A guest-post from Yogalife Studios sponsored athlete Joe Byram, swimmer extraordinaire. We couldn't be more proud of you! Amazing work.
Click here to read more on his placement on Team Canada.
After focusing all year on performing at Trials, I managed to qualified for the Canadian Senior National Team going to the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, taking place in late August.
The year was a tough balance, with a training schedule that consisted of approximately 16 hours in the pool (on the low end for swimmers), 3 hours in the weight room, and 1-2 hours in the yoga studio. Meanwhile, I took four courses in the fall, five courses in the winter, to pursue an honours degree in Political Science. We focused on recovering from workouts this year, rather than overloading and overtraining, to ensure that I could perform at meets without resting or shaving (yes, swimmers shave all their body hair…ALL of it...)
At our CIS Championships, I performed well considering that I was one of the only athletes at the meet that wasn’t shaved and tapered. So although my times were circumstantially good, I placed lower than I had hoped. As someone who strives every day to put myself on the podium, it was hard to take. But all sights were on Trials, so I re-centered myself, and focused on training for 6 weeks.
The patience paid off.
I swam to a personal best of half a second, winning a bronze medal in the 100m backstroke. While I was .02 from 2nd, I was happy with my performance, winning my first medal at a “trials” meet, and adding to my bronze from last summer’s nationals.
Because of my young age, and a complicated selection process, the swim was enough to put me on the team heading to Australia this summer. While I missed out on Commonwealth Games in Scotland, I am grateful to have achieved this major step in my development as an athlete. It gives me the motivation to swim faster, while enjoying a bit of validation for my hard-work and dedication to the sport I love.
Now I am focusing on finishing up my third year of school, and getting back to training. If the snow ever goes away, I add in running, stairs, and tennis (and of course more yoga!) to my program, to spice things up. I am heading down to Vancouver for a competition in May, then to California for a meet or two in June. It’s going to be really hard this summer…California, then Australia…What a hard and boring job I have…!
Making the team fuels my passion to succeed, both for myself, and now for my country. Yogalife has helped me balance this sometimes overwhelming desire to win with a satisfaction in my current self.
Being able to overcome personal boundaries while my entire body is dripping with sweat (and Sara’s tauntingly cheerful core sequences…) helps me to become a better athlete, and to enjoy all the little moments in training, and in racing. It helps prepare me for unexpected stresses and complications in life, and to be able to find calm, even when trips to exotic destinations and high-profile competitions are on the line.
I’ve developed into a more mature and centered athlete through yoga, and will continue to build on the lessons of sport, yoga, school, and life, to help me achieve my goals both in and out of the pool.
Stay tuned for more updates on Joe's successes and experiences throughout the summer!
Check out this video we created awhile back introducing Joe to the Yogalife Studios Athlete Sponsorship Program.