a 30-Year Perspective on Training Sprinters by Richard Shoulberg (2010)


Welcome everyone to our final talk of the morning. One brief announcement before we get started: the NISCA—high school coach association—meeting will be in this room immediately following this talk, so please stay and be a part of that. I’ve had the privilege, over the years, to introduce our next speaker many times. I don’t think I’ve ever introduced him on this topic before, so I am anxious to hear what he has to say. Coach Shoulberg crosses all lines as an elite and exceptional coach at the high school level; certainly an icon whom I’ve admired for many years on the club level and on the international level. You can’t ask for more knowledge in one person, and it was interesting, as we sat here, with the people coming up and expressing their admiration of what he has done over the years, and it’s well deserved. I want to introduce to you, Dick Shoulberg.

[RS begins]:
Good morning. The good news is Atlanta lost, the Phillies won. We’re one game out of first place in the [MLB] East, and we’re two games ahead in the wild card. Every morning I wake up at 3 o’clock, I leave my bedroom and I go to the family room; I turn on ESPN just to make sure the Phillies are going to get to the World Series. So it was a good night. My buddy… I went to dinner last night, saw all these wonderful coaches inducted, and Jack Bauerle and I talk every week. It starts out about the Phillies, not swimming; so I do have a passion.

I got off the airplane—I flew Philadelphia to Chicago, Chicago to Indy—and I’m coming down the escalator with Mike Unger of USA Swimming—one of the great, great people in our sport—and we both saw a name tag that said Dara Torres with a limo driver. And Mike looked at me and said, “I guess Dara’s coming to ASCA.” And all of a sudden, she called out our names, and we got down to the bottom of the escalator. We hugged, and Mike said, “Are you going to ASCA?” And she said, “No. I’m going to a bowling thing for Peyton Manning’s kids fundraiser. What are you doing here?” “Well we’re going to ASCA.” So, she said, “Wait a minute, my limo driver will bring you to the hotel.” It was one of those big white limos with the big seats, and they had water in there and it was awesome. And so, Dara said, “Well, what are you doing, Shoulberg?” I said, “Well I have to speak.” She said, “Well you’re not speaking about sprinting?” I said, “Yeah I am.”

So I’m going to talk about sprinting, because 30 years ago, I got a phone call from Bob Ousley [ASCA Executive Director at the time]: we want you to come to ASCA; we want you to talk about Bart Schneider. Because in 1980, Bart Schneider went 20.01, and that would still be pretty good on a high school swim team—if you go 20.01 that would be neat. So I’m going to give you a little history of Bart Schneider, but I’m also going to give you a history of me.

I would never select the 50 as the most important event for a high school athlete; it would never ever happen at Germantown [where Shoulberg coaches]. It is the hardest event to improve in. And so what I have done, I picked the 400 IM as the keystone event at Germantown Academy. I’m a high school coach; I’m starting my 42nd year. The 400 IM is the easiest event to improve in, and if you improve, you come back for more.

So if I pick a kid like a Bart Schneider, who I knew had speed and made the 50 his primary event, he would never have gone 20.01. He started G.A. in 6th grade, so it gave me a long time. A progression of improvement is what I like to deal with. The little guy I have right now, who was 4th at Nationals this summer in the mile, I started in 4th grade; Teresa Crippen, who made the World Championship team, I started her at the age of 6. So I like to bring the kids along gradually.

So Bart Schneider, in his junior year, made Senior Nationals in 200 IM—it’s a keystone event—200 free, 100 breast, 100 free, 50 free; went to Senior Nationals, didn’t really do very well. And in May, he was baling hay—his dad owned a big farm. He was throwing hay from the ground to a tractor, to a thing behind a tractor: a trailer—yeah, yeah—and he blew-out his shoulder. I immediately went to two orthopedic surgeons from G.A., and they both analyzed Bart. And they both said: do not have surgery. And when a surgeon says don’t have surgery, that… they make their money by cutting, so I thought: that’s great.

I had a father on my team who is part-owner of the Philadelphia Phillies, who never gives me tickets and—he doesn’t; he swims in the damn pool and never has given me one ticket, once. And they had a world-class trainer at the Philadelphia Phillies, who was a man who spent about 10 years in the Himalayas and he was really weird and his forearm was bigger than a linebacker’s quads. And I went down to the Phillies and I had this special meeting with Gus and Bart Schneider. And so I thought I’d make small talk, and I said to Gus: which rookie takes batting practice the longest for the Phillies? And he used words that I won’t use here [about] how stupid I was. And I said: Well I just wanted to know. He said, “The person who takes batting practice the most at the Phillies is Pete Rose, the greatest hitter in baseball; and that is why he is the greatest hitter.” Okay, I won’t ask any more questions. He analyzed Bart, and he said: ‘Okay, we’re not going to do surgery; we’re going to do a lot of dryland and we’re going to do nothing directly over his head, so all your dryland is from shoulder down.’

So we started a routine, and it was very, very intense. And Bart Schneider came to the morning practice—we have morning practice at 6 o’clock; for the last 42 years at six every morning, 5 days a week. And Bart went to a machine I bought; it was a hydraulic forearm machine, where you could move your hand all different directions and work on your forearm strength. Then he used a dumbbell; and using the dumbbell, he got up to 35 lbs for 35 minutes, non-stop movement, on right hand, then left hand—we wanted to build balance. And when I check the kids out, if I find out that your right arms is predominant, I do 10% more dryland with your left arm, because I’m trying to build balance; because if you swim correctly, you swim balanced. Swimmers are like ballets in the water, and I loved listening to Brett [Hawke] talking about Auburn sprinting: he wants the swimmer to look pretty and so do I.

So Bart Schneider went on this routine of dryland only. He never swam over 2,500 yards in a session the rest of his senior year; he did most of his work on the track. There’s a quarter-mile track, and I can stand at my window on the deck and see the goal post. So I would say to Bart: ‘I want you to run 2 loops easy, sprint 1, then go 4 quarter-miles easy—easy, easy, fast—and repeat that for one hour.’ He did it everyday, all winter long in Pennsylvania, and we do get cold weather. He did his forearm machine everyday. He did kicking in the morning, only, without a board; he always took the bad arm and laid it on his side, or laid it on his stomach, if we were kicking on our back.

Then I had a set, it was called 5-5. And we may do the set 5-5 no more than three times a month. It started out five 100s on the 1:15, yards, and you had to be 1:10 or better. And then we gradually moved the numbers. We went five 100s on the 1:12, and you had to hold 1:07s or better. So, small increments, and we kept improving. Eight-weeks-before he went to 20.01, he went five 100s—in Lane 3, short course yards—on to 55 seconds, and held 49s—that’s a pretty good set for a 500 swimmer. And I told Bart: ‘You’re going to go to the Middle Atlantic Championships, you’re going to go to your high school championships; you’re going to be really, really fast.’ The reason I could do that is because I had a progression-al background from 6th grade through 11th grade, increasing his work; that in 11th grade, he averaged 14,000 yards-a-day. And so now, the base was built and, because of the injury, I had to decrease his work and do things smarter.

I have a video tape, and Mr. Bishop is going to make me look really good because he has put this all on a computer, and I have no freaking idea how it’s going to work. But when Bart went to 20.01, a coach from another high school tapped me on the shoulder, and said: ‘You never taught him how to dive, dummy.’ And I said: he never did a dive. I didn’t want him practicing dives; I didn’t want to re-injure the injury. I was paranoid about everything I did that he wouldn’t re-injure the injury. So you want to show the Bart Schneider 20.01 at Pennsylvania?

There’s the start… the kid next to him was good, too. Now can we play that in slow motion? Watch the dive: I dive better than Bart Schneider. As a 9th grader, he also made the National cuts in the 100 breaststroke. No kid at G.A. ever will be considered a 50 swimmer: that would be like a mortal sin because they’re in a development stage. Great legs. So if I could have a kid go 20.01 again, I might be a good sprint coach.

My favorite event in high school swimming is the 400 Freestyle Relay, and that takes sprinting. I don’t want this to sound braggadocios, but our girls hold 5 of the 7 fastest records ever, and we currently holding the National High School Record—3:22.34. 3 of those girls swam the 400 IM at Nationals; 2 of those girls were in the top-5 this year at NCAAs in the 400 IM. So did I hurt their speed? No. And in my guys’ relay, it’s 3:01. So I think if any high school coach had a 3:01 male relay this year, or a girls 3:22, they’d be pretty satisfied. I know I would be. But my key event is not the 50. If I put too much emphasis on the 50, I ruin the 400 Free Relay; more important, I ruin a career.

We choose to be high school coaches; we’re developmental coaches. Our responsibility is to develop kids for the next level. But I want to say this, and I want to make it clear: we can make the best swimmers in the world. Do not limit yourself by saying: okay, I’m done with the high school kid; they’ll do it at university studies.” I’ve always believed that the high school coach is as important as any other level of coaching in the United States. I think the best coaches in the United States are the guys who coach the 10-and-unders, and we don’t get to hear from them. They’re the ones who create the passion, they’re the ones who start kids who want to swim. Can you imagine looking at the black line for seven years? It’s more fun playing basketball. So if some little 10-year-old gets the spark because of some 10-and-under coach, I think they’re the best coaches in the world. I think the best teachers in the world teach pre-K, not the professor at MIT—but that’s just me thinking.

I want to show you some videos of great freestylers whom I like. Adam Ritter is from Arizona; this is from the Warren University. I could sit and watch this guy swim all day: long, high-elbowed, relaxed, great six-beat kick…. Right there.

And we need to thank Rick for this, because I could watch that stroke all day long and that stroke could be fast in the 50 or the 200 or 400, or even the 1500 meters. He’s so relaxed.

Stetson’s first stroke is good. The only thing I would change on him, I like bilateral breathing. And when Nort Thorton, Matt [Biondi] and I had dinner together in Seoul after the 200-meter free, Nort said to Matt, ‘You didn’t see the guys in lanes 7 and 8, did you? The winner.’ And he said, ‘No. I came off the turn, and the German was behind me and I knew I won the gold medal. Looked up and I was bronze medalist.’ I think if you teach bilateral breathing, you have a better opportunity to check-out your competitors. I’m not saying you have to bilateral breath to go faster; I think bilateral breathing allows you to know where your competitors are. So I’ve always taught bilateral breathing. And I also think it decreases shoulder injuries.

Now I’m going to go to my favorite: Popov. I could sit there, I could just watch this guy forever. (Pardon me? Whatever you want to give me; you give me and tell me what lane.) The great Russian freestyler sprinter.

Look at the elbows. As soon as his fingers touch the water, he’s moving water back. (Can you go slow motion?)—see, Rick’s making me look pretty good. But as soon as his fingers touch the water, they’re facing downward, he gets a-hold of the water. He never lets-go of his leg, never does he let-go of his legs. He’s a four-limbed-athlete the whole time, and I think you have to be a four-limbed-athlete the whole time.

I went to Pan Pacs after the Nationals, flew back out to see the three G.A. kids in the meet. And I got to the warm-up pool way before anyone, because I just love to watch kids warm-up, from anywhere in the world. But Popov… I can’t imagine not wanting to have that stroke.

We talk about the word streamline, and I think we make a mistake. A lot of high school coaches and developmental coaches, we think of streamline as a dive. I think a streamline is as you’re swimming: the body must be streamlined. Ed, do you agree with me? It’s just not the dive. You have to be streamlined in the water; you have to be as-long and -narrow as possible, and efficient. And so I’ve always told kids, “Streamline the dive? Yes, you dive in like this. You suck, but if you swim way out here that’s equally as bad, and you’re going to be swimming more than you’re diving more.” So make the kids realize that streamline is a total involvement of the total race. (Go ahead.)

We videotaped the kids at G.A. going into the Olympic Trials. In 2008 I had 3 high school kids who qualified for the Olympic Trials, and 3 more who just made the standard. And on Tuesdays and Thursdays, for 20 minutes, I put a video camera, with a delayed-reaction, and a monitor on the deck, and told them: just watch your turns. And Marie Labowski set it up for me every Tuesday and Thursday morning, and the kids came-in and they didn’t have to go to the morning-meeting—their class starts at 8:20 and they have to go to the morning-meeting at 5-after-8, and the Headmaster allowed them to miss two morning-meetings-a-week because I couldn’t do it any other time.

But I love videotaping. Doc Counsilman used to film me every Sunday with a 16-millimeter projector, and a week later he could show his athletes. Now I say to Arthur Frayler: “I just watched your turns in five 500s, and they’re awful.” I can do it right on my phone: I can play it back and show him. Just imagine if Doc Councilman had that technology, how much better American swimming would have been.

I really believe that you have to use technology in teaching, and I really believe that you show the kids and talk to the kids and also, set goals for the kids. I told Arthur Frayler—who, this year, went from a 15:28 to 15:07—‘You could drop 14-seconds, if we can improve your turns.’ And we will do a lot of turn work on Arthur Frayler this year. My goal is not to break the school record in the 500, which is 4:19; my goal is to see him way under 15-minutes at Olympic Trials. He’ll be a senior in 2012, so the high school swimming is critical to Arthur. The Olympic Trials are more important, and we will work on those fine points.

Let’s go to Janet Evans, and then I’m going to show you a contradiction.

That’s Janet Evans. One arm is almost a straight arm; she is not a symmetrical swimmer. (Rick, you want to put the arrow on her. Yeah, good.) And then there are a couple of little frames that… my God, I watched them a hundred-million times. So let’s slow it down.

Look at her head position: it sucks. Look at her head position; there’s not a coach in this room who would teach that head position—I know that. But I had the pleasure in 1988 to be next to Janet Evans and Bud McAllister—who is one of the world’s greatest, greatest, greatest-ever coaches—and he didn’t change it. This is her natural stroke: it’s imbalanced, it’s out of alignment, but she goes really fast.

I think the biggest mistake coaches make is when you try to have each swimmer in your program look the same. I had a great coach in the Philadelphia-area whom I knew I could always beat because one kid was always technically perfect in his mind, the other eight kids could never do it.

But there’s [Janet]. You’re not going to go-back and teach that stroke, are you? No. But would you like to have a 4:03 400-meter freestyler, or in ‘88 without the suit? Would you like to have a gold medalist in the 800, the World Record in the 1500, the gold medalist in the 400 IM, with improper stroke patterns? So I think that sometimes you have to make a decision with your athletes; maybe them doing it wrong, is right for them. I don’t know if that makes sense.

But I wanted to show that, because I really, really believe: sometimes we coach swimmers out of good races. It doesn’t matter if it’s the 50 or the 800; it just doesn’t matter. But we take kids out of their comfort zone in their stroke patterns, and we slow them down to look pretty. I think Synchronized Swimming. There’s a reason there’s Synchronized Swimming, and I don’t want to coach it. I mean, I’ve shared a pool with a Snychro club on National Teams. I can’t believe hearing the same song three hours a day; it’s just… to be a Syncho coach, you have to be different. But they’re great athletes, folks; Syncho swimmers are really, really…. I’ve learned from Synchro swimmers about sculling, and the value of sculling.

So you get the idea of what I’m saying on Janet Evans? Everyone doesn’t have perfect strokes; you might foul-up a kid if you force him to make it look your way. And I absolutely believe what Brett Hawke says: A pretty stroke is really, really good, and streamline in the whole stroke is the key to fast swimming.

Let’s go to Natalie [Coughlin]. Boy, what she has done for world swimming, it’s just unbelievable. I think she made Olympic Trials in every event before she was 14. The one thing I notice in every great swimmer: they have great legs.

The thing that amazes me the most about the 400 IM: every world-class 400 IM’er right now, represents their country in the 800 Free Relay; some of them in the 400 Free Relay. Stephanie Rice, Michael Phelps, Ryan [Lochte], Katie Hoff….

When I was coaching [Dave] Wharton and other kids in the 400 IM, there were five Olympic Trials out of seven where a G.A. kid represented the United States in the 400 IM, out of our high school program. I was really proud of that. None of those kids would have made a freestyle relay, none of them; never even thought about it. Now, if you’re coaching a 400 IM’er, they’d better have speed or they’re not going to be in the ballpark. What you would do with a guy like [Eric] Namesnik or Wharton or Erika Hansen? You just train them really hard, work on their least efficient stroke. Race? Won’t make the Olympic team. Now they have to have a component called speed. They have to be great 100m freestylers; great 200m freestylers and they will represent their country in more than just the 400 IM.

Okay, let’s go to our latest great spinner Nathan [Adrian]. Swims at Cal-Berkeley, trained in the Seattle-area with Rick… I know his last name, it was… (Bernard). Rick Bernard, right. That was Dick Hannula’s old club, and Dick and I were talking at Pan Pacs. We all know Dick Hannula, the great, great coach? He’s done a lot for high school swimming. Rick wanted Adrian to be a 400m free-/200m free-er in high school; and that’s where he, sort of, channeled him. And I think if you channel your high school kids at the over distance events, I think you enhance their career.

The one thing I noticed, which I doubt if we have a tape, we’re going to talk about the straight-arm recovery. When Michael Klim set the World Record in 1999 in the 100m Freestyle at Pan Pacs in Australia, I never saw anything like it. The guy is going beautiful six-beat kick; beautiful, relaxed, high-elbow freestyle; and all of a sudden he went into this whirlwind, straight-arm recovery with a fly kick. I mean that’s how good of an athlete he was. He was going six-beat kick, six-beat kick, high-elbow freestyle, and do the straight-arm recovery into butterfly kick the last 10 meters; and broke the World Record.

The first person I ever saw do the fly kick off the turn was Jeff Float, lane 2, Indianapolis, made the Olympic team in the 200 free. And he swam for USC and Peter Daland. I never saw anyone fly kick off-the-wall until then. If your kids can’t fly kick off the wall… (you should have a picture of Ryan on that?)

You’ll see that he’ll transition into straight-arm recovery, but he only does it about 10-12 meters. And the great, young swimmer from Brazil [Cesar Cielo] is right next to him—a world record holder. See how he’s reaching out. Can everyone see that? So he transitions from one stroke pattern to another, and he’s a Pan Pac champion. (Let’s play that one more time please.) No, he did not go to a butterfly kick. The only one I ever saw do that was Michael Klim.

I think watching great swimmers is watching ballet. It happens to be in water. Make sure you refer to your athletes as athletes, and not swimmers. This takes great athletic skill to transition the way he does. Nathan Adrian, he swims at Cal-Berkeley. He’s about 10-meters-out when he makes that transition. And then I’m not going to say too much about his 50, but we’re going to play it two times in slow-motion, and I want you to watch something. Same athlete, same pool, 24 hours later; swimming against an Olympic gold medalist.

Beautiful high elbows, absolutely beautiful. Keep an eye on his elbows, please. He’s approaching the finish. Think about his elbows. This is the 50. Certainly would take less energy in a 50 than in a 100 to swim it, right? Look at it, everyone kicking across the board; they just have great legs, everybody has beautiful legs. Some have a straight-arm recovery. Watch his elbows, watch his elbows: it’s the whole key to this race. Watch his elbows. Great.

In the 100, the Pan Pac champion went to a straight-arm recovery with about 10-meters-to-go, am I right? Did everyone see it? So I’m sitting on the lane 8 side, right along the railing. I got tickets to go back to Pan Pac—I’ll tell you about that in a minute—and I wanted to sit on the finish, because I wanted to learn about swimming and I wanted to see how the kids reacted to the finish. And in the 100, Nathan goes to the straight-arm recovery and wins the race. So, I know in the 50, he’s going to throw-in probably about the 15m mark.

In my mind, it says: watch Nathan, he’s going to shift about 15 meters. He never shifted one time; he kept the high-elbow the whole way. And so I asked different people: why he did that? They said he’s probably just comfortable and didn’t need to go that tool. In the 100, he knew he needed to go to the straight-arm recovery. So is it a contradiction; I don’t know. But I was amazed that the man who won the 100 had a different finish, than the man—the same man—24 hours later who won the 50 at a high elbow, had a straight arm, old-fashioned freestyle—beautiful Popov swimming—and didn’t shift gears.

We’re at the Pan Pac… the last day at Nationals, and Mark Schubert came up to me and he said: ‘We’d really like you to spend 10-more days in California, or 12-more days in California, and coach the Pan Pac team. You already have Teresa Crippen on it, and you already have Fran Crippen on it.’

They both came… Fran has been with me now for the last two years doing open water, and Teresa came back for about eight weeks from Florida. And she went into the meet with a 2:11.8 in her 200 fly, and left Nationals with 2:07.8, second place. And I’m pretty excited.

And so Mark said, “We need coaches to stay on. A lot of the NCAA coaches need to get back to work…” and yada-yada-ya. I said: Mark I can’t do that. He said, “Well, you never say no.” and I said: ‘Well, no. I have to say no because I have Arthur Frayler going to the Junior Pan Pac meet.’; and I have already planned, in my mind, what I’m going to do with Arthur when we go back to G.A. and the rental pools. So Mark said, ‘Oh, good: you’ve got a plan. Get Arthur ready to swim in Hawaii, because he made the Junior Pan Pac team off his performance in open water. And if he is trained at G.A., open water is no big deal, trust me. ”

Well that night Arthur dropped 21 seconds, in one day, in the 1500 and with a 15:07 was put on the Pan Pac team. And it cost me over $3,000, 10-days later, to go back and watch him swim. I was really glad to go home.

You never know what your kids are going to do, but you’ve got to challenge your kids every, every day. I also think you limit kids, if you say there is only one way to do it. You saw the video of Janet Evans’ World Record, which you would never teach… those stroke patterns—at least I wouldn’t. And she gets World Records. You see in Nathan, in sprinting, using two completely different styles of swimming. And then you saw Popov who… I could watch Popov to the day I die, how beautiful his strokes were. He was streamlined the full time, from the dive to the finish. Jessica Hardy has a beautiful straight-arm recovery freestyle. She is our top American sprinter right now, and she doesn’t swim freestyle like Natalie—Natalie throws a little bit of straight arm in during her race. That’s just a sign of a great athlete. Michael Jordan can do things that no one else could do, and great athletes have that ability to change. I think great coaches have to have the ability to know when not to change, and know when to change, with your athletes.

But I love the 50-free, it’s exciting. If they ever put the 50s in the Olympics in back, breast and fly; they’d better put the 800 free in for men and the 1500 for women, because I equally love watching distance swimming. I’ll never forget watching [Jörg] Hoffman, the great German 1500 swimmer, in ’91, and a little kid name [Kieren] Perkins from Australia in lane 1—who went on to be the World Record holder in the mile—standing-room-only for the 1500, cheering.

[Vladimir] Salnikov, the great Russian swimmer, at the age of 16 made the finals in the ’76 Olympics. In 1980, he was denied racing the Americans at the Olympics because we boycotted—I won’t give you my opinion on that, but that sucked and it did nothing for world peace. 1984: the Russians boycott us.

1981: I took the first national team to Russia, the year after the boycott, to mend bridges. And in my office is a picture of Jeff Float beating Salnikov in the 400 free, because… what we did, we put Float in lane 7. We put the two slowest Americans in lanes 3 and 5, and the great Russian was in lane 4. And we told Float: ‘Just go; whatever you do, go, because you can’t beat the sucker if you try to pace him.’ And the other two Americans were going to go slow. So along comes the guy in lane 4, got this race won; he never saw lane 7—like Matt never saw [Duncan] Armstrong, because Matt did not bilateral breathe. Teach your kids to bilateral breathe, it’s race strategy.

So I just think that you need to look-under every stone, and find out a better way to make your kids go faster. But I know you shorten their career if you say: you’re the greatest high school 50 swimmer ever. I had a girl come to G.A. named Trina Radke in 1985. She was in 7th grade, and she held a National Age Group Record with Grace Cornelius in 50 free. And she was from Minnesota; which is one of my favorite words.

She came into G.A.’s pool, and she said: ‘I only train in the fastest lane; which is your fastest lane?’ I said: well, today it’s lane 1. ‘Okay, I’m training in lane 1.’ 16-minutes later, Trina got out of the pool, and was crying. She said: “It’s too hard. ” I said: ‘I didn’t ask you to go there, you wanted to go there. But let me introduce you to the people in lane 1: Karin Anne LaBerge, 1980 Olympian, started at GA at 7; Sue Heon, 1984 Olympian, took off a year from Pittsburg and trained at GA, swam with us in the summer while she went to the University of Pittsburg, made the Olympic team in 1984; Polly Winde, swam with Marie Stevens, came to G.A., came back and trained, Pan Am silver medalist, World Championship team. They’re a hell-of-a-lot better than the kids in Minnesota. So now let’s go where you belong.’ So Trina Radke kept telling me, “I swim the 50 free; that’s my event.” ‘Don’t care, doesn’t matter. You have natural speed, and now I’m going to train you.’

1987, Frank Keefe calls me, and says: ‘Trina Radke is selected to go to Hawaii; top-96 Americans are going to go to Hawaii over Thanksgiving weekend.’ So I go back to Trina, and I said: “Guess what? You’re going to go to Hawaii only if you can do one set, and you have to do it Saturday, and then you have to do it Thanksgiving Day.” 1,400, 4xs, fly, nonstop. So she does it in October, she goes to Hawaii. Frank Keefe timed her on Thanksgiving Day. Of those 96 kids, about 8 kids came to practice. I’m thinking: Why in the hell wouldn’t you practice? You’re in the 50m pool, you’re outdoors, it’s Thanksgiving: you ought to be thankful. Trina Radke did the 1400, 4xs, fly, faster than she did it the first time. You should’ve seen the phone calls I got, because we didn’t have text and email and all that crap.

Trina Radke went to the Olympic Trials. Qualified 6th, at the 150-mark was 7th, and touched 2nd and made the Olympics. Natural speed: who cares? Trained, important- Olympian the rest of her life. So don’t take a kid who comes into your program, who has natural speed, and have them dictate to you, the coach. You, the coach, controls the intensity of your training not some talented kid. I would love to have been a fly on the wall when Michael Phelps tells Bob Bowman: No, I’m not doing that; I don’t think that is going to happen. And I can guarantee you that when Trina Radke started telling me she is a 50 swimmer, I didn’t really care. But I was blessed to know that she had natural speed. I can’t give any kid natural speed; if you know how to do that, you’re the best coach in the world.

So basically that’s how I look at the 50: it’s an important event to know if they’re naturally talented. Then I need to train them, and then I need to prepare them, and then I want them to swim in university level. And in between, I know you can put a swimmer on the Olympic team as a high school coach or a developmental coach or a club coach.

It’s just not for those who get the kids to come in…. My wife always says: ‘wouldn’t it be fun to get 6 new national finalists every year in your program?” Well, hell, it’s hard enough to make one, let alone get six. So I like where I, the coach… I like what I do with kids. But I do challenge kids really, really hard; I put tremendous demands on their swimming. Greater demands I put on their academics: I think you shortchange kids when you say swim practice is more important than ‘AP Physics’.

So… Rick, I want to thank you very much for those slides. Does anyone have any questions on sprinting? And Dara…. I was lucky to have Bart Schneider; but I’m not lucky to have great freestyle relays; that’s work.

Are there any questions? Well I want to thank you very much. Let’s hope… I’ll tell you one quick story. When the Phillies made the World Series two years ago, and a friend of mine gave me a ticket, and I went to Game 5, which was delayed. It was a rain game, delayed… on Wednesday night I was giving a conference in Trinidad, and didn’t see my Phillies win the World Series. So this year….

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