At 51, Brigitte Becue discovered this new, modern environment designed for high-level sport.
“As an athlete, I already found these gatherings very fun and motivating. This allows you to meet people from other disciplines, or to see some of them again. Here too, I immediately felt good when I arrived. I feel like I’m back in my biotope! Many former Olympians – well I shouldn’t say former, because we are for life – are present in the management and it is very pleasant. We have many discussions, particularly on training methods, and this is undeniable added value.”
During the summer, the Ostend native took on the role of head coach at the Flemish federation after the collaboration with Frenchman Frédéric Vergnoux ended.
“Often, we start this job after the Olympics, for four years. I started the Games season on September 1st and it’s not a gift, but a huge challenge.”
I want to give a more positive image of swimming which is still my passion.
Brigitte Becue did not hesitate, however. “When you get an opportunity like this, you have to seize it. In addition, I want to give a more positive image of swimming which is still my passion.”
The three-time European long course champion, then active at the Louvain club, had certainly heard certain stories relating to the methods of her predecessor but without imagining the consequences.
”I knew that the sessions were long and hard, that Roos Vanotterdijk had hurt his shoulder due to overtraining, but little moreshe explains. Apparently, if you didn’t do between 80 and 100km per week, you were never going to become a good swimmer. I was also told that certain swimmers had been victims of denigration, that there were certain prohibitions such as using energy drinks during training. I’m cautious because I wasn’t there, but it’s intriguing. I also discussed it subsequently with foreign coaches and they gave me a different image of this coach than the one we had in Belgium.”
The swimmers continued to train until they broke down.
Upon resumption, overtraining was noted, with supporting figures, during tests carried out at the VUB.
”I thought we were going to be able to start the Olympic season with full throttle, but that was not the case. Actually, I don’t start at zero, but below zerocontinues Brigitte Becue. The swimmers continued to train until they broke down. But the problem is both physical and mental.”
Maybe they are also happy to have a woman as a coach, and no longer a narcissistic man.
Becue’s mission is both to “make the atmosphere more pleasant” and to convey the calm she displays.
”By remaining myself, I try to give confidence to the swimmers. And to explain to them that we can achieve results by doing a little less in training. Maybe they are also happy to have a woman as a coach, and no longer a narcissistic man.”
Confident for Vanotterdijk
For the moment, Roos Vanotterdijk has been put to rest although she was initially supposed to participate in this Olympic training course. Already qualified for the Paris Games, the great hope of Belgian swimming must take the time to find himself fully.
“Roos has a lot of talent and there is still enough time to prepare to perform in Paris. I think it will worksays Becue. Roos has recovered well from her shoulder injury, but mentally she is still tired from everything that happened. Furthermore, I hope that others will still be able to qualify, perhaps already in Rotterdam in a few days. The 4x200m freestyle relay is particularly important and I hope that the team will take advantage of the World Championships in Doha in February to qualify. Whether Roos is there or not…”
Does Brigitte Becue not fear having to be held accountable after the Games if things go badly? “We’ll see, I have no illusions about that. I’m doing my best, and we’ll see! I’m certainly not going to fall off my chair if they decide to do without me. But at some point, he We still need to find a little stability!”