Summertime is finally here and it is the perfect opportunity to incorporate swimming and water sports to our fitness routine! We met Michalis Tzifas, physical training graduate, trainer and athlete of the Hellenic Diving Team, to find out more about swimming and diving!
Michalis started swimming lessons when he was 5 and diving a year later. He was 10 when he took part in his first swimming competition and has been a member of the Hellenic Diving Team for 23 years, up until 2012. He has participated in many international events with many awards and medals.
Why is it important to incorporate swimming to our fitness routine and what are the benefits for us?
Swimming improves and maintains the athlete’s physical condition without straining the joints, bones and any other organs of the body. There is a very low chance of injury compared to other sports and is the recommended exercise for healing the body after injuries and surgeries, as well as severely strained body parts. As water is denser than air, it adds greater resistance to movement and makes strengthening exercises more effective.
What water sports would you suggest we try out?
Diving is the single most spectacular Olympic Games water sport. Diving training always has two sections, as athletes are asked to perform an instrumental exercise program in ‘dry’ training and then perform these exercises in the water.
What advice would you give to parents who are thinking about diving as an activity for their children? What is the right age for a child to start?
Children as young as 5 years old, as long as they know how to swim, can start training in the sport. Diving helps children build an excellent physical condition, and they can also follow the path of Championship if they start young. As it is a combination of two sports, the result is that children develop special physical abilities and mental skills, such as concentration & self-control.
Is it possible for an adult to start at an older age, as a complete beginner? What should one watch out for?
Adults can start training as beginners, knowing that they will follow a combination of instrumental gymnastics and water exercises, and will soon be able to get the excellent fitness physique they need. Each individual will decide how much they want to develop in the sport – there’s even the possibility of participating in diving competitions, as long as they complete the required training program.