Team USA Trainer Craig McFarlane Talks Tough
The “beasts” of the Oracle Team USA America’s Cup crew are among the world’s toughest athletes – people for whom some of the most gruelling training imaginable is all part of the routine, and the man overseeing it all is physical performance manager, New Zealander Craig McFarlane.
Punishing gym regimes – they push weights around as well as merely lifting them – swimming and boxing are key to making these extreme sailors as ready to defend their America’s Cup title next year in Bermuda as they can be.
McFarlane’s first sporting love and profession was rugby, and he had never coached sailors before joining Team USA in 2011.
But he says he finds the same intense competitive spirit amongst the America’s Cup crew that he encountered in the rugby world.
“Here, you have guys who have been coming in from individual sports and have to change into a team environment,” McFarlane tells CNN’s Sailing Success show. “And they have gelled really well. They are very competitive – there’s no shortage of that. We do a lot of competitive stuff and break down some barriers. We embarrass them now and again.”
The nature of McFarlane’s training is governed by the nature of the boats raced in the America’s Cup – “the new boats are very physical, so we are improving physically until the Americas Cup comes in 2017” – and he says it brings huge rewards.
“They are all professional athletes, they are motivated to train – and so as long as they are hitting their numbers and improving, then I’m probably doing my job,” McFarlane explains.
“When you see them out on the boat, it is even more impressive. It is just phenomenal seeing them in their environment. They are absolutely the best at what they are doing. You do your job in here, but you don’t know how it’s going to translate out on the water. But you like to think the physical side is prevalent.”
Original article by Chris Borg and Christina Macfarlane, CNN, July 21, 2016.
Photo by Peter Rusch.