Coaching in South Africa by Graham Hill, Swimming South Africa (2013)


Published


 

Right, good afternoon everybody.  This session here, I have not really been given a topic to talk about.  They have asked me just to present something that I am interested in.  So I have been talking to a few coaches; they mentioned a few things that they would like to hear.  So basically I will talk about the coaching program back home in South Africa, what my role is over the last two years and coming-up to 2016.  And then we will do some questions-answers after that, and you guys can fire away and ask me some questions.  If everyone is happy with that.

Back home in South Africa, it is very much a club-orientated program for everybody.  The coaches basically run their clubs, or they have committees running their clubs.  We collect fees from the swimmers obviously, so you know it is really a personal thing with a swimmer and parents and that.  And that is basically how the program runs.

 

For me a lot of coaches asked me after this morning’s talk, how it works with me coaching Chad Le Clos and working with the national program as well as running with my club program.  I did not touch on it this morning, it is difficult to work with all three programs but I have managed to fit it in.  As you can see, the team did pretty well in London.  But it is difficult.

 

It is not like I am off-the-deck and managing the whole national program.  I am on the deck, working hands-on with Chad and a few others of the swimmers in that elite program of mine at the club.  And believe it or not, I also still work with the Age Groupers as well.  So in the afternoons, I will start with Chad’s group, the elite group, will start at 2:30, and they will be done by 4:30.  And then I will still do an Age Group group after that, any swimmers from age of 9 or 10 up-to about 13 or 14.  So I will work both programs in the day.

 

And that is just basically how we do it there.  And then I still oversee the whole national program, keeping an eye on the swimmers around the country as well as the swimmers abroad—which we have quite a few in the States.  So it is a pretty busy schedule for myself, and also the travelling and that, and I do not know how much longer I can keep all of it up, to be honest with you.  It is a lot of travelling; I have been home… since the 28th of May this year, I have been home three weeks.  So it is pretty good to be going home on the weekend.

 

Some of the other questions I know, people have asked me about our woman’s program back home.  We have not had such a good result with our woman over the last couple of years; since the days, in fact, of Penny Heyns in ‘96 in Atlanta.  So it has been kind of a project for us to get our woman on track with Swimming.  And just by coincidence, after London one of the news magazines, Marie Claire, the chief editor gave me a call and said: how can they help with women swimming.  And it was really coincidental that she called me, and we were thinking about doing a program for that.  And what we have done is we sat down after… when I say we: myself, High Performance Manager Dean Price and a few other coaches.  And we sat down and we had a look at the results of London and we saw that the trend of women’s Swimming was really young girls were winning medals, winning gold medals.

 

So we decided to put together a program where we would look at girls between the ages of 11 and 14, so in four-year’s time they would be around the ages of 15-18, which is where they were winning the medals in London.  And Marie Claire has come on-board and we have selected eight girls, along with… obviously it helps to have, once again, Princess Charlene on-board, who is very passionate about Swimming.  And she is going to be an ambassador for the program, and it kind of helps to have her on-board to get sponsors on for us.  And Marie Claire is doing a great job; they are raising the money

 

We have chosen eight girls.  It will be a rotational team, so every four months they will be assessed.  And if they are not doing the job well-enough, they will be… it is quite a ruthless program we are going to run, but we need to fast-track it, we need to get a result from these girls.  So we are going to fast-track it, and every four months they will be assessed and if they are not up-to-standard, whoever is not delivering the goods they will come off and the next girl will come on.  So quite a tough program that we will be running, and we will see how that goes.

 

So far we have had some good results from some of the girls.  They were swimming now in Dubai at the World Juniors, and swam really well and have shown improvement already.  So it is something to look forward to and quite exciting for us to work with.  And hopefully in 2016, I do not know, I do not want to stick my neck-out and say that we are going to win medals with these girls, but for sure we will have girls there in 2016, which is quite an interesting project for us.

 

A lot of people ask me about Chad’s program, about his gym and land-work and stuff like that, that I did not really touch on this morning.  He does not do… well, he did not do any weights before London.  We did not touch any weights before London.  He has started to do a weight program now, but nothing too hectic.  But he did a lot of stretch cords; he did a lot of medicine balls, plyometrics, a lot of that stuff; three times a week.

 

And something very interesting that a lot of people do not know: his mother was a ballerina.  And he is very flexible and his core is really good.  And I think all the secret sessions with his mother doing the ballet… he does not like me to talk about it too much, he was not running around in a tutu or anything.  But I think all those exercises with the ballet I think really helped him quite a bit.  He is really flexible, his ankles and things are really good; and I think that helps a lot with the butterfly kicking.

 

So I am open for people to ask some questions and we can take it from there.  So we just can fire away.

 

Yeah?

 

[audience member]:  What kind of exercises do you do with the stretch cords?

 

[Hill]:  He was basically… he was not doing anything too hectic.  Obviously he was using the stretch cords in the virtual pull-downs and things like that.  And he was doing a lot of thera-band because of the scapula; he was stabilizing and stuff like that.  But basically the virtual stretch cords, he would do a lot of that; nothing too fancy.

 

To be honest with you, we did it really plain and simple, the old… someone came-up to me and said I see you are doing it the old fashioned way: you are putting in some big yards with the guy, and he can still swim really fast.  Yeah, maybe that is… you know, maybe we have forgotten and that is just the way… everyone has got a different way to get there.  We did not do anything fancy, we just kept it simple and hard work.  Hard work and the belief to get there, and that was it.  But nothing fancy on the stretch cords.

 

 

[audience member]:  Chad’s butterfly: was there a couple of technique things that you were focusing on with the breathing?

 

[Hill]:  It kind of… his stroke kind of came naturally; his looking and all that is his own business.  But we work a lot on… when he is not swimming really well, he drops… he is not using his hips and his legs too much; we work quite a bit on his hips and legs.  But other than that, you know, he watched Michael so much, I think he copied Michael to a certain extent.  If you watch him when he swims his butterfly, his chin is nice and low in the water—except when he is looking.  But other than that, there was nothing really; he just developed it himself, a pure natural technique himself.

 

Yeah?

 

[audience member]:  How often would you say he was doing the ballet work?

 

[Hill]:  I think he was doing round-about twice a week.  You know it was at home with his mother.  I mean, it is really convenient and I think she was just helping him with it, and it worked.  It was not something we went out and we did classes for everybody with it or anything; he just did that personally with his family, with his mother.

 

[inaudible audience member]

 

Yeah look, we just do the basic stretching program that everybody, I am sure everybody here does, just before we get in the pool.  So you know we got 15 minutes or so to do that before we jump in.  And nothing… as I said, it is really simple and, you know, just straight forward and hard work.

 

 

[audience member]:  Is your team’s dryland program similar, like the same thing: simple?

 

[Hill]:  What we do is in different… repeat the question: whether the dryland program is pretty simple or is it more advanced or whatever?  So basically, we do change it a little bit just to give it a bit of variation, because they tend to get a little bit bored of certain things.  Over a period of six weeks, we will introduce… I will bring in a kick-boxing instructor and he will do some kickboxing with them in the mornings or something, twice a week.  So we will change-it-up a little bit, but it is just straight-forward dryland: medicine balls, jumping on boxes… it is just all the basics that everybody here I am sure does.

 

Yes?

 

[audience member]:  It looks like you do some pretty tough sets there.  What kind of recovery sets do you do?

 

[Hill]:  We do recovery on a Thursday.  We do about 4-4.5Ks of recovery; and it is a lot of just easy swimming and a lot of kicking.  We do a lot of kicking in the recovery, maybe 1,500m of kicking.  So we will do a warm-up of say 1K or 1,200m, and do some easy swimming, some drill work, and then some kicking and then that will be it.

 

[audience]:  Not by stopwatch?

 

[Hill]:  No, no stopwatch-work on a Thursday, no; nothing.

 

The rest of the time, throughout the week… someone asked me: when do we put in the speed sets and things like that.  I mix it up.  In the program, there is a bit of everything, every day, in the program.  So every day there is some work where they have to be really good and really fast and hard—I like to have them like that the whole time.  So for… I will use Chad as an example, for Chad to go some butterflies, some 50 flies, from a push going right before Olympics in that period when we were in Pescara—what I was talking about, those three weeks we were there.  For him to go some 50s fly from a push, say 12×50 fly, 1 free and then say 2 fly; he would have to hold like from a push 0:25s, yeah.  So swimming really-close to the speed that he can do when he races.

 

[audience]:  So you want him fast any given day?

 

[Hill]:  Any given day, I want him fast, yeah; all of them.

 

Yeah?

 

[audience member]:  Those two sets that you gave, what is the frequency that you do them?  How often?

 

[Hill]:  I alternate them on the Saturdays.  So one Saturday will be the 16×100, the next Saturday will be the 400 IM set.  So basically in my program those are the two sets that they know they will get every….  The rest of the time, to get the same results, I will mix the sets up.  But it will not be they will come in on a Monday morning and know what they will do on a Monday morning.  I do not like to tell them.  Chad likes to know what the position is before; I do not like to tell them.  I like them to just hear the sets as I call them out.  So you know I will find some of them will pick-and-choose where they want to do it properly and where they want to take it a bit easy.  But those two sets, they know on a Saturday they are getting that.

 

Yeah?

 

[audience member]:  Back in 2010, he had a successful year, and then ’11 and going into ‘12.  What are some of the things at that level that you did differently to get him ready to be better the next year, to be better the year after that?  And, at the level he is at, is that something that you would ask his input on?

 

[Hill]:  Okay.  In 2010 he was still at school, okay high school, and things were different.  Those were the early mornings I spoke about, where we had to still do practice at five in the morning.  And obviously once he had finished school, we could change his practice.  He now practices at 6:30 in the morning; he does not practice at 5:00, so he gets that extra hour and a half.  And that extra hour and a half makes a huge difference; I am sure all of you know that.  So that is one of the things that we did change.  And obviously being out of school, he could go do the massage more often, because he had more time in the day.

 

And, yeah, you know every year that he got better and better, I had to change certain things.  If I had stayed coaching him as a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old, you know, I think he would have outgrown me.  He has matured, and he is now Olympic champion and on-top of his game.  So I have to keep changing things all the time and setting him different goals.  We cannot just sit-back and relax and hope that it is going to happen for us again in Rio.  I mean there is somebody over here that has got another Chad Le Clos waiting to beat us, so you know I have to stay on top of that.

 

And I keep reminding him of that, and telling him, you know, Michael Phelps and the rest of the world did not know who you were in 2010.  And all of a sudden you were there in 2012, and the same thing will happen to you one day.  I said to him at the World Champs in Barcelona, I said “Don’t be surprised that your main challenger will come from someone that’s not even here, in 2016.”  So I am trying to keep him aware of that and moving forward with that.

 

And you know, I think the reverse psychology of telling him some days if you do not do this properly, I think I have to change it up a little bit and work a little bit different with him.  But like I said we have been together 13 years, so I kind of know him and I know where he is coming from.  And the athlete he is, he hates to lose.  He really does not like to lose, at whatever he does.  And I have to just keep fueling that fire and keep him hungry.  We can obviously try to swim more events, you know add a few more events to his program and see how it goes.

 

I think next year is a big challenge for us; next year, Commonwealth Games.  I always like to look at the Commonwealth Games, two years before the Olympics, and whatever you can do there.  If you are in the medals, especially winning gold medals, at the Commonwealth Games, you have got a chance of being at least in the final at the Olympic Games.  And if you win really well at Commonwealth, you know you have got a chance at a medal.  So we will look at a completely new program for next year at Commonwealth Games.

 

Yeah?

 

[audience member]:  Do you train solely long course meters, or do you guys use short course as well?

 

[Hill]:  Okay, good question: whether we train long course or short course throughout the year.  We have the pleasure… although we do not have… this is going to sound bad.  We have the pleasure of two pools: 50-meter and 25.  But not a facility like everybody abroad is used to; we have just got a really simple pool.  Starting blocks are not the greatest—we do not have the new fancy starting blocks.  Although now Chad is an Omega ambassador, we have now been given the Omega starting blocks.  So we can use that now.

 

But we just have plain simple 25-meter and 50-meter.  The 50-meter is not a heated pool.  So in the Winter, when we are there—normally we are in Europe—we train short course.  But even in Summer when we have the luxury of having both pools, I mix it up: we do some sessions long, some sessions short.  So in the 9 sessions in the week, we will go maybe 6 long and 3 short, something like that.  And Winter, we may go the other way… well, in Winter we are not in the 50 meter at all.  But when we are in Europe, we swim 50 meter the whole time.

 

Yeah?

 

[audience member]:  Do you have a weekly cycle that you mind sharing?

 

[Hill]:  You know my motorcycle, why do you need my motor cycle?

 

Okay, we will swim on a Monday morning, we will swim… we will mix it up with all different kinds of sets.  I know what you want: you are looking for the actual sets.  It is the same sets as all you guys do, the 10×100, the 20×50 kick; it is all the same stuff.  It is just compact together in a week and as I said before we will do anywhere between 6K-6.5Ks a workout, except on the Thursday.  So it is Monday morning, Monday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday double, Thursday single, Friday double, Saturday.

 

But it is the same sets you guys all do.  There is nothing… there is no secrets, there is nothing there, there really is not.  But I can talk to you afterwards.  But there is no secret to it; there really is not.  I have just been really blessed to have an athlete of the caliber of Chad, who really wanted to do something and I had the same passion, the same drive.  I think the biggest secret is our relationship and what we both wanted to do.

 

There is a coach sitting here today that had a big influence on me, a couple of years ago on the Mare Nostrum—you do not mind me talking about, Popey?  But Ian Pope over there, we asked him to give us a talk on the Mare Nostrum, it must have been about six years ago.  We had travelled the Mare Nostrum… I have been on the Mare Nostrum now for about ten years.  And every year he used to say to us, he said, “You South African guys, you are always whining: you do not have the facilities, you do not have the money.”  He said, “Stop whining and just get on with it.”  And that is the approach I adopted.  There is no secret to it; I think it is just the hard work and the passion and the drive that we wanted to make it.  So thank you Popey for that.

 

But that is the honest truth, and he was right.  You know, all those years we were moaning and saying oh but we do not have what the Americans have, we do not have what the Australians have.  He was 100% right.  And I just threw that out the window and just got on with it.  And it can happen; it can happen from anywhere.

 

Yes?

 

[audience member]:  What does Chad like to do?  What is his favorite set?  What does he like to do best in practice?

 

[Hill]:  What does he like to do?  Swim.  Those two sets that I put up there this morning, he really enjoys those two sets.  He likes those sets.

 

He is an incredible trainer; he really works.  I call him an honest swimmer: if he tells me he is not well or he cannot, he generally means it.  He really loves to work hard, he thrives from the hard work and he thrives from those sets.  And I was not kidding when he came to me and said can we do that again, because he gets really upset about it.  If he cannot make it, make the send-offs, it really gets to him,

 

As I said: I am blessed to have an athlete like that.  And I am sure there are hundreds of them out there; you have just got to find a way to get it out of them and work with them and take it all away.  But he really does like those sets.

 

[audience]:  It is why he is an Olympic champion.

 

[Hill]:  Yeah.  You know, we have sat down… after the Olympics, you know, it was quite a whirlwind back home for us in South Africa, for him to do what he did.  He won the Sportsman of the Year in the whole country.  So he out-did our rugby players, our cricketers—those are like your football players and your baseball players.  He won the overall in the country, and it was really big for us.  And for a while, he was living the dream, so to speak—he was living the South African dream—and it was really tough for me to get him back in the pool.  And I am sure that is how it is for most of the guys once they do that.

 

But we sat down and I said to him, you know, It doesn’t matter what you’ve done now, you know we still have to do the work to stay on your game.  In fact we have to work harder than what we worked before.  And he is fully-aware of that and he understood that.  And we did some crazy-stuff again now before World Champs in Barcelona; we needed to because we had had some time out.  He got back there, but he can be better than what he is at the moment; I think he can go a lot better.  And like I said to you, in some different events as well.  We are working on his freestyle, and he is pretty good on a 100 freestyle now.

 

[audience member]:  How is his 400?

 

[Hill]:  We tested it for the first now in the World Cup in Berlin; he was pretty good there.  And he split 33 on the breaststroke, so it was not too bad.  It was short course, but it was not bad and no pain from the groin or anything.  So he will be good.  I think, once he can split 1:10 on the breaststroke in the 400 Medley, he will be good.

 

Yeah?

 

 

[audience member]:  What are some of the things that you look for in his fly when it is going good?

 

[Hill]:  The things I look for in his butterfly when it is going really good?  When he looks around so much, then I know he is good.  Seriously; I mean have you ever tried to just swim butterfly at that speed?  Now he has got time to look around and double look, left and right.  It is not what I want him to do, but when he is doing that I know he is in control and comfortable and going really well.

 

[audience]:  How about his hips and legs?

 

[Hill]:  I like to see his hips and legs working a lot.  I do not want to see him dragging that.  When he is tired, he drags his hips a lot: he does not really get that momentum from the hips and the power-through to the legs.  So we work on that quite a bit.  And you know some of the entry and that; you know, he is tending to go out a little bit like this.  We have to correct him on that every now and again.

 

The one thing we do do (for you)… what I found the Hungarians do a lot of, they do a lot of 800 flys with paddles and things like that; and we do not do that—we have not done that at all.  Even though they were training there with us and doing those kind of sets, I never ever went onto doing say 5×800 fly with paddles and stuff like that.  I just did not feel that, for Chad, it would benefit him; you know, fatigue him and his technique would go out the window and that.  So I kept it pretty short; so at the most 400 fly.  But no 800 flys, things like that… with weights on his back.

 

 

[audience member]:  Thirteen years ago, what was it that you saw?  Did you see something in him 13 years ago or when was it exactly when you decided that he could be really good?

 

[Hill]:  Thirteen years ago did I know whether he was going to be Olympic champion?  There is no way.  Well his father kept telling me, for sure, [laughter] that he was going to be you know.  But he was a good sportsman; he was good at quite a few things.  I was just really lucky that he has got really flat feet, otherwise I think he would have gone to football—not your football, soccer.  So he has got really flat feet, so running is out of the question for him.

 

But the real thing that I saw all those years ago was that he likes to win; he had that killer instinct to win.  And other than that, we developed the strokes and the things, but that stood out for me the most and I saw something there.  And as the years developed and he matured more, and I could see he liked to work—he was not lazy, he could work.  So with the talent and being able to work, that is a win-win.

 

You know there are a lot of talented kids that do not want to work.  I had a really a talented swimmer that was more talented than Chad at the Youth Olympics.  He won a medal there, and he came to me afterwards and said, “I don’t want to swim anymore.  I don’t want to do what Chad is doing to be able to get there; I don’t want to do that.”  I said, Well at least you’re being honest.  And he stopped swimming.

 

So he is talented and he likes to work, so it is a win-win.  But seeing whether he could be Olympic champion only came a couple years later, not at that early age.  And I had him on a really Age Group program, baby program, for a long, long time.  Up until the age of 12, 13 he was not doing double session at all.

 

Ah yeah?

 

[audience member]:  At 12 or 13, how much yardage was he doing?

 

[Hill]:  He was training five times a week and he was doing between 4-5 kilometers a session.

 

[audience]:  When did he pick it up?

 

[Hill]:  Once he got to high school, 13 or 14, we started to move it up a little bit; we added an extra session, six sessions a week.  And slowly moved it up; then we moved it to seven.  And we moved it to the nine by the time he was like 15 or 16.

 

Yeah?

 

[inaudible question from audience]

 

[Hill]:  So if you go with the 12×50, 1 free then 2 fly, that will be on a 1:00 sendoff, okay?  And then the volume of the race specific, we would look at maybe 600-800 meters of really hard work.

 

Yes?

 

[audience member]:  Where do you think the killer instinct comes from in any athlete?

 

[Hill]:  I think they are born with it.  I think they are all born with it, but I think you can bring it out in them as well.  I think any elite athlete, any world champion or Olympic champion or anything, they have something different about them, that is why they are world champion or Olympic champion.  But I think you need to nurture it and bring it out of them.

 

But like I say, I think they are born with it.  I do not think… you can instill a certain amount of it.  But to the level that… I mean, I have heard interviews with Ryan Lochte and Michael—I am just using someone—and it sounds to me like they are all the same: they like to win and they will get out there to win.  They like to race and they like to win.  So I think it is in them and the coaches that are working with them there I think have the relationship with them to be able to bring it out in them.

 

[audience]:  Do you think that it could be taught?

 

[Hill]:  To a certain extent, but I think that final, killer thing, I think that is in a lot of athletes, that is what separate them.  Because if we can teach everyone to be like that, the whole world will be Olympic Champions or the whole… you know?  I think to you have that final edge at the end there, I think that that is in them.  That is why I say I am really lucky to have an athlete like Chad arrive at my pool and be able to work with him.  I really believe that there is a certain level that can be taught, but they are born with it as well.  If that kind of answers your question?

 

 

[audience member]:  I have always wondered if it is a genetic thing or is it a cultural thing or a learned behavior.  I do not know whether there is any science to say that this gene….

 

[Hill]:  Yeah.  I do not know.  But I do believe that they are born with that final killer instinct; just find the way to bring it out of them.

 

Yes?

 

[audience member]:  With the successful of the 4×100 relay several Olympics ago and also Cameron’s and Chad’s success, I am still seeing South Africans still struggling with growing the sport and is that why you are travelling to Europe a lot?  Do you see that as improving at all?

 

[Hill]:  Yeah.  You know, you have to remember we only have 8,000 registered swimmers in South Africa—that is all we have, 8,000.  And what Penny Heyns did for us in ’96 and then Terence [Parkin] in 2000—you were there, part of our team, South African team.  And then 2004, the relay guys in Athens, that really was a huge stepping-stone for us.  That showed the country that it can be done, and a World Record and beating United States in the 4×100 relay was really big for us.

 

Things have changed.  I mean in the past when our athletes used to travel and come to study in the States, it was because we never had the programs in place to possibly coach them back home and the funding was not as good as it is now.  It is still… I mean we are always looking for more funding all the time; I think that is the same for everybody.

 

But we cannot stay in South Africa and just race our local meets: it is just not good enough.  I mean this weekend if I have to stay in South Africa and asked Chad to go down to swim 200 fly, he can go and swim 1:57 or 1:58.  But if in Europe, he will have to swim 1:55 or something.  So I need to keep them at that level; that is why we go to Europe so much.  And it is really easy for us because it is no time difference.  So we can arrive on the Friday and race on Saturday, it is no problem for us to do that and that is what we do.  It is just the cost of going to Europe that is the biggest drawback.  But we have to that and that is we do do; that is why we travel so much.

 

It is not like here in the States, where you guys can… you know I have watched your Grand Prix meets, you can just hop around.  And even the guys in Europe, you guys are so close to you: on a bus for like two hours or something and then you are racing in another country.  It is really easy for you guys.  It is really tough for us to do something like that, because the level of competition, back home, is not at the highest.  We do not have the depth; we have some good swimmers, but our depth is not good.  And you know I do not know whether it ever will be to a level where we are placing eight guys in a 100 feet final going 48.  You know, we are working on it.

 

Yes?

 

[audience]:  So while you are on tour making speeches and talking about your program, how does Chad handle you being away?

 

[Hill]:  How he is handling me not being back home?  It has been pretty tough.  It has not been like this all the time; it is just since it happened with the Olympics.  And I do not usually travel without him, I usually travel with him.  And you will see we have been on the World Cups now already, and in three weeks we leave to go on the World Cups again.  So I will travel… I am normally always with him or he is with me when we travel, so it is not I am away from him.  He did have a small break now, once we got back from the World Cup, so he only got back in the pool on Monday.  So I have not missed too much, so he will be okay with that.  But he has been in touch with me and, yeah it is all good.

 

Yes?

 

[audience member]:  Obviously two years ago not many people had heard about Chad.  Are there a couple of South Africans that we can hear from you before everybody else that to look out for for Rio?

 

[Hill]:  Sure; that is a tough one.  We have got some good guys coming up; I think we have got a really good breaststroker coming through.  It is quite amazing how when you have stars in certain events, how the next generation will want to be like them; so we have got quite a few good breaststrokers coming through at the moment.  One of our guys just swam 1:02 at the Junior Worlds now, long course.  1:02 is pretty good, and I think he will be a force; he is only 17 years-old.  So I think he is going to pretty good coming through.  Jarred Crous.  So there is a name maybe to look out for, and we will see how he develops.

 

I think Chad’s so-called training partner, Myles Brown, who is swimming really well.  He had a good World Champs and he has had a really-good start to the World Cups as well, breaking Ryk Neethling’s 400 and 1,500 marks.  So I think he will be pretty good and one to look out for.  And Chad.

 

Yes?

 

[audience member]:  What type of a model, what type of model do I follow when I do the planning of the program?

 

[Hill]:  What I did was I took everything from all of you.  Seriously, I am not kidding; I believe that I have learnt a lot from everybody sitting here.  And when I have travelled—I was speaking earlier to one of the coaches, I said that—the most important thing for me is the traveling and seeing what the rest of the world is doing.  And I have maybe stolen ideas—if you can say that—from different people and put it all together for my own program to what suits us.  So I have taken a little bit from here and a little bit from there, and over the years.

 

A lot of people said to me: why are you going to watch the Junior World Championships, you have just finished the World Championships?  Because I need to be there to see what the next generation is doing and who I need to look out for in 2016, when it comes along.  So I followed my own model, but I just use bits and pieces of everybody else’s.  So thank you all of you.

 

I am not kidding.  To answer your question… you know this gentleman over here is working with Wolverine, he has been working with Michael Phelps.  He asked me what the sets are and the secretes are.  You must have probably got better sets than us; I need to come and ask you of your sets.  I am serious.  There is no magic, there is no secret to it; it is just the hard work.  The guy works really hard, and… look I have to work really hard to sit at the pool and be there with him you know.  But there is no secret to it; I think it is just hard work and the belief and the will to win, that desire to win.

 

And what it is done for us—just, sorry.  But what it has done for us and our team: it has rubbed-off on the rest of the kids back home.  It is… I am sure some of you here that have had top swimmers and Olympians and that, I am sure it filters down through the team.  So once you are in that position.

 

And Chad is really good like that.  He is not a guy that will walk around and say oh I am the Olympic Champion you know; he will really sit and help the kids.  And he has always done that, he has always been really good with them.  Some of you know him, you have seen him on pool deck and that, and he is really good like that.  So, hopefully, he is going to bring a whole new generation of swimmer through in South Africa and in our club alone.

 

I think beating Michael and showing the world that it can be done from a guy out of South Africa that nobody had really heard of two years ago and that, I think it has opened… it has made it a little bit dangerous for us, ourselves/for Chad, because now the whole world believes that anything is possible.  And we can see… what I have noticed in Swimming at the moment, in Barcelona at World Champs and on the World Cups and now at the Youth Worlds in Dubai, the new generation of swimmers, they are not scared about anything, they are really not.  They believe that they are bulletproof, that they can just get out there and do whatever.  I think it is the whole new generation of swimmers coming out, and I like to believe that Chad was part of that.  You know, instigating that that anything is possible and if you believe and you really work that it can happen.

 

 

[inaudible question from audience]

 

[Hill]:  Okay, training for the individual medley.  That is basically my whole program, so everybody, even if they are not doing medley, they will all swim all the strokes.  And we will do… 80% of the time all our workouts will have all strokes in it.  We do not just do a session where… well there may be the odd session where we will go just a lot of fly one day or something with some freestyle or whatever, but generally we do all the strokes and all the workouts, yeah.

 

[inaudible follow-up from audience]

 

[Hill]:  We will do a set like this.  We will do a short course set where it goes… we will go 4×25, one on each stroke, we will go 100 IM, we will… (oh, you are writing?).  Then we will follow-up with 4×50 kick, one on each stroke; then we will go 4×100, one on each stroke; and then we will finish with the 200 Medley.  And we will do a set like that four/five times, but it is all medley strokes, all the time.  (Something you do right?  Same thing.  See?)

 

[audience]:  Different speed.

 

[Hill]:  Different speed, Michael faster than Chad, yeah.

 

Yes?

 

[audience member]:  When he had his groin injury, was he still in the water anyway?

 

[Hill]:  Absolutely.  You know, pain is temporary; he needs to still work, he just was not working on the breaststroke.  But all the other stuff, he was still working, yeah.  It was really funny: it was not… it did not affect him other than when he did breaststroke.  All other strokes, the kicking and that, the movement there was all okay; just on the breaststroke.  But it is good now, he is swimming breaststroke, no problem, no… pain free and hopefully it stays like that now.

 

Yes?

 

[audience member]:  When you pull…

 

[Hill]:  Paddles, pull buoy?  Yeah, we do a lot of that.  A lot of paddles, a lot of pull buoy, a lot of band.

 

Generally we do every session.  I like to finish my sessions with paddles, so we will do a session at the end of the session maybe 15×100 paddles, 5 on 15, 5 on 20, 5 on 10—something like that send off.

 

Yes?

 

[audience member]:  When you talked earlier about the people around him, his parents were number four on the list….

 

[Hill]:  No that was not… sorry, the list of the team that is made up around him?  No that was in no particular order; that was just, I was just telling you all things.  His parents play a big role; they are a very close family and very supportive.  And for those of who do not know his father, his father is very big and always likes to be around and in the things.  But when it comes to Swimming and that, they do not interfere one bit.  Really good parents to have for Swimming; really supportive and someone you need.

 

Yes?

 

[audience]:  Were you friends prior to you being his swim coach?

 

[Hill]:  Friends with his parents prior to him coming to me?  Uh… it is good and bad because it gets quite per… I mean Chad and I… Chad has described our relationship as very fiery.  You know, we… how do I put it?  I can be on his case quite a bit, you know.  It is a fiery relationship and there are some arguments; and you know the parents and that, we have a friendship, so it is kind of hard, it is difficult.  And sometimes I have to make them understand that this has to be done, otherwise, you know, we….  Chad’s father, I mean, I remember the days when he was bringing him to the swimming pool in the mornings; if he had a late night or something—I am talking about the father—he would just say No, Chad, I am not taking you to the pool.  I would have to call him and say hey you have got to get him to the pool, I need him practice you know.  So things like that.

 

But I think the trust… I like to believe that I have the same kind of trust with a lot of the other parents as well, not just because I was friends with Chad’s dad before that.

 

 

I think that is it; thank you.

 

 

##### end #####

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