Beginning Swimming to Olympic Trials: A Process by Jim Voss (Parts One and Two) (2010)



Good Morning. Everybody awake?  All right, good day.  I want to welcome all of you to our, I guess, our third day, fourth day.  School is on Tuesday, becomes a long week.  I’m glad to see you’re probably ones who figured you’ll learn more here in the morning than doing some adult libations at night.  So, good, or you’re the really young ones who can do both the adult libations and get up early in the morning.  I’d like to welcome our speaker this morning.  Jim Voss is here at a club called Duneland which is right here in Indiana.  Clubs usually get noted because they have one or two swimmers.  In this case, it’s a young man by the name of Kyle Whitaker who has really been coming through like programs, burgeoning onto the national scene.  But it’s a program that’s been developing child qualifiers, national swimmers, and junior national swimmers and bringing it, just club situation from the small pool and bringing these athletes along.  And so Jim’s going to come and share with us.  Thank you and I’d like to welcome Jim Voss.


[JV begins]

Thank you, Oliver.  Welcome, everybody, this morning.  It’s been a great clinic so far.  And it’s great to see everybody together with a common goal here and that’s to get kids to swim faster.  My part of this is to try to give you a little bit of insight on two of my athletes.  Feel free to ask questions afterwards.  I’d love to talk.  I’ve typed everything out.  I’m going to go by what my guideline says but I think I’ll do a little bit of free-styling than I do reading.  So we’re going to have a free time afterwards.  It’s an honor to spend the next hour with you.  My topic is for Beginner’s swimming go up on trials.  And I fortunately have two athletes fall under this topic and this is their story.


Jenny Anderson started doing [inaudible] [0:02:27.4] by the age seven.  At that time, she was a tall, lanky, and very strong for her age.  I found out Jenny’s will to win early as we were playing a beginner [inaudible] water polo game.  And we always used to play boys against the girls.  As the boys would score 15 goals and the girls would score 1 or 2, we decided that we were going to change the game a little bit and call it ‘Next Girl Wins’.  Jenni figured that one out after a few games.  And, she took the ball one day, walked from one end of the shovel end over to the other side with like 10 guys draped on her, trying to get the ball from her and she was strong willed, scores the last goal, girls win.  As Jenni was pulling herself out of the water, tears streaming down her face, she said ‘Girls, we’re not going to lose today’.  That’s when I realized that I had something special in Jenni.


Next big event in the process, Jenni’s ten year old season.  She was winning events locally.  She went to the Age Group State Meet.  And she swam the 50 and 100 butterfly, the 50 and 100 freestyle, and the 50 backstroke.  We had to make a decision between the hundred fly and the hundred backstroke.  But the decision was easy as the hundred fly was the first event of the week.  And she ended up going 114 in [long] [0:03:58] course meters.  And the rest of the weekend, it was really easy.  She won 5 state titles and a high point award.


Next season, Jenni started it out with a big bang.  [inaudible] meet at home in the early October.  As she swam the 50 freestyle in 25.82, we were astounded.  It was the second fastest ever nationwide behind Grace Cornelius’ 25.46 with three-hundredths of a second away from the national record.  Knowing that we had many weeks before her January birthday, we tried to schedule as many opportunities as we could for her to break the national record.


Next, we have 50 frees.  She was a 25 high or 26 low so we knew that she was really on her way.  At Christmas time, Jenni swam right on her best time.  And we were excited because we started month ago and sharpening up and reducing [yard] [0:04:57.9], we thought we’d have a really good shot at the record.  Her next couple of 50 frees were low 26s.  We knew it was going to come down to her last chance.  The last meet that she had to try to break the record was at Chesterton Middle School pool.  She was ready.  We had her tapered, rested.  She ended up going 25.82, exactly the same time that she did the first meet of the year, so many emotions.  There’s ups and downs of competitor swimming we were so excited about possibly having a national record to hold.  And we [tied] her best.  But we just didn’t get there.  That was an emotional time for us.  And we learned a lesson in the next 50 freestyle when she was 11.


She went 26.75.  I went up to her after that and I said ‘What happened?’ and turned to me and said ‘I’m tired’.  And when I realize then is we went full blow as a ten year old going after a national record.  And I started thinking about it and I realized that maybe we pushed a little bit too hard.  I learned so much from those two words, I’m tired.  I was grateful for hearing those words.  And that was a big lesson learned in my career.  I still use those two words today making out my seasonal plan.  Your good at great ethics, noble bodies will express their feelings to you.  You need to listen if you have a great memory of your past seasons and planned up for the future and make the end of the season much better.


Jenny’s 11 and 12 year old seasons were not as exciting.  She wanted to try the IM but her best focus still not leave her out that time.  So we worked on that.  And we worked on longer events, tried to make her a little bit more of a well-rounded swimmer.  And I had many great 10 and under swimmers before Jenni.  And I wanted to ask a few of the more experienced coaches on the pool deck, how can I get Jenni to the next level?  Their overwhelming response was a great word that base in yardage.


Jenny won just one state title in her 11 and 12 year old season but her training was so much better.  She was really starting to mature into a great swimmer.  We made a deal at that point with her parents that if she got a full item to college that they had to buy her a new car.  At age 13 to 14, Jenni was training very good.  And with her growth spurt up to 5 feet, 10 inches, we really knew that she was going to be special.  Jenny’s 14-year old [inaudible] [0:07:39.6], was her last age group season.  She was winning a lot of events and the fire impression was back.  We were so excited to see her come full circle, be up on top again.


Six weeks out before the championship meet, Jenni’s mom came in to the pool area crying.  She said Jenni was jumping on a trampoline this weekend and broke her foot.  Jenni was too upset to come in and tell me.  She was devastated.  And we worked all the way from 11-12 to 13-14 and this was her last 14.  And it really hurt her.  Being a good coach, I thought that six weeks up I’d be able to put it probably on her.  Get her down into the deep end, going to do some sculling drills.  And she would be okay for the state meet because you got to keep okay for her doctor, went down to the state meet. Fifty frees was her first event.  She was seated third and she finished 30th.  Devastation.  I told her I don’t want to risk her foot any longer this weekend.  I asked her to go home.  And her and her parents, we made a huge decision.  She went home.


When I return to Chesterton, Jenni came in to the pool area.  I had a couple other swimmers swimming and came in crying and just apologized over and over and over.  And again, I told her, we have to learn from the setback.


Jenni’s freshmen year in her high school, she finished 3rd in the 100 yard backstroke.  Her sophomore years, he won the 50 free and the hundred backstroke.  As a junior, she repeated both of her titles and made her first Olympic trial cuts.  Jenni competed in 2000 Olympic Trials here in Indianapolis, Indiana.  She was back at her favorite pool and semi-finalled the 100 meter backstroke and finished 13th.  She also swam the 50 freestyle in the medley event.  Swimming at this big meet was excellent because she was at the next level.  And that made her so confident to going back to the high school level.  Jenni repeated both of her events again in her senior and set the state record in 100 yard backstroke.  Her final swimming award in high school was the mental attitude award.  And I thought that they really gave it to a very, very deserving swimmer.  She ended up a 6 state titles and 1 state record.


Jenni was also a great student.  At Chesterton, they held a dinner for the top 5 percent in the senior class and each student got to invite a teacher that made a big impact on her life.  Jenni chose me even though I wasn’t a teacher at the time.  It was a great honor for me.  Jenni chose Auburn University as a school to take her swimming to the next level.  She was given a full scholarship to attend Auburn and the car.  Her parents did pay her back on that one.


At Auburn, Jenni was, too, won 3 national championships.  And Jenni finalled 5 events and semi-finalled 6 more in her four years at Auburn.  She was the backstroker on 2 American relays, NCAA record, and US Open record, not by relays.   Jenni’s senior year ended with the highest award given to any Auburn university student.  The Leah Rawls Atkins award is given to the top female student athlete of the year.  I learned so much with Jenni Anderson.  I’m a better coach from that experience.  Any questions right now?


Okay, I’d like to go through one of the visualization drills that we do.  I do learned in, Jenny and I kind of thought that this was something that really helped her out and relax.  Then I want everybody to do it.  Now, we’re going to all do this visualization drill together.  I’d like everybody, just get comfortable on your seat.  You should close your eyes.


I want you to take ten deep breaths.  And as you take those ten deep breaths, I’m going to continue to talk.  What I want you to do is, as you exhale I want you to relax into your chair.  What I want you to do is I want you to pick a word that gives you a happy feeling, your dog’s name, name of a wack group.  I want you to picture your word in two [inch] [0:12:04.6] letters and a bright green color.  And I want you to keep relaxed.  And as you exhale, I want you to relax and I want you to feel better about yourself.  And I want you to take that same word that makes you smile.  And I want you to change it into your team’s color like doing on in Chesterton, wear maroon and gold.  So I’m visualizing my word that makes me smile in maroon and gold.


I want you to take four or five more deep breaths.  And as you relax, I want you to feel comfortable with that word.  And that’s going to give you ease.  I want you to think about your word again.  And as we talk about relaxation at a big meet, we try to rely on that word.  Okay, in your team colors, I want you to take a look at your word again.  Okay, you’re going to open your eyes.  It worked.


As I was looking and I asked everybody to look at their word, I saw a lot of smiles come up.  And that’s how we do a lot of our mental training on our team because we get the kids to think about things, relaxation.  Try to use a word that’s going to give you a little bit of relaxation at the end of the season.  And those times are remembered down at the state meet.  And I’m talking to my kids and I see one of our swimmers at maybe, the first season at the state meet.  And they’re really looking around at an auditorium.  And I realize that they’re really freaking out, we go back to their word.  And I try to make that equation.  And every season we do that, the kids just cannot wait to develop their new word and go through visualization drills.  And I think that that’s very important in the relaxation and just building season to season to season to season.


Okay, I’d like to talk about my next athletes.  Her name is Kyle Whitaker.  Kyle started work, swimming with our team at age 5.  When Kyle was 7 years old, he got his first individual cup at the State Meet.  When he was in his first season 10 year old, Kyle had a shot at winning the high point trophy.  But on his first event, Sunday, Kyle was called for a false start and he was disqualified.  He went on to win his four other events but did not won the high point trophy.  The next season, he won all five of his events at the state meet and the Duneland Swim Club 10 and under boys won the high point team trophy.  This is a fun bunch of swimmers to be around.  And right after they had swim, they’d run back to our camping area and start playing army men, the little plastic guys.  Talk about it, had a fun on the pool deck.


Kyle’s 11-12 seasons were good.  But I learned a lesson from Jenni and I applied it to Kyle.  We increased his yardage and started working a little more on his rubbed base, took some of the pressure off the big meets.  At this time, Kyle also, the great interest in, splits in the pace of race.  If we were still going to play one final invite, Kyle did get the splits of all the other swimmers and try to figure out a way to improve his race to winning the finals.  Kyle won the high point trophy, his last 12 year old season and the rest of his teammates.  And I started piling a long range goal.  Maybe, we were putting together pieces for a powerhouse team and possibly having a state championship team at Chesterton High School.  Oh, and by the way, at 11-12, they were still playing army men.


Kyle’s 13, 14 years were amazing.  He both won in short course high point awards for 14.  The summer of 2006, he set state records on all six of events.  During that state meet, the local swim club coach came up to me before Kyle’s second swim and told me to look around the pool deck and the bleachers.  This was dominant outdoor of an out diner park.  Every coach and swimmer was next to the side of the pool and apparently we’re standing waiting for Kyle’s next swim.  It was definite motivation the rest of the weekend with Kyle.  It was so neat to see everybody on the pool that was waiting for his next swim.


Kyle’s freshmen year is a turning point as he raced swimmers that were much older than him.  He won the state meet, met 200 individual medal and a hundred fly.  Kyle’s sophomore year, he won the 200 IM and set the national record with a 146.75.  He also won the 100 butterfly in Chesterton High School.  The boys’ team won the state championship.  They made me set up and the boys ran up 11-12.  That was a long range goal that we had set up and we really thought we had a shot.  And it really came through.  Both of Kyle’s times that you’re qualified on for the 2008 Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, I saw the magnitude of the Olympic Trials of Kyle’s performance.  His first event was the 400 IM.  And then in the ready room, Kyle was doing his regular pre-meet prep probably using a word of comfort.  And along came a swimmer and sat right next to Kyle.  Michael Phelps was his name.  Kyle went blank and is a bunch shuddered.  He said afterwards, he couldn’t believe that he was at this meet.  A great swimmer sat down next to him.  And it knocked him out his focus.  But the lesson learned there is you can only control yourself.


Kyle lead both the national record and the 200 IM with a 145 in the junior season and set the state record in the 100 butterfly with a 47.85.  The Chesterton boys repeated as state champions.  The summer of 2009, Kyle brought 5 long course individual records at Junior Nationals.  That was one of, I think, his best meets.  Five times, he put a suit on.  Five times, he set the record.  And there’d been a lot of guys at who put their suits on at Junior Nationals, saw the names.  And I thought that was quite an accomplishment.  Kyle’s senior year, we both got 200 IM record with a 144.55 and set the state meet record in the 500 free, going 419.  After that meet, Kyle was awarded the mental attitude award, the same that Jenni Anderson won.


Kyle holds a total of 46 short course and long course records in Indiana.  He holds 6 10&U records, 0 11-12 records, 11 13-14 records, 19 15-16 records, and 10 Open records.  He won 8 individual titles in his high school career.  He was just awarded the 2010 National High School Swimmer of the Year.  He’s a 3-time National Junior Team member and then voted the team captain.


I’d like to show a video of the State meet.  Since we’re all swim coaches and we like to watch fast swimming, I thought that we’d take a glance at the high school state championship meet.  Kyle and [inaudible 0:19:48.8] 200 free relay.


[audience member]:  The one we got?


[JV]:  Yes.  Kyle’s expertise was butterfly for most of his career.  But on this team, we had to switch him around.  And we wanted to try to get out in the lead in the medley.  I want you to notice a couple of things.  Kyle’s very, very good underwater.  And he’s not afraid to turn it over either.  And then a 50 yard race at our state championships to get this kind of a lead is quiet amazing because you got everybody else’s great backstrokers in the water at the same time.


Next one was Matt Rosecki in the breaststroke.  And this is the pool that league they just won their high school state championships in it.  And then they also saw my club championships in it.  Our butterflyer at this meet was Tyler Fozkos.  And our anchor [inaudible 21:31.0] was Taylor Zakhar.  It was the local team that is beating us Monster High School until we needed about 5 more yards and we would have been state champs in this race.  You can really see that it was all over by the end of this race.  We ended up going 133.  Just often about a state record, we hold out 132.0.  And here’s the boys, I’m going to fast forward through this.


This is Kyle Whitaker and his 200 IM national record that won 44.55.  Kyle has, I’m always steady with the camera.  Again, I want you to watch Kyle on the water.  Now we have the ESA Swimming, Bob Steele come to our pool.  After it, Kyle’s sophomore year and he talked to our team.  And as he was talking, his first statement out of his mouth was this, can anybody tell me the five strokes of swimming?  And coach Kinel and I were kind of looking around a little bit at each other.  And all the kids came up at the Fly Back Preston free.  And Bob Steele said, you guys forget about the underwater swimming part.  And we really started pushing that on Kyle.  And you can see that he’s incredible underwater.  I would have the audio on this but the guy that was sitting next to me was very off color.  And if I could get cleaned it up and still have the ambiance of the crowd, I would have done that.  But there’s no way that I can do that.


This is Kyle’s weakest stroke.  You could really see that he’s really improved in the breast stroke part of this.  And a lot of breast stroke is under water.  And you could really see him accentuate the butterfly dolphin kick here.  He really gets a great push off of that.  And he’s 13 yards down the pool before he breaks the surface.  On his way to a 144 breast or 200 IM.  And again, he’s very good underwater.  With the [inaudible] [0:24:05.9], that’s 9 yards down the pool at an auditorium.  And even the last [inaudible] [0:24:15.2] underwater and he’s really giving a butterfly kick to work out.  And he decides he’s going to go after national records, ticks his down at about 10 yards out and really goes into them all.  I’ve never been into an auditorium at that time.  It was extremely wild.  And people we’re getting up and kind of reminded of when Kyle was in Age Group.  A lot of people on the pool and up were watching that swim.  And the fans were really, really enjoyed it.  There’s coach Kinel.  I had to sleep over and see what his parents are doing right now and still be in that common, connected guy as he usually is.  He’s common, collected.  And again, national record on 44.55.  Great swim, exciting to watch.


Next one is Tyler Fozkos.  Oh, this is Kyle’s awarding ceremony.  And that swimmer is Tyler Fozkos in the 50 freestyle.  Tyler is very, very, very fast switch as you can tell.  And I like the 50 free just because it’s so exciting and it gets everybody’s blood boil on one of the meets.


This is so exciting to watch, people doing a little turn over that fast and stay on top of the water for so long.  And then Tyler’s celebration was he showed us that he’s a big fast switch person here.  Excitement at its best, that’s how you do a [inaudible] [0:26:38.5] on top.  It’s good to see people to shake the hands after an event because they’ve all worked so many years and so hard to be in that position.  But it’s great to see them shaking hands.  Tyler will be a senior at our high school.  He got a 20.84 there as a junior.  This is Tyler getting ready for the 100 free.  I’m just got to move forward here a little bit.  The guy next in the closest lane ends up winning.  His short time wrote 45 and Tyler ends up going mid-45 in this race.


You’re just watching a great swimming and it should allow you to go to the rest of the clinic and try to find something that’s going to help you and your team as you go back to your home pools.  And you see, Tyler here is really going to start turning it on and try to make it up about this last 10 yards.  And again, a fast switch.  This is Kyle right before the 500 freestyle.  And I know your best athletes all have their own routine before the event.  Kyle always does this.  He always goes down and up behind the blacks.  And then off, he’s praying or wondering how bad the event was going to heard or what his goal time was.  Hopefully, he was working on his flip turns and his underwater mentally.  Right off the bag, you can just see that his underwater skills are so much better than the people that were in this race.  A hundred yards into this race, the race was pretty much older, but you’re going to see, off the water, he’s so excellent.


And then a stroke cut off right at his time was.  He was 11-12.  And now I think he would maintain his 13s or 14s the rest of the race.  My mistake, I think he was off 47 flip touch on his 500.  This is our High School State Meet and just 125 into the race.  You can see that he’s been, feel the way pretty much.  But Kyle’s breathing in his freestyle varies very well. I think that’s one of the things that we do pretty well at Duneland Chesterton is this body position; fully breathing cycle does not change.  His hips are not bouncing up and down.  He’s pretty fab in the water.  You can see as he starts going, he starts forgetting about his underwater kick. Too bad we couldn’t have the microphone and remind him about right now.


And at this time, the crowd was really starting to get into it because as the announcer was talking, he was giving the splits and everybody here is starting to get excited about what his time could possibly be.  He was under 140 at the 200.  In the middle of this race, we were telling Tyler just to try to maintain his stroke count just to try to keep everything as close as they can to…  I pulled back here.  I just wanted to see if he was put in the 25 on the field yet.  And he was right there.  Twelve, thirteen, he’s tightening up a little bit right here.  And you can see, after all, he was up down to one kick.  And this is a national swimmer who still can go to the next level and try to clean some of those things up.  Just above six foot.  Right now, the crowd was just incredible.  This building really holds sound well.  Everybody was starting to shake including myself with the camera.  I was trying to do my best but I was getting into it also at this time.  You can see that he’s starting to come home here.  The last 50, he’s back to kicking underwater and really getting some good drive off his dolphin click.  His goal was 4.16.  The national record wins up going for an 18.  During the season, he was in the 30s.  And then he prelimed in at 4.21.  His for 19.79 here didn’t meet. State Meet is really fast.  There are 2nd and 3rd coming in and then the rest of the swimmers.  It was quite a swim.


I had Kyle since he was seven or five actually.  He went seven when he really started to become part of the competitive team.  I do mind him that was his last individual swim.  But I saw, so it’s kind of a tear jerker for me.  It’s just neat to see those kids get awarded and Kyle doing the gracious competitor of the year. He’s a really nice kid and great to coach.  They were talking about winning titles and what Kyle’s accomplished at this time.  Then, it’s always good to see that athletes shake hands.  But I think that’s so important.


That’s Kyle’s little twin brother, Aaron, who’s following his steps.  This is the 200 free.  This is Kyle’s last event in his high school career.  He really [inaudible] [0:34:25.6] Matt Rosecki.  And he splits 22-2 on this.  And we’re in about 4th place at this time.  And coach Kinel came up with a good idea to pull harder state champion 50 freestyler next to try to put us back into the ball game.  I think that was a great move.  We’re not going to touch the [Inaudible] [0:35:06.7] for his trails up Kyle, our third swimmer.  Then at this time, I just knew if Tyler could rotate to her.  Zakhar could give it to Kyle close would be okay.  And then he gave us the lead going in.  We were set on our way there.  Too late then, they end up splitting to 21-6.  And Kyle’s bringing it home.  And he ends up splitting 19.79 on that split.  [Inaudible] [0:35:55.6] in the bottom 24.39.  I was awfully excited.  The cute thing about this is the post event celebration.  There again, there’s some kind of blabber with another team.  Matt and Taylor were supposed to listen down right after this event because they are going to be in our 400 free relay.  So Kyle learning that that was his last event, was this, could I take it in?  That was Tyler, Austin, and also said I’m going to kind of talk to coach Kinel for just a second word and kind of hopped down the course in the season, a couple of high fives.  And then coach was saying, get in the water, go swim down.  And Kyle decides he’s going to get in that way.  Oh, I want to show this again.


This is an Age Group Champion, High School Champion, National Champion, International Swimmer.  And this is how I actually jumped in the last time at an auditorium.  But is that cute or not?  Huh.


And then here’s some team camaraderie that I thought was really exciting.  And then the two guys that needed the [inaudible] [0:38:02.4] decide that they’re going to do their job and [inaudible] [0:38:04.9].  They had the two guys sat it done, we’re going to still go to Baltimore.  Tyler being false [inaudible] [0:38:10.3] what you’re doing.  Suddenly, all four of these swimmers grew up in my program.  So I really need to, allowed me to watch these guys all the way through and really a talented group of kids.  Like I said, my two swimmers were individual state champions as 10 and under, really taught me to push at the right times and also let them be youngsters also.  I think all of us coaches learn from books, videos, clinics, and communication.  But I think sometimes, your athlete might be your best resource.  I have any questions from anybody?  John?


John:  How do [inaudible] [0:39:00.6]?


Jim:  Pardon.


John:  How do [inaudible] [0:39:04.6]?


Jim:  He’s a great soccer player.  He’s a great soccer player also.  But no, majority of his time, he was a swimmer.  Yes.


John:  Do you have [inaudible] [0:39:20.1]?


Jim:  Great question.  I’m going to give you a little bit of background on that.  And that’s it, a great point.  Coach Kinel was the Chesterton coach starting 1980, called me in 1987 from Michigan City and said that he needed to have a better assistant coach.  And they’ve watched me on pool deck for my previous team, Michigan City Piranhas.  It was a real hard decision because I was a young coach right out of high school, getting my bonds with my first team.  And Chesterton being so close, I didn’t know if that was going to be a good move.  But looking at the background, I do this incredible move.  I was very honored to be part of the Chesterton program.  And I ended up working as Kevin’s assistant for 14 seasons.  And we had a great relationship between club and high school.  Being his assistant, the high school I was working well with the JD kids.  But I was starting to real understand this work when I’ve taught going from the Age Group level up to the High School level.  And I think, what we tried to do is we tried to make all of our lingo, all of our thought processes, our pace, stroke mechanics drills work all the way through.  And myself, as the Age Group coach, I wanted to try to develop a plan.  So as they went to the next level, they were not confused or I wasn’t saying one thing and he was bubbling another.  So I think that was one of the things that really helped.  When high school opened up, I went back to the middle school.  And now I start my practices at 3:00 with my club so I could not be his assistant any longer.  But I still go back in the summer time.  And I’m the co-head coach along with coach Kinel at a high school training.  And we talk about the high school season because we don’t really get to see each other during that season too much.  We talk about the high school season.  We talk about training.  And then as we’re going, I try to talk about the freshmen that are coming in and their quirks with Kyle.


He’s been my boss.  I believe in his programs.  So any of the times that I would see Kyle through out the high school years, and he was in high school thing, put my arm around him.  Great job.  Keep going.  Believe.  Trust.  Goal.  Envision, do whatever you have to do.  But I wouldn’t talk about mechanics.  I wouldn’t talk about stroke ideas or anything like that because as a coach, I think you really need to watch your athletes train.  See what they do right.  See what the things that they’re weak on.  But if I could come in to somebody’s practice and see somebody doing something that I thought was wrong might be something that you see that they might be doing that might be of strength in the future.  So I really tried to stay out of Kevin’s way and Kyle’s way during high school.  But then coming back into the summer, there’d be times where I would take him down to the deep end and then work on underwater drills or whatever we decided out.  We were going to try to make him out of more of a strength.  So that’s a great point because I think all the clubs that has success, it starts from the first route that they take all the way through to the end.  And I think it’s really important that there’s a vision from the head coach down through the assistants.  And then as you go through the process, there’s a gradual increase.  And I think the thing that we have is this.  Coach Kinel and I are on the same wavelength on everything.  And there’s times where we will shoot an idea at each other.  And then he’ll say, ‘I don’t know about that one’ or he’ll shoot an idea at me and I might [inaudible] [0:43:26.7], ‘I’ve never really had the success doing that’.


Okay, we don’t break our groups up into ages, we break them up in abilities, so it has kind of started progressing through 10s then 11s and 12s.  We went from our beginner group to our intermediate group and quickly into our advanced group.  The nice thing about my program right now is we do start our club practice at 3 o’clock and that after high school practice, we only have like a couple of hours, I can get right in.  So, we spread our practices out pretty far.


At age 11 was when Kyle was in our advance group.  They go from 4:45 and they get out of the–well, at that time, it was 5 until about 7:45, so we got 2 hours and 45 minutes with those kids.  If he was over on our shorter side of that, they’re going about 5000 early in the season.  They get up to about 5500 yards more and then at the end, they would be tapering down.  The best kids in that group are up to about 7-1/2.


As he was getting in the 13 and 14s, especially in the summer, we opened it up for our older and our better kids to go to Kevin’s morning practice and then we’re getting, early in the season, just building into our 5000 meters and come back and he’d double with me and get out 5000 yards and then as the season would go, he was up with Kevin going to 7000 meters in the morning and we’d go about 7000 at night, so he was getting a pretty good dose of yardage at that point.  That’s obviously our lead athletes.  For the most part I think, our best–let’s say our best [Indiscernible] [0:01:48] is 13, 14s on my club or starting off 4000 or 5000 at the start but we had never hit over 7000 for 2-1/2, 2 hours and 40-minute.


We’re big into a circuit.  I’d like to talk about that quickly.  I think Stretch Cords should be in everybody’s pool area.  I think if you use them for strength, it is great.  I think you can use them for conditioning.  I think that’s great and I think they’re great for injury prevention.  You could put a big load on a lot of joints in the body.  I think Stretch Cords are important.  Our weight circuit consists of just push-ups in a circuit, sit-ups, crunches and we do three-separate drills with our Stretch Cords.  One of them, we just wrap around one of the poles in the pool area and one time, first time around, they turn sideways and we’re getting some core work in this way.  We do butterfly finishes where they’re going to lay back a little bit and finish as far as they can here to work on the triceps, also working on the core and then we have the athlete sit down on the ground, hold on to the Stretch Cords and then push out like this and that’s something that we work and that starts in my intermediate group and goes all the way through my advanced group.


Then we have this device called a Bodyblade and if you have 48 hours sitting around in your club expense, buy one and try it.  It’s a piece of metal about this long.  It has a handle in the middle and as you oscillate it, the sides flip back and forth like this and incredible machine and we use it for injury prevention and it  just fires a lot of muscles, going through their video, they have a–every second this oscillates at 4-1/2 flips.  Every minute, it has 270 oscillations.


The best drill that I found for my kids is really have them sit down on the ground Indian style, holding the body pulled out in front of them and I have them pull their feet up off the ground, so it’s going to engage every one of their core muscles and we have them oscillate for 30 seconds and as you look at your more defined athletes, you can see their whole body are crossed into their core and then inside of the thighs out, every one of those muscles are just firing and you know you’re getting a great core workout with that machine.  We ended up buying six of them this last season and our program is kind of a large–we hold 250 swimmers.  In our program at one time, we’re about 70 kids in the water when we go in, in groups of sixes, so I think that Stretch Cords and the Bodyblade are–we’re getting great success off of those.


I think in all four strokes, I think body position is one of the keys that allows a swimmer to go through the water and I try to make equations with my smaller swimmers, with my younger swimmers.  We have a picture of a barge on Lake Michigan with the flat ends on it and it goes across the lake very slow and then we show a speedboat go on top of the water in a very flat plain and we try to make that equation to our swimmers and say, do you want to be a slow barge or do you want to be a fast race boat and then we try to go along with that.  If you look at a rocket ship getting blasted out in outer space, they’re going to try to reduce as much drag as they can to allow that rocket to get out of our atmosphere.  So we try to use a lot of equations that the kids can listen, can learn from.  We try to go a little bit outside the box and try to come up with different lingo but everything kind of goes with our program and how we try to set it up if they’re long range.  Yes, sir?


Male Speaker 2:  [Inaudible] [0:06:08].


Male Speaker 1:  No, we’re a USA for the under high school kids.  We don’t have Middle School team.  In work like ours, we don’t have–my club go in at 3 o’clock.  It’s that’s huge because we can spread everything out.  My beginner group goes from 3 to 3:50.  My next group goes from 3:50 until 5:10 and my other group goes from 5 o’clock until almost 7:25, close to 8 o’clock.  Yes?


Male Speaker 3:  Can you give an example of a [Indiscernible] [0:06:40] set that you felt really effective for a child?


Male Speaker 1:  Good question.  I’ve got a set that to old, 11 or 18, I don’t know if anybody remembers the hands down, too, so they better remember the hands down [Indiscernible] [0:06:52].


We kind of put a variation onto that and we go 450s of butterfly and then a 400 IM, 450s of that; 400 IM, 450 of breast; 400 IM, 450 of free; 400 IM.  And in short of the 450, we try to ask the athlete to go a little harder, so the first 50 of fly, they’re just going very easy.  Second 50, we ask them to go under water and try to do as best as they can under water.  Third 50, we’re trying to get them to use the lower body and the fourth 50 is an all sprint right angle at 400 IM.  And that’s one of the sets that if you really get your athletes to go, they come out of that one and they’re well rounded on that.


I also do another set that I think is very interesting.  I use the 750s of the term [Indiscernible] [0:07:46] 50 fly and then we’ll go at 50 fly back and go 50 back-back breast, breast-breast, breast-free, free-free, so we’ll go your 7, 14, 21, 28 and every time we try to ask the athlete to impress us by switching turn and that’s what they try to get.


Because I feel on the 400 IM, 200 IM, you get to 50 fly out and majority of your athletes are going to be able to get a good 50 fly.  Backstroke of 1 IM is one of the last.  I think you just have to be an animal in the backstroke then going into a breaststroke and especially from breaststroke to freestyle since the one swimmer is coming in breaststroke, the slowest stroke of the four.  The sooner you can get there and start swimming the fastest stroke freestyle and I think that’s huge.


And if watched Kyle in there, his last couple of strokes or breaststrokes, he was trying to get to the fastest stroke and another underwater push off which he knows is such an arsenal in his development in his success.


Another IM set that we do is we reverse the IM just to get the kids to think a little bit.  So, we’ll do a lot of free breast prep, flies just to make the fly last and I think that that’s important.  It gets down to show us a little bit of creativity.  We ask them to go fast turns and you can see some of fast turns from free to breast that you get and when you get some breast to back turns that are interesting and some back to fly terms that are pretty interesting also, so just a little bit reverse IM, just a little bit of difference in, a little bit of-.  Yes, sir?


Male Speaker 4:  [Inaudible] [0:09:40]


Male Speaker 1:  In Chesterton, we don’t have a 50-meter pool, so we try to do what we can there.  Coach kind of removed the [Indiscernible] [0:09:51] in our pool down underneath the diving boards and we try to get a little bit of different training in, a little bit of longer training.


Myself, we never touched meters until a couple of competitions in the summer and then the State Meet and then they complain about it because I realize water is water.  I’d love to train in a 50-meter pool and I’d love to be able to take the kids that are ready to go to the State Meet, to a 50-meter pool just to acclimate them especially the younger ones.  A lot of times they get halfway down the pool and you expect them to see the flags and you don’t see the flags and then they start worrying and then when they do see the flags, they forgot about what they were supposed to look at the flags for, so I think that it would be really nice to train in that but I do think pool water is pool water.


Last night when we were all at the end of the think tank, the topic was brought up that there’d been national qualifiers, national champions who train in a three-lane 20-yard pool.  When you think about that, if you have a pretty large team, yeah a three-lane 20-yard pool and a pool at a National Champion out of there, you’ve got a great athlete and you’ve got a great coach trust and vision trying to make 20 yards important to that swimmer.  Good question.  Any other questions?  Yes?


Male Speaker 5:  [Inaudible] [0:11:15].


Male Speaker 1:  Any other questions?  John?


John:  [Inaudible] [0:11:15].


Male Speaker 1:  Another good question.  If you go back through this summer then information that USA Swimming has been putting up, they break it down by age group and they have 1% of 10 and under champions that are on the national team by the time they’re 13, 14, 15 and over; 1% that’s a very small group.


I think one of the things that we do successfully is we always try to keep a seasonal goal, whether it’s to be at the State Meet, improve under training attendance which is huge.  If you don’t have your swimmer there, they’re not going to get any better.  I think one of the big successful things at Chesterton is–and I think it started a lot with Jenni Anderson was this, who is going to be the next Jenni Anderson and this brings me back to another good plan, but actually I’m going to write this down.


When the kids are 10 and 11, we really to push the older athletes into helping them, so what we do is we have our beginners and our intermediates come in to our practice and we have our older kids come in and work with them, one-on-one and they just say, everybody have 5 minutes to teach them freestyle and as a coaching staff, we just walk around and it’s really neat because we hear a lot of good jokes that we make, the older kid will say it to the younger kid or if it’s a quirk or whatever.  It’s fun to watch those kids kind of pass on the lingo to the younger kids, but it also allows them to start getting a bond and I think the older athletes need to bond with the younger athletes.


With our older kids then we’ll just say, you have 10 minutes, teach somebody a back stroke flip turn and they really go back and break it down real good and I think also that with the older kids, it allows them to take what they’ve learned and as they’re teaching it, I think they’re starting to get maybe another realization of how they had their success, so I think it goes hand in hand.  I think it’s a great motivator.


Back in the day, before we had our club record boards up on the wall, we went and passed the hat around our parents to put up record boards and some of the feedback that I got from some of the parents, why are they putting up the Jenni Anderson and Zach on our record board and Jenni and Zach all the way through my club were excellent all the way through.  And I said because somebody is going to dream about breaking one of those records and now, Zach holds two of the records and Jenni holds 9 of our team records.


And that’s all the way through 8 numbers, 9s, 10s, 11s, 12s, 13s, 14s and every single event they’re down to that small amount of records on our team.  I think one of the greatest things you can do is post times.  I think you should also post the history of your swim.  [Indiscernible] [0:16:15] use it and you can go back and you can put a top 25 at some age – 13, 14s or top 10, 9, 10 all type of events, post that stuff.  You can put how many parents go there.  Kids that are on your team right now will look and see their name and if they’re 13th, this season, they’ll both try to get to be 12 or they’re going to try break a record, so I think goal setting is important.


I also think that you’re athletes need to some times that our whole sport is based about times and speed and time standards.  I think posting that stuff is incredible and I think that’s why pretty much every team whether it’s our sport or track and field, records are meant to be broken.  I think that that’s a good care in front of any athlete, so post your records.  Make sure that they know what they’re shooting for, for the excellence.  Yes?


Male Speaker 6:  [Inaudible] [0:17:14].


Male Speaker 1:  All of them.  [Laughter]  No.  I learned my lesson from Jenni.  The two words – I’m tired really, really, really sticks in my head.  When Kyle was 10 and under and we were shooting for State Championships, I had to back myself up and really remind myself of the two words Jenni taught me.


Kyle was always good, but he only started turning great at 10, but I didn’t want to follow and do the same category.  He never got real close to a national record as 10, but I went back to that and I talked about earlier in my talk was when I asked a bunch of season coaches, how can I get Jenni to the next level and they said, give a little bit pace.  And if you read any book in swimming that’s what they want you to teach, not specifically racing at a young age, but a lot of them are well bit paced and just-.


I don’t like using the word yardage because everybody’s program is different, 5000 yards could mean 5000 yards of warm-up speed, 5000 yards could be on the threshold work, 5000 doesn’t really mean anything as a number, but the increased yardage and intensity needs to be a progression all the way through.


Jenni–I learned so much from Jenni, I mean I really think that I really–well, I kind of wish she could have been here just to hear the speech, but I learned a lot from that athlete and I try to keep a little bit of a history about things and I try to always go back to some of the things that might better off left unsaid during a season or a practice that I can rely on and help myself as a coach, but–and Kyle and Jenny know each other real well.  They’re only 8 years apart, so as Jenni is going out, Kyle is just starting to become a champion and like I said earlier, we have–all of our older athletes come back and teach them, so I’m sure somewhere along the line, they communicated with each other or Kyle’s probably looking up at Jenni, I wonder how I could be that person.


I think that your best athletes are a great resource for any coach and if you can use them to teach, come backwards and teach, help teach, help motivate.  One of the things that I’m not real pleased with that our situation at Chesterton being in the middle school is my 13, 14 year olds don’t get to rub shoulders with the high school kids.  I think that that’s important and the thing that I really miss when we were in our old high school pool and I would start my club after our high school practice, the athletes would come walking down the pool like after a grueling practice with their leather jacket on and all of my kids would just sit up there and just stare at them as they would walk along the pool, but with their leather jacket on and they would point and say, there’s Jenni Anderson and there’s so and so and there’s so and so.


We miss that and that’s why I really try to push my older athletes to come back and talk to my younger athletes.  I’d love to do it daily but sometimes you just can’t get the kids to make that commitment.  Yes?


Female Speaker 1:  [Inaudible] [0:20:55].


Male Speaker 1:  Are you talking about Jenni and Kyle or are you talking about parents in general?


Female Speaker 1:  [Inaudible] [0:21:59].


Male Speaker 1:  I’ll be honest with you on this one.  I’ve been honest the whole day, but I’m really going to be honest with you on this one.  Jenni Anderson’s parents dropped her off for practice, picked her up.


Female Speaker 1:  [Inaudible] [0:22:19].


Male Speaker 1:  And Kyle’s mom was my assistant coach for a while and Kyle’s parents would drop Kyle off and pick him up.  I think that’s the key.


The successful kids most of the time are successful because they come from a great background.  I think that if you can get a student athlete to have good parents and then they believe in the coaching staff, I think that helps out tremendously.  I also think that as a coach of good athletes, you’ve got to learn how to run your athletes to kind of–to soften a little bit also on that, so I appreciate the compliment.  If I do have a problem with my athletes or parents and I try to take care of it as quick as I can.


And just getting back quickly to what Connie had brought up, we have our beginner’s start on the 13th, but first season that they swim under the Doming Swim Club, I coach them.  I coach every minute of every one of their practices.  I feel that that’s important for me to bond with them.  I give up intermediate time.  It could overlap if I could and I coach all my beginners from the first stroke that they got until the last stroke that they take through my club.  I think that’s real important.  The first time that a kid takes a breath for the side, makes me smile still.


Okay, it’s look like we’ll have another talk coming in.  I’d like to summarize by thanking everybody listening to my talk.



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