25th February 2014 back to news

Craig Benson Update

Graham + Sibbald's recent sponsorship of Commonwealth Games swimming hopeful Craig Benson, has not gone unnoticed with several press articles covering the news, here is an update on progress from Craig himself.

Over the last couple of months I have been travelling around the world for both training and competing. I recently went to Austin, Texas to compete in the Austin Grand Prix. The trip was to gain valuable race experience against other world class international swimmers.

The competition didn't go to plan and my performances were well below what my coach and I had expected. I had mentally and physically prepared for the meet as well as possible which made my performances even more frustrating.

After I arrived back home in Scotland I decided to analyse my whole training program and performance lifestyle. As I am part of the Sportscotland Institute of Sport I receive support from nutritionists, sports doctors, strength and conditioning coaches, sport scientists, physiotherapists as well as my club swimming coach. Knowing that I had all of this support available I decided to make the most of it.

I contacted the sports doctor and had a full range of blood tests done to see if there were any underlying medical issues. I then contacted the nutritionist, sport scientist, strength and conditioning coach and physiotherapist about the issues that I had been having with my recent performance. They were more than happy to help and got to work straight away researching ideas and finding answers. We then all arranged to meet together and discuss what we found and put a plan together to start straight away.

We discovered a few different things that were affecting my recovery and therefore training and racing performances. The main factor was my weights program. I was spending too much time in the gym lifting much heavier weights than I had been in previous seasons and this was causing my muscles to feel extremely fatigued all of the time and had also caused me to gain a significant amount of weight in a short space of time. We decided that it would be best to stop lifting weights until after the Commonwealth trials in order to get some high quality work done in the swimming pool. The nutritionist also put a dietary plan together to help me to lose some of the extra weight. Another aspect of recovery that we looked into was my sleep. Using a sleep watch to monitor my sleep quality, we found that my sleep quality at night was pretty poor and could be improved by developing a pre bed routine. With the Commonwealth Games trials fast approaching we had to act on the plan straight away.

After correcting the issues regarding my recovery, my training performance improved rapidly. Training is now going extremely well and I am well on track to being at my peak performance come the Commonwealth Games trials in Glasgow. Using the support team around me was really beneficial and made the whole process possible.

I then got to put my new program to the test on a trip out to Dubai to compete at the Dubai Open Championships. Followed by my final block of hard training before the Commonwealth Games trials.

My performances in Dubai were massively improved from Texas with a 1.2 second season best time in the 100 breaststroke and almost 5 second seasons best time in the 200 breaststroke with two gold medals to top it off.

After a really hard few days of racing my team mates and I had a day off to relax at at water park and enjoyed an evening on safari in the desert. So with the final push of training towards the Commonwealth Games trials I will spend plenty more hours of hard work in the pool and I can't wait!

Craig Benson