[Introduction] The speaker we are fortunate to hear this morning comes with a couple of guarantees. He is guaranteed to wake you up and he is guaranteed to make you think. He is guaranteed to make you laugh and he is guaranteed to make you a better swim coach. He is USA Swimming’s own rebel. He is someone that has been an icon in high school and club coaching for over 40 years. He is someone that I actually modeled my program off of in the early 80’s and late 70’s and will now come full circle to hear him again today. Someone that I had the privilege to spend time with in Colorado Springs last May for a couple of weeks and watch first-hand. It was remarkable. You are here today and fortunate to hear from our leading club and high school coach, which is a rare combination today and I can’t wait to hear it. I want you to sit back, relax and enjoy Dick Shoulberg.
[Coach Shoulberg] Good morning. Rick, thank you. I did watch this young man in Colorado Springs and I watched him a long time and he is a great, great coach. He always wears a tie though and I don’t own one. I am only kidding. I came here a few years ago to speak to NISCA on my stroke drills. ASCA forgot to give me the electronic equipment to run my speech, so they asked me to speak this year and I said I want to show my stroke drills. I told you yesterday in my talk, my young assistant coach who we have has videos of all the drills, put it on her Mac. She said no big deal. Someone will have a Mac and you can use this little blue, what do you call that thing? Flash drive. The young lady has a brand new Mac, but it doesn’t have power point on it so if anyone else has a Mac who can help us – please.
I want to show you my dry-land program around the perimeter of the pool. Our main base is Germantown Academy. It is a six lane, 25 yard pool and I have many, many stations. Because I have never had a tryout, I have never had a cut, never will have a tryout, and never will have a cut. And last year I came to this clinic and I spent a lot of time talking to the exhibitors. I have always done that. I feel as though I can get a lot of information and I bought these straps and I have six of them around the pool. So that is so easy to have six athletes working; don’t forget I have 85 in about a three hour block and there is always movement in our pool. A certain percentage are in the water, a certain percentage on land. That strap is inexpensive, Vern’s Group sells them and I am sure you can buy them somewhere else.
This is Teresa Crippen, a girl that went 54.1 in high school in backstroke this year. Last summer she won the Pan American Games. Long course, went 2:10 and she is the last of the four Crippen’s so I need Prozac now guys. The Crippen family has done so much for Germantown Academy. One of the young coaches here said, “How are you going to run Eastern’s without Pete”? He has run Eastern’s for us, that is our big high school championship. We had 787 kids this year from 60 some schools, tuition-based schools. But this is just a little area in the pool, but I am making use of it. I am making use of it because I spent like 25 bucks on this strap that is adjustable and I have six of them. So I can have my athletes always doing something. And the other thing, there are handouts and it gives you a couple of periods of training. All I did the day before I left was hit three or four different days, that will give you a sense of what our distance swimmers did in those three or four days. If you didn’t get the handout we have plenty of them and I didn’t know it when I picked the one day. Class trip, we have class trips at G. A. It means the kids didn’t get in the water and that is the happiest day in their life for them. They came in the morning, they didn’t come any earlier to compensate for missing the day. It is just, they are high school kids. They are just not swimmers and I wanted them to be part of the school.
That little bucket there, we also hook onto their waists and they pull it when they swim. We do that two or three days a week all year long. The one thing that I started to do with buckets, I increased the amount of time I use buckets during taper. I think that athletes lose strength quicker than we realize and by using the bucket in the water during taper time, they are really not losing their strength. I call the bucket, swimming at Germantown Academy, a poor man’s weight room. This is Katie Reifenstahl up here. The young lady, who Coach Clark did a great job with and trained with us when she was in 7th, 8th and 9th grades on weekends and then came to Germantown Academy.
I had a friend of mine from France in the 70’s, have access to the East German strength rooms. I knew his height and I asked him if he could please get a picture of their ladder inclines and he did. They are rusty, they are old, they are used every day. This is the only athlete that ever did it more than 12 times. Trina Radke held the school record. Everything we do has a record and Trina Radke held the school record with 11. Last summer, after our 5 hours of swimming that day, three in the morning and two in the afternoon, we come back for 50 minutes of fitness. And I heard clapping and I couldn’t understand what the hell the clapping was and I looked up and Katie R. was still on the incline – 42 reps. She wanted to go to Japan and I told her she could go to Japan, but she had to work harder than she ever did. The summer before her long course backstroke was 2:17 and Mark Schubert’s challenge was 2:15 plus and Katie R. went 2:11 last summer – 6 second drop. Mark set the bar. Mark gave the opportunity. She took the challenge and I don’t know if I will ever see anyone do that again. We can do leg work. We can do arm work. And there is another strap and we do a lot of work with the little gadget you stand on for balance and medicine balls. So I will say to these 85 kids, you go and do dry-land, you work on the Vasa. – Nina, you do Vasa, nine of you go over and do plyometrics on the hot box and nine of you do something with the medicine balls. The reason I go –
Yes? Question. No, the morning we come we come at 6:00am. We go 28 minutes of fitness and then we do 70 minutes of swimming. The afternoon dryland for the distance swimmers takes place after they swim – 45 minutes. And this work that you are seeing, Teresa does is that extra 32 minutes I talked about yesterday. I challenge the kids to do more and more and more. I am just crazy about more and more and more I guess and so she will come down every day during school – her free period. And she will pick up a medicine ball or she will pick up her strap and off she goes. And it is a wonderful way of challenging the kids to be more proficient in strength.
I, knock on wood, we are a high volume program. We are old school. I am too old to be new school. This was my idea in 1983, I call it double bio. There is a bio bench that is working recovery muscle groups and there is a bio bench in front that is working the power part of the stroke. So Katie R. will come in and when they do this extra 32 minutes. Katie R. will come in and connect the two bio benches together and she will do 32 minutes of bio bench, working recovery muscle groups are as important as moving muscle groups. It also decreases injuries.
Yes? Question. I have – no. There is one power when I tie them together. I secure them together. You can see her up there, right there. You also see the mirrors. When they are doing their normal bio bench, they rotate the bio bench and they can see their stroke in the mirror. I also see them looking by, especially the guys. You know, shit – we are getting arms now, so it is fun. But this is a typical thing that the kids will do independently or in groups in the afternoon. And I really think all the fitness work that we do, because we are athletes and fit athletes become more proficient. It decreases injuries too. People say, how can you do all this work and not have bad shoulders? Because we do dry-land. And we work the recovery muscle groups so I think that is – hey, how are we making out on this thing? Does anyone know? Where is that young girl? Did she leave me? Alright, so buy a medicine ball. Do something and just have movement and you are going to have kids go a lot, lot faster.
Also, I think you need to use the balancing things. Teresa would literally stand on one leg and do a whole routine. Dave Wharton never lifted over five pounds in high school. This is the Vasa trainer that you see here. We have three of them. We have contests on them. We also have pictures all around the pool. Kids that make the Olympic team, different things. We have banners of every country our kids have competed in and I think it is like 41 countries Germantown Academy swimmers have had the opportunity to race in and that was one of Maddie Crippen’s biggest disappointments. Made Olympic team, but we never raised the flag for her at Germantown Academy because she never went to a new country to compete in.
See the lane line there? I talked about we have two pools at G. A. We have a standard 25 yard pool with six lanes. We have 10 lane, 15.3 yards. And boy, do we use it and the kids do not know when we are going to do all this stuff. There is Katie R. up there again, on another strap. Do you know where the young lady went with the computer? I think to try to fix it. Oh okay, whew.
My philosophy has always been to challenge kids and I think people can do more work than they realize they can do. She also, from 8th grade through 12th grade at G. A., had one B on her report card. And Katie R. graduated cum laude at G. A. and took three AP courses last year.
So I had to fight with the school so I could videotape the girls going to the trials. We had five girls that made the Olympic Trials while they were high school swimmers. I had to fight with the school to get an extra 20 minutes of video work two days a week. They would miss a morning meeting.
You would have thought – this is my favorite machine. As I showed you up there, my incline boards that I copied off the East Germans. I met this guy, Rob Sleamaker at an ASCA clinic. And he invented the Vasa and he was an exercise physiologist for the guys that ski and shoot. You know those guys that go around in Vermont and they ski and shoot? Well, how many freaking people do that? Not many and so he made this sled and started to sell it to swim people. And I don’t work for any of these guys so you need to know that. Vasa, I don’t work for Vasa. I never worked for anyone. I am a Speedo coach and when I bought the first one they were a lot, lot bigger. They were clumsier and they were not made out of stainless steel and these are made out of stainless steel. They are on the deck all the time. We do so much work on this machine and I would be afraid not to have a Vasa.
The other thing I do, let’s say she is having a bad day in training. I say Katie, why don’t you get out of the water. Change into the dryland outfit and go to Vasa. What can I do? I can come over here and lean next to the Vasa and talk to her and really find out what the hell is going on. So we can correct the bad day. She is not losing fitness and I am communicating with my athlete. And so it is all on the deck and the other nice thing about having all our stuff in the pool area – I can oversee water and dryland at the same time. And I do not have to have an extra coach to go into another room. We do have a weight room that the kids, the boys like to go in a couple of days a week and I have to have a coach come in with them. But try to do that for about 40 minutes. All different movement on Vasa and your kids are going to get really, really strong and you do not have to have a lot of money.
So, we have nine of these and my little 7th and 8th graders play on them. My age groupers come in and play on them and I get to talk to them. (Is she going to get that computer working? Do you know? Because it is your fault. This guy is a Mac guy, he doesn’t even know what the hell he is doing. No, I am only kidding.)
Yes? Question. Do they free roaming for 28 minutes or do they have? Yeah, they have. When Clarissa comes down or Maddie or Katie R. or a lot of the different kids, we will talk about different things I think they need to do and they have more of a free thing to do. The trouble with this young lady and I told Coach Troy, if anyone can get her to relax – she is going to be a world great swimmer. But she is too wound up and I think she is too wound up because when Maddie had success. Everyone said, your hands are bigger, your feet are bigger, your technique is better and you are going to beat Maddie – no way. I used to get so mad at people telling a kid. I would never tell an 8, 9 year old, you are going to be better than your sister – Olympian? That is crap, but that is what she has had to live with every day of her life and she doesn’t know how to relax and I think she will be in an environment with Coach Troy with so many great, great swimmers that he will make it work. This is just basic stuff, but I think it is really important to do.
I don’t have on this video, which you would think we are probably crazy to do it. Visualize a bar that is 28 pounds, where you hook the weights on. I have a guy named Walter and Lori Hug will tell you, he is really crazy. Right hugger? Yes. Crazy. Let me tell you what Walter did two years ago. First of all, the guy has more money than a lot of swim coaches and he buys a home in Vail because he doesn’t like the humidity in Pennsylvania and he has two sons. They both swam at G. A. – one is at Cornell and one is going to Wesleyan this year. And he said boys, I bought this home in Vail. I bought a Mercedes 4 wheel drive, the ugliest vehicle on the road.
See that dog? That is the greatest dog in the world.
And I am going to ride my bike from Philadelphia to Vail so I don’t lose fitness. And you guys are going to drive the new Mercedes and I am going to plot out and then some days instead of biking I have to get my run in. It’s crazy. So he comes in with this bar and he takes my top kids for 45 minutes. I don’t even watch him because it is too hard. I don’t want to see it. It is just so intense. And I have a 9th grade boy who had great drops this year, who called Walter two days ago. Walter, you have to get back. I am out of shape. Now, isn’t that great when you get a 9th grade boy saying you have to get back, I have to do more work? That is the environment that I have created at Germantown Academy. Right, wrong has not a thing to do with it, but twenty years later I have kids that will call me and say, “thanks for making me work hard.”
These are homemade plyometric blocks. Some of the kids have shin-skin marks the rest of their life. Not my problem, you just gotta learn to jump higher. They like coming down and they usually wear their i-Pod and all that nonsense. Maddie would go up on the bio-benches and always have a dirty magazine, those girlie magazines that kids always read. And she would flip a page and then she would work the bio and flip the next page and do it for 28 minutes. Well, I guess reading is good.
I would really like to fast forward this a little bit because it is really pretty repetitious. How do I do that? Okay, I got it. I want you to see widths. That is not normal speed, stop! Who is the coach on deck that day? Whoa, man! I want that guy back. By having the kids in under my eye and letting them have freedom to do different things and challenging them to do different things – I think it is really, really good.
We did a width practice here. See those wooden benches there? We did a width practice one day, just for the heck of it. I challenge you to do it. 15.3 yards, one hour 52 minutes, 11,200 yards broken. 11,200 yards broken, 15.3 yards, going the width of the pool and my whole team sat on those benches afterwards. They couldn’t move. And I have little metal stainless steel hooks that just go in the scum gutter and we do a lot of underwater work.
Yes? Question? No, not on the individual stuff. When it is with the group, yes. I have been telling all these clock makers, you need to make a clock that you can set the number of repeats, the number of seconds of work, and then rest. Finis has come out with one and again, I do not work for Finis. I have told Colorado Timing, I have told because when I bought my first bio benches that were up here – Evan had a little circuit trainer thing that would beep.
I like having the circuit trainer or when we are doing in the afternoon, everything goes off of time. I will say so many seconds of work versus so many seconds of rest. But again, look at all the work she is doing on just a little adjustable strap that Vern showed me last year. I would advise you to do stuff like that. I know all of you can’t have 9 Vasa trainers on your deck. I know that. April 1, the Vasa’s go outside. I have these little tents. I bought them at Pep Boys. They are 12 feet long and they are 8 feet wide and they have a white plastic top. The Vasa trainers go outside and the plyometric blocks go outside and we try to stay outside doing dryland as long as we can. And I can watch it because I open the sliding glass doors and I can be coaching and I am not tripping over kids so much. In the winter time it has to be inside, it is too cold. I just really, really feel that, A. that kids are not challenged enough.
We have all driven our kids in vans to meets and that is my quiet time because I want to find out who the best teachers are at Germantown Academy. The best teachers at Germantown Academy, it always seems to be the teachers that demand the most and reset the bar and so I have drawn a correlation. If I work the kids hard yesterday, tomorrow will be harder. Is that correct, Lori? I have always done that, but it is a progressional increase of intensity in everything I do.
I met with a family this year, no different than 20, 30, 40 years ago. Do not expect your child to be able to do the work that Teresa Crippen does. It ain’t going to happen. And hopefully, we will build up a parallel improvement of work; doesn’t have to equal what Teresa or any of my great, great swimmers have ever done. But there has to be an increase of intensity and an increase of volume of work and increase the speed. I am always monitoring. I never, not time 25’s in my practice. If we are doing 8 x 500’s, you better know your total time of all 8 x 500’s. I will know segments of your 25’s and that is how – I just have to know if you are on your normal training cycle. If you go off your normal training cycle, good or bad, I have to know why and that is when I communicate with you.
Yes? Question? They vary it. Some days it is green light. I have a drill day two days a week, it is called green light for more proficient athletes in the water. It is green light, do whatever you want breaststroke. Do whatever you want in your least efficient stroke. Do whatever you want in a combination stroke, two strokes in the IM. On the dry-land, these two girls when they come down and do the extra 32 minutes. Green light, do whatever you want. All I am going to say is hi and good bye. I won’t interfere. If you are having a bad day, I will come over and I will chit-chat with you during this time. Because I am really doing most of my coaching in what is transpiring and taking place in the water. Here I can walk along and I can kid with the kids and have fun with them and talk to them.
Yes? Question? This would be a routine for my 9th graders. This would be a routine for my better, better middle school. This would not be a routine for my new 9th grade swimmer coming into the program. Who, like I had a boy come into the program at 1:27 in the 100 yard free. There is no way I would ask him to do that. But when he goes down to – he got down to 52 in two and a half years. Then he got down to 52 because he is doing stuff like this. But he won’t be doing it with the same intensity, same duration, same amount of reps or whatever you want to call it. But there will be an upward swing of new work.
The water thing with the bar is just so hard that. Oh, there is the bar. I didn’t even know she was going to show you. But they like it. Because they know they are getting stronger. I think that bar weighs 22 pounds. Imagine doing it non-stop for 48 minutes? I don’t think many athletes can. Wharton used to do his 5 pound plate right there. I set up a routine of 28 minutes. Dave Wharton would do the following things: movement, stand on one leg, movement, boom, boom, boom, boom, swim with a 5 pound plate non-stop.
Three mornings a week our girls would do step-ups, with 5 pound plates, step up 28 minutes. My club team in the water. I am walking along there – Everone – go faster. So and So – go faster. Stop talking. I want to hear my music. I don’t want to hear your voice. I can stand right where Katie R. is and I can have 30 kids doing plyometrics on the balcony steps.
I used to have on the top of the balcony, I had two platforms and my treadmill, two steppers and nine spin bikes. The school redid the locker room area and they moved the nurse upstairs. One of the trustees came in and said Dick, maybe we can put your – because the school doesn’t like this equipment here guys. They fight me every year. Maybe you can put some of that junk up there they call it, in this new room. Well, I didn’t want to move my bio benches. I didn’t want to move my inclines and I didn’t want to move the new Vasa, the high tech Vasa. And then I have a bunch of free weights right over there where the kids, when they do Plyometrics. One day we cut everything down, we tore it down and put it in this new room. Trustee came in three days later and said, I told you “maybe” you can have that room. I said, “well I thought maybe meant I could and I can always rebuild my platforms and you can look at my junk.”
When we had USS meets and high school dual meets, the kids love it because they had to take everything out. So they are not in the water for 20 minutes. I just think this stuff is really, I think this is the key to my program because it decreases injuries. It keeps kids in the water and it gives them as they earned the right to get a green light dryland program.
When Nina, the woman who was sitting next to Lori yesterday, who runs my middle school. She takes the kids out of the room because it is too chaotic when you have 36 middle school kids, plus the least efficient high school kids, plus the efficient high school kids in the water. It is crazy so she likes to take the kids in a big hallway and we do a lot of step running and jumping at Germantown Academy, A lotta, lotta stuff, but it is all body movement.
Now, you see that? Does anyone know who that is? Who is that? Brittany Spears’ nephew was in my 5th grade class and he went to Brittany Spears’ concert. And he came in and he said, I saw my niece or whatever you call her – Brittany Spears last night at concert. He showed me a picture. I said, big deal. Next time you see her, I want a signed picture to Coach Shoulberg. And she signed it, so I put it up on the wall. I teach pre-K, K and 1st grade in the spring and parents come in and Brittany Spears was having a rough time at that time. A lady came in and said, my God – why is Brittany Spears picture on your wall? I said, oh 11 o’clock when she comes in and does concerts in the Philadelphia are I give her private lessons – YOU DO? I said yeah, I do and well I don’t think that picture is appropriate for school. I said, I look at it every day and I love her. I really got that mom mad, but that is okay.
The other thing, my little kids call me bonehead. How many of you have taught a pre-K-K and 1st grader in the last year? First graders have their PhD’s – they do. Pre-K, I don’t know. So there is no way that I get to know every kids name at G. A. because it is like – I just can’t recall names that well. So I will see a little kid in the hall and I will say, hey bonehead – how are you? So they started to call me bonehead and I had no problem.
We had a mother, a grandmother come in to G.A. about seven years ago who gave 100 million dollars to the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Research. That is a lot of money. And she said, Rachel, her granddaughter said, hey bonehead. She about died. And I said, don’t yell at Rachel, she is one of my buddies. She has permission to call me bonehead and the grandmother said, can we make it Mr. Bonehead?
Also, I hope my ropes. How many of you have steps in schools? Everybody? Unless you have a flat school. Do this for 40 minutes. Say to the kids, let’s not swim this morning. Let’s just do this 40 minutes and run in between. They will want to swim the next day, I guarantee you. And I just stand right back there and I will just say, what do you mean? You just hopped two blocks, you have got to go three. If you do not go three you might as well take up ping-pong. Some of the kids can literally do five jumps and that is really, really, really good. You certainly can’t maintain five jumps or four jumps for 40 minutes. So I let them change it around. But again, what I am trying to say is, you have things in your schools that you could utilize. I did this at the Norristown YW in 1959.
Here are my ropes. The girls and the guys. The girls do it Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday and the guys do it at another time. Sometimes they wear 10 pound weight belt and sometimes they go without. Erika Hansen broke the record. So Trina Radke had to break the record. Years later I am sitting with Erica Hansen and I said, Alicia Aemisegger broke your record and broke Trina’s record. And Erica said, “the hardest part was getting the body back in the water.” And when Alicia did it, she didn’t get the body back in the water each time like Erica and Dave Wharton, Jeff Prior and Bart Schneider and all those kids did. And so I said, Alicia Aemisegger, you no longer hold the team record. You didn’t do it the right way. I totally forgot because I wanted to get more kids doing it. So I didn’t have them go, “We came back from Nationals and Alicia said, tell me exactly how the record was set.” I said, “you start in the water, you keep your hand on the rope, you pull yourself up on the rope, you can use your legs, touch the ceiling, climb down, get wet and do it again.” How many times? Erica 12, Trina 13. That’s all I want to know. 22 times later, she has the team’s school record. That is the environment I have tried to create. I have had one athlete rope climb and he was pretty good. 1980, Bart Schneider put a hand on this rope and a hand on this rope, no legs, climbed up, rolled back and kicked off the roof and I had a heart attack. He wanted to do it.
I have kids that come down at lunch time to climb ropes. I had one kid, Gorniak, who was such a pain in the ass. He came down one day and he said, I gotta climb the rope. He would go feet first so his feet were above his head and he climbed the rope. Now the guy is dressed for school. Shoes are off. Shirt and pants on and I said I will hold the safety rope for you. And because I have a safety rope I pull the knot towards me. So he climbs up, he gets done, and I throw the safety rope in the pool. He says, “what are you doing”? I said, “you are such a pain in the ass I just – you figure it out.” He didn’t want to miss class so he started to get some pendulum movements and he started to swing and he finally was able to jump off. He never came back at lunch time again.
The grandmother who gave the hundred million dollars to Penn for cancer research – her little grand-daughter Rachel, in second grade, climbed to the ceiling, under supervision. They only climb on this rope and there is a certified gym teacher who pulls the knot back as they climb. And they have to learn to hang and drop and then they can go higher and hang and drop until they get it. So the grandmother comes in and says, “you will be fired, I don’t like this.” I said, I won’t be fired and I am doing this. As a matter of fact, why don’t you bring your husband in – she says no. If he comes in – now they just built the lower school with G.A., so they have some clout. Finally, Rachel convinced her grand-dad Leonard to come in and he said I don’t know how you get kids to be motivated to do something that scary, I applaud it. I thought he was going to give me a hard time and I could care less if he was going to fire me. I mean, I will go somewhere else, but I have certain standards and I really believe the kids need to be challenged.
Question. No, it is about 10 feet from that wall. If your PE class is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – Thursday is a free day for all the kids at G. A. If that is their last day of the week. This is the swinging rope and this is the climbing rope. Kids wear their bathing suits to school underneath their uniforms to get on the rope.
Yes? Question. This is over water. Do you have much – you don’t have much of a problem with your administration at all with this? They probably didn’t even know I put it in at first. I put it in 1979. I put it in for older kids and my little kids love it and it is actually safer. As a matter of fact, when I talked to Mr. Cass, the Headmaster, he said Dick, I guess it is okay to put it over water. I don’t like it over land. Our wrestling room has climbing ropes and we have had some serious accidents.
I mentioned yesterday, the wrestlers come into G.A. two days a week to swim with buckets. They also like to climb the rope. I can run a practice going with so I can have kids rope climb. I can have kids doing something all the way around the pool and it just keeps kids busy.
The other thing is they don’t always know my patterns. They are always changing. Dave Berkoff made a comment, he said “when Coach Shoulberg gives a warm-up before the practice starts we are in trouble.” I don’t do warm-up because if they have done this stuff they have already warmed up, I hope. In the mornings, 28 minutes of fitness – why do you have to have warm-up? They have already warmed up and so we just get right in and go. So a standard warm-up that they don’t like is 20 x 25’s on :19 seconds. And then one race, it could be 10,000 yards or whatever, but again.
Question. Coach, how much time do you have in the mornings for practice? What time do you start? We start at 6 o’clock five mornings a week at 6:28 we get in the water and go to 7:40. The distance kids try to average 5200 yards. Now, some days we do not do that because we have something else.
Where did that girl go with the – boy – she was really cool. Had a hat on, had a fancy outfit, had her coffee container, went over and filled it up with water. I am thinking, wow, this kid is pretty cool. She ran off with my talk.
I think that is that video – yeah it is, but – wouldn’t it be nice if we all could do that every day? Even our swimmers? Just sack out on the deck and enjoy life.
That is my dog and he won’t be able to come to school every day this year because he is on the downside. He had Lyme disease and arthritis and he has three pins in both back legs. I rescued him and one of the beauties of staying in your community. I rescued him. My Vet wanted $2,700.00 to fix his back leg, okay? I have had Tyler for about 8 weeks and it is going to cost me $2,700.00. Twenty minutes later the Vet called and said you had better figure closer to $3,300.00 okay? So I called the lady who I rescued the dog from and she said, “oh don’t go to your Vet, go to my Vet, Dr. Diane Brown.” So I go to Dr. Diane Brown and she calls me and says I am a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon, Veterinarian Surgeon and your vet is just a vet. I am going to fix your dog’s legs. How much is it going to cost? I don’t know. God, she was more abrupt than I am. So I go back, go back, go back and gets his legs fixed. And I said, Dr. Brown, he is all fixed, so what do I owe you? She said, you don’t remember me do you? I said I have never seen you before in my life. She said, you taught my boy how to swim. No one could teach him. $600.00 is what you owe me. Whew, there is a God. And, every time you come to our Veterinarian Hospital, no matter what, it is 50% off. So there is an advantage of like growing roots in your home town and I never lived more than 2 ½ square miles from point A to point B. Peter Daland says to me, are you ever going to move? Be a real man? See the World? I’ve seen the World. I just like the place where I live better than the rest of the world and I have been very, very fortunate.
Yes. Question. Base volume, how much extra would you say your top athletes do? In the pool? No one does any extra in the pool because I don’t want them to. Because I use high tech every day and go by percentages and I go by paces. While they are allowed to do an extra 32 minutes of dryland – they are not required. They do 28 in the morning, 32 during school and they do about 45ish after the afternoon practice.
I did want to show you the dryland because it is a critical part of my program and probably my dry-land is a little bit different than most. I don’t believe in really, really heavy weights. My boys like the heavy weights. I am not coaching anyone like Dara and I remember watching Jenny Thompson in the weight room and if she could get under the pool she could probably bench-press it. I mean, Jenny Thompson could move some major amount of weight. I don’t do that with my high school kids. I don’t have them lifting heavy. I love the bio benches. I have six of them. I love my 9 Vasa trainers. I love the new Vasa trainer and I would love to see this young lady walk in here right now and say I got it going. But does anyone have any questions?
Yes? Question. How often do you do with workouts and what is an example of one of them? With workout I try to do at least two sessions out of the 12. If I really want to beat the kids up I will go to 3 or 4 in one week. So I will do seven widths, 107 yards so let’s say we will do six 7’s on a 1:25. Then we will do like 8 x 1’s – that is 15.3 fly kick on your back or side kick on the 15 seconds. Then I will do like a 214 yards, is 14 widths.
So the reason I always go longer than the 100 yard. I have always put in my brain, my kids need to think long course, training short course. I don’t want my kids thinking short course in their training. So we do a lot of short rest work going the extra – like we do a lot of 125’s in the 25 yard pool. We do a lot of 75’s which is 25 yards longer than 50. I probably make a mistake in coaching high school kids. If the young lady in the green, put your hand up, and your name? Liz, I look at Liz and she is a 9th grader and she has good technique and she has that sparkle in her eye and her favorite stroke is fly. I tell her it is nice to be a really good 100 yard flyer, but it is better to be a great 200 yard flyer. So my high school kids have always trained the longest distance per stroke. Except Dave Wharton and Jeff Prior, never swam a 1650 for me in high school. And I don’t know how they got away with it, but I always have the kids race 1650’s. I always have the kids train for the 400 IM and I have never had the kids train for the 50.
You saw our team records. I am a developmental coach. If you wear the hat of a high school coach, like it or not guys and girls, you are developmental coaches. Your responsibility in my mind is to prepare them to swim the 200 fly in college, if they are a flyer. I don’t want my kids to stop swimming in high school. If I am teaching mathematics in high school, I want them to get a PhD in math at MIT, right? I want them to go to the highest level they can go in my discipline. So that is how I have always coached and I have always gone the longer way. But the 11,200 yards in an hour and 52 minutes, all I know is it was really freaking hard. And my send-offs will be on the 17 seconds or whatever.
You saw we had a Colorado board. I have an 8 line board and we can program it – which I hate. We can program lane 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. All my young assistant coaches program all the practices in the line. So if you are swimming in lane 4, your practice is on the fourth line. I hate it. I like the old sweep second hand Counsilman clock, where the kids have to think. And my young assistants love to program a practice. And I love to make them think. I read a practice off. I used to read it off one time and you better listen. And I will give like an example: 6 times through 1 x 500 on the 5:20, 20 x 25’s on the :17 seconds, 1 x 400 on the 4:14, and why? I don’t know why? It would last for about 28 minutes, because I think kid’s attention span is about 20 minutes. So I am trying to work on attention span a little bit further. There is no way I am going to give something much longer than that and I really keep using different numbers all the time because it teaches them pace. I had a girl end up swimming at UCLA and great high school swimmer who never led a lane. And she told me why. She said the sets are too complicated, I would never know when to go so I just would go 3 seconds behind my teammate and I didn’t care.
The other thing I do is – we are coaching high school kids and the kid in Lane 1 is the fastest kid and the kid right behind him pushes off three seconds before and drags off of him and all of a sudden you will hear this nonsense – don’t drag off me again. Don’t ever touch my foot again and I turned that around. If you are the fastest kid in the lane and the guy behind you leaves three seconds behind you and he can catch you, turn and come up in Lane 2 and I have always coached that. The other thing that I have always done is – one end. If there are ten kids or five kids in your lane, but five kids in Lane 1 normally. Three at the shallow end and two at the deep end. Now I have two leaders or twelve leaders, better yet, because I have a six lane pool. I want to create more leaders. I want to create more competition so if your teammate is 25 yards down there and you are here – when you pass at the half-way point and you are ahead of him you know you are beating him. What a great way to create competition and racing. And so I do a lot. That is my whole practice.
Some two hour practices as I said. There is no warm-up and I don’t swim down ever. Until we get ready for taper and I think taper is the most ridiculous word in our sport. Taper starts the second day of practice, that is getting closer to your championship. The only time I use warm-down is when we are getting ready for a big, big meet and I talked to Doc.
I had the privilege of getting to know Doc Counsilman and I had the privilege of getting to know Nort Thornton and George Haines and all those guys. Doc said to me one year, he did a study and he had a group of kids that never warmed down – never warmed-up. And a group of kids that always warmed-down and always warmed-up. The kids that never warmed-down and never warmed-up, swam faster.
I have to use every minute of water time and I mentioned that to you earlier in my talk. Water time is the key time to my program. The dryland is supplementary. So when you are in the pool, like Annie knows, you better be going as fast as you can and you better be able to do it. If it is a two hour and 10 minute practice, you had better be able to do it. And then I move you out of your lane, if you are not able to handle the work with good technique within your lane. So, if the log says you went 10,200 yards distance that day – you may not have because I may have shoved you over to lane 3 or 4 to work on technique the last 30 minutes of the practice or in the middle of the practice. Sometimes what I like to do is have fresh bodies in the lane. So you normally swim in lane 2 and I want to create a better environment in lane 2. The next two days I will move you over to 3 and I will say, now you have got to work on stroke count, that is all you have to do for two days. What they are doing is getting a little bit of rest. Bring them back in 2 and they fly. They are really going fast. The other kids in two are a little bit broken down and they are wondering why the kid is going so fast and I am really, really happy because I saw exactly what I wanted. 46 kids in the pool and Johnny trains in lane 2 every day, two days he went in lane 3 and Johnny comes back to 2 and he is going faster than his normal training paces. And that is how I coach. I get to know the kids training paces and then I manipulate it.
I am really sorry that the young lady walked off with the computer. I don’t even know her name and she has my little drive. No, I have my drive thing, then I can’t yell at her. Are there any other questions about my program?
Question. Yes. What is the place that you test, what time do you do and how frequently do you do it. Awesome question on test sets. Thursday is test day. I will give you an example of my test set, until we get into the dual meet season. Once we get into the dual meet high school season, occasionally I will do a test set. But I try to use my dual meets as a test set. Does that make sense? And the other thing is, if my top high school swimmers, if they swim four dual meets a year, that would be a lot. I use my dual meets for my up and coming high school swimmers. I would rather lose a dual meet and get more kids to see improvement in their sport by sending the better kids to another center to train.
But here is an example of a test set. 4 times thru. You go 1 x 500 on the 7:30. You race a 400 and you do technique active rest. Then you go 3 x 125’s on the 2:30 all out. The odd round is choice. The even round could be least efficient stroke. Again, it is called least efficient stroke, not weak stroke in my program or it could be a stroke I pick. Then you do 1 x 400 on the 6:45 and you race a 300 and you have active rest until like 6:15 and then you just get ready. Then you do 3 x 75’s on the 1:30 all out, choice. We will do that four times through on Thursdays. That is a hard set.
We do drill work leading up to it and then we will do a really hard kicking set after the test set or we could do a pulling set. The other thing is when we do a pulling set you will never see a pull buoy on my pool deck until we get close to the end. I use the strap. The little tire strap and I want them to use their core. By using a pull buoy, Dick Shoulberg can swim pretty good. And by having a strap I die. So by putting a strap on their legs and they have to keep their legs in alignment, they really learn how to rotate the body without the pull buoy because the pull buoy really assists too much.
I do a lot of speed-assisted swimming, using the snorkel is a big tool in my program. The little round fins are a big tool in my program and paddles. We do a lot of speed-assisted swimming using those three tools, probably at least 7 sessions out of the 12.
Yes? Question. Do you have like a set cycle that you go? For example, mornings are power work, afternoons are threshold, and then you have got active rest. Like your weekly progression?
My weekly progression is – what I do is I will plan the afternoon practice off of what I saw the afternoon before and the morning – that morning. It could be active or it could just be easy swimming with every third lap all out race drill. That is why I wanted to show you the drills. Maybe I will come back some day and have the drills. I am sorry. I meant to show you my dryland and my drills because three years ago, technology did not allow the drills to come across. I really base it off of morning practice with the knowledge of the afternoon before. I also have in my mind what I think they need to do for the week, for the month, for the year. I never plan more than – Wednesday morning – Wednesday afternoon – Thursday morning. I never go more than two practices.
Yes? Question. It depends on the athlete. And I want the athlete to have the choice. I don’t want all my kids to be as intense as Katie R. I just do not want that. Because I do not think that it is natural, but I do not want Katie R. and Teresa to just come in and have fun. Hell, you can go to the movies and have fun and give me more space so I individualize it. The boy who started out at 1:27. Every morning Sam would come to morning practice and never get in the water. He would eat a couple of breakfast sandwiches and we would talk and each kid is an individual at Germantown Academy. I get to know what you like and what you dislike and then I challenge you to the ability that I think you can go. The boy Kirk, who was 11 minutes in the 500 and who works for NBC now. I never snuffed him out of the program, but there was no way he could do what Lori and Kathy Heche and all of those great swimmers back then could do. There was just no freaking way he could do what Bart Schneider did, but he loved swimming today and he coaches at Germantown Academy and teaches there.