With only a year to go until the Olympic Games in Paris, Brigitte Picot has taken the reins of the sport in the Flemish Swimming Federation. As an elite coach, she has a lot of work ahead of her. “It’s a big challenge. The games are coming soon, but I also don’t want to lose sight of the young people.”
For the past three years, Pico (50), who has swum in four Olympic events, has been the head coach of Leuven Aquatics. Now she is taking it a step further as a coach with the Flemish Swimming Federation (VZF).
“It’s a big challenge,” said the European breaststroke champion in 1993 and 1995. “Usually you start as a coach after the Games for 4 years. In order to work towards the next Olympics. We are now already in the year of the Games and in 3 months there will be the first important selection match. We will do our best.” Our effort.
The challenge is also great because swimming is not doing well in our country. The Belgians underperformed in the World Cup. “I wasn’t there, so it’s difficult for me to make any statements about that. But what I notice and hear here is that everyone was tired or even very exhausted at the World Cup. I like to train hard, but also ‘too much is never good.’ I think that’s why.”
How does Becue want to handle it? “I’m still a fan of training hard, but you also have to train efficiently. For example, we can do underwater analyzes here every day, but that is rarely used. You also have to be sensible and not give everyone the same program, because example.”
I’m still a fan of training hard, but you also have to train efficiently. For example, we could do underwater analyzes here every day, but that was rarely used.
“I want swimmers again who can win medals at major championships.”
Elite training at the VZF has also proven to be a high-risk profession in recent years, with many changes. “I’m the fourth coach in four years. Personally, I don’t think it’s wise to continue working this way. There needs to be some stability and a long-term vision. This is the way I want to work, unless I completely screw it up.” “But that’s not the intention,” she laughed.
“Because of course now there are the Games, but I also want to look at the young people. At the swimmers for the Games in 2028 and 2032.”
However, only in the short term. Three swimmers have qualified for the Games so far (Ross Vanooterdijk, Lukas Henvo and Valentin Dumont, eds.). Can anything be added to that?
“Yes. Relay teams, for example, especially for women. There are also individual competitors, but I prefer not to mention their names. There is already enough pressure on these swimmers.”
Some stability and long-term vision are needed. This is the way I want to work. Unless you completely destroy it, but that’s not the intention.
The only problem: there’s not much time left to qualify. “The relay teams can still qualify for the World Cup in Doha in February. This is the only chance. All the individual swimmers on the Flemish side must qualify for the World Cup. This can be done at the beginning of December. So it is a very short period.” .
He added, “Swimmers know this too. They are hungry and want to work. It is an Olympic year and this will be the first time everyone participates in the Games.”
“I want swimmers to participate in the Games now, but then also swimmers who can participate in finals and hope to get medals at major championships. I don’t know if I’m the ideal person for that, I don’t have a crystal ball. But I have a lot of experience as a swimmer and as a coach. I certainly intend to raise the bar again.”
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