Coaching a Wide Range of Abilities in a High School Workout by Dee Loose (1995)


Before I start into what I have outlined here to say, could I have everybody just stand up for a minute please.  I know that you are coming in from lunch, but just stand up.  No, everybody kind of close your eyes and roll your head back around like this and I want you to picture in your mind that you out in a field — any field, any field that you are familiar with.  There is nice tall grass. It’s a beautiful spring day.  There is a stream running by.  I want to you think to yourself “I am outstanding in my field.”  Then go ahead and open your eyes and sit down.


I would hope that as high school coaches and club coaches as you look at your profession and at the skills you are developing, that you would look at yourselves as truly outstanding in your field.


I would first like to give you an overview of my philosophy in coaching at Wilson High School and with Tacoma Swim Club, and then talk to you about the organization — how we break down the groups at Wilson High School and then talk to you a little bit about the commitment that it takes to follow through with the philosophy and organization that we have at Wilson High School.


First of all a little bit about my background.  I’ve been coaching for about eighteen or nineteen years now.  I started coaching in Mesa, Arizona with a summer recreation team.  I then moved to Oram, Utah to complete studies at Brigham Young University.  While I was there I had the opportunity to coach at two High Schools — Oram High School and Mountain View High School, and help start an age group program there at the Oram Fitness Center that became the Oram Recreation Center.  After finishing at Brigham Young University, I wanted to coach full time.


The first full time coaching job that I held was in Los Alamos, New Mexico for the Los Alamos Aquatonics.  While in Los Alamos, I had the opportunity to coach at Los Alamos High School.  That was my first real exposure to a small town community where everything wrapped around aquatics.  I don’t know if you are familiar with Los Alamos, but the only sport at the high school that wins is swimming.  In the town, the one sport that does great things is swimming.  And so it was really a good experience for me.  We won a state championship while I was there in boys swimming and the girls were third I think that year.


I later left and moved back to Salt Lake City.  I had an opportunity to become a pool manager, a teacher and a head coach of a high school and a swim program.  I coached at Skyline High School and also the Eagle Aquatic Team.


After that I was being contacted by my father who had moved to Puyallup, Washington with my brother who was swimming for Dick Hannula and also at Wilson High School.  Dad kept putting pressure on me, “Dee, there is a position open at Wilson High School.  We want you up here.  You haven’t been around the family for a number of years.  Come on, we want the grand kids around us.”  After about a year and a half of pressure from Dad, I finally gave in and applied for the position and eventually was hired by Wilson High School to teach history and to coach swimming.


I was initially hired under the requirements that I improve the girls swimming team program.  You are all aware of Wilson High School’s tradition that was established by Coach Hannula in men’s swimming.  A lot of people do not know that he did not coach girls swimming.  That was always up to somebody else, but they wanted the same coach to do both.  Specifically they gave me the assignment to improve the girls swimming team program and make it somewhat equal to the guy’s program.


As far as the girl’s team is concerned, I want you try and do your best to remember these figures because it will relate to the plan you have before you and the organization that I will get into.  We have about forty swimmers plus two divers on the girls swim team.  In the four years, this is my fifth year there at Wilson High School, we’ve gone from not placing in the top 16 to second at state last year by six points.  I think our chances are very good of winning the state title this year.


Of those forty swimmers, we have about 17 that girls swim year round.  We have about four that swim strictly country club or summer rec and then we have 19 that strictly swim high school or that are brand new.  This year in the water with us at Wilson High School we picked up nine new swimmers that have never competed before.  We have one Senior National qualifier, we have two Junior National qualifiers and of course both these are state qualifiers and state finalists from last year.  We have what would be considered in the Pacific Northwest six senior regional qualifiers and then beyond that we have four age group regional.  That leaves a total of 26 swimmers that are all in what would be a good age group standing perhaps in a developmental to a beginning level.


As far as the young men’s team is concerned, the boys have always been at or near the top.  Twice in my four years, we finished second, one year we finished fifth.  We have thirty swimmers plus four divers.  Of those thirty swimmers, twelve swimmers are year round, two play strictly club polo year round when they are not swimming for the high school or playing polo for the high school and then sixteen are returning high school swimmers or new to swimming.  On the boys team we have two that would be Junior National qualifiers, two that would be at senior region, and four that would be age group region.  From there up they’re district or state qualifiers.  Then the remaining twenty two would be considered good age group swimmers or brand new.


I believe that beyond anything else, your philosophy that you set in determining how you’re going to work with multiple levels in your programs will determine the success of you carrying out your plans and your goals to integrate everybody into your programs.  I believe in the principles that Coach Kenny stated in his talk this morning and I think that if you apply them you will be successful in working with multiple levels and of bringing everybody together and keeping them happy.


First of all, my philosophy is that there are three requirements to be on the Wilson High School swimming team.  The first requirement is to know how to swim and/or meet with Coach’s approval.  As a ninth grade instructor, that is all I teach is ninth grade students at Wilson High School, I am always on the lookout for the talented athlete that is coming in and since I have them in class.  This year we changed our academic program to where we now have classes that are 110 minutes long.  So I figure that I have 110 minutes every other day to try and convince them to swim.  Swimming is the greatest sport on the earth as far as I am concerned.  That is coming from the son of a football coach.


I had a young lady four or five years ago, Casey Cryger.  I did not know at the time but she had been in a near drowning accident early in her life and so she was deathly afraid of the water.  But she seemed like somebody that would be a good team member, so I recruited her, quite heavily.  She came out her sophomore year and I had never seen her swim.  She just said, yeah she knows how to swim.  Well she knew how to swim, walking on the bottom.  She swam about every five or six feet and would stop and hold onto the side of the pool.  And I thought “Oh boy, what have I done here.”  I put her in with these kids that are Senior regional or better qualifiers who have their own lane.  But she was willing to do these things that are in the requirements.  She wanted to learn how to swim and she was willing to try.  She met with my approval, thus we kept her on the team.


The second requirement is a willingness to try and always do your best.  I like what Winston Churchill said, “Never, never, give up.”  Casey exemplified that to the highest degree.  By the end of her high school years, she swam three years for us, she was able to complete a 500 and do it fairly well.


By being able to never give up, I define this to the swimmers as being on time to each practice session, getting good grades in school, looking, listening and learning and applying the principles of competitive swimming so that they will improve and help the team.


The third requirement to be on the Wilson High School team is to have a positive attitude and outlook.  Be a team player cheering and encouraging each other.


Those are the only three requirements.  You notice that they do not need to be a outstanding swimmer.  I think we’d all like to have a team of twelve or fourteen or twenty six Senior National qualifiers.  That would make our job easier, too easy.  I don’t know if there would be a challenge in that.  I don’t cut anybody from this team.  I did not cut Casey because she was willing to do those things.  So, I coach at the highest levels, but teach to everyone.  I do not coach strictly those kids that would be my Senior National or Junior National swimmers — those would be my state qualifiers.  I coach everyone at the highest level, expecting them all to look, listen, learn and apply, and then I teach to everyone.  The other thing is everyone is expected to always give 100% in what we as a team are doing on any given day.


The next bit of philosophy that I have is that at each team meeting we stress that we all work hard together.  We all win together, whether it’s dual meets, whether it’s league, whether it’s district or state championships, we all do it, from the Casey Crygers all the way up to my top flight state qualifiers and finalists.


We all socialize together.  We have periodic team socials.  If you look at the training plan there, you’ll see that on many of the Saturdays we have a morning session and then after it we’ll have a team social.  It might be a potluck breakfast.  It might be a bring your favorite breakfast cereal breakfast.  Those are always an interesting experience, especially when you get into boy’s season.  On those days when we have a bring your favorite breakfast cereal breakfast, those of you who have a Costco or Price Club or Sam’s Club in your communities, those are the cereal boxes that the young men bring to practice.  The cereal bowls, and I try to tell them to bring a bowl so that you can leave enough to share for everybody else, well the boys bring dog food bowl dishes.  And they fill them up!  You know I am talking about those great big old Tupperware bowl kind of things.  And that brings the young men together and the young ladies together.  I am kind of a granola man when I eat cereal and I like the nonfat granola I can get at bulk food places, but the kids bring everything from Honey Nut Cheerios to Fruit Loops and I don’t know what else is out there.  We don’t buy those for our kids so, I just go by what the kids bring to practice.

The next thing that we do together as a team is we know everybody’s name.  After the first couple of days of practice I begin asking each kid to name everybody on the team.  I start with the team captains, they are required to know everybody’s name on down.  And actually I am the first one that knows everybody’s names.  And if the coach isn’t able to name everybody, I do a 200 fly for the girls and the boys.  That motivates me to do it.


The next thing we do is that at each team meeting we stress the need that everybody cheer for each other and encourage each other.  Our team captains are vital in carrying out this philosophy.  The team captains set up a secret pal system where they cut everybody’s names off a little piece of paper that the girls and the boys fill out.  They put it into a hat and they draw those out and then during the season either weekly or however often they choose, they will take and do nice things for that person that is their secret pal without revealing who it is that is doing these nice things.  It may be decorating the locker at school, it might be writing a little card to them telling them to swim good, it might be thanking them for cheering for somebody, it can be any number of things.


I heard Coach Kenny talk about spreading sunshine at a clinic I went to ten or twelve years ago.  We have a similar program on this team, and the girls’ captains have adapted it from Coach Hannula’s “right on” cards.  They call it “Way to Go Ram” cards.  The girls have handed out little sheets of paper that say “Way to Go Ram” and they write a little personal note to anybody.  They see somebody picking up the kickboards after practice and they say “Tracy, Way to go picking up the kickboards.  Thanks.”  “Tracy, way to go for helping count during the 500.”  These kinds of things binds everybody together and are important.


Another part of the philosophy of bringing everybody together is that we hold mini team clinics within our team.  I have the top swimmers work with the least experienced or new swimmers during the first two weeks of the season.  I might ask one person that’s particularly strong in starts to go work with starts.  Another person to work in turns, relay exchanges, streamlining, whatever it might be.  We take the time during the first two weeks of the season during our preparation period.  We take and divide up the group so everybody gets to know everybody and everybody gets the chance to work with our very best swimmers.  I think they learn from it, they remember their skills, and sharpen their skills and the other kids get to see that these better kids are nice and friendly.  They are not stuck up and it brings everybody together.


The primary objective in carrying out this philosophy is to have everybody come together for a singular purpose without losing a high level of competitiveness.  I found that the longer we do these things, the closer knit our teams are.  After each meet, generally, we’ll gather, give the other team a team cheer and then everybody gathers and gives a great big team hug.  Coaches you need be careful of that.  I’ve been caught in the middle of those team hugs and usually I come out as wet as the swimmers, without having gone in the pool.  But it is a good opportunity for the swimmers to bind together, to come together and feel one another’s love and enthusiasm and excitement.  We also try to take everybody, whether they qualify or not, to our district and our state meet.  That is important.  We have them sit, together as a group, behind our team bench at state at the King County Aquatic Center and they have the banner and they have red, white and blue balloons and they are up there cheering with posters and so on.  I stress to them that when we win, everybody wins on this team.  Not just the people who final or score, everybody wins.


Now, practice organization.  First of all, I have the team divided up by groups.  We have a state group and then we a district and non qualifiers group.  Our new swimmers, those nine or however many we’ll have with the boys fit into that second category.  The district and non qualifiers group.  As you look at these you will notice that we have a very short season.  We have a split season of girls and boys.  Girls in the fall and boys in the winter.  Girls season lasts approximately seventy one practice days.  It starts about August 21st and ends right around November 12th.  The boys season is about seventy-five days.  It is a little bit longer because of the Christmas holiday break that we enjoy in the schools.  It begins about November 14th and ends approximately February 19th.


Now our facility — I am really fortunate to be at a high school that has it’s own facility.  It bears the name of the head coach that I had the opportunity to work at Tacoma Swim Club — Dick Hannula.  It is a six lane 25 yard pool by five lane 25 meter pool.  Our diving tank is in the meter end.  We have a situation in the Tacoma public schools where our diving coach is one person per district.  All four high schools have one diving coach.  He is at a neighboring high school and so we have an open diving end.  That assists us in our practice organization.


I start writing next year’s plan the day after the high school state ends.  I sit down and I look at what went right, what went wrong, what could be better, what things I need to change in the initial plan.  Then I wait until  probably June or July and reevaluate it and then put this into place.  At the first team meeting, which we hold the first Monday that we are able to practice, I have everybody come in.  They each get a copy of the plan.  There is only one group that doesn’t get a copy of both plans and that is the state group.  I don’t think that the state group needs to know exactly what the district or non qualifier kids are doing.  I want the district and non qualifier kids to know what the state people are doing.  This helps in crossover.  If somebody makes a state qualifying time, they then can change plans.  They have that plan so they know what to expect.  In that team meeting, not only do we go over the plan, but I also go over certain aspects of communication.  We talk about meets, what the expectations are and what the given practice sessions per day are.


Now as you look at the plan you will notice that I have the AM’s and PM’s divided up.  Two days a week we do  dryland.  The dryland training sessions start at about 6:00 AM and end approximately 6:45.  Our water work is Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5:30 to 6:45.  I have adopted, for the sake of these things and for the sake my ease in planning for our club team, the USS terminology here in applications.


Our experienced swimmers traditionally get the most pool space.  They get between three and possibly four lanes on a given day.  Sometimes in the experienced group, I will put into that group the highest district qualifiers which may involve somewhere between six to about fifteen swimmers.  Returning swimmers or the next level of experienced swimmers I plug into about two lanes.  Then our new swimmers get one lane plus the cross pool area. Our practice sessions last about 2 1/2 hours in the afternoon from 2:30 – 5:00.  Our Saturday sessions we run three hours from 7:00 – 10:00 or 8:00 – 11:00 depending on where we are in the season.  If they need more rest, we come in at 8:00.


Throughout the season we utilize our cross pool, very effectively, I believe.  This I learned from Coach Hannula.  Being a club coach exclusively now, Coach Hannula has to coordinate with about four or five different high schools when we need pool time for the club team.  Frequently we do not have a main pool area.  We have to use a cross pool area and so I’ve learned from him how to manage that quite well.  It requires a good assistant coach.  I have one.  She is a young assistant coach.  Her name is Cici Vagel.  I have outlined for her the season and exactly each practice what she is to do.  She takes the new kids especially.  They spend about half the time in the 25 yard pool and then they go over and work exclusively on technique, on streamlining, on turns, and sculling, in the cross pool area.  This enables them to get the technique work and hopefully, to build them up.


Now frequently, as you are aware of, new kids do not come in and make an immediate contribution.  Some do, as far as points go.  I believe all our new kids come in and make an immediate emotional and mental contribution.  But as far as talent and points and scores go, not immediately.  You build those kids for the future and that’s why we utilize the cross pool a great deal of the time.

We also use the cross pool area for our experienced group for bursts where I have them sprint.  It is about 12 1/2 to 15 yards.  I have them sprint exceptionally fast across the pool and they will go on a particular send off.  It might be 8 seconds, it might be 12, it might be 15, it could even be 30 seconds, it just depends on what we are trying to accomplish.  I also have them do stationary tubing where they might do pulling or they might do kicking.  They might do power rack.  We do have a power rack.  So we utilize our cross pool quite effectively and we rotate the groups through there.


Our new kids generally get in the water sooner than everybody else.  They’ll get in the water just right after we have our team meeting where as the rest of the group will get in the water after they a little bit of dryland (about 30 minutes of dryland).  The reason I do that is because I want those new kids to get in and get over to the cross pool to get their technique in, but I also want them to feel a part of the team and get the dryland training in.  I found if I get everybody in at the same time, it eliminates those new kids from the dryland, because they are not as aggressive.  They don’t get in and step in with everybody else.  They tend to back off.  The team is pretty good about partnering up and getting those new kids involved but sometimes those newer kids are a little bit shy and aren’t as aggressive at getting in there.  So I have found that I have eliminated that by getting them in the water and getting them out early, about 30 minutes early for their dryland period time.  Generally, they do it on their own.  I have the routine posted on the wall.  Periodically in the practice session I go over or Cici goes over — they’re only 15 yards from us — and we work on technique with them on the sleds or we work with them on technique on the tubing or the medicine balls.  We reinforce to them the importance of working on the development of strength and speed on the dryland training.


Now I have two season plans here.  Our district and non qualifiers plan is organized to culminate with the district or non qualifier championship level meets.  Those meets are held traditionally ten days to fourteen days prior to our state level meet.  There are five phases.  The first phase is preparation.  The preparation phase lasts approximately ten days for these kids.  During that phase, if you look there, you’ll see that we do heavy duty dryland.  This is during time when school is not in session so we have some time to go a long practice in the morning and a little bit shorter practice in the afternoon.


We begin each session here with dryland.  During this first two week period of time we go probably an hour and a half dryland in the morning which includes about an hour shot of dryland tubing, sled work, medicine balls, some calisthenics, crunch sit-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and an exercise that we call press-ups.  Then in the afternoon we come back.  We have a dryland training period that starts in the afternoon that goes for an hour that includes some running.  We have a nice hill out back.  The young ladies are familiar with the hill and they don’t particularly like it.  The young men don’t have an opportunity as much to run the hill because of the weather in wintertime.  If you are familiar with the Northwest, it rains a great deal.  So we alter it from morning to afternoons.  Also in the afternoon, in addition to the running and the hills, we will do what I call “Death Marches.”  They simply amount to lunges.  They lunge around the pool deck in single file.  We kind of have a class contest and line them up by class, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th on down.  I found that what happens is when you have the 9th graders lead off, you have the 12th graders at the end and they are kind of are watching the 9th graders to make sure that they are doing it properly.  They will cheer and they will encourage and they will say “Keep your back flat and go down, go down.”  It works out really well.


During this preparation period is when we have our mini clinics.  The new kids and the district kids and non qualifier kids have the opportunity to get to know the most experienced kids.  We teach heavy on stroke and starts and turns during this period.  We generally run about four or five practice sessions in heavy duty freestyle where all we do is freestyle technique.  Then we spend another four on backstroke and then the remaining time is spent on breaststroke and butterfly.  For the new kids, I kind of get away from having them go real heavy in the breaststroke and fly and the reason for this is because they need to have the freestyle background.  Freestyle is the primary conditioning stroke.  So what I try to do is have my assistant coach take them in the cross pool and get them strictly to work on lateral streamlining, hip and shoulder roll and good hand and head and body position through the water.  Once we get that I turn them over on their back and they focus on that.  If they get that before the end of the two weeks, then we introduce them to breaststroke and butterfly.


For the non qualifying championship kids and also the new kids, beginning September 1st, we have our endurance one phase.  During this phase for this level of swimmer we get into some test sets.  I have these athletes do a timed twenty minute swim.  They count how many lengths they do.  Periodically about every two weeks we will do that.  The new kids get a great deal of satisfaction out of seeing their name up on a board.  First timed swim, September 1st, 20 minutes, I went twelve lengths.  Next timed swim, two weeks, which will be on the 15th, they might do 24 lengths.  That motivates them, that keeps them happy, that gets them excited.  The experienced kids will do something different.  They will do maybe a timed 3000 or they might do a timed 2000.  Something along those lines.  I have found, that as they see everybody’s name together, I begin to see those Ram cards come out and names get put up on those Ram cards.  “Way to go.”  “Good job for improvement.”  That brings everybody together.


This period of the non qualifiers and new swimmer’s training phase lasts about nineteen days.  Yardage totals are not important to me at this point with these kids.  I have yardage totals down but the main thing that I have are the goals. If I accomplish the goals and don’t get the yardage totals in, that’s what I am actually looking for.  I want to have the young people, be they new or returning or experienced, I want them to have improved fitness through the dryland training.  I want them to know everybody’s name.  I want them to use correct and more efficient stroke techniques.  I want them to have fast turns with streamlined push offs.


This is what I stress with the new kids.  Those kids are sometimes so sick and tired of doing turns that they get dizzy.  I learned from Casey Cryger’s experience:  when she finally learned how to swim a 50, she was going to the wall, touching the wall, standing up on the bottom, adjusting her goggles, pushing off and coming back.  It took two years before we could actually get her to tumble into the wall without standing up.  By her senior year she was able to hit the wall with a good freestyle turn.  But she learned because we stressed that part of it.


We also emphasized proper stretching before and after practice and team togetherness.


For training systems, the emphasis during this particular month and part of the phase is aerobic development.  I think these new kids and the non qualifiers and district qualifiers get EN1 (endurance one) levels or good aerobic base beginning to be developed just by doing proper technique and doing it for extended periods of time.  They get it over time.  They don’t just do a 25, get out and “I’m done.”  We’ll tell them we’re going to go six or eight 25’s without stopping doing this drill, then we’re going to swim six or eight 25’s doing that, then we’re going to do six or eight 25’s counting stroke.  It is continuous with very little rest in between.  I couldn’t tell you what heart rates are because I don’t take those for these kids.


For this level of swimmer, the next phase becomes the specialty endurance.  This is where I allow them to swim their choice of stroke or their primary stroke.  If they happen to feel they are a backstroker and they’ve been doing backstroke in some of the meets or breaststroke, I plug them into specific things relative to those strokes.  I may have my high school backstrokers do 200’s backstroke.  I have been known with higher level kids in my high school program to do a set of four or five hundreds backstroke.  The new kids and the least experienced kids that come in and they look at sets like that as a challenge.  And they get excited when they complete, say, a set of six or eight 200’s backstroke or six or eight 200’s breaststroke.  Generally I don’t go on an interval on those.  Generally we have them go on a rest send off, 10 to 15 seconds rest, whatever the case might be.  The specialty endurance period here is going to last about fifteen days.


Then on about October 12th we start into our transition period.  This is getting ready for their district meet and their non qualifier championship meet.  That lasts about seven days.  They do a lot more 25’s, a lot more 50’s and maybe some broken 100’s.  If there is a 500 swimmer here or 200 swimmer, they’ll do some broken 500’s and broken 200’s here.


The peak performance period lasts about seven days.  During that time they get a lot more rest and a lot more technique.  I stress during that period with these young people technique, technique, technique.  And it is within the confines of the EN1 or the speed work that we do.  They might swim fast for a 100 or a 50 and they will do a drill/swim 50, or a drill/swim 75, something like that.  They will actually end up racing off of both sides of the pool.


The preceding is how I do things with these non qualifier and new kids.  This is how I deal with the kids who are complete non swimmers. I approach that the way that I approach club swimming.  If I can say to a young person, “I want you to do 25 yards front crawl” and they look at me and I can tell they know what front crawl is and they do it, that’s fine.  And if I say swim 25 yards back crawl and they look at me and they do it then that’s fine.  It’s always nice if I say to a high school student “Do you know how to swim breaststroke?” and they do it.  If they are not able to swim front crawl and they give me this kind of look like “What is that?”, that is when I really get concerned.  I usually end up referring them to a swim lesson program or to one of our P.E. teachers even at Wilson.  That is how I deal with it.


Those who can swim but are very slow are always a concern of mine, but I take them if they are willing to do those other things — to try hard and improve.  Casey Cryger is a primary example in that.  We have assistant coaches we put with the new swimmers.  They will come over for general technique with everybody else.  Cici is over there and she is watching that lane.  She can take them a little bit slower than anybody else and in the mini clinics they get a lot of attention.  Then of course they’ve got the cross pool stuff.  Gradually I find by the end of the two weeks, they are able to keep their face in the water.  Not all the time, but a lot longer that one stroke.


We only have one lane for the new swimmers.  Again, please keep in mind, that sounds crowded, but they are working on different things and going at a slower pace.  Cici takes the time.  Sometimes she will get them out and she’ll say “Okay, we’ll go from opposite sides — four here, five here.”  You watch that side as we come this way.  Then this group does that, they get out, and the next side goes and this other group watches the others go.  So that they can begin to see and the whole time either she or I are teaching those kids.  Everybody else, in the meantime, is going either on a drill send off or is doing some other type of warm up activity or stretching activity.


I know it is especially tough when you are the only coach and you have a crowded pool situation.  I’ve been in those situations.  When I was at Skyline High School, I had six lanes but it was a six lane rectangular pool with two diving boards at the end.  Sometimes we had the divers that wanted to practice and so I actually had to give up two of the middle lanes or two of the outside lanes because we had two boards.  And I had the boy’s and girl’s teams together.  What I found worked best was to stagger the practice sessions.  I had the newer kids come in and get in the water maybe for an hour or an hour and fifteen minutes and they got a lot more drills.  The more experienced swimmers came in and they swam.  They were a little bit crowded but they were used to it.  They would go on their continuous swims.  Then when the newer kids got out to do their dryland stuff after about an hour and fifteen minutes of doing their drill work in the water the experienced swimmers could spread out and we could get into some specific things.

Next I want to tell the way that I deal with the club swimmers in our High School program.  First of all, you need to understand that Coach Hannula and I have a good marriage.  We are both married, Silvia and Dick, and Mary Anne and me, but Coach and I on deck have a good marriage.  We coordinate quite well with one another.  I try to integrate the program in coordination with Coach so that I know for the better level kids which of these meets we are pointing for.  So my training plan is going to reflect a total season preparation for them to add to or build to their base so they swim fast in the springtime.  They will swim fast in November.  I promise you that.  That is because they had a great summer and that is because the training plan is going to reflect a little bit of rest for them.  It will also give them an opportunity to shave for that meet.


If you look at this training plan for the state group, which is those highest level kids, they have a little longer preparation period.  I did that because the long course season went a little bit longer this year.  I had a whole bunch of kids at zones this year.  They finished the Saturday before our state high school season was to start.  So, I felt that they needed a little bit more time away from the pool and a little bit more rest.  I threw in some more technique stuff here throughout the first three weeks of the season.  They still do the heavy duty dryland.  Actually, they’ve been doing more dryland than the new and inexperienced kids.  Those kids have been getting in the water way earlier than everybody else and they are being worked with a lot longer now.  The preparation period plan is sixteen days.


Then our Endurance One phase lasts from September 8th to October 3rd and then we get into our Specialty Endurance period, but not until October 4th through the 17th.  On the other plan I think it was eleven days, and here it is thirteen days.  Then we come back with a transition period getting ready to add a little bit more sprinting which is the SP2 and a lot more SP3.  We do some SP3 everyday with all the kids, but especially this group, to fine tune their sprinting skills and their sprinting speeds.  Then we finish up the year with our peak performance period that is going to last from October 30th to November 10th.


I always sit down with the club coach when we get ready to plan out a season.  We go over the dryland training program and what he would like to see the club kids do.  I integrate many of the things that he recommends into what we do.  We’ve had good success doing it that way.  So there is close coordination there.

I require the club kids to practice with the group.  I have had some conflicts in the past.  Generally I’ve been the club coach or the high school coach, but I have had kids from other clubs swim for my high school program.  Generally what I’ve asked them to do is to at least come to one practice session a day with their high school team.  So they can either choose the morning or the afternoon session.  I have stressed to the club coach that I would like them there and I’d like to know ahead of time which practice session.  I don’t want them to pick and choose, “Well I’m going to both here today, I’m going to skip tomorrow, go to one here and then two the next day.”  I want them there at the same practice during the week, either all the  afternoons or all the mornings.

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