Coleman Allen´s work ethic has taken him to the next level.
The Barrie, Ont. native moved to Pennsylvania with his family when he was a child, after his father got a job as a salesman for a pharmaceutical software firm.
The 23-year-old had more energy than the other kids and the parents introduced him to swimming
“I was a little bit of a spazzy kid,” said Coleman, who started swimming in Strasburg, Pennsylvania “My dad used to swim when he was young, and he was the same way (I was) and his parents signed him up to swimming so my parents did the same to me, and I just loved it”
By the age of eight when Coleman and his family decided to move to Spokane, Wash., he was not only into swimming but also he was a very good snowboarder too.
“After soccer playing I started to do snowboarding, I used to race and it was pretty fun but had a couple of concussions, maybe two to three within a year, and my parents, obviously, thought that snowboarding was not good for me,” said Coleman, who won the National Youth Championship title in Slalom and Giant Slalom events in 2003.
For Coleman there is no regret about leaving snowboarding behind and pursuing a career as a swimmer.
“No regrets, swimming has provided me with so much: education, great friends that I will have for the rest of my life, the travelling,” said Coleman, at poolside of the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.
After one year of swimming for the University of Nevada, Coleman decided to take his swimming skills to a higher level.
“I realized that if I wanted to be at an Olympic level I had to go back to Canada and I trained the whole summer, then I talked to Tom and that was how it happened.”
Coleman transferred to the University of British Columbia (UBC), where he was able to work with the seven-time Canadian Olympic coach, Tom Johnson.
“Tom is like a second father to me, we have worked pretty well together,” said Coleman, on Sunday night.
This time coaching was not going to be only in the physical aspect of swimming.
“In the bigger picture you are not just about to get him from one end of the pool to the other and faster,¨ said Johnson, who has been the nine-time Canadian World Championship Coach.
“It’s about trying to develop good people, and to do that, you have to engage them comprehensively in what they are doing, it means not only on the physical and technical side but also the emotional and psychological side.
“We are also teaching life skills.”
After going to UBC in 2012, Coleman broke a Canadian record in the 100m butterfly when he clocked 50.90 at the FINA World Cup in Eindhoven, Netherlands.
Last November, the son of Jackie and Murray Allen also won a silver medal in the 200m individual medley on the FINA short course swimming circuit in Singapore.
From the moment he wakes up, Coleman´s commitment with his swimming career has been critical for his development.
“I start at six in the morning, I get up and I walk to the pool to swim from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. After that, I change and I go to class from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., then I go home to eat a bunch of food and to rest for a bit,¨ said Coleman, who claims to be able to eat a million Gnoccis.
¨At 1:30 p.m., I go back to the pool to do some weights. From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. I swim again, after that, I go home to eat a bunch of food again and I returned to the pool to teach in a master-swim-class,¨ said Coleman, whose dietary plan is to eat 7,000 healthy calories per day.
For Coleman, giving more importance to the mental side of swimming has given him better results than focusing more on the physical side of the sport.
“I worked in what is called the nature of the beast. This year, I had to optimize my game in the sense of competition.
“I am working on the mental side. It is about being comfortable. For example: my race is 50 to 52 seconds for a 100m buterfly and I have to be able to rehearse and rehearse a lot to when I get to that moment, it will not be new for me and I will not get panic,” said Coleman, who believes that swimming is 30 per cent physical and 70 per cent mental.
Being able to predict and to know about every single detail of the race seems to be the key for the brother of Beddome and Hannah.
“Every part of the race I have to know how it’s supposed to feel like, step by step,¨ said Coleman, pointing to his head. “I have to break it down, for example: it’s 70 strokes to get to the other side, have a good turn, being on the water for 80-90 strokes back.¨
Johnson says the preparation has been strong.
“He is maturing and more in control of his emotions. That is going to help him,” said coach Johnson, the five times Canadian swimming coach at the Pan Am from 1995 to 2004.
Coleman is going to participate this week at the 2015 Canadian Swimming Trials, in men’s 200m butterfly, freestyle, and individual medley. In addition, he will also swim the 100m butterfly.
“He (Coleman) has been the fastest flyer (butterfly swimming style) in Canada in a 100M for the last couple years,” said the UBC swimming coach.
“He got a good chance for the Pan Ams. The real thing is whether he can swim fast enough to qualify for the world championship¨ said Johnson at the poolside of the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.”
In Coleman´s mind, the plan to be successful at this edition of the Canada Swimming Trials is simple.
“If I execute everything the way I have been working with Tom, I will have a good chance in all the competitions.”
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