Cutting Edge Techniques And Technology for Masters by Michael Collins (2003)


This talk isn’t specific to any one group. It could be used with any age groups so I am going to kind of make this fairly free flowing and kind of leave it open for some of your ideas.

I often go to these clinics and take in a lot of information and ideas and kind of mess with them and regurgitate it out to my swimmers. I was talking to a guy the other night and he says yeah, you know, you are kind of like a distiller and that is exactly it, I am just trying to bring in all this stuff and then flow it out towards my athletes in a way that they can understand it better and have more fun with what they do so that’s what I look for in technology as what can I use to enhance my teaching and my interest in the sport of swimming. So, I am going to go over just some of the things that I play with and use in my own program and maybe we will hopefully have some time left over that you guys may want to add some of the things that you use in your program.

When I am teaching, I used this yesterday a little bit to talk about – I think it is important to have standards for each stroke , turns and things like that. This is how you correct errors because an error is a deviation from the standard. So if you are coaching athletes and they don’t know what the standard is it is hard to correct their errors because they don’t know how it is supposed to be. So I am always looking for things that simulate or teach them how it is supposed to be right so that they understand it so when they deviate from the standard we have got an error that we can correct. I am always looking for devices that will help me do this – maybe over-correct a little bit because when they think they have made the correction it is not really enough so that is where you might use a special fin or a paddle or something that goes to the other side of the equation and kind of get the balance that you are looking for.

Swimming videos is the first place I like to go to. I have mentioned these throughout the week-end of the Richard Quick Series. There are ten tapes in the series – it is pretty expensive – its like 3-$400 if you buy all ten, but you can buy them one at a time, they are well worth the money and I have reviewed a lot of swimming videos and I am pretty hard on them as far as what I think is legitimate and what is you know, maybe fluff – good delivery, but not much content. There are some that have outstanding content, but are so boring you are asleep in two minutes. This video has pretty good balance of good information and not too boring. You can watch it in small chunks. It is easy to find a little section if you are going to use a little snippet with your athletes.

I really think that dry land training is a pretty critical thing that we often miss a bit, especially in Masters. We don’t have an organized dry land program and I don’t do it myself really. My athletes do not get their 15-20 minutes or a half an hour to execute the dry land routines. I am seeing that dry land training as being a huge issue with their ability to stay healthy, injury free and to be able to execute stroke mechanics properly. If my swimmers don’t have the stability, strength or the flexibility to do things right I tend to recommend to them to get their own program that they can do at home. I have found that the core and shoulder stability for swimmers is a really good tape. It uses a physioball, but the exercises are pretty specific to swimming and the demonstrator was a pretty good caliber swimmer himself, again, fairly easy to watch videos. I like this video the best because it also comes with like a laminated spiral bound binder that has all the exercises . Once you have watched it you just throw your binder in your swim bag and you can go and do some of those exercises where ever you are at. I think this is an important thing, that they are not always having to keep re-watching the video but if they have the exercise book with them they can do that where ever they are at.

If you got here early we showed some of this Ian Thorpe DVD. I will show you a little bit more of that right now. I haven’t gone through it all. I am actually not that great at getting around a DVD yes as far as the chaptering and stuff, but these guys spent some serious bucks to do this DVD and they used a lot of technology like from the Matrix where they have the cameras that go all the way around the swimmer. I am just going to show you a little bit of that if I can find it and it is quite impressive. I am not sure that I agree with all the technique stuff on this one but this shows you where it is kind of going in swimming. He has got some dry land stuff in here as well that I think is pretty cool. Alright, lets see if we can get this to go. This the pretty cool one right here – so that is kind of a cool little example of what the technology is going to now. Is it great content? Its alright – it is not that detailed, but it is just fun to watch this. If you watch it you are going to pick up something and just seeing some of the best people in the world do things is quite enlightening. So you know this is one, if I am going to give it a score the content – as far as the technical details – would not score real high, but the entertainment value in it is outstanding. They have really taken swimming to a different level. Strength – what is that? Swimming World is going to have it. It is an Australian product and it is a DVD which meant that you can play it on a computer, but if you put in your DVD at home you have an NTSC format and they have PAL format over there which is a slightly different standard so you cant just buy one now and take it home and play it in your home player. You can play it only on a computer so more technology crap that we haven’t gotten all worked out yet. Its going to be like $29.95 and they have some pretty cool stuff on strength training and the stretches that he does. A nice feature is that you get to click on the different stretch’s it pops open and there are little hidden easter eggs and things like that in there where you can go on the bottom of the pool blowing out bubble rings and it is just a fun thing to play with. Its, I think, a company that makes computer games too so it is almost like a computer game where you can go around and find stuff, but we will get back on track here.

What I do with videos is I don’t just watch them myself is I try to get my athletes to see it too and it depends on your facility how you can do this. I am lucky enough that we train at a health club that’s got a restaurant in the health club and the guy who is half owner of the restaurant is my former roommate so he lets me use half of his restaurant which is a totally separate room like a banquet room pretty much whenever I want and it is about a 30 step walk from the pool so I can just say we are meeting in the restaurant you know at the start of practice or 15 minutes early. I will have the TV set up and ready to go and we will watch a video before we go out to practice it might not be the whole video, it might just be one little section of a start or a turn that we are going to be working on. We will watch that for ten or fifteen minutes – maybe discuss it a little bit and then go out in the pool and just play around with doing that.

We do have our key workout days when I get most of my attendance – which is probably Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Middle distance Monday, big Wednesday – it is distance day and fast Friday is short distance, you know, really revving it up. Tuesday and Thursday are not as well attended and they are more stroke IM days so that is often where I will put this kind of thing. I will pre-announce it pretty far in advance so that people can make their schedule changes or whatever if they do not normally swim on those days and if they want to come by. The same token holds for the ones that really are not that interested in that particular stroke or thing that we are going to work on. Many don’t even bother to show up that day and that is fine with me because I don’t – you know, I am spending this extra time to do it, I don’t really want people there complaining. You know, they are not getting in a workout that day. They know what’s up and they can just go out and swim on their own if they want, but it is pretty amazing how I have gotten people to do strokes and turns and things that would never have done them before. For me it is just basically the frustration factor in not knowing how to do a skill correctly so I like to you know, kind of – surprise them and do this when they do not really expect it, but most of the time I will tell them in advance and then we will practice that. I have a couple of months during the year – kind of off-season for us, times where we will just do a stroke a week and really work on improving that stroke through the week.

Taping your swimmers under water – it is just so easy to do now. The technology is there and it is not very expensive and you can make your money back in no time from doing it with some private lessons. You can find two or three good companies that make under water cameras – the Coach Cam, They really brought down the price standard. You know, their lowest model is about $430 and it is up to about $550 for one that has a microphone in it so that as you are filming under water you can actually be talking into it. I am kind of interested in that, although I don’t know how affective it is going to be because what I really need for under water video is the stop and slow motion feature. This will enable me to be able to really look at it and figure it out and then start to add audio. I am not sure weather I need that additional feature yet.

Power Cam is an awesome under water camera. They have got a little plastic cart with wheels that you can push it along the deck and follow the swimmer as you go and so it depends on your facility set up if that is really going to work or not or if you are moving to a bunch of different pools that might not be your best option.The Snooper was kind of the group that started it all for swimming with under water cameras and I don’t think Marty has really done much to change or do anything to his product from what it has been for the last five or six years. I am still using mine and it is working fine. You know, once in a while the cable will start to not work too well and I will send it back and get a new cable and move on. I mean whenever you are dealing with electronics you are going to have cable problems occasionally so I actually tend to – if I am working at a clinic I will often have a backup set of cables and batteries and stuff like that. You have got to be prepared for a potential problem. Digital video cameras are coming down in price a lot. I definitely recommend that you get digital and that you get something with a fire wire potential which is basically the way that you can send the information into the computer quickly and the USB is not quite the best. The fire wire is the better standard. There is a USB II which is a little faster than USB I, but still fire wire is your best bet and even if you have a computer that doesn’t have fire wire. You can buy a card for it that is really inexpensive and you can start to pull these clips of your swimmers onto a computer and you can do a lot of stuff with that and you can email it back to them and it is pretty unlimited potential that is starting to come, but it starts with having a video camera and if you are really inept with technology and computers and all this stuff you know? Hire someone to come in and do it. Track video is a company Mike O’Brien started that has an outstanding under water camera system where he runs a track that goes the whole length of your pool, follows your swimmers back and forth. He bangs out the tapes really fast on a schedule and you can get all your people taped in half a day and he charges them you know like $25 or $30 a head to get the video taping. What I was doing was I was charging a little bit more than that and then having a separate room for video analysis that they came into later, but you learn so much yourself from watching people swim under water and slowing things down and your swimmers really dig it too, I mean, there is nothing like getting to see yourself swimming and I know we have all got athletes that you keep telling them the same thing over and over what they are doing wrong and they just don’t change it or get it and you don’t even have to say anything when you watch your video half the time. It is so plain as day for most of them.

Yeah, as you get to higher level swimming there starts to be more really knit picky details and I think it is important to be at the right angle when you are taping them to know if that – the elbows – are in the right position or if they are slipping. Most of our level athletes, are just real crude under water – whether it is straight on or from the side or a combination of both. You are going to see a lot of stuff that they can change and improve. This is kind of where it is starting to go. Digital is becoming the standard in what to do with the video once you get it and these guys are at the show. I went and hung out at their booth a bit. They showed me a little bit more, about how to use the program. It is not real cheap compared to most, you know? Just buying a little computer program that is their base model – which is their cheapest model is $400 which sounds like a fair amount of money. Their high end one is several thousand dollars and that can bust out DVD’s and stuff real quick. Later on today, 4-5pm I believe, John Walker who is in the back of the room, from USA swimming and Jonty Skinner are going to be here to show this program and how they have used it. You know I am like in about the second grade on this stuff compared to these guys, but I have learned it fairly quickly.

What I look for is something that is fairly easy to use and it has decent documentation. This product has a tutorial CD that is very good and it takes you through different little things that you can execute. You don’t have to go through them all. You can just kind of pick the ones you want like how to email a clip to one of your swimmers. That’s just one of the tutorials that will show you the exact process of completing the task. If you do get the chance go visit their booth, see what they are doing. Unfortunately, they are showing mostly their high end one which has a lot of features that you just don’t need at this point. I would recommend that you start at the low end of it, but it will just do so much.

Let me show you a little bit of it. That’s kind of cool. We might have a technology glitch right now because my Power point presentation should not be in the middle of my dart trainer software. Yea, right on – computer failure – so you might have to come back to their talk later. It looks like Dart Trainer doesn’t like what we are doing here. It might be that it is in conflict with Windows . Lets get rid of that and see if that helps any. Lets try this – I spelled it wrong? Alright, so it looks like those guys are going to show you. I can show it to you later if you want to come and talk to me, but you know any time you are playing with technology and have too much stuff open there is a potential for problems.

With this simple program, you can make little clips of your swimmers swimming – you can then have anywhere from 1-4 screens going simultaneously so you can swimmer A versus Ian Thorpe. You can sync them up to the same place in their stroke like extension out in front such as in freestyle then push play and go through with them stroke by stroke. This allows the swimmers to see where they are different. You can also play it at any speed, frame advance, quarter speed, half speed, full speed and then stop it and use drawing tools. These are things that allow you to measure angles , draw boxes or circles or whatever you want. It really is quite easy to put right on top of the screen and then you can output that back to video so you could hand someone a video with the little boxes and drawings and stuff that you put on there and it is not terribly complicated to use so it is just a really cool little program. I would recommend you check out.

This is more of a training device used with your swimmers – it is called a tempo trainer and if you didn’t see – there are flyers in the back that have the charts and we got a guy from Finese here that is going to hand you out some. I am not paid by Finese but – when I see products that I like I will tell people about it and how I have used them and what I think they do for you. I have actually found it to be more beneficial in running. I have a lot of triathletes in my program and I actually have a swimming and tri-athalon program so we do running workouts as well. Swimmers are usually not too good as runners so I found this device to help quite a bit because the running cadence that you need to maintain is at least 90 cycles a minute or 180 steps a minute. That is the minimum number of steps you need to be doing to run efficiently. Otherwise, you hit the ground and your leg is on the ground for too long and you are absorbing all that shock and having to stabilize and that is how we get injured. All high level runners have this same concept of their feet are moving quickly. They are not spending a long time on support on the ground so this is a really easy way to get them to understand that and when they stay up with the beat of it being at least .67 and if you are not sure what .67 means tempo trainer has a number on it and when you first turn it on it is 1 1.0. It basically means it is beeping once per second okay? So that would be 60 beats a minute. .67 – it means it is beeping every 2/3 of a second so it is going to beep 90 times in a minute so that is what this chart thing is – it can tell you if you want to be going at 100 cycles per minute that you need to be at .61 or .62 or whatever the chart says and there is a difference between cycles per minute and like strokes. In swimming we tend to set the beeps to each hand hit you know? But it would – this is a cycle in butterfly or breaststroke. One cycle. In freestyle one cycle is actually two strokes so you can set the beep either way. I tend to, on freestyle, set it for hand hits so it is beep, beep, beep, beep because if they have a lock in their stroke it will kind of help pull that out a little bit.

So that is kind of some of the differences there. Yeah it is, it is just a little bit simpler to use and it is much less expensive and it has a couple of different features on it too. It is $30 retail – 30 bucks yeah – there you go – 25 here. This is – these are the stroke rates of world class swimmers from the Olympics. These are their stroke rate averages. This is kind of your ballpark range of where the best swimmers are and again, what is the standard. That is what you start with. You find out what are the best people doing and maybe you cannot go there, but you at least know where it is at and maybe you want to stay within a certain percentage of that. Because you will find some people that are way out of whack with these numbers in their swimming or they might be much closer in some strokes than in others and what I find a lot of people do incorrectly in their stroke is they have wasted their time doing stuff wrong in their stroke. Freestyle, the hand goes in and it searches around to find the catch spot. Well that takes a lot of time out of the stroke rate so they might make up for it by ripping the water somewhere else, but they are wasting a lot of time out there so this device, it’s beep, beep, beep gets them there a little bit snappier, quicker. It doesn’t necessarily mean you want every one going with a super fast stroke rate. It is really a combination of stroke count and stroke rate that makes your speed. So, you have got to kind of work on both sides of it and I am going to show you how we do that in our program.

So just realize that there are different stroke rates for different events and different strokes. Notice how much longer the stroke rates are for like breaststroke and butterfly and that is the men’s chart and again all this information is on the flyer that you have. So here is the sample tempo trainer set that I would do with my swimmers. We go eight 25s descending in groups of two so they start off super easy on the first two, they get a little each set of two and I ask them to kind of count their strokes, but I really want them to count strokes on the last two 25s. I want them to swim fast and just see what their stroke count is and you know they usually kind of screw up the first time they do this and they think that a low count is the best thing so they push off and they go real far under water, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick and they come up and they try to swim pretty fast, but they try to keep it really long so they end of you know sprinting it 25s at the end and they have got 15 or 15 strokes lets say. I go alright so that’s your number now we are going to do a set of ten 100s and for the first four 100s you have to hold three less than that stroke count so if they got 16 strokes on that 25, now they have to go 100 where they are holding 13 strokes per length and some of them are oh I cant do that and I say well you know you made your bed and now you have to sleep in it you know? And I, you know, after the first time of doing that they understand that it is not about – we want to be consistent in our distance off the wall. It is not just covering a ton of distance but then every turn gets worse form there, but so we will have them hold that stroke count minus 3 and then we will also have the beeper on them and set the beeper to a rate that we are trying to hold and for this example if you kind of begin with the end in mind of that last 100, if we look at that chart that you have in front of you.

I just did it for the men, 100 freestyle the rate I think was like .56 to .60 or something like that. I just put it at the top end of that rate so that would be kind of what you are going to get down to by the end of the set. I just added 10 to those numbers and sometimes we will only go down by five instead of by ten and a lot of master swimmers cant quite hit these numbers, but it is good for them to just know what it is for how fast the stroke rates really are for world class swimmers. Who make it look easy and smooth when they are swimming, but their arms are still moving reasonably fast. For a set they go four 100s at stroke count minus 3 and their beeper is set at .9 which is a fairly long and easy smooth swimming. Then they are going to go three 100s at that stroke count minus two and turn up the beeper a little bit faster so their times are getting faster. Finally, we drop it again and do that 100 right at the same stroke count that they had on the last two 25s of that previous set. I will usually repeat the pattern again and we might do it pulling the next cycle through and just compare the numbers for education’s point. Are they a lot faster? Are they a lot slower? How does it affect their stroke rate? We might do it with fins or I might change it to a stroke other than freestyle, but we drop the distance to 50s. Use this pattern; ten 50s instead of ten 100s for easy real low stroke count. Now go for three strokes less on breast or fly, this may be a little excessive, but it works pretty good for backstroke the same way, but I might not have them go quite that many fewer strokes.

But they can do it by working on their under water streamline. I do like to repeat it and see if they can do a better job the second time through the cycle. This will help them understand it better because they will tend to not do so good on it the first time through and I want them to start to understand where their optimal level is. A lot of times they will find out when they get to that last one the effort and energy that they put into it went up exponentially and their time didn’t get any better or even slower and that is where you start to see where the breakdown is happening. This is the point where they cannot maintain technique when they are turning over very fast and they find out wow, when I just pull it back a little bit from max I am going just as fast and it is costing me way less energy to do that so this is a good way to teach them that. Any questions on this? It is an up and a down button. That’s it. so you turn it on by pushing a button and you push one side to bring the number up and you push the other side to make the number go down and you push both buttons at the same time until it says off and it turns off. No, No. Qustion over here? An interval that will allow them to execute the set correctly so for a really talented swimmer we will go the first 100 plus 10 seconds sets the interval. If they swim a 1:20 100 they are a fast swimmer like a double 0 type swimmer but they are really cruising and they go 1:20. They will add 10 seconds and thus going on a 1:30 interval. I’ll usually give a little extra rest between those sets like after four, they will get a little more rest, after the three and that might be a growing rest like they will take an extra 30 after the four, they will take an extra minute after the 3. They will get like a minute and a half rest, depending on the day, but I am more concerned with them holding the stroke count than with making a tight interval. The tighter the interval that they can make the set doing it properly I am happy with that, but at first and with most masters I would say it is going to be a minimum of 10-20 seconds rest. What I might do is first round plus 10, second round they will do first swim plus 20 and then the two 100s thirty. So they get more rest as the intensity level goes up as well. Other question there? Yeah – how long does it take them to get onto the stroke rate? You push off and the thing is beeping so you are like streamlining under water and you just basically wait until it beeps; beep, beep, beep. The swimmer should be on it by the second beep and I tend to like them to time the beep to the stroke exstension, in front is my favorite place. In breaststroke I like to time the beat to the head hitting its highest point; beep, beep, but you know everybody is a little bit different on where they like to call it, but in general I think it is best at your extension point out in front

Yes? Yeah, I want them to swim fast because I want them to not be too careful and you know trying to get a super low count. I just want them to – I just tell them just let it go and see where you are at. Do not worry about what the number is just swim fast and see where you are at. What happens now is that when you bring them to that minus 3, when they get back up to that regular stroke count it is actually hard for them to do that, sometimes if they did it right. They are going wow, I feel like I am spinning my wheels too much. Actually, they may want to stay lower than the three because they have been burning into muscle memory to be longer and more efficient on the four and the three. I like this set so much because it works a lot of different things. You are kind of going through the different energy systems here too. You know that a set of four is at a pretty low intensity so it is almost like a warm-up, actually preparing them for the set of three, where you are adding a little bit of more intensity. For the two 100s they are starting to work it pretty good and then that last one really rocking the house.

What I like to do, just for reference on the rate thing. Is for them to begin to understand how to do it, I will often program it myself to start so I will be able to watch a swimmer just swimming laps or doing a set. I will just listen and as I time set the counter to what I feel they are swimming. Then I will just give it to them and have them swim a little bit with it on and ask them what they thought or how it felt and they will say, oh it is kind of cool it keeps my tempo there you know? It is just what they were doing already . Or I might see something that I don’t feel is good for their stroke. Something like they are taking too many strokes, I bump it up, so they put it on and they are like whoa you know? This will lengthen their stroke out for you or more often than not I will see the other side too, where they are just kind of wasting a lot of time out there and stopping at both ends of the stroke. I n this case I will bump it down by five and see if you are able to still take twenty strokes to get across the pool. Can you still take twenty strokes, but match this beep? Now that they have got something to stay with and they will end up being able to hold the stroke count. I will continue to keep trying to skew the count down, to find the find the best stroke rate we can get with still good efficiency in their stroke.

You really have to be working on both sides of the equation, not just the rate – not just the stroke count. There are people that can get across the pool in a real low stroke count. There is no rhythmic tempo to it and that is what this really does for you.

Anything else here? For masters I think using fins is a pretty important part of swimming, although I really do not like CFD which is chronic fin dependency. Some people you know they sit on the edge of the pool and slip those fins on before they have done one lap of warm-up and those things do not come off until the get out of the pool. Many of them will even get out and go to the bathroom with their fins on in the middle of workout. I do not like addiction to fins, but I really do think that they are a great training tool in many ways – mostly as a teaching device for novice levels swimmers.

For this particular group I can really get them much more relaxed and comfortable in the water in a shorter amount of time. I do like Zoomers, but they are being greatly misused. Did I spell it right, oh I did on this one. They are being misused in the fact that the fins were designed to simulate race pace swimming, okay? And increase the load a little bit and to get your body in the same position it would be in, in a race, but when you are in training. That was the initial belief of the fin. To use the fin correctly you have got to power them pretty strong.

What I am looking for when I am teaching is how to do things with less energy output and just to be real smooth. A lot of my swimmers do not have great ankle flexibility. For them to be able to get balance and body alignment and not struggle just to get air it is not going to happen. The fins that I look for are fairly light and comfortable. I still like a short bladed fin. But I would like something that is fairly light and pretty comfortable for them, Aquasphere Kips is a split fin with an adjustable back that is pretty cool to operate. You just pull them down and zip them to lock. They work like the same mechanism that they use on their goggles which is an outstanding mechanism so that is why I like those.

The Hydrosport Training Fins have a very similar feel to Zoomers but they are shaped a little more foot-like. They have a rounded top so they do not dig into the foot as bad. They use a lot softer rubber, but they get the rigidity through the rails on the side. That is how they get their stiffness to them so they are a really nice fin that a lot of my swimmers like. Then we have the PDS, which are these little ones that are like half circles with the goggle strap, that goes around the heel. I personally like them because I can just throw them on almost anyone. All you do is just put them on and stretch the strap over the heel. I have randomly, – a new swimmer comes in, I only need like two sizes to fit almost everyone so that is what I am looking for, something I can just get on somebody real fast. I also have people buying those Aquasphers. Fins, I don’t like them as a crutch, but as a learning tool they are great. But I do think you should play with them at all speeds. From really easy stuff to real fast stuff, learning to be under water, pushoffs and streamlining. Swimmers can get that feel of under water speed with fins on and it also is a great way to get them to do some other strokes as well. A lot of people refuse to do fly or breaststroke or something like that – we have a lot of our swimmers doing breaststroke with a dolphin kick with fins on. The motion found in the breaststroke also teaches a lot of high elbow catch and stuff that they can use on their freestyle.

I also take time with my athletes to explain to them how things they do in fly and breast will help their freestyle. Otherwise they always do it freestyle. With some swimmers and a few tri-athletes that I have, I will kind of BS them with some stuff about how much it is going to help their freestyle. It will, but small doses of the other strokes, with some fins work you can just make it a little bit nicer for them.

Fist gloves, these things have been out for a long time and I still don’t think a lot of people are using them. The problem with these things are that they really do make it tougher to swim. You get frustrated with them, but man, these things are a great learning tool. What they are is just a little rubber glove that goes over your hand down to your wrist. It takes away the surface area of your hand and your arms just knife and slip through the water if they are going too fast or if they are not connected to the core and that is really what I am looking for. Trying to teach swimmers to connect the body and the arm to work together is critical. So we will do cycles of the ten x’s 100 set. We might do that as 50s or something with fist gloves the first round, swimming the second round and swimming with fins the third round or pulling the third round. When adding more equipment or changing the variables form a little bit but keeping the same pattern and what I like about that is I really only have to explain the set once. okay? They repeat the pattern three times, but it is not boring because there are variables in there and they are getting to use different equipment. I am always looking for ways of how I can get the swimmers to understand the training concept, have enough variables , but not confuse them to death with thirty different little sets during a workout where you are spending all the time re-explaining the workout than really getting to work with your athletes on execution. Yes? Right on – yes very much and you cant play with your goggles too much or any of that stuff. Yeah, I like that idea of golf, but we have used tennis balls before because they do not hurt as bad when you are throwing them at each other, but. Right, right – the anti-paddle. I meant to put that on there and I forgot. The anti-paddle is – it looks like you know you put your hand on the flat surface on the top the same, but it is a wedge shape so it just pushes the water out of the way and your arm really slips with it – those are pretty neat. Yeah, do you like using them? It does end up being a lot of junk in there, but those are actually kind of heavy too, it seems like. You know, one more big heavy thing to put in your back pack. Yes? Who makes them? Fish gloves? You get those from Total Emersion – I don’t know if they are producing them but that is where you can buy them. Castaway – that’s right – Castaway has them here, excellent. Vistrail – it really does wear out your forearm trying to keep your hand in a fist and everybody cheats. Those hands are open, only with the thumbs coming out. With the glove you are really able to just kind of relax with it and do it, but I agree with the claustrophobic issue of you know they are like trying to get them on and it takes forever. So do golf balls – they sink and I should get the floater balls, but those are probably more expensive, Hugh? I like that golf balls idea. Did you have a comment? Oh right on – great idea. Just go to the river and get yourself a bag of rocks – that is a heavy bag, but that’s true, you put golf balls on the deck – they are rolling all over the place – small rocks. We are going to piss off these venders – they are going to tell everybody – lets go down to the river and pick up yourself up some rocks?,

Just don’t be afraid to try new items in your routine and don’t get left behind the new technology and training advancements in the sport. You know there is a lot of just frivolous crap out there too, but there is enough cool stuff that can keep you interested in the sport and keep your athletes interested in the sport .

Just what can you use that will really teach your athletes what they need to be doing correctly? By far the favorite one for me is video. You can often do it with equipment and things ,that teach as well. Don’t get too attached to certain items as your favorites and that is all you will use.

I really liked when Nort Thornton said several years ago, “I’ve got this shed just full of stuff and when I am watching my swimmers I will see a problem and he says I think of myself like a doctor and I am going to go and make a prescription for that problem”. So he goes into his shed ,and he digs around to find the device that he wants to use and he comes out and he uses it with that swimmer. You don’t fix every problem with a hammer . You need more than one tool to do things. Experimant with different tools and different people will react differently and unfortunately with a lot of the things that they need to use are the things that feel the most awkward to them, but that is what will get the right correction that you are looking for. Alright, any comments? Yeah – Hydrohips, yeah, its pretty cool. The problems I have had with it is you really have to get it tight, but it is like hand paddles for your core which is awesome because that is really how you want to drive the stroke is from your core so those things increase the resistance and you really have to use some muscles to get across from one side to the other, but if you don’t tighten the belt down super tight, they start to move on you, especially against the swim suit. I talked to them about putting like silicon jell or something you know, wavy, on the belt so that it kind of sticks to your swim suit a little bit better. I think that is what Emmett Hines did to some of his belts so that they didn’t slip as much, but that is kind of an after market fix that you can do, but those are excellent.

Yes, comments about the center mount snorkel? The center mount snorkel – the benefits that I have found with it helps prevents “head wag”. Due to the length of the snorkel you really feel it pulling if you turn your head too much. We have also found that it teaches the swimmer to kind of lower their output because they are just not getting enough air through the snorkel. Swimmers tell me that if they are really venting a lot of energy, they are able to calm down a little bit when they swim with the snorkel. I think it also develops a little bit of the lung power to push that air that far and suck it back in that much so you are getting a little of that kind of work too. I haven’t used them too much with fly though, what – who uses them with fly and what is kind of like your purpose of that? Just to keep the head more stable? Do you find that they are still rotating enough or do they tend to kind of flatten out? Right –it is on a swivel so you just turn the thing around, it is not actually in their mouth any more right? It is just kind of hanging up in the air. Oh it is? Oh okay. That’s pretty neat.

Monofins – what about monofins? Anyone have comments on those? I like them,they are just pretty darn expensive and it is hard to get the foot fit right for athletes. If I had a really high caliber world class swimmer that was a flyer , I would say this is a device you need to buy. It is worth it for you to really get that strength and development from it. I cant really justify getting them – telling my swimmers to get them and I am certainly not going to buy all the different sizes you know? To me that is like a novelty fun thing to play with once in a while because you just jet when you use them. I haven’t found a real good consistent application, personally for monofins.

Anyone else? I had that video up earlier – the Mount Rens core and shoulder rotator stuff, I think those exercises are excellent. They have got some band work in there as well. The Richard Quick tapes – the last two tapes in their series – one is called Shoulder Prehab and Rehab. They go through some different dry land exercises that your swimmers can do to prevent shoulder injuries. They also have another tape called Swim Alate’s which is like Pilate’s –kind of toward swimming which you know you hear a lot about that world class swimmers are doing this Pilate’s and yoga and body awareness because I really think that swimming is largely about establishing the posture first before you really go out to the extremities and start to pound on those. In general, most people have pretty bad posture and body awareness. In water, you compound the problem of curved body lines. What devices to use specifically, I am not that familiar with. I f I have a swimmer who complains a shoulder problem or something I don’t diagnose too much of that stuff myself. It is best to send them somewhere else.

Bob? Yeah, I don’t use paddles too much with my group. I kind of let them use them as they want to. When we are pulling I will let them use some paddles if they want, but don’t use them a ton. There are a lot of different variables on paddles. I just think that the pull is a less important part of the stroke – I want them to set the anchor and use their core to pull. My feeling is that paddles tend to be too extremity based. I just don’t like putting big levers way out on the ends right there. but every once in a while I get up and go a set. When we do, I will put fins and paddles on and lets “rock the house” you know? Lets go faster than you go in a meet just to get that feeling of super speed, but not real long distances. I don’t really have anything against paddles – we just don’t use them.

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