— Cindy, a great treat just arrived at your Americas campus at Louisiana State University with a selection for the French team last September. How did you experience this first selection?
cindy : What’s funny is that I found out about my selection for the France team when I landed in Atlanta during my trip to LSU. It was a nice surprise and most importantly it ended my season in style. However, I decided to cut back a few weeks in August knowing that otherwise the season would be long with the departure to the US. The preparation was therefore very short, because in addition to the change of coach, I first had to get used to the very hot and humid climate in Louisiana at this time of year. I did very little specific training to prepare for about two weeks. However, it was a great experience that will no doubt serve me well in the future. It really makes you want to get even better in order to be able to keep up with the best in the upcoming championships.
— How is your new lifestyle going? How is life on a campus with over 37,000 students?
Alexander and Cindy : The rhythm is completely different. Training takes place fairly early, every day at 7am, especially to avoid the heat. But you get used to it pretty quickly and it just becomes a new routine. Life on campus is very pleasant. One of the positive points is the proximity to the stadium and all the other everyday places (physiotherapist, canteen, classroom, etc.), we don’t have to travel unnecessarily during the day. As far as the large number of students is concerned, the size of the campus is quite impressive, but you don’t necessarily feel a high student density (probably because of the size of the campus). We mainly work with our training buddies because with 37,000 people it’s a bit impossible to make connections outside of the group.
— How is the pace, method and training load different from France?
Alexander : Although the pace is different, I really like the morning workouts. It allows you to be fresh without having the school/trip day in your legs, which still causes a lot of fatigue for me in France. It also allows you to continue in the morning with the physio (available 7 days a week) before going to class and that’s priceless. In terms of training, there are no big changes on my side, the coach’s vision is very similar to that of my French coach (Lahcen Salhi), so I find a real continuity and it’s very pleasant. The mileage remains identical to what I did in France at this time of year. It’s a far cry from the clichés we often hear about training as just “limiting” with no real quality. Quality comes first here.
cindy : I have the same vision as Alexandre in general: the morning training allows us to use the day to recover, to rest, to go to the physio… And we can organize the rest of our day as we want. In terms of training, for me it’s very different from what I used to do in France. I make more quality and less quantity here. At first I felt weird, I felt like I was never doing enough. But in the end I’m much fresher and therefore really stronger in the qualitative sessions. So it’s a different vision than what I’m used to, but I really like it.
— What can you say about your new training framework (infrastructure, monitoring, support)?
Alexander and Cindy : We are fortunate to be at a university that certainly has the best sports facilities in the country, and you can feel that on a daily basis. From a medical point of view: physiotherapists present during training and available 7 days a week, doctors, osteopaths, nutritionists and even psychologists. We dedicate an entire building to this care with all possible and imaginable recovery devices. We also have access to a cafeteria reserved for student athletes, where everything is excellent from a nutritional (and taste) point of view, where we eat morning, noon and evening. We’re quite lucky because otherwise it would be difficult to eat healthy in a country where it’s not really the norm. Not to mention the outside and inside track (a track we hardly use because the climate doesn’t really use it) or even the weight room reserved for athletics.
Everything is really there to be successful and efficient. The lessons are just as important as the sport. If we do not validate our semester, we are no longer eligible to compete. So everything is there that is needed for our study success, starting with a study advisor, private tuition or a study room. In terms of sport, everything is done to give us the best possible support.