Swimmer Martin Binedell

VS. caught up with Martin 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?

I am healthy and happy. Not to say I don’t miss the pool, I’ve just found a lot of happiness being in nature and doing things I didn’t have the time to do before with my busy routine.

  1. What immediate swimming goals has the lockdown interrupted?

I was 2 weeks out of Olympic trials and in great form.

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

Besides Olympic trials, obviously Olympics as well as a couple swim series like Mare Nostrum and FINA World Cups.

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

With no pool, I decided to give myself a proper break. But been staying active with cycling, running and playing around in my farm style outdoor gym. I’ve helped do a couple clinics with young up and coming swimmers, and took part in a very interesting webinar with @neuroswim on developing neurological skills.

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

I’ve been enjoying being on the farm and outdoors. In contrast, I’ve also been enjoying some online gaming with the lads and listening to various podcasts.

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

I am excited to get back in the water. I miss the things that made me fall in love with the sport, the feeling of being in the water and being able to zone out into that trance of training.

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

I feel like I’ve lost a lot of ground in work and fitness, but I think the break has made me appreciate myself more, to be something more than just Martin the swimmer.

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

No. I’ve been focusing on myself and only engaging with my close swimming mates.

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

I don’t know when we’ll be allowed back in the pool, but if and when that happens, I plan on taking it slow and steady.

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

I think there is going to be an emphasis on building a good cardio base again. But besides that I think squad sizes will be smaller and more specific.

  1. What positives have come from this time?

I think athletes have been forced to be more adaptive and creative in their training.

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

It’s hard to say. Many athletes (despite the virus) have still been allowed to train in other countries. I think the gap between first and third world swimming nations will be increased again.

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

I’d say to be resilient and patient when allowed back in the water. To not push too hard and avoid injury after being out for so long.

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

Surf this winter swell I’ve missed out on.

  1. Silliest thing you’ve done in lockdown?

I built a massive Koi pond next to our stoep and garden.

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

Again, surfing but also grabbing a coffee or drink with friends.

  1. Swimmer you admire the most?

Cameron van der Burgh. A true professional, close friend and mentor that has taught me a lot, about swimming and life.

  1. Funniest moment at a swim event?

Having my suit tear before a big final and having to do a towel change behind the block in front of a crowd.

  1. Superstitions or rituals before a race?

I play with my water/juice bottle a lot. Bottle flips, juggles and balances.

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

Probably something about how much weight/mass I’ve lost, or my beard if it’s still there.

Thank you, Martin! 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.