No Fear! Clark Kent Is Washing Hands, Dishes & Keeping Fit To Fight The Bug & Beyond

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Clark Kent - a swim superman who knows that washing up comes with the beat and helps keep your feet on the ground when you need a rest from flying - Photo Courtesy: Kent Apuada family and coach Dia C Rianda

Superman when you need him? There’s a bug out there that needs more than world-class medical minds chasing down whatever the kryptonite of coronavirus turns out to be.

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Clark Kent was named after his father’s obsession with Superman – Photo Courtesy: Apuada family and Coach Rianda

It’ll take the efforts of each and every one of us to bodyslam the bug. Rest assured. Clark Kent is doing his bit. No, not that one. The other one: Clark Kent Apuada, the kid who brought his swim superpowers down on Michael Phelp‘s 10-years age group 100 ‘fly mark a couple of years back and has Paris 2024 and beyond pinned to the wall in his own Pantheon of Olympic dreams and goals.

You’ll find Clark neither in cape nor swim cap but civvies right now, sheltering in place in California, washing his hands and the family dishes, among other chores, feet firmly on the ground. There’s some school work to be done – and fitness to maintain.

But how, when the doors at the Monterey County Aquatic Team (MCAT) are shut, in common with many other pool programs around the world?

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Clark Kent and younger brothers Craig and Curtis get set for a kick-boxing workout – Photo Courtesy: Apuada family and Coach Rianda

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Clark Kent, feet on ground, washing dishes – Photo Courtesy: Apuada family, Coach Rianda

Enter coach Dia C. Rianda and golden guidance to keep youngsters active, fit, tuned in and viewing sport as a positive and fun force in their lives. Her shelter-in-place program for Clark Kent and his teammates includes exercises using canned foods as weights and toilet paper rolls (so – that’s where they all went! 🙂 ) as cones and jumping markers, kick boxing,  Zumba, Country Line dancing and Salsa.

Daily workout routines are part of wealth of tips great coaches have to offer for swimmers who can’t swim during coronavirus lockdown, including these 25 CAN-do measures from Wayne Goldsmith for Swimming World.

Coach Rianda was the mentor who first raised the question: what about coronavirus and water, what do we need to know? She was ahead of the curve, too, when it came to quick response in asking the kids and their parents to stay home as California prepared for lockdown.

California Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday issued a statewide “stay at home order” to a Californian population of some 40 million people, two days after a “shelter-in-place” order was imposed in counties in the Bay Area of Northern California, affecting about 7 million people. Governor Newsom told reporters:

“We are confident the people of California will abide by it, they will meet this moment.”

He’ll find the Monterey County swimmers happy to comply: they’ve got plenty to do at home after Coach Rianda sent out this note to their parents (bullet-listed by this author because the note is a fine guide for any out there with swimmers home and unable to go swimming):

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Monterey swim squad’s Aiyden – Photo Courtesy: Coach Rianda

Keeping it fun and creative for the age group swimmers and their parents.

“Have your swimmer read this note to them from me please …

Swimmers,

Please do the organized workout in its entirety. Yes, please do other physical activities throughout the day.

Making it your job in Vacuuming the entire house without stopping. Pulling weeds in the back or front yard for 40 minutes without stopping are great exercises – and helpful activities too.

  • Now is a great time to learn how to clean, do dishes, get organized, learn to cook, do your own laundry from wash to put away.
  • You need to feel an expected part of taking care of family matters.
  • Do NOT expect your parents to coddle you.
  • Do not plant yourself in front of the TV or video game. Budget a very limited time for those two activities.
  • Your psychological growth and sense of personal accountability depends your own control of how you contribute to the family dynamic.
  • You are a valuable asset within your family. Your parents greatest gift to you right now will be teaching you self reliance and familial responsibility. Let them mentor and teach you these valuable life skills.
  • Have fun, laugh, smile and keep your sense of humor in all this.
  • Talk to your parents about your fears.
  • Ask questions.
  • Get up in the morning after a good night’s sleep.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast, shower, get dressed, make yourself look good and ready for the world – even if the world is your home right now. In other words get out of your PJs.
  • Keeping active and contributing to your family, learning to take care of yourself.
  • Exercise will keep you mentally and physically healthy and happy.

Carry on MCATeers!

Safe Sport & Mentoring Young Parents

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Clark and his brothers Craig and Curtis – Photo Courtesy: Apuada family and Coach Rianda

That’s leadership for you. Asked about the letter, Dia Rianda, head coach to a team of coaches that include her son Travis, told Swimming World before Governor Newsom’s latest order: “Life here in California has been unsettling. We are now going into a fifteen-day shelter in place period. Perhaps by next week, lockdown like San Francisco. The last time people in the BayArea were this shook up, was the Loma Prieta Earthquake where we were literally shook up. Ominous times we are living in right now.”

Easy to withdraw and bunker down. Better, through to embrace the digital age and the remote communication it allows even when people can’t get together. Coach Dia, a leading advocate for Safe Sport and abused athletes, never contacts her child swimmers directly. She talks to them through their parents and sees that dynamic as an important unit:

“I am inspired by the families of the kids I coach. They have a group chat on Facebook and a group text where they are helping each other hunt down supplies, sending the group positive information and tips. I am watching my swim team in this dark, clouded moment help each other to see the silver lining.

Many of the young parents of the kids I coach are Millennials. I see greatness in these young folks and am in awe. Privately many turn to this Old County gal for wisdom and reassurance. I am happy to mentor, listen and help. My role right now has switched to coaching young parents.”

What’s in a Superman Workout (for 8-12 year olds)

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Aiden working out at home with smartphone instruction during Shelter In Place – Photo Courtesy: Coach Rianda

Two key rules:

  • Parents are asked to supervise their kids and deliver the workout positively
  • Kids are asked not to shoot the messenger

The younger kids are asked to do about 45 minutes, the older kids an hour to an hour and a quarter a day and the workouts take in the following areas of focus:

  • Exercises using canned foods as weights and toilet paper rolls as cones and jumping markers.
  • The same props are also used for reaction exercise.
  • Each days workout includes 20-plus minutes of aerobic exercises; a circuit of strength training and agility exercises done multiple times.
  • Everyday Aerobic also includes exercises of varying speeds and active rest as well as core/abs work for strength.
  • That is followed by exercises in balance, meditation and yoga.
  • One day may concentrate on legs
  • The next day the focus may be on upper body and arms
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The squad’s Dylan and Dustin go through their paces – Photo Courtesy: Coach Rianda

Among tasks set:

  • A workout following a YouTube 30-minute kick boxing video and a ab/core focused strength circuit.
  • Same medium, using a Zumba workout
  • Same medium, following an upper-body focused strength circuit.
  • Same medium, aerobic Country Line dancing for 30 minutes, followed by 3 x circuit legs and core
  • And… coming up: a Salsa session for the little dancers…

After a week, how’s it going for Clark? Coach Dia, having spoken to his parents, Cynthia and Chris Apuada, said:

“He has done them all since last Thursday and says they are hard and feels he is getting a strong workout. If they were too easy, he would be the first to let me know.”

It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s Clark Kent Apuada!

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Clark Kent – Photo Courtesy: Apuada family and Coach Rianda

At 10, in 2018, Clark smashed Michael Phelps‘ 1995 butterfly age record – 1.09.38, down from 1:10.48 at same competition, the Far Western Long Course meet in California. The record had stood for 23 years, since 1995.

He said at the time, he has his sights set on Paris 2024 but this comment to CBS had mothers and others melting the world over:

“Most people just call me Clark, but now, when I beat Michael Phelps’ record, they started calling me Superman.”

Clark’s mother, Cynthia, said that Clark was named after Superman because of the obsession his father, Chris, had long had for the comic-book and Hollywood hero.

Asked what he had his sights set on, Clark told the myriad media outlets visiting his pool and home isn the days after his flying 1:09:

“Paris 2024 or Los Angeles 2028. This record has motivated me to keep swimming, to keep striving and do everything I can to get to that elite level.”

Coach Dia believes he can make it:

“This kid is unlike any other young man that I’ve ever coached. He’s always stood out, he’s just, he’s kind of a savant of sorts.”

That’s backed up by the swimmer’s father, who told CNN in 2018: “He does piano lessons, he does martial arts, and at school if there’s a computer class, coding, or STEM programs he’s always joining.”

Heavy load? Says Clark:

“I deal with it really well, I just have to balance. I love swimming because I have a lot of people supporting me and my coaches are always there for me and my parents are always there.”

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