Dutch Olympic champion swimmer Sharon van Rouwendaal has come up with a novel way of training during lockdown, swapping her usual open water environment for a 3m-long paddling pool.

Van Rouwendaal, who won 10km open water gold at the Rio Olympics Games four years ago, lives in Montpellier and typically swims 90km per week, mostly in lake and sea water. But like many elite athletes, the coronavirus pandemic has forced her to rely on her own ingenuity.

The 26-year-old posted a video on social media showing a rope extending from the side of the pool tied to her back to hold her in place, so that she could swim on the spot and work on her freestyle technique. She said on Instagram that she can swim this way for 45 minutes before the spring weather makes it too cold to continue.

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Top athletes all over the world are having to find new ways to keep in shape as lockdowns restrict their opportunity to leave home. Premier League footballers have been using virtual reality headsets to sharpen their skills, while England cricketer Sam Curran posted a video batting a ball tied to a pole.

The Olympic Games in Tokyo have been postponed due to the coronavirus and will now begin on 23 July 2021.

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