Douglas Erasmus

VS. caught up with Doug to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on his training and how he is coping:

  1. Are you happy and healthy so far in the lockdown, or are you going a little crazy?

Yes, I am definitely healthy and happy, but would be lying to you if I said I was not going a little crazy after not being in the water for so long.…

  1. What immediate swimming goals has the lockdown interrupted?

That would be Olympic trials, as well as the Olympic Games, and recently, World Short Course Champs has just been postponed till next year.

  1. Which events were you focused on but were cancelled?

I think most of us were ready for SA Champs/Olympic Trials that was meant to happen at the beginning of April but was called off 2 weeks before.

  1. What have you done during your lockdown time (training/scouting/remote coaching) related to your sport?

I have been doing a series of land workouts, a lot of body weights, endurance-type exercises to try to keep as strong and fit as I can for the moment, as well as some resisted swimming in my home pool.

  1. What have you done unrelated to your sport – new skills, hobbies – to stay busy?

At the start of lockdown, myself and a friend, Ayrton Sweeney, did a live Podcast for the first 4 weeks, catching up with all the SA swimmers and what they were up to and how they were training during the lockdown. Other than that, just a bit of reading and mental focus.

  1. How are you feeling about returning – are you anxious about getting the virus, your safety, etc.?

I am SUPER excited to get back in the water. I am looking forward to being and feeling fit again. I feel if everyone takes the precautionary measures when returning, I think we will be ok.

  1. Do you feel more positive about the future – has this time been constructive, or do you feel like you’ve lost some ground?

It’s a tough one, cause I always believe that a bit of rest will do you well, and we also have a lot of time, as there are no major competitions happening this year, but I also feel we have lost a lot of racing experience and gains going into the Olympic year next year.

  1. Have you been monitoring what other swimmers have been up to?

Yes, as of mid-May, most of the world’s elite athletes started returning to the pool, which was tough to see as we were not close to that. I also did keep in touch with others and did see what everyone else was doing to stay fit.

  1. What are the plans to resume/when do you think training will be resumed?

I am really hoping that we can return to the pool in June.

  1. How do you think training will be different in the future?

I think there will be a lot more measures taken to keep us safe but hopefully will eventually return to normal again.

  1. What positives have come from this time?

I feel being forced out of the water really makes you realise how bad you want to be in the sport. That constant desire to get back to training and racing shows how driven you are to swimming.

  1. What impact do you think the postponement will have on overall performances at the Olympics?

This could go either way. There are athletes that will definitely benefit from this, and at the same time, athletes who might struggle to get back to where they were, but we have time.

  1. What advice do you have for your team/squadmates?

Don’t give up on your goals! Adjust them accordingly and fight even harder to reach them. We are all at a level playing field right now, so use it to your advantage.

  1. First “normal” thing you’re planning on doing once lockdown ends?

Besides getting in a good swim session, I am craving a good, usually overpriced, coffee, and a meal out.

  1. Silliest thing you’ve done in lockdown?

I attempted to go for a run. For me, that is just silly.

  1. Favorite entertainment/place/activity you missing the most?

100% missing the gym the most right now,

  1. Swimmer you admire the most?

I admire those whose Olympic year got turned upside down, and willing to come back stronger for next year’s Olympics.

  1. Funniest moment at a swim event?

Definitely has to be when I won my first nationals title and climbed on the lane rope to celebrate, but fell off before I could.

  1. Superstitions or rituals before a race?

I think maybe just getting some good oxygen in before I race, but not really, no.

  1. First thing your coach will say to you when you see him?

Maybe that it’s good to be back, but if not, definitely hello.

Thank you, Doug! All the best for your return to the water.

Amy Bathgate
About the Author
Amy Bathgate is the Operations Manager at VS Sports, playing an integral role in product development, innovation, and design, and heading up a team of enthusiastic analysts working towards transforming the way sport is analyzed, scouted, and experienced. With over a decade of expertise in consulting, biomechanics, and performance analysis across various disciplines and levels, she understands that the little details make a big difference. One of her passions and specialties is swimming, and she assists and drives athletes and coaches to achieve their performance potentials using stroke and race analysis to better their understanding of the complexities of the sport in order to go faster and train and perform more efficiently. Amy is also a Dartfish Certified Instructor, certified in Functional Movement Screening, and a former lecturer at the University of Pretoria.