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Top Games Swimmers Bound for Phuket to Carve Up Pool

Thursday, November 15, 2012
PHUKET: Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club has signed a two million baht deal with China's elite Liaoning Swimming Club which will see Olympians training in Phuket's Olympic-standard aquatic facilities for the first time under one of the world's best coaches.

The talented squad will head to Thanyapura on January 27 next year for a six-week training stint with coach Stephan Widmer - the trainer behind Australian world champions Susie O'Neill and Samantha Riley, as well as Olympic gold medalists Leisel Jones, Kylie Palmer, Libby Trickett, Melanie Schlanger and Jessicah Schipper, and London silver medalist Christian Sprenger.

Widmer recently left his post as Head Coach of the Queensland State Swimming Centre to spend a year with his family in his native Switzerland. He will share his expertise and methods with a team of 23 swimmers and coaches from the Liaoning club at TSLC's world-class Phuket campus, with 60 sessions scheduled over the six-week high-performance training camp at Thanyapura.

Amongst those in his charge at Thanyapura are recent London Olympians Wang Hai-Bing, who just missed out on a bronze medal after the Chinese team placed fourth in the men's 400m freestyle relay, Ang Shi-Jia (sixth in the freestyle relay) Lu Xiao-Yu, Lee Xia-Yen and Cheng Fei-Yi, who placed eighth in the 100m backstroke.

The Aquatics Academy is the jewel in the crown of the TSLC Phuket megaplex. It includes a 50m Olympic-standard outdoor swimming pool with electronic timing system, coaches' observation window and a 600-seat shaded grandstand, plus state-of-the-art ozone filtration system and anti-turbulence lane ropes. There is also an adjacent 25m outdoor swimming pool with its own coaching platform.

Thanyapura President Robert Hauck said he was excited about the deal as it was a milestone on Thanyapura's journey to becoming Asia's favored training and retreat facility for elite teams from around the world in many sports and disciplines.

''This is a vital part of the vision becoming reality,'' Mr Hauck said. ''It was always envisioned that Thanyapura would become a training retreat or even a base for elite sports teams from all over the world.

''The Liaoning team is a powerhouse in China and looks set to become an even more formidable force after teaming up with a legendary coach like Stephan Widmer. So we are delighted to welcome the team here, and can't wait to see them getting down to some hard work in the pool and having some fun times exploring our campus and the rest of Phuket, too.''

Thanyapura Phuket Director of Aquatics Simon Jones described Mr Widmer as ''one of the world's best swim coaches'' and said he had been an admirer of his methods since Mr Widmer's 1997 stint at the Queensland Academy of Sport in Australia.

''It's very exciting for our Thanyapura-based swimmers and other athletes to see such an elite force in world swimming in their midst,'' Mr Jones said.

''This visit will also be important in terms of word of mouth in the international swimming community and I'm confident the Chinese swimmers will only have good things to say about Thanyapura when they are attending the world's top competitions and discussing training methods and facilities.''

Vice President and Head Coach of the Training Centre of Sport Aquatics Management, Liaoning District; Coach Yuen Yue said: ''Thanyapura is an amazing training destination with cutting edge facilities and services to assist us in optimising our training performance.

''We never thought we would find a full scale world class sporting facility like this on a small island of Phuket, all set in paradise.''

The TSLC megaplex is located on a 23-hectare Phuket plot framed by mountains and nature just 15 minutes from Phuket International Airport. It delivers a range of academies with competitions, teams and training at all levels and ages, including football, aquatics, tennis, rugby and triathlon academies.

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