thought it was a really good experience and the team we brought was really nice, we got along well together and we’re looking forward to a good summer.”