Town squad get in swim for new season

IPSWICH stars will be taking the plunge as they bid to win promotion to the Premiership under new boss Jim Magilton.Swimming will feature prominently in the players' pre-season programme, which gets under way next Monday, and as part of the training regime throughout the 2006-2007 campaign.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH stars will be taking the plunge as they bid to win promotion to the Premiership under new boss Jim Magilton.

Swimming will feature prominently in the players' pre-season programme, which gets under way next Monday, and as part of the training regime throughout the 2006-2007 campaign.

Magilton's squad will be reporting to the town's Fore Street pool for an 8am start on a number of mornings for the first of three daily sessions in the water.

He said: “Swimming has really come to the fore in recent years and not just in terms of rehabilitation, when players are recovering from injury and it makes sense to keep them off their legs.

“Our fitness coach, Simon Thadani, will be putting the lads through some tough sessions in the pool. There will be plenty of running, too, and they will be back at the training ground in late afternoon to work with the ball.”

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A number of Town stars have started their preparations ahead of schedule, with skipper Jason De Vos heading a group of senior players who have been limbering up before Monday's official start.

Magilton added: “Pre-season training is a bit of a personal thing with players, but it has been encouraging to see so many of the lads back early.

“They all look lean, mean and hungry, which is what we want to see. With Jason and Ian Westlake having both had their heads virtually shaved it makes them look even meaner.

“At this rate it's definitely the manager who is going to be the one lagging a bit behind!”

Magilton plans to have the squad “out and about” in the area as they launch into what chairman David Sheepshanks and his boardroom colleagues envisage as an exciting new era for the club.

He said: “We will spend some time at Orwell Park School and over at RAF Wattisham, where the physical training instructors like to give us a going over in the pool.

“We will also be exploring the beautiful Suffolk countryside and you might bump into us if you're on Rushmere Heath.

“If you see us running along the road you can peep your horn!”

One player who won't be complaining about the extra emphasis on swimming is Westlake, a former England water polo international.

“Westy's a dolphin,” laughed Magilton. “But he's not the only strong swimmer in the squad, with Bamm Bamm (Richard Naylor) and James Krause two of the better ones.”

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