Canadian Sport Instute
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In 2008, the men's Water Polo team made history by qualifying for the Beijing Olympics. They had hoped to continue that trend but narrowly missed out on London 2012. Since then, rebuilding the team and qualifying for Rio 2016 has been the goal. Changes were made at the beginning of the four year cycle after London with a younger group of players centralizing in Calgary. An additional group of eight veteran players are currently playing in Europe in professional leagues and join the centralized Calgary group for major competitions. Canadian Sport Institute Calgary have had a long term relationship with the Men's Water Polo team. Strength and conditioning coach Jeff Osadec notes that as the current centralized team is relatively young, he had to build the players using fundamental techniques to develop their training base. Early results have been positive as the combined group of veterans and young players won gold at the recent test event for the Pan American Games by defeating Brazil, considered a top world team, in Toronto last month.

Robin Randall, goalie and veteran on the team has remarked "It was an incredibly exciting match at the new facility in Markham, Ontario. Our captain, Kevin Graham, said it best when he told us that the Pan Am Games start with this test tournament. Winning helps us with momentum leading into the Pan American Games in July, which is our Olympic qualifier." Canada and Brazil also earned a berth for this summer's FINA World Championships in Russia with their top-two finishes at the test event in Toronto.

In the next few months as the team prepares for the Pan Am Games, they will continue working with dietitian Kelly Drager to maximize opportunities to fuel and recover their bodies from the grueling training. They train up to six hours a day and burn a large number of calories making nutrition critical. Their intake needs to be around 5000 calories. Many of these athletes are also full time students so finding time for proper recovery can be a challenge. Drager's job is to help them manage their recovery between training, at school and competitions. Food logs are used to track caloric intake at specific times during weeks of training. Input from the medical and integrated support team ensures that even with both heavy training and travel, the athletes can recover and maintain their body weight. Randall also says that "having CSI support year round, is a huge benefit to our athletic careers. I can't thank them enough for the resources they've given me personally to achieve excellence both in and out of the pool."

With just a few more months before the Pan Am Games, the players will be engaged in blocks of heavy training and competitions to maximize their opportunity for qualifying for the Olympic Games in Rio.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary

Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

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