Diego Nogueria, Taking It To His Limits

Diego Nogueria, Taking It To His Limits

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Jose Diaz of Nadandolibre (Swimming Free) interviewed Beijing Olympic 10K marathon swimmer Diego Nogueria of Spain who has been swimming with the Perteneciente al Real Canoe Natacion Club from the age of 4. Diego is focusing on the 2010 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships this July with a goal of finishing in the top 8 in both the 5K and 10K races.

He also hopes to finish in the top 6 at the European Open Water Swimming Championships that are held two weeks after the world championships. But the European Championships are a pure 5K time trial without pack swimming which Diego excels at.

He is also going to a FINA World Cup race in Mexico in Sumidero Cañyon on the FINA professional marathon swimming circuit.

Q1. What kind of techniques do you use to improve your cardiovascular abilities and mental performance in a race?

Diego: The truth is that when I began I did not give it any importance, but over the years I realized the need to have a respiratory and mental control during races and training. In my training, everything that I do is for my competitions.

Q2. How important is the diet of elite swimmers and endurance swimmers? What is your diet based on?

Diego: It is very important above all in the prior period to the competitions, especially since I am doing so much training. I eat without thought because i am training so much that I have the luxury to eat everything that I want without getting fat and not damaging my performance, within limits. In the period leading up to the competition, my diet always including a lot of carbohydrates, accompanied by fruits full of vitamins and bananas. I also take a great deal of beverages, whether it is energy drinks or simply water.

Q3. What are your objectives?

Diego: I am a person that believes the will and the mind is 70% of everything, as in life. During my hard training throughout the season, I always have the mind my goals since I believe that a goal in life always causes you to think that what you are doing will have its own reward and that the current suffering will correspond directly to a future result.

When I swim, I do it with confidence and thinking that I am the best. I have to be attentive in every moment in the competition, knowing to read the attacks [of other swimmers] and who is making the surge. It is also preferably to do a forecast of the conditions and a study of my opponents who I will face. All in all, you must have the always positive mind, to trust in the work you have done and to fight for which you have worked at that moment to compete

Q4. What importance do you give to the use of special swimsuits? Do you believe the swimsuits should be considered technological doping?

Diego: I believe that in open water, the technical swimsuits do not give so many advantages like in a pool because the conditions vary according to the location and weather conditions.

While it is always positive to have a high body position; in reality, the effect of the technical swimsuits is not as important as your technique, your strategy and the conditions of the competition. So my point is that it is not technological doping because everyone is facing the same conditions, but I do not favor the high body position because I think victory should be won due to training and not because you use a technical swimsuit

Q5. Leading up to an event within a month, we alternate working hard and average intensities in our workouts. How many days can you work high intensities?

Diego: In my own case, I am able to workout at high intensities for five sessions. I work hard, then do an aerobic recovery session in the middle, then another five sessions of great intensity to finish the week, ending with another session of recovery.

Q6. It is recommended in double workouts to do aerobic sets in the morning and anaerobic sets in the afternoon or should we do both with high intensities during the week of a maximum number of meters?

Diego: It depends on your preparation. There aer weeks of high workload volumes that are purely a great volume of a continuous medium pace and there are other weeks where you specify where the high volume of swimming goes followed by a short series with great intensity. Both types of workouts are necessary.

Q7. In your training, do you focus more on volume or quality? Is technique more important?

Diego: The technique is very important at the moment in order to save energy and to prevent injury, but I believe high intensity workouts are most important with a focus on the workout volume too.

Q8. What prepares you mentally to do so much distance at such high velocities?

Diego: Being positive. Believing in the work that you do and in the people who have helped you in the training that you have done. It is always good to know where your body’s limits are, always pushing you to do more.

Q9. How many meters do you train?

Diego: The volume varies depending on the season. In the period of maximum volume, there aer weeks are 100K in 10 sessions. My training can be 12K for the longest sessions and 8K in the shortest ones. During a period when there is still much time until a race, my weekly volume is 80K in 10 or 11 workouts, distributed more equally. In the weeks prior to the competition, my volume of 60K is divided into 8 workouts.

Q10. Do you utilize drafting?

Diego: The truth is that is one of my advantages in races; the power to draft. It is one of the reasons for my success since I have been able to save energy for the last part of the race to carry out an attack and to be more fresh at the moment I need to launch a sprint towards the finish.

Q11. How can you compare training in a pool to training in the ocean?

Diego: Many people ask that same question to a swimmer of Madrid. A majority of the swimmers in the open water do their preparation in a pool, since the conditions of the seas during the year can be difficult whether it is because of the winds, tides or temperature. In the pool, there are almost always the same conditions. There is a quick transition in the days prior to the competition where I do my training in the venue where the open water race will be held.

Q12. What happens when you have prepared all your life for a world championship and then cannot compete because of an injury [that Diego suffered at the 2009 World Swimming Championships]?

Diego: I believe that as in many circumstances in one’s life, somethings cannot be controlled. So I continue to learn and to focus on the positive things of these experiences whether they are good or bad. I continue working hard which will have its rewards, whether today, tomorrow or in the future. I am always proud of the work, and tend to see it not as a failure, but teaching me something.

Q13. How do you prepare for competitions like studying the currents and water conditions?

Diego: Always it is interesting to know where the conditions. We talk with people who have swum in those locations before to find out if there is some special thing to keep in mind. Then, in the prior days to the competition, we carry out training in the location to be able to know where are the most important points to keep in mind on the day of the race.

Q14. How to you lift your head during your stroke to see where you are going?

Diego: It is important and specific to each person. It also depends on the visibility; if the water is very murky or the amount of time between looks. In my case, I like to swim on the left side of the pack because I breathe to the right and I like swimming in the 5th or 6th position. I raise my head every 30 seconds to look forward.

Copyright © 2010 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones