Russian swimming star Yuliya Efimova announced last November the creation of a new professional swimming squad called ‘Team Efimova’ and, thus far, the experiment appears to be working. While competing on the Mare Nostrum Tour, the 25-year-old two-time Rio silver medalist clocked a 200m breaststroke time of 2:19.83, falling just .72 shy of the current 2:19.11 world record. She also notched the 3rd best 100m breaststroke of all-time with her outing of 1:04.82 in Canet.
Primarily led by her coaching father, Andrey Efimov, Efimova’s training formula also consists of tapping well-known technique resources from around the globe. Team Efimova’s latest collaboration was with South African Olympian and former world record holder Roland Schoeman, the man known for helping introduce the ‘catapult’ racing start to the international swimming scene.
For years Schoeman’s dive has been recognized world-wide as one of the fastest starts in swimming. Anthony Ervin and Tom Shields have referred to Schoeman’s start as the standard, as presented by SwimSwam back in 2012. For a refresher on his mechanics, you can watch Schoeman break-down his catapult start and dive technique via this video.
Per Schoeman, he has ‘spent almost 20 years working on and refining the catapult start’, building up knowledge and drills that he offers up to others via his private consultancy business. The South African most recently worked with Singapore Swimming at their National Training Centre before being contact by Team Efimova to consult and work with Yuliya and her team on improving starts, underwater and various technical components.
37-year-old Schoeman, who still owns South Africa’s national record in the 50m freestyle at 21.67, can be seen coaching Efimova’s start in the Instagram photo below, as well as appearing with the Team Efimova squad in the subsequent tweet.
На сборе в Матаро к работе с Efimova Team приступил – олимпийский чемпион Роланд Шуман из ЮАР (на фото – справа) pic.twitter.com/UoC23asFE6
— Efimova Team (@EfimovaTeam) July 7, 2017
I asked Schoeman how he feels about working with swimmers in general who may have served doping bans, given his past outspokenness on social media regarding the state of clean sport today. Below are just two tweets from the South African in response to doping issues within the past year.
Instead of actually finding ways to catch drug cheats you contemplate banning caffeine SMH! @wada_ama https://t.co/djxYeTDZ8Y
— Roland Schoeman (@Rolandschoeman) March 9, 2017
So let me see if i understand this correctly, 3 missed tests = 24month ban. FAILED drug test = 3 month ban. Makes sense. Well done @fina1908
— Roland Schoeman (@Rolandschoeman) May 12, 2017
Schoeman says, “Given my outspokenness in the past this is exactly why I’m going out of my way in helping others with something that is 100% legal.
“I have a unique perspective on the [swim] start and my goal is to be able to provide the insight nad skills necessary for someone to have a start that is technically better and faster.”
Schoeman, who worked with Efimova and her squad in Europe for one week, says that “Yuliya and her team were an absolute pleasure to work with. I have truly been fortunate to have worked with Olympic medalists, world champions and even age group swimmers.
“What I appreciate and respect most is their eagerness to learn and improve. My goal is to help any swimmer develop the best start they’re capable of, because I never had the luxury of having something help me develop my start.”
Schoeman will next be journeying to the Czech Republic, working with their squad at two separate camps before moving on to France to work with an individual athlete.