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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Who Is This Man They Call Rhys Mainstone?

Lexie Kelly interviewed Mel Tantrum, coach of one of the hottest swimmers on the FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit, Australian Rhys Mainstone.  He ended up eighth overall in the season's rankings, but he finished fourth and first in the last few races in Hong Kong and China.

Coach Tantrum described his flourish, "Rhys had a fantastic races in Hong Kong and Shantou, matching it with the best of the best. Hong Kong was his first major international win on the FINA World Cup circuit so things are looking very exciting heading into Rio 2016."

KellyWhere does Rhys train? 
Coach Tantrum: Rhys trains with The University of Western Australia High Performance Swim Program. Most sessions are conducted at Challenge Stadium, host venue of the 1991 and 1998 World Swimming Championships in Perth, Western Australia. These sessions are all long course (50m). Once a week, on Saturday mornings, we train at The University of Western Australia Uniswim Aquatic Centre, which comprises 3 x 25m pools (24 lanes in total). It is now summer in Perth, so Saturday morning training will be followed by an ocean race varying from 1200m-2500m in distance.

Kelly: How would you describe his training regimen?  Does he do anything innovative - or does he just pound out the work like the great Australian distance freestyle swimmers in history?
Coach Tantrum: Rhys completes 10 swim sessions per week ranging from 2-2.5 hours per session. Then there is 1-2 strength and conditioning sessions, massage, physiotherapy, and sport psychology. Training is really specific to the 10km race, so there is plenty of aerobic, anaerobic threshold and finishing speed work. Once a week we get the underwater camera out and once a month we complete a regular test set with blood lactates. The training squad is an open water, distance freestyle and elite triathlon group, so we are able to incorporate specific open water skills and tactics into training at most sessions.

KellyRhys is a relatively small swimmer relative to his taller competitors.  But he is powerful.  What is his dryland training program like?
Coach Tantrum: Rhys’ dryland program is designed in conjunction with Geish Hori, one of the Western Australian Institute of Sport Strength and Conditioning Coaches. Generally Rhys will complete 2 gym sessions per week, dropping to one per week closer to major competitions. The aim is to maintain strength.

Kelly: How is he to coach as an athlete?
Coach Tantrum: Rhys is really motivated and very focused on his goals. He has a lot of input into the planning and preparation of the season’s competitions and race plans so it is very much a team effort.

Kelly: He seems to have a perennial smile on his face, except when he loses.  Is that a correct impression?
Coach Tantrum: He is always smiling and having a laugh, especially with his training buddies. He really enjoys training and racing.

Kelly: Why do you think he has developed a talent for open water swimming?
Coach Tantrum: Rhys started open water swimming as a way to earn a little cash on the weekends as most of our local swims have a little prize money up for grabs. His passion and talent really blossomed when he won a few races and eventually made the Australian OW Team. He has a passion for learning new skills and trying different tactics, and he is VERY competitive so open water swimming is a good fit.

Kelly: What are his short-term and long-term goals?
Coach Tantrum: Short term, Rhys’ goal is to continue to be selected for the Australian Open Water Swim Team. The 2013 World Championships are in Barcelona, Spain and he wants to be on that team. The ultimate goal is Rio 2016, so there are a lot of FINA World Cups, and two World Championships between now and Rio.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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