Sharing his time between the pool and kinesiology labs at Brock, Colin Russell has qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
In his first year as a grad student in Applied Health Sciences, Russell has turned his passion for nutrition into the engine that drives both his research and training
“I like to learn how different foods impact my body and what nutrients really make a difference,” says Russell, whose research is supervised by Nota Klentrou and Wendy Ward, Kinesiology professors researching nutrition, bone health and muscle physiology.
“Colin has been working on the interaction of nutrition and physical activity, in the development of bone in children and adolescents,” says Klentrou, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies in Applied Health Sciences.
“He continues his training in laboratory techniques related to his thesis and is preparing a research proposal to be defended prior to the Olympics, if possible.”
Nutrition has always been a hobby for Russell, one that will now be the focus of his research and help him better understand its correlation with physical activity.
“Don’t get me wrong, I like my cookies and Tim Bits, but nutrition does play a large role in my preparation as I taper my training schedule leading into events,” he says.
Competing in the 100-metre freestyle event in Montreal at the beginning of the month, Russell finished third with a time of 49.69 seconds. His time ranked him among the top four swimmers, qualifying him for the 4×100-metre freestyle team.
Russell has also been asked to compete in the 4×200-metre freestyle relay for the Olympics, a length he retired in 2011.
“I wanted to retire the 200-metre freestyle event while I was on top,” says Russell. “I was undefeated among Canadian swimmers through three years of competition.”
“The 100-metre event is a faster sprint that focuses more on the technical aspects. I really worked on my turns and finishes to get everything running smoothly for the qualifying weekend.”
Colin will not be the only Russell representing Canada’s swim team at the Olympics. He will be accompanied by his sister, Sinead, who also qualified for the 100- and 200-metre backstroke events, with the possibility of also competing in the 4×100-metre medley relay.
“She put a lot of pressure on me,” he said. “She qualified early in the week and made me promise that I would be there to support her at her first Olympics.”
The Russells have both been part of the national team since 2009, but will finally be the first siblings to represent Canada as part of the Olympic swim team in 36 years.
“She was fast,” says Russell. “Fast enough in her main event (200-metre backstroke) to break a national record.”
“Being at the Olympics with her is going to be very special for the both of us. I know I had a lot of questions at my first Olympics in Beijing, so I will be there to answer any questions she might have.”
The Russells’ Olympic journey begins on July 3 with a pre-composition camp in Olbia, Italy. This staging camp acclimatizes swimmers to the time change 10 days before the opening ceremonies.
For Colin Russell, the high from the Olympics will not end with the closing ceremonies; it will just begin, as his wedding is just 10 days following the Olympics.