Richard Shoulberg, First Aquatic Director and Head Coach of the Girls and Boys Swim Teams at Germantown Academy. Under Coach Shoulberg’s leadership and training, two of his swimmers have set World Records and eight swimmers have established American records. Many of the swimmers in his program have set numerous National and High School Records. Since 1969 he has produced over 250 Prep/High School All-American swimming student-athletes both at GA and from area schools. Coach Shoulberg has spoken at swim clinics worldwide over the past twelve years, which include the following countries: Australia, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Guam, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Thailand , United States, U.S. Virgin Islands. Coach Shoulberg has contributed a chapter on Individual Medley Training to The Swim Coaching Bible. He has had numerous articles published in the following publications: ASCA Magazine, NISCA Magazine, Swimming Technique, and Swimming World. He lives with his wife and their four children in Philadelphia. Coach of Olympians: 2000 – Coach of Olympians – Maddy Crippen, Alex Fung and Guy Yimsomruay;1992 – Coach of Olympians -Dave Berkoff, Dan Jorgenson, Sean Killion, Dave Wharton. In 1992 Coach Shoulberg put the most male swimmers on the US Olympic team.1988 – Coach of Olympians Trina Radke and Dave Wharton.1984 – Coach of Olympian Sue Heon.1980 – Coach of Olympian Karin LaBerge.
Good morning. First of all I want to say I really felt uncomfortable yesterday for everyone in the room. It was not a good environment to discuss your passion in I really felt bad and one of our jobs as coaches is to control the environment in our room – wherever we coach. I remember Doc Counsilman in 1971 at Westchester University saying you must control the environment in your pool. Even if you have to buy extra coffee for the maintenance guy, who is possibly one of the most important people to your program.
I have always worked real hard to create a positive atmosphere at Germantown Academy, Norristown YW and Roxboro and the three rental pools that I use. One of our rental pools is only 48 feet 11 inches I put a heater in it so that we could train in it till October. The reason is simply I like being out-doors and this also allowed my polo players to train a little longer. The kids come in some days – they think they are going to go 25 yards – we go 15.3 yards. If you really want to make your kids tired – go the width of the pool and you can have 8 lanes – 9 lanes – 10 lanes – any way you want to do it. We did 11,200 yards in one hour and 52 minutes one day. That is a lot of turns. Do you know what happened after practice? Everyone sat on the benches. They didn’t even go in their locker room – they were so fatigued, but it is a good way to change the environment.
The other thing that I mentioned yesterday – I work every set from both ends of the pool so that I know that I am going to have 12 leaders and by having 12 leaders I am going to have a better team. I realized back in the 80’s – a couple of my kids would gravitate to the deep end because I normally coach at the shallow end, but then I go all the way around the pool all the time. One day I gave a set and then I gave seven 25’s drill on the 20 seconds and then I gave them a mean set right after that and Jeff Prior said, “wait, wait I am at the wrong end!” and I said, “no, you are not in the wrong end, I want you under my feet today.” You can outsmart swimmers – no matter what – even my masters swimmers I can outsmart, but I do like to have the kids changing from lane to lane if someone is not holding the interval time.
I had a very good IM’er back in the 80’s named Dave Wharton. He broke two world records – he held the American record for 11 years. He won 7 NCAA titles. He had 16 American records. He went out to swim with Peter Daland. In 1987 he graduated from G. A. and Peter met with me and Dave and his parents and he said I really think Dave needs to stay back at G. A. until January 1st to really build an extra log of work and then come out to Southern Cal and then he will come home on March 10th – the day after the NCAA’S to May 9th. I want you to design the training for Dave. So Peter called me about four days after Dave got to Southern Cal and told me that during practice Wharton would start in one lane and end up in another which is the way that we trained at G.A. If the person – we have compatible swimmers in each lane and if the guy behind you is a Hoover – in other words, they suck a ride off of you, we call them Hoovers – I don’t want to hear about it when you finish the set. If a guy goes for a ride off your stroke for 11 and then whips you on number 12 -why wouldn’t you when you turned in lane 1, why didn’t you turn and come in lane 2? I want my kids to be competitive – I really create a competitive environment.
I picked the IM because I am a grass roots coach and a developmental coach. That is how I see myself and if you train all four strokes every day you outsmart fatigue because if you do the same muscle movement you will hit fatigue, no matter who you are, but if you change those movements all the time you will build a stronger more fit athlete and a fit athlete will probably beat an unfit athlete the last 20 meters. That is why I have done it and we have had some very good swimmers in their prime stroke, but every one of our kids every day swims all four strokes. What it is I just went to Hy-Tek, because it is a lot easier for me to demonstrate the type of IM training we are doing by going to Hy-Tek. I have every practice logged since 1970. I have every practice in the computer all the way back to ‘84 because I love to study patterns of success or failure at the end of the year. I have found and I used to do it with no calculator and I am not a math teacher like Marty, but I used to do all these numbers in my head and then my wife bought me a little Radio Shack calculator for about $12 – it saved a lot of time and then Hy-Tek came out with this software program.
When I first started it would take me 9 hours to put in a one hour practice and use every bad word in the world. A lady named Hope Freiburg would come into my office – shut the door and said, “Shoulberg, you can’t use that language in a school with your office door open” and I said “then close the door, this thing is driving me nuts.” Now I can do a practice with two fingers really fast. When I was coaching the Good Will team over in Brisbane, Australia in 2002, I told the kids they could use my laptop to do emails. It would be in my room. I wanted to design my practice and do my emails. I had two rules: if you come in my room to use my laptop you have to have at least two other kids with you and if curfew was whatever time, Denny established curfew, you had to be out of my room 20 minutes before because I know kids. They get on that text messaging – I don’t use that nonsense. I am in there and I am doing my emails and one of the girls came in with two other girls and the girls said, “what are you doing? typing like that?” I said, “what the hell was your grandfather doing, playing golf today? I am older than your grandfather and I am over here and I am allowing you to use my computer – don’t make fun of me the way I type.”
I really would advise you if you want to see the success then you need to analyze your programs – like it or not – you got to figure out why your kids swam fast or why they swam slow and if you don’t do that you are not providing an environment conducive to improvement. So, I have always studied my logs. I found that the years that I had a higher volume of yardage due to a higher percentage of freestyle the team would not perform quite as well as I had hoped. This is one of the biggest problems in US Swimming and particularly high school swimming is we over freestyle our athletes. I know that. And so the years that I get down to about 43% to 41% of straight freestyle swimming, I have better teams. I have faster backstrokers, faster breaststrokers, faster butterflyers – certainly more efficient IM’ers and we still swim fast freestyle. As I said yesterday, our girls relay went 3:26 and three of those girls made a national cut in the 400 IM – that is where I focus my main attention as a high school coach – on the 400 IM.
It is real simple philosophy – if people improve they come back. Now I have had a girl go 22.7 in her 50 free and I have had a boy go 20.01. So they are fast. Do you know how hard it is to improve in a 50 over a 14 week cycle or a year’s cycle? But a 400 IM – it is easy so Dick Shoulberg picked the event where kids would improve the easiest and I picked the 400 IM. As a high school coach I had a boy in 1974 named Jamie Hemmerle. I took him to Olympic trials in ’76 and he said to me in ’74 – you know we are a really good high school team – 200’s and down. Our 500 kids – they are lousy. Okay, so I thought I would correct the problem I went to a higher volume of training, incorporating IM training and our school record for the 500 free for girls is 4:44 and our boys is 4:19. In one season I had six girls under 4:50 which I think is a good measure of success. This year we had a girl go 4:48 who last year was a 100 breaststroker only who this year was second in the 400 IM at Senior Nationals who I found in my 5th grade gym class.
That is why I get up every morning. I have kids willing to buy into what I think and are willing to work hard and we do work hard. We also have fun together and one of the girls at practice a couple of days ago said, “I don’t care,” because one of the other girls beat her. So all day long the theme was “I don’t care – why are you here” The girl will never say again – I don’t care – I promise you.
Let’s go to the sets, for IM training. Again, I mention all four strokes — lots of back and breast and I really think they are the key strokes to the IM and I think the most key stroke, believe it or not, is the backstroke – that is my opinion and I think some of the world’s greatest IM’ers are naturally great backstrokers. Michael Phelps has proven me right again. He is not a bad backstroker – he is not bad at anything, but the reason I say backstroke is so critical is you want the kids to swim backstroke with speed and save their legs for breaststroke so if you over-kick in backstroke and your legs are at a fatigued state, then the breaststroke will probably – of the unnatural breaststrokers – they are in trouble so we look at the strokes. I coach the strokes thinking IM and I want the backstrokers to be more relaxed on the lower body and then I want the breaststrokers to be more intense on the lower body. So they will be able to come home very fast. When Wharton set his first American record, his last hundred in the 400 IM was faster than the last hundred American record in the 400 free, coming off that breast to free turn.
Why was it that way? We do a lot of transitional turn work. We do a tremendous amount of transitional turn work and I tell my breaststrokers get into the freestyle quicker than your opponent and boy you can probably have a pretty successful result. Getting out of breaststroke and into freestyle is critical so if you don’t work breaststroke in your high school practice or club practice or age group practice or even university practice, they are not going to be able to do it. I look at it this way – some of you have these big school marching bands. We don’t. We have 118 kids that graduate each year so we don’t have a marching band, but if you look at a marching band or if you take your wife to the Academy of Music to hear Bach or something – there are a lot of different musicians so if you are going to make a good swimmer and only work on one stroke basically – do you think the guys in the band play the banjo only? And then the day of the competition play the tuba? Banjo, flute or whatever? So, you need to work the back and breaststroke – I really, really think it is the key to IM training.
Butterfly: I train my fly with higher rest and more emphasis on technique because I want my flyers in the IM to float the fly, I don’t want them to race it. I want them to just float the fly with good technique. Now I had a boy make the Olympic team in the 200 fly who was a darn good IM’er so you can be a good 200 flyer and float it in the IM and so what I do in fly is that I double circle and I go down lane 1 and I come back on lane 2 and so when we have our partners in the fly sets we only have six leaders; 1, 3, and 5 – at the shallow end – 2, 4, 6 at the deep end and the reason I do it is when you swim fly in a lane that is crowded this arm gets fouled up. Why would you teach something to foul up your athletes? Take more time – change the environment and have the kids double circle and I think you are better to do like 75’s and 50’s if you are going to double circle, but that is just my opinion.
I really, really think that the fly should be swum with ease – easy speed – really good rotation and floating and all of that. Twelve 125’s on the 1:30 — this is sort of like one of my favorite sets and I do it three different ways. A. it says rotate to 50 – let me explain it – if we are doing twelve 125’s on 1:30 or if you are doing – if you see under middle distance they are doing eleven 125’s on a 1:40 and my sprinters would probably be doing like nine on 1:55. I think it is important that when you set up your practices you create enough rest between swims – so if you set the practice to the better kids only then you really hurt the next couple of levels down, so when I design a practice off of Hy-Tek I design with the best athletes in the pool. I have never ever designed to the middle group because that brings the best down and I don’t believe in that, but I also don’t believe that the middle group – they are not ready for the best times and you cheat them out of the necessary rest so you have to spin your practice down. That is just my thinking and I know some coaches will have everyone do twelve 100’s on the 1:10 and so 80% of your team can hardly even do it on the 1:10 so they slop through and then the real good kids are getting 12-14 seconds rest between swims and you are really hurting the other 80% of your team.
Three different ways we do the dropping out IM’s. You rotate to 50 so the first one you go 50 fly, 25 back, breast and free. Then the second one you go 25 fly, 50 back, 25 breast, free and the third one the 50 would be breaststroke. I do sometimes train out of sequential order, but I normally train in a sequential order. If you are really a good backstroker and I say keep the 50 at prime you will always do your twelve 125’s on the 1:30 IMs , 25 fly, 50 back, 25 breast, 25 free and then you will never change that 50 so that set you are overworking their prime stroke. The third way I do it is least efficient stroke 50 – don’t tell a 9th grader they are really a bad breaststroker – don’t tell them that. Tell them it is their least efficient stroke and we do least efficient practices – some days where the main set will be 28 minutes of their least efficient stroke and I have the rest interval set up that they have adequate rest and some days I will say to a kid – green light it. John will go to whatever lane he can handle the send-offs and he will green light which means he will be allowed to do any stroke patterns and stroke drills he likes and that is giving ownership back to John. So, if we are going least efficient strike IMs I probably wouldn’t have him on the twelve 125’s on the 1:30. I probably would have him twelve 125’s on the 1:35 because they are doing least efficient stroke and that is the prime.
We also do it in a distance of 250 and 500. One 1600 by 1,000 IM’s – 250 fly, back, breast, free, okay? Columbus day 1985 – that was our set. Tomorrow – it is 14,000 in our 48 yard 11 pool and this is what I am going to say tomorrow when I get there. We had a great clinic – learned some new stuff and we are going to do some of this new stuff and let’s do this new stuff and then and the kids will not see this practice. We did this set 14 days ago – we went 14,000. Tomorrow we are going to go 14,000 and I am going to say to the kids – I have times of 12 kids 14 days ago. If we can average 30 seconds improvement from the 12 kids we will never do that swim the rest of the season and I guarantee you all 12 will go 30 seconds faster because they don’t want to do it. Then I cycle down – after we did the 16,000 28 days later – we went 13,000, then 10, then 7, then 4, then 1 and I really think that was the reason why Wharton broke the American record on that set on Columbus Day. Why did I pick Columbus day? We didn’t have school, number 1. And number 2 – I told them Columbus went a hell of a long way in a big boat – a really big boat for that time with no compass or cell phone AND he went from Spain to the United States and you are only a 16 year old or a 15 year old at the time, but you are going to go from the United States to Spain and represent US at the Worlds in Madrid.
Madrid was my greatest international trip because I walked every day with the greatest coach ever – George Haines and I had ten ASCA Clinics in one walk every day, so Wharton believed in this set. He really believed me – I don’t know why, but he did and at the 11,000 mark, Wharton put his head up and he was swimming backstroke and he said – I am sorry – I miscounted doing that 1,000 and I am thinking, boy do I have a kid that is really focused. He went a 150 backstroke when he was doing – at the 10-11,000 mark and he realized it, but now he was in breaststroke and he knew if he broke stroke I would go nuts. I don’t want kids to break stroke, but he knew that he could come back and do the thousand, the 100 backstroke after 10,900 meters. I want kids to do things right and I was taking every split and I explained to him afterwards. You swam in liquid – I walked 16,000 meters on concrete – I am more fatigued than you and I was timing 40 different kids and getting every one of your hundred splits. He believed me.
Bill Rose talked about it yesterday. I don’t know why some kids really believe you more than others, but I did another set – I love 100 IMs – long course – short course and the way I do it is I want the kids to have 10 seconds rest so in the beginning of the season let’s say we are doing ten 100 IM’s at G.A. in a 25 yard pool and I want the kids to average 10 second rests between each one so they may start out the first time and they may go 1:14’s for rest so their sendoff would be on the 1:25. Then I get really particular – the next time we will do the set – I may – if they average 1:14’s and the sendoff was 1:25 – I told them they had a lot of rest – an extra second. So, then the next time we do the set we will do ten 100 IM’s on the 1:18 or 1:22 – really challenge the kids when you manipulate the sendoffs – don’t always send the kids off on the 0 and 5. The only reason I put it in the Hy-Tek like this, this time, was because I didn’t want to – on Sunday morning October 3 – I didn’t feel like thinking, but I do a lot of sendoffs where we will do four 25’s on the 17 and you have to have a 4 second rest. Then I will do a couple weeks later – four 25’s on the 16 and you have to have a 4 second rest and so I am just tweaking the clock and the sendoffs a little bit, but what the kids do and you hear it from them years later – Shoulberg the only reason I went second – I could never figure out your sendoffs so I went second and the guy that was the leader was the only bright guy in the lane so I always went behind him. I knew that – I knew that, but he didn’t know I knew it so again, I am always playing with different combinations.
This is a set – I love this set. You do a 400 IM on the 5:25. You do six 50’s on the 45 going to two strokes. Again, I am always working two strokes or more. Then I go a 300 IM on the 3:55 – 75 of each stroke and then I do six 75’s on the 1:15 fly kick on your back – 30 feet under water – fly kick. Then we come into four 200 IM’s on the 2:55 – the oddest technique – the evenest race, but look over here – this is what I like about Hy-Tek – it gives me all the different paces and this young girl who I am coaching right now, who I am really excited about – Alicia – when the kids don’t see the practice – I just announce it – all Alicia asks me is – what is going to be the pace for 100 so then in her mind she knows if it is a 1:12, 1:18, 1:22 – she knows that I want at least 10 seconds rest between each hundred so she can sort of mathematically figure out how fast to go, but I think it is fun to challenge kids and I think it is fun to have different sendoffs and I think it is really important – if you are going to do ten 100’s on the 1:20 – don’t keep it at the 1:20 all year long – go to 1:18 – go to 1:16 – go to 1:15 – go to 1:13 or whatever.
Wharton’s main set going into the World National Championship was twelve 100 IM’s, long course on the 1:12 and he averaged 1:02’s – that is fast. That is really fast swimming and when we do 100 IM’s long course you don’t make your transition at the 21 meter mark, go fly to back – you make it at the 25 meter mark so if I see a kid that is not a good breaststroker – they will go from back to breast and they are going 100 IM and at the 19 meter mark they start swimming freestyle – oh-oh-oh, start the set over – it is discipline. The other thing I do a lot of when we are going long course – 100 meters – we will go six off the wall, 30 seconds – get to the middle – six in the center – that way I work the transitional turns. If you always do 100 IM’s long course starting on the wall you never work the transitional turns. I stole this set from Summer Sanders’ coach – three 800’s on 11:05. #1 they can do it mix – they can do it any way they want. #2 it is very seldom that I do it – this pattern – they will do it reverse IM order so they go 200 free, then breast, then back and end up on fly and then #3 they got to stand up and they got to dive and they got to go really, really fast. I did this set because I really expected that last 800 to be faster than 12-15 days before and I can manipulate that and so can you. If you want your kids to really have a good result in a test set – what you need to do is you need to manipulate it a little bit. I want Marty to leave practice on Friday really happy because he swam so fast in my one little test set so Wednesday/Thursday – how is life ? I would pull him out of the water – how is school? – he is wondering – what the hell is he asking me all these questions for on Wednesday. Thursday I pull him out of the pool – Marty – how are we doing – how are we doing? you know, you told me something yesterday that I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about what you told me and again – I am giving him a little bit of rest and then Friday we do a test set and freaking Marty out swims everyone and I know that little rest I gave Marty in our chit-chats will allow him to go fast at the end of the season and so I am always doing that. I am always playing around and trying to figure out how to get kids to go fast at the end of the season because that is why we coach. We want to have improvement so they come back to pick the easiest event to improve in – it is called the 400 IM –
I would never pick the 50. I think sprinters work really hard and my kids that have been really successful sprinters work really hard – differently than my grinders. My kids that come in every day and grind it out – they are just in a certain mind state and I don’t want to change the sprinter’s mind state, but I do some pretty neat stuff with sprinters on land that I know why they can’t swim very fast some days.
We come down to the next set: four 100’s on the 1:20 IM – six 50’s on the 45 least efficient stroke and then the 1000 on the 12:55 by 200 IM’s and then six 100’s on the 1:45 – least efficient stroke where they will go the first 25 all out race – then they will go 50 technique and their last 25 will be all out race and then they will go one 400 on the 5:55 within 12 seconds of their lifetime best, but that is really deceiving – it is lifetime – within 12 seconds of lifetime best of practice time – not shaved time. The one trait that I’ve learned from my great swimmers – they really know their practice times and they know how they perform in training and I try not to use the word workout – it is practice or training, but they really know. If I request a really good effort and I am not going to tear them down if they don’t make that effort – what I am going to do is the next practice is soften up the practice. If kids are – if the majority of kids can’t be within 12 seconds of their lifetime practice time – your job is to know what they are doing. If you teach any subject in a school you probably have a method of grading the students so they are used to being graded. I prefer they self-grade themselves. I self-grade every athlete, but I want my athletes to know their practice times.
I think that is important and if I know that three weeks ago Mary went that last 400 IM on the 5:55 and she went 5:08 and she has been doing a really good job. When I go to do a set similar to this – my sets have never been the same ever. I never have ever repeated a success – I call these rotating sets success drills so I get a feel that Mary is doing a really good job in training and I know she needs a little boost so the day before I do a test set it is not a recovery day. We will do some fast swimming every day – the first day of training – the first day of training we do something very fast – certainly it is not with paddles and bands. It may be with drills. The second day of training is one more day closer to taper and I tell the kids, hey – you are one more day closer to the big meet and five days later and whatever so if I want the team to swim really well on this little success drill I will make sure that the day before or whatever they get the proper amount of rest.
People talk about recovery – recovery is really important in planning your training. You have to have a 6th sense – if the kids are getting enough rest and the easiest way to do it – in my opinion – is timed 25’s. so, if we are doing six 500 IM’s where you go 125 fly, back, breast, free and we are doing them on a pretty good standard – I never time their total time. I am timing 25’s and so I have a feeling that you should be holding 17 seconds in backstroke and today you are holding 16.8 – I get excited and I will ask you after the set – why did you go so fast in backstroke? That is my job to know the kid’s 25 sendoffs. It is their job to know the total time sendoff, but that is just, you know, that is just the way I think. I also think it is important that you let the kids – once they learn certain drills and you feel comfortable with those certain drills.
We have a core belief that in fly and breast – the hips are really critical and we feel that the chest goes forward and the head is a pendulum, but you didn’t get that yesterday because of the environment that ASCA put us all in so I feel bad, but again – I think it is really, really important that you challenge your athletes – you work all four strokes – you incorporate stroke drills in the actual training. You are always changing speeds and I will just go to one little thing that I do and I was highly criticized of this coaching by a really good coach – in 1987 we are in Brisbane and this coach and I had three kids on that Pan-Pac team and I had five kids make the PanAm teams in ’87. I am happy. I got 8 kids representing the United States – Pan-Pac or Pan-Am’s – I am a pretty happy guy and this is what we do when we go to a meet. It is ……like training. It is older than me. It is older than Dave. It is older than – I had better be careful – Forbes – one of my heroes and so we go to the Nationals – we do the same drills. I say to the kids if you need to go 3000 or 1800 or 2700 – do your drills – do you …..like training – so speed play – that is your warm-up. Then, 22 minutes before you are to swim – I want you to go into – the better facilities have an actual place to train – a separate warm-up pool. Our high school championships we have a diving well – it is probably 15 yards by 10 yards – yeah – super 500 – we do a super 500 every day – super 500 is real simple – it forces me to make sure that my kids did fast swimming every day and this is how it goes: it is broken up into five 100’s. The first 100 is 25 on the 30, 25 on the 30, a 50 on the 60. the second 100 is a 75 on the 90, a 25 on the 30. the third 100 is a 50 on a minute, a 50 on the minute. The fourth 100 is a 25 on the 30, a 75 on the 90. the last 100 is a 50 on the minute, a 25 on the 30, 25 on the 30. Why do I do that? The base is 30 seconds for 25 yards. That is easy to figure out. I want my athletes every day to do something fast and so about 22 minutes before they race at Nationals – they do a super 500 about an 80-85% effort and now they are ready to go. They have had this ……like easy – changing speeds where they will go 18 stroke cycles of technique. They will do 12 stroke cycles of build. Six stroke cycles of race until you feel go and I watched Thomas Darney do that type of swimming in Madrid. Thomas Darning was the last person out of warm-up every day in Madrid. Michael Gross was almost behind him. His coach – a very famous coach – came up to me in ’87 and said you do not warm your kids up right. You are not timing 50’s, you are not doing pace 100’s.
Practice is more important to me than the meet. I always want to go to practice. I don’t know if I always want to go to the meet so I don’t go to many meets and my kids don’t go to many meets – they are kids. They take two overnight meets in the winter season. A local meet and Nationals – I’m sorry – and high school championships – so it is three. In the summertime they take one and nationals. If you can’t analyze your athletes on a daily basis in front of you and you have to spend all this freaking money to go to these hotels – drive – whatever – whatever – I can set an environment in a practice where it is conducive to fast swimming at the end. I have been married to one wife for 46 years and one of the reasons is I don’t go away that often. She sees me just enough she says. I am walking this morning with Bob Steele and it is 6:14 here – pick up the phone – good morning – that is all I said – she said you woke me up. I said, well, I am sorry I woke you up and she said you woke me up last night at 11:30 – ah 12:30. I forget we are an hour different and I came back from dinner and I watched the tape and I forgot to call my wife – and I will never, never go to sleep without calling her, but it is good morning – that is all I need, but I do not want to be on the road every fourth weekend in a hotel. That is the last thing I want to do. I have only been to one Junior Nationals – 1978 – Memphis, Tennessee – I went to Nationals, I went to Junior Nationals and I looked at the calendar and said if I ever do that again – winter or summer – that is one month away from my family – that is 1/12 of the year for freaking meets and why do you have assistants?
I will tell you some of the names of my assistants: Jack Farley is a pretty darn good coach at the NCAA’S and the Olympic level. I send him off to meets. I trusted him. Chris Martin – send him off to meets. He went to a Junior Nationals and he lost all the plane tickets – all the plane tickets and we had a woman manager support group type and she went up to the guy and said look, Chris lost all the tickets, but I know you can make this work and she handed him a hundred bucks and the kids all got on the plane and Chris said, I would have done anything after she did that. She was the nicest thing I ever met, Chief, you would have killed me if you would have had to pay for extra tickets going home, but I have had wonderful, wonderful, assistant coaches who I allow to coach and this is what I tell them. Any parents at the meet and they question your picking of the relays – tell them Shoulberg picked it because they know they won’t call me. So I allow my assistant coaches to make major decisions and I think that helps me more than anyone, so again, I really believe in the IM training and I believe in all this stuff – it has been pretty successful for a local guy who stayed in this whole area within two miles and never wanted to go beyond my community and I decided after 11 years of Y coaching I wanted to coach in a school environment. I wanted to teach little kids, I wanted to coach bigger kids and I wanted to have a feel for their everyday life and that is why I support NISCA so much. It has given me the opportunity to work with kids all day long so if you are a NISCA coach you have an advantage. If you are a club coach and you are forced by your board to do this and that – don’t forget they are students first – not swimmers.
So, are there any questions? Yes, the question is how do I select the back to breaststroke turns – I have this really good young girl who went 2 minutes in the 200 IM this past year and Erika Hansen was working with her all summer on you know, this crazy turn that everyone gets DQ’D on – in United States Swimming they get DQ’D on – it is more lenient in high school so I have always taught the back to breast sort of like a bucket turn and because I am an IM 400 coach first – I really think that intake of air is critical so when you are doing the back to breast they just sort of sit on their hinny and spin and then go. The other thing I do on breaststroke to free – I teach the kids to set up as they are coming into the wall to go into free – make sure you really explode exhale prior to touching the pad or to the turn wall so that when you turn from breast to free you take a really good inhale and you will see a lot of my kids will be really good from breast to free. I think we spend maybe a little bit too much time Bill, with back to breast because we all know it is critical. I spend an equal amount of time – breast to free because I think that breast to free turn in the IM to really bring great success so as you are going in that last stroke cycle to touch Marty’s head, you are also exploding exhaling and then you just come off that wall and you take in lots of good air. The other thing I think helps our breaststrokers in the IM – breast to free – we do a lot of double, triple pull-out breaststroke turns, but I know the new turn where the kids really reach back is the fastest and I know high school meets they sort of like do anything, but United States Swimming and I want my kids to have an opportunity to go beyond. I want them to reach – to go out of my area and race kids at Seniors or race kids in Japan – I really want them to do that so I teach them the FINA interpretation of the turns. I know years ago I suggested and I got really shot down – why don’t we have one freaking set of rules inside the rectangle called the pool? Just teach one – I don’t care – just do one and now different organizations can support new friends, but in basketball I think if you are behind that 3 point line in high school it is 3 points. Now I know that in NBA it is farther back – how many kids go to the NBA? But, we all swim in a pool and we have so many different rules – it always worries me so I teach the rule that will protect them in NISCA Swimming, but will make sure they are safe in FINA Swimming.
Well, I really appreciate the time that you allowed for me and I just love high school swimming. Thanks.