The Swiss National Triathlon team have had a picture perfect start to their 2011 ITU season, but forgive the athletes if they didn’t have time to take in the breathtaking views on a recent training camp.
National coach Iwan Schuwey led the two-week camp based in Gran Canaria with a total of 17 athletes, including 14 national team members and three guests, and five staff. Among the elite athletes were Gold Group members Nicola Spirig and Sven Riederer, and Reto Hug and Ruedi Wild.
“The two weeks in Gran Canaria were great,” said Spirig, last year’s World Championship silver medallist. “My personal coach came as well so we had only advantages in this camp. We could benefit from the infrastructure of a federation camp with organised travels, hotel, team massage therapist and doctor. Plus we could train in a group with the other young Swiss athletes. This mix and the perfect weather we had for the whole two weeks made the training at the camp very good and we enjoyed the time in Gran Canaria.”
The island is the second largest of the Canary Islands and thanks to its sunny weather, beautiful beaches and volcanic landscapes has become a hot training spot for athletes. Its own tourism campaign markets the island as a gym that never closes.
Schuwey said it was an ideal start to the Swiss athletes’ run at the 2011 ITU season.
“It was a perfect location to hold our training camp, the accommodation was great and the people were very friendly,” he said. “We also had great weather, about 20 to 25 degrees (Celsius), every day, and everyone got along really well.”
But while the athletes were surrounded by the stunning scenery and perfect conditions, it wasn’t hard to lose focus on the real task at hand – the upcoming ITU season. Training included all the usual elements for the three legs, but had added challenges like running on dunes. The camp was split into two groups, with the training adapted so every athlete could complete it.
“The quantity and quality of the athletes in this camp was a very high level, all of the athletes put in around 35-hour training weeks and we felt they all progressed very well,” Schuwey said.
“We also didn’t have any injuries or accidents, which was certainly very positive. Overall, the athletes worked very hard with no compromises, as did the staff, and it was a pleasure to work with everyone.”
The Gran Canaria camp was the second part of the Swiss National Team’s 2011 pre-season. It started with a ‘kickoff’ meeting in Ittigen on January 8, before heading to Tenero in the south of Switzerland for three weeks. The camp then moved to the tropical outpost on February 5 for its two-week stint.
Switzerland has won back-to-back Team Triathlon World Championships and will bid for a third straight title at home in Lausanne on August 21, 2011.