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Karen Pinniger explains the 'amazing opportunity' lockdown has provided

City of Norwich coach Karen Pinniger explains some of the positives taken from life in lockdown and how she hopes the club can put their enhanced skills to good use once they’re back in the water.

I have always challenged swimmers to be resilient, creative and calm under pressure with a view to preparing athletes for their ‘peak performances’ of life. My references relate to obstacles faced in the pool or school life.

The last 16 weeks have given our swimmers and coaches an amazing opportunity to evolve their skills in a way no other swimming generation has been able to and I’m looking forward to seeing these enhanced skills being put to use in the pool.

At the start of lockdown, our team at City of Norwich Swimming Club developed a weekly timetable. All swimmers had regular scheduled contact time and advice for supporting training with their family.

Swimmers have accessed strength and conditioning, yoga, education and social sessions.

The heart of our vision is to keep our community safe and engaged.

Alex, our head coach, steered the team through in his usual calm, focused and considered way.

I have been inspired with how creative and committed our swimmers and coaches at the club have been throughout this time. With every setback there has been new vigour and determination to find a path through.

Jason, our strength and conditioning coach, has been pivotal to this process keeping our online sessions varied and progressive, targeting the needs of our athletes.

The Norfolk Broads waterways and Norfolk’s open roads have proven wonderful places for our families to explore whilst maintaining their fitness in a safe and responsible way. Many of our swimmers are expressing an interest in pursuing open water swimming when we return.

I’ve chosen the right path

From a coaching perspective there are aspects of coaching online and cross training fitness that have worked well for us. So much so that we will be including them in our future programming.

For example online catch up meetings with a coach, swimmer and their parent rather than meeting in the noisy cafe late in to the evenings and S&C that is easily accessible to everyone.

On a personal level, the lockdown has given me an opportunity to experience some aspects of family life usually missed due to swimming commitments. I celebrated a wedding anniversary for the first time in 15 years of marriage (we are usually at regionals).

I planned an Easter egg hunt (usually at an Easter meet) and I discovered what weekends really look like for ‘normal people’. Would I change my chosen career path? Definitely not!

So lockdown has given me a beautiful gift – confidence that I have chosen the right path for me.