Ep 73 – RISEing to the Occasion with Olympic Swimmers Caroline Burckle and Rebecca Soni

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“I counted my confidence as a swimmer to be the main reason that I was able to win the races that I won.  I’m not super tall, I’m not super strong. I had very interesting technique, but I’m sure there are people who had better and stronger technique…So, it played a big role in my career, and my success, so why couldn’t I help teach this to the next generation?” – Rebecca Soni

Olympic medalist Caroline Burckle is a highly decorated freestyle swimmer whose achievements include winning a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and a gold medal at the 2007 Pan American Games.  She swam for the University of Florida on an athletic scholarship, where she was awarded 2008 NCAA Swimmer of the Year.  A two-time National Champion, Caroline also broke the oldest standing swimming record in the 500-yard freestyle.  After her retirement from competitive swimming in 2010, Caroline went on to receive her Master’s Degree in Sports Psychology & Motor Behavior.

Rebecca Soni, a breaststroke specialist also known as ‘Reb,’ holds 6 Olympic medals, three gold and three silver, spanning across two Olympics- the 2008 Beijing Games, and the 2012 London Games.  She’s a former World Record Holder in the breaststroke, and is well known for her distinctive swimming technique. Rebecca has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Southern California, a certificate in Positive Psychology, and is also a certified Health Coach.

Following their illustrious careers, Rebecca and Caroline both struggled with burnout and a loss of structure and routine.  Eventually they joined together to found the RISE Elite Athletes program, where they use their unique blend of knowledge and experience to mentor young athletes in a variety of sports.

I recently caught up with Caroline and Reb to talk about their Olympic experiences, how they processed their retirement from their swimming careers, and how they’re using positive psychology to set a future generation of athletes up for success.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Caroline and Rebecca first met
  • Their respective introductions to swimming
  • At what point they realized swimming at a higher level was possible, including the birth of their Olympic dreams at a relatively late age
  • Some of Caroline and Rebecca’s favorite moments from their swimming careers
  • What their preparation for the Olympics looked like
  • How training camps and working with different coaches gave them different perspectives
  • Things they would do differently looking back on their swimming careers, including Reb adjusting her diet, and Caroline focusing on recovery
  • How Reb processed the challenge of losing structure and routine in the post-Olympic period, and used the mental toughness she learned from swimming to overcome those feelings
  • How Caroline dealt with burnout toward the end of her swimming career, and struggled to find an identity after retirement
  • Positive psychology: what it is, and how it can be used to build and develop a mindset
  • How mental work can impact and improve performance
  • How Caroline and Reb combined their experiences and visions to mentor younger athletes through RISE Elite Athletes
  • The RISE program: how it works and how it and mutually benefits both young athletes and former Olympians through shared knowledge, experiences, and the normalization of heroes
  • The common themes and obstacles Reb and Caroline see amongst their athletes that hold them back, and the techniques they teach to help overcome these challenges
  • The impact of social media on athletes today, and the pitfall of constantly comparing yourself to others
  • How Reb and Caroline apply the techniques they use during their mentorships in their own daily lives
  • Caroline’s CrossFit experience, her love for the community, and the importance of the team atmosphere
  • What it’s like for Caroline to watch the CrossFit athletes swim, and the benefits of skill practice
  • How athletes can implement swimming into a regular training practice, starting with a solid warm-up, and incorporating intervals
  • What Rebecca and Caroline are currently doing for their own movement practice
  • Three things Caroline and Rebecca do on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on their health

You can follow Caroline and Rebecca’s program, RISE Elite Athletes via their website, and on RISE’s social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can find Caroline Burckle on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and her website, and you can find Rebecca Soni on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and her website.

Links:

Related Episodes:

Ep 28 – James Hobart on Teaching, Competing, and the Real Purpose of CrossFit

Ep 36a and 36b – Dominique Moceanu on gymnastics, healing, and health

Ep 43 – Jason Wachob: Founder and CEO of mindbodygreen and Inspiration To Live Your Best Life

Ep 48 – Jen Widerstrom: Health, Habits and Why You Are Enough

Ep 56 – Katrín Davíðsdóttir and Ben Bergeron on the Process of Creating a Champion

If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #PursuingHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday.

This episode is brought to you by MobilityWOD. Do you struggle to get into good positions in your training and workouts? Are your movement compensations causing you undue pain and grief?  M|Wod’s belief is that every human being should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves. Join hundreds of Olympic and World Class athletes, College and Professional Teams in the NFL, MLB, Basketball, Hockey, Rugby and Soccer by using MobilityWOD to train and compete at your best.  Visit www.mobilitywod.com to receive receive 20% off your annual membership with code JULIEFOUCHER.

This episode is also brought to you by Thrive Market. By cutting out the middle man, Thrive Market delivers your favorite healthy food and lifestyle products to your doorstep at 25-50% lower cost than you would spend in the grocery store. You can also feel good about giving back because with everyone that signs up for Thrive Market, a free membership is donated to a low-income family, veteran, or teacher, making healthy living affordable to all. Visit http://www.thrivemarket.com/ph to recieve an exclusive offer from Thrive Market for being a listener of Pursuing Health: 25% off your first purchase + free shipping + a free 30 day trial!

Disclaimer: This podcast is meant to share the experiences of various individuals. It does not provide medical advice, and it is not a substitute for advice from your physician or health care professional.


Ep 72 – Finding Balance with Two-time Third Fittest Man Patrick Vellner

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“I’ve always kind of thought that you really make time for things you care about, and so if you love to do something, and if you really want to do it, you’ll find a way.  So, it’s not easy, but it’s not supposed to be.  If it was easy, everybody would do it, right?” – Patrick Vellner

In this episode of Pursuing Health, I chat with three-time CrossFit Games athlete and chiropractic medical student Patrick Vellner.  In 2016, Pat made a big entrance to the Games individual competition scene, placing third and earning the title Rookie of the Year.  In 2017, he returned to prove his podium finish was no fluke, and turned in a solid performance that had him walking away in fourth place.  However, after the Games, it was discovered that the initial third place finisher, Ricky Gerard, had tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.  Following Gerard’s disqualification, Pat Vellner was awarded his rightful place on the podium, in a bittersweet turn of events.

Pat comes from a broad athletic background, including competing on a national level in gymnastics, and playing lacrosse and rugby. He’s currently studying to become a doctor of chiropractic in his home country of Canada, and balancing his course load with training for the 2018 CrossFit Games.

I caught up with Pat to talk about receiving his Games medal at the CrossFit Invitational, the controversy of performance enhancing drugs in CrossFit, how he balances medical school and training for the Games, and what plans he has for the future.

In this episode we discuss:

  • What’s keeping Patrick busy these days
  • His experience at the 2017 CrossFit Invitational, and how it compared to 2016
  • What it felt like to be recognized, again, as the Third Fittest Man
  • How he found out he had moved up to third place in the 2017 CrossFit Games standings
  • How Patrick responds to skeptics regarding the use of performance enhancing drugs
  • How his approach to the 2017 Games differed from 2016
  • What stands in his way from winning the CrossFit Games
  • Patrick’s athletic background and how that has helped him as a CrossFit athlete
  • Why he thinks there are not more men with gymnastics backgrounds competing at a high level within CrossFit
  • How Patrick got into CrossFit in the first place
  • What made him consider competing and whether he’s considered taking time off from school to focus on competing
  • How Patrick’s first Games experience on a team differed from his individual appearances
  • What made him pursue chiropractic school
  • How Patrick balances school and training
  • The timeline and structure for chiropractic school in Canada
  • What a typical day looks like for him
  • Patrick’s hobbies outside of CrossFit
  • His preference for training solo versus training in a group
  • How Patrick structures and gets help with his training, nutrition and recovery
  • Three things Patrick does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on his health
  • One thing he struggles to implement that could have a big impact on his health
  • What a healthy life looks like to Patrick

You can follow Patrick on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Links:

Related Episodes:

Ep 01 – Rich Froning on Competition, Shifting Priorities, and Discovering his Purpose

Ep 14 – Camille Leblanc-Bazinet on moving forward, engineering, and body image

Ep 18 – Scott Panchik and his father on running an affiliate, competition, and recovering from injury

Ep 21 – Pat Sherwood on CrossFit, the Games and quality of life and longevity

Ep 24 – Airrosti Drs. Nickleberry and Garrett on treating soft tissue injury, partnering with CrossFit, and creating a new paradigm

Ep 52A – Tia-Clair Toomey on Realizing her CrossFit and Olympic Dreams and Finding Confidence

Ep 52B – Tia-Clair Toomey on Realizing her CrossFit and Olympic Dreams and Finding Confidence

Ep 60 – Chris Spealler on training for longevity and becoming a Master

If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #PursuingHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday.

This episode is brought to you by MobilityWOD. Do you struggle to get into good positions in your training and workouts? Are your movement compensations causing you undue pain and grief?  M|Wod’s belief is that every human being should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves. Join hundreds of Olympic and World Class athletes, College and Professional Teams in the NFL, MLB, Basketball, Hockey, Rugby and Soccer by using MobilityWOD to train and compete at your best.  Visit www.mobilitywod.com to receive receive 20% off your annual membership with code JULIEFOUCHER.

This episode is also brought to you by Thrive Market. By cutting out the middle man, Thrive Market delivers your favorite healthy food and lifestyle products to your doorstep at 25-50% lower cost than you would spend in the grocery store. You can also feel good about giving back because with everyone that signs up for Thrive Market, a free membership is donated to a low-income family, veteran, or teacher, making healthy living affordable to all. Visit http://www.thrivemarket.com/ph to recieve an exclusive offer from Thrive Market for being a listener of Pursuing Health: 25% off your first purchase + free shipping + a free 30 day trial!

Disclaimer: This podcast is meant to share the experiences of various individuals. It does not provide medical advice, and it is not a substitute for advice from your physician or health care professional.