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Back from Los Angeles: Kommy on a mission

 

Back from Los Angeles: Kommy on a mission

By: 27182 Officer Cadet (IV) Carmen Kiltz

Kommy Farahani, known fondly at the College as “the one and only Kommy,” or generally just “Kommy,” has recently returned from Los Angeles California. Between 09 and 14 July, the Senior Researcher and Lecturer at RMCC pursued a “golden opportunity” in the beautiful Pacific Palisades. It wasn’t a time to kick back and relax, however. Kommy, on partial funding from the RMC athletic department, was on a mission.

His goal: to “gain a better insight to serve [the] Cadets and RMCC better in the future.”

The breaststroke swimmer was encouraged by two Physical Education Recreation Instructors (PERIs) staff (back in the day), Sgt Mike Hackbart and Sgt Jake Kennedy (deceased), who convinced and inspired him to try freestyle swimming.

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The Swim Canada certified coach had the opportunity to attend an Advanced Coaching Clinic with former Olympic swimmers, coaches and trainers, before embarking on their journey to Rio.

For five days straight, the swimming enthusiast was completely immersed in an atmosphere of swimming excellence. Along with approximately twelve others, Kommy soaked in videos, discussions, and lessons. He spent approximately four hours per day in the pool, where he could swim and actively listen to and learn about the psychology of communication between the swim coach and athlete.

The group was able to observe the interaction between an athlete set to compete in Rio and her coach:

“We saw her mentality and the way she responded to the coach’s advice…we observed what the coach saw and did to improve his athlete’s performance,” Kommy said.

The lead instructor, Gary Hall Sr., was a three-time US Olympian and former world-record holder in five events. Kommy had had the opportunity to swim one on one with him back in 2013 (pictured above).

Swimming as a Science

When not in the pool swimming or learning about the psychology of communications between the coach and athlete, the group was discovering an emerging view on technique and performance.

“Swimming had gotten to be a science,” Kommy nodded, “it’s a lot like fluid dynamics…reduction of drag, avoiding turbulence….etc.”

I probed Kommy to share some lessons which he had learned.

For one, the traditional bilateral breathing technique is being replaced by “stealing” a breath frequently on only one side. The science behind this is all about preventing high acid levels in the muscles and therefore preventing muscle shutdown sooner.

Another lesson learned was the importance of developing neuropaths so the brain can coordinate movements in water. This means training smarter, not harder.

For the runners out there, Kommy shared with me some rather surprising statistics. As a runner, your swimming will help boost performance by 20% or more. Your run training, however, will only help your swim performance by less than 10%. Science, science, and more science.

Kommy is extremely grateful to Mr. Darren Cates and Mr. Ryan Thompson from the RMCC Athletic Department for their investment in him out of trust. His time in LA may be over, but his mission is not yet complete.

He is currently developing lesson plans for the fall term, where he will once again be volunteering his early mornings to help coach the swim team and multisport Cadets.

“In practice is where you develop,” Kommy said, “I want the Cadets to come out of the pool each and every morning feeling accomplished.”

For years, Kommy has indeed inspired his swimmers to come out bright and early to the pool and put forth their best efforts. He understands the unique situation of the RMCC Cadets, and knows they cannot train in the same way as regular university swimmers do due to heavy academic and military demands.

“We have to be cognisant of the workload of the Cadets…we have a different situation here,” he said.

Kommy himself began swimming comfortably at a young age, and swam in the Fort Haldimand Pool when he arrived at RMC.

The breaststroke swimmer was encouraged by two Physical Education Recreation Instructors (PERIs) staff (back in the day), Sgt Mike Hackbart and Sgt Jake Kennedy (deceased), who convinced and inspired him to try freestyle swimming.

“I am forever grateful for their care, consideration, and optimism. I cannot thank them enough,” Kommy said.

Fast forward five years, and Kommy was witnessing Tony O’Keefe training in the pool for an Ironman competition.

“I soaked it all up, and the rest is history.” He grinned.

He now swims freestyle on an almost daily basis and enjoys competing. Coaching, of course, is very important to him, and he explained that the reward for helping others is immense.

“I want to push everybody in one direction, and that is up,” Kommy stated.

We look forward to once again seeing your smiling face on the pool deck early in the mornings Kommy!