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ETSU named official Olympic training site -- again

By Jim Conrad, jconrad@wcyb.com
Published On: Mar 17 2014 04:22:34 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 16 2014 11:00:00 PM CDT

It began with weightlifting two years ago, and now East Tennessee State will be an Olympic training site for kayaking and canoeing.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

With the recent Olympics still in our memories, it's time for the next set of Olympic athletes to begin training.

The Summer Games in Rio are about two years away. One of the places those athletes will train is East Tennessee State University.

ETSU announced they've been designated as an official Olympic training site for canoeing and kayaking.

The training won't involve boats in the river, but the conditioning of the athletes.

First it was weightlifting two years ago, and then a professor in the Exercise and Sports Sciences department was hired who helped train bobsledders for this year's Winter Games. Now, ETSU will become an official U.S. Olympic training site for canoeing and kayaking.

No matter the sport, it's all about strength and conditioning and improving the overall physical condition of the athlete. "That's a huge part of the start and really that's what we bring to the table, how to do that and do it well," says Meg Stone, the director of the training site.

Brad DeWeese brought his expertise to the table when he joined the ETSU staff after working with Olympic training for the Winter Games with the bobsledders.

Not about how to be the best in the sport but how to be the best athlete.

"What we do is look at the athlete in its purest for and we say o.k. they're kayakers so they have to be in the boat performing at their top speed for 85 seconds. That's a different metabolic challenge that bobsledders who pushes for five seconds," Deweese said.

It's a whole new concept for the canoeing and kayaking team. "He's able to determine whether we're improving or staying at the same level. So it kind of gives us an idea, are we getting better and how we're headed into the season," team member Michal Smolen said.

"We don't know what kind of exercises and weights and all that will help us grow. So we're all kind of in new territory together. We're experimenting, adventurers, if you will," team member Casey Eichfeld added.

Training will have to pick up with the World Cup for the kayakers and canoers this summer. The world championships will be held in Western Maryland for the first time.