Here, we chat with a synchronised swimmer and physiotherapy student Sarah Bombell about training sessions, studying and her tricks for icing injuries.
By: Crystelle Coulon
Lives Broadbeach, Queensland
Winnings Seventh place at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and bronze at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games
A “I was 10 when I saw the synchro girls performing during swimming training. I thought what they were doing looked much more interesting than swimming along a black line, so I asked Mum if I could give it a try. Eighteen years later and I’m still going at it.”Q Why did you want to study physio?
A “When I was 17 I sprained my ankle badly, just before nationals.
I had physio every couple of days to help it and thankfully was able to compete. It inspired me to want to help injured athletes return to sport – I completed my Bachelor of Exercise Science in 2003 then had a few years off to train for the 2008 Olympic Games. In 2009 I began my Masters of physiotherapy – I’m halfway through.”
Q What’s a typical day of training like leading up to the Olympics?
A “Our morning training consists of a one-hour session, which can include skipping, running, plyometrics and practising our routine on land – which we call ‘walk throughs’. We’ll then do a one-hour swimming workout before three hours of drilling routines with music.Our afternoon session is another hour of land and three hours of water, which includes
a warm-up, some synchro specific fitness drills and routines again.”Q What’s your top trick for soothing sore muscles?
A “Keep moving. Sometimes I just want to lie down and not move, but this makes me even more sore and stiff. Light exercise like walking, cycling or kicking in a pool combined with frequent stretching is your best bet. Another thing that really helps is massaging your sore muscles with arnica cream.”Q What’s your insider tip for icing an injury?
A “The important thing with ice is to get it on the injury ASAP. I know a lot of people time how long they put ice on for, but I find it better to go by feel. At first it will feel cold, then sting, followed by a burn, and then it goes numb. When it goes numb you
can take it off. Have a rest for at least 20 minutes then repeat.”Q We’ve heard that boxers do dance training and soccer players do yoga. What cross-training do synchro girls do?
A “An important part of our team routines are acrobatic moves – where we throw girls out of the water and they perform flips in the air, so we’ve been working with a gymnastics coach to help with this. For cross-training we also do ballet, running, skipping, hip hop dance classes, Zumba, Bikram yoga and aerial acrobatics.”