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Expecting many Indian swimmers to achieve ‘A’ standard in 2024 Olympics: sports science expert

·3-min read

Bengaluru, Feb 26 (PTI) Acclaimed sports science expert Dr Genadijus Sokolovas, who has worked with several Olympic medallist swimmers in the past, feels that many Indians can achieve the 'A' qualifying standard in the sport in the 2024 Games.

No Indian has ever made the ‘A’ qualification standard, which offers a confirmed berth for the Olympics.

For the Tokyo Games, six swimmers have achieved the second-level Olympic qualifying mark or the B standard, which only keeps them in the reckoning in case the total quota of swimmers is not reached by the end of the qualification period.

'Using the individualised recommendations after testing, I expect top swimmers to make considerable improvements. I also expect more swimmers, especially younger ones who are there are at the camp, to reach an elite level faster,' Sokolovas said in a media release.

'So, by the next Olympics, I am expecting multiple ‘A’ cuts in India. I would expect the Indian swimmers to be way more competitive by the next Olympics. But we need to keep in mind that the ‘A’ cut is a moving target,' he added.

Dr Sokolovas has earlier worked with the legendary American swimmer Michael Phelps -- the most decorated Olympian of all time with 23 gold medals -- as well as more than 70 world champions.

A total of 45 swimmers -- including 23 national campers -- were put through various tests such as biomechanics-based technique analysis, swim power test, start and turn analysis, lactate profiles for training zones and recovery protocols in a recently concluded six-day camp.

'We conducted many tests with the Indian swimmers. We also went into great detail with respect to the breathing techniques. We have been developing different drills customized for each individual,” said Sokolavas.

Sokolovas also interacted with top coaches during a two-day clinic organised by the Swimming Federation of India.

'After taking these tests, the Indian swimmers can confirm that there is a lot of room to be faster. I believe everybody can swim faster. My prediction is that these guys can swim much faster than they are swimming right now.' Srihari Nataraj, who has achieved the 'B' cut for the Tokyo Olympics in 100m backstroke, feels the introduction of the technology will help swimmers going into the next Olympics.

'It was really nice having Dr Sokolavas here and the methods used for testing our technique are great. He pointed out how many changes I could make to go faster. As for yesterday’s workout, I tried making some of the changes and felt a lot more in control, a lot smoother.

'This technology is something that we’ve never had access to and it will definitely make a big difference. It is going to make a huge difference going into the next Olympics. The technique matters a lot when you are under water and we have ignored that aspect for years.” Swimming Federation of India Secretary General Monal Chokshi said the federation 'is working towards a long-term MoU with Dr Sokolavas to make sports science backed tools available to swimmers and coaches”.

'We are going to work on a talent identification and development programme, which he has already designed and developed,' he said.

'This will be a long-term engagement where the toolkit will be accessible to all coaches and swimmers who want to use it. We will continue to have Dr G’s expertise for our TOP level swimmers on a one-on-one basis.' PTI APA PDS PDS