Blueseventy is excited to be working with Faye McClelland, arguably the most successful paratriathelte ever.
Faye has won the ITU world title every year for the last four years, and there have only been five paratriathlon world championship events to date. No other paratriathelte has won as many titles as Faye, yet she’s one of the most modest athletes you’ll ever meet.
Faye competes for Great Britain in the Tri4 category having been born without her left hand. She led a home 1-2-3 in that category at the ITU World Championships in Hyde Park last September.
With competition hotting up as the sport prepares for it’s Paralympic debut in Rio, Faye is looking forward to a year of intense racing, which will culminate at the ITU World Championships in Edmonton, Canada. She’s also looking forward to racing in a helix wetsuit having struggled with the fit of others in the past.
Faye commented: “I find swimming the most frustrating discipline. You can work so hard to just knock a second off, but I’m still improving and can get faster.”
She added: “I get a lot of practice in open water living in Eastbourne and it’s making me stronger. I have found that I need to do volume and that helps me, and I was recommended to try a helix wetsuit.”
Having recently completed her Physiotherapy degree, Faye now has more time to focus on training, and was one of twenty British athletes to attend the British Paratriathlon winter camp in Lanzarote.
Faye was born without her left hand and finds swimming the toughest triathlon discipline. However, a sub twenty minute 5km time and strong bike sure helps out. Blueseventy caught up with her to find out how she adapts her training, and found some valuable insight into how the key muscles for swimming are developed.
What’s your background in swimming?
I learned to swim when I was young. I liked the water but I wasn’t in a squad and didn’t really get into it until I became a triathlete.
What does a key winter swim training set consist of for you?
I’ll swim 3500-4500m per session, not more than 5000m ever really. The sets vary every day but I’ll do sets of 300s pull with paddles with around 15seconds rest, that’s about a five minute turnaround for me.
I do a lot of kick and drills. I’ll regularly do 10x100 kick with a board.
What about a taper set?
Sessions will be around 3000m and include a lot of shorter sprints, like 10x50m trying to hold under 40seconds for each one off two minutes rest.
What about open water swimming?
Living by the sea in Eastbourne I swim in open water about once a week. We practice sighting and I feel stronger the more open water swimming that I do. I have found that I need to do volume, that helps me.
Do you have any specific adaptions?
I’ll swim with one paddle on my left arm. It gives me the catch and works the muscles. It engages the lats, which is hard to do without a hand. However, if I wear the paddle too much I find I lose the feel for the water.
Key dates for 2014 include the Paratriathlon at the ITU World Triathlon Series event in Hyde Park at the end of May, the European Championships in Kitzbuhel in June and the ITU World Championships in Edmonton in late August.