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Tips from Olympic hopefuls

I have always loved the Olympics. Even now that every single thing -- from time to people -- is an opportunity for gluttonous corporate sponsorship, it's an event I never miss. In fact, I have often sung the praises of living within distance of Canadian television to get actual live coverage of events rather than the pre-packaged, tape-delayed style of coverage American networks are so fond of.

Immersing myself in training during an Olympic year also has its advantages. As the Olympic trials creep up, there are more videos on the web, which in swimming particularly gives me more chances to watch technique and try to replicate it myself in the pool. (OK, I won't actually be able to look like Michael Phelps nor will I be confused with Amanda Beard, but seeing the proper form on my laptop then jetting to my workout gives me a visual to work from.)

Along with trolling the web for video of my favorite swimmers comes this series from The New York Times which offers training advice from Olympic hopefuls.

The first came from swimmer Ryan Lochte who trains at different tempos and has come to add copious amounts of kicking and weight training into his weekly routines.

Along with Lochte's story is the coach's corner which features a series of kicking drills by Gregg Troy, the head swimming coach at the University of Florida and Lochte's personal coach.

For me, the drills and ideas of how to structure a workout in the pool are great for days when I'm on my own in the pool and need something other than just an easy-paced swim.

But even more important than the specifics of the swim, reading about Lochte's workouts provides some inspiration and motivation on those days when spring and summer feel so far away.

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