Development of Ed Moses by Pete Morgan (1999)


Published


Hi. While we’re working on that, let me just say thanks to Pat and thanks to John for inviting me to come to the house and share a really fun story with you guys. I always call the period from summer nationals in our schedule to our first training in September our Human Being period, and so named because for us coaches to see the light of day come through our bedroom window before we roll out butts out of bed, that is a very special period. I know it’s special to me, so I thank you for letting me intrude on your human being period, because most of you are on somewhat of the same schedule.

 

We are set up today to go over a really fun story. I think for those of you and so many people who stood up in the audience who were first to their ASCA clinic here, it doesn’t matter whether your charge of the season coming up is going to be in developmental 8 and under swimming, your first introduction to swimming, or whether you are amongst the most elite of college coaches and used to bringing in a super talent and taking it to an even higher level.

 

When you have a story like Ed Moses, you can relate to your personal coaching experiences of as an 8 and under, taking a learn-to-swim kid that could make it through a 25 of a really brutal stroke, and by the end of the season, they are on top of the world and can command the stroke, go breathing rhythms that are better, or for you lucky college guys, not that you think recruiting is such a fun aspect of your sport, but you girls and guys who do the recruiting in college know the joy of taking a no-name recruit and taking that recruit through a season or two to the point where they are then a known swimmer at a national level, and the joy of taking part in that athlete’s development. It doesn’t have to be an Ed Moses, as you will see, that goes from a fairly casual, although fast, high school swimmer background and no-year-round background, and in a period of twenty-two months, becomes the world’s fastest hundred-meter breaststroker in 1999. It can be a 500 hundred freestyle in yards that comes to Division 1 program for men’s college swimming, and he brings a 4:50 time in yards to the table, but he has only been training once a day and at that, maybe 5,000 a day, and then you take him into 4:20 land and this is the story. And so, if I can, with the presentation today, help you guys to identify with Ed and open up some doors on how you might take guys like Ed to a higher level, then I think we’ve done our job.

 

All right, for those of you who don’t know Ed Moses or what he is all about, what I thought we’d do is, with Eric’s help, we are going to put a face on Ed for you. When the music dub comes in, know this: that when Ed first met me, countrified music was not part of his listening, and we  use country music to focus on some aspects of his swims. I usually dub in country music over his swims, and it helps us both when we’re doing this to focus on….. The new Pan Am Games record for Ed Moses. Here’s a look at just how close it actually was.

Moses only started swimming year-round just two years….. take that back to the beginning….. Folks in the back, come on in and have a seat. We’re getting a little technical start-up here to put a face on Ed. I think in the back, some copies are going to be made available of the notes that I had, and if you would, the word is please just take one page of each, because if you take more than one page, we are going to run out of the handouts. And so that’s in the back, and those of you who want to take advantage of this time while we’re setting this up, can take those notes and follow along. Give out those handouts, go ahead and stand up there, but up on the screen we’ll put a little face to Ed for a second……

 

Here’s a look at just how close it actually was. Moses only started swimming year-round just two years ago. This is his biggest accomplishment to date, and he becomes the second fastest American at the 100 meter breaststroke behind 1996 Olympian Jeremy Lynn. Here at the Pan Am Games, he is going through a… it’s going to allow me to keep my goals in focus for next year at Sydney, and I am going to be able to train hard and…..(Recording of “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” by John Denver)…. Boy, did he love this the first time we did it. (Music continues)….. All right, I think that sometimes it helps when you’re talking about an athlete to have that image, and what I’m going to do over the next hour with you is take you through some of the notes that I have provided….. you can refer to those as we go along, but I’m going to focus mostly on Ed’s development, and the considerations of training plan management, and I think that that’s going to be critically important when we step back from this story because training management is going to be a big emphasis of what I am going to talk about.

 

The fact that Ed swims breaststroke is going to be almost incidental to this presentation because this is not going to be a talk about the techniques of breaststroke per se, although I will share with you some of the training that we do with Ed, and when John asked me to do this, the first thing I considered was, all right, what can I bring to the table for you all that would be meaningful and what do I have to research Ed’s background. Well, I am going to show you right here something that I think is a valuable tool for all of you, whether you are starting out or not. This is a teacher’s plan book, or grade book, and it’s not paper on the outside cover, so it’s lasted me through five seasons, and I’ve gone through two of these since I went to this system of recording. So I had two sources historically of bringing Ed’s training to you, and one of them is here, and this is five seasons worth of attendance and notes on training. The second source is I use a computer program to track my training practices, so I use those two sources to bring together some notes for you.

 

Now, this is an awesome tool, coaches, no matter what level you are. The kids will frequently come to me in training and say, O.K., let’s go to the book. And so we’ll open up the book and maybe we’re on a challenge series, and can be a test at, you know, 15 100’s on a given sendoff, and find out what you did in November last year on the same set… perfect. Open it up. O.K., John, here’s what we did. On this case, Ed, here’s what we did. And what it does is it helps set the table for the current challenge of the day, and this is an invaluable tool that sticks with me every single practice that we do.

 

So, those two sources brought together to bring you this presentation, and I am happy to share ideas on the idea of cataloging your workouts in computer. I find that a little bit less of a useful tool for me because I don’t have the habit of going back into my program plan and editing everything that I changed during a deck session. So when I come back to you and I give you in my notes the workout yardage parameters, those are fairly rough recollections of what I adjusted Ed’s workload to, and I was pretty amazed at how little he did, but you will also be amazed at how much he is doing now, and I framed that in twenty-two months. So you can kind of follow along the notes.

 

Eric’s helped me put this schematic on the board on the yard development, and you can kind of refer to that as I go through a little historical development of that. He began swimming in various summer leagues as a youngster, and his dad’s Air Force, and they were up in New Jersey, and he had a summer league experience as an 8 and under that was real positive. He typically took that positive experience and decided to jump into the year-round pool, and he did that with the Fort Ix Aqua Devils. They have since been renamed to New Jersey… anybody from New Jersey help me with that history?… but it’s a different name now. I asked Ed if he could share with me the name of some of his age-group coaches so we could give them credit in the venue, and he couldn’t recall their names, but maybe some coaches are out there that see Ed’s name now and are real proud that they had a stake in getting him going.

 

It didn’t take too long for him to show some pretty good talent in breaststroke swimming. As a ten-year-old, one year after his third year-round swimming, he made the zone team in the East for the mid-Atlantic LSC All Stars, and he placed third in 50-yard breaststroke going 35.54, fifth in the 100 yard breaststroke that year, going a 118.07. Well, typical of these guys and girls at this age, racing is really one of the most fun aspects of the sport, and he had developed soccer to a pretty high age-group level, and had been introduced through a friend of his Dad’s to the sport of golf.

 

At age 11, preferring to spend his time more in those loves, he left swimming, and really pursued select soccer and traveling around the East Coast with that, and kept at it for his golf game. So, by the time he was going to enter into ninth grade, Ed was moved with his family to duty station in Burke, Virginia, right in my back yard, but I didn’t know him yet.

 

All right… he is still not swimming year round, and although he wants to take his skills and he joins the high school team as a ninth-grader, and he posts a yards best that year of 1 minute 6 seconds. Pretty good. He’s fourteen years old, 1.06 in yards. Second year, he posts a 1.02, and I still really don’t know Ed. I’m sure that when I reviewed some of the high school results I ran across his name, but nothing rang a bell. He attended a high school called Lake Barrack High School, right in our back yard. I had several of my kids in Corral Burke with him on the team as teammates, but they weren’t impressed enough with the progress he was making to say something as they did in his next year, his junior year. In that year, I had a couple of good breaststrokers at the Junior National level who swam pretty decently in season, and you know, typical for our group, we bring all our senior groups in to train and a long course pool on Saturday mornings, and with our high school winter schedule, the high school dual meets are on Friday night. So I always quizzed the kids, O.K. how’d you do, how’d you do, how’d you do? And one of my breaststrokers who takes great pride in racing when well rested was, Ah, this guy named Moses beat me.

 

Well, that was probably the first time I had really clicked with the name. I said, oh? O.K. And they were going like 1.01s, for yards breaststroke at that time, in season. And then comes the end of the season, and I hear the name again, and I went to see that region meet, and granted, I have a swimmer. My breaststroker and Ed are side by side, and Ed puts up a 58.9 on the board and wins our northern Virginia region in yards 100 breast. Forget it! And so, you know, that got my attention, and he swims for Lake Barrack, but he doesn’t swim for a year-round team. That really got my attention, and I had an opportunity swimming side by side… only kidding. This will be interesting.

 

So the kids picked up on his personality and said, Pete, you got to meet this guy, he’s just fun. And I didn’t get a chance to meet him until the following summer. This is now the summer of 1997, and each year I run a benefit swim meet for Special Olympics, and the way I’ve set it up, is I invite all the better summer league swimmers to apply for a spot in the meet, and we swim a long course meet, and then afterward a 50 meter pool. So Ed, on the heels of that 58.9, decided he wanted to swim summer league that year, and he was putting up low 30s for diving off Coppin’s stone in 25 meter pools… pretty good for a breaststroke, and so he wins the top spot going into my benefit meet. I run the meet, and I’m watching it, I’m kind of announcing it, and it was kind of fun. He puts a 32 flat going out in his first long course experience, probably since he was 11, and brings it back in a very pitiful 38, and my guys chasing him down, but Ed won 110, congratulated him, and that was our first chance to really meet each other, and I could tell just by the look in his eyes and the grip on my hand that this guy has got character. We promised each other to follow up. He acknowledged that the kids have been pushing him to try to get him involved in swimming, and he indicated that that would probably be something he was interested in doing, too.

 

So flash another couple of weeks, I was playing one of my three or four rounds of golf a year… I was in my human being period, and there’s Ed Moses behind the starter, and he’s working a summer job at a golf course. He smiles and says, how are you, O.K., let’s sit down. So we sat down in September, finally, right before the season begins, and he says that I’m a good golfer, I’m captain of my high school team, it’s the fall season, and here’s what I’d like to do. I want to get through my season, I want to do it up proud, but then I know that I can’t take my 6 handicap and play at a real high level at the college level of this game, and so I want to give swimming a shot. I said, Terrific. No strings, we just left it at that. But here’s the first impression that he made on me that has stuck with me. He would call me, and we hardly knew each other. He would call me about every two weeks during the golf season. Hey, Pete, this is Ed, and I just wanted to tell you that I’m thinking about you, I’m playing pretty well, but I don’t think I’ll make States the way things are playing out. Just fixer up. O.K., then he calls me, O.K. I’m going to regions and as soon as I finish, I’m coming to you.

 

Well, he had a rainy day before his region tournament. Team and swam, and he made it through about 1500 yards, and I remember first impression was, Wow… I don’t mean good Wow. How’d that guy go 58.9? You know, no swimming fitness at all, and I think.. .I don’t know what… I never talked about that first experience with him, but the following weekend he wraps up his golf season, and now he becomes a…. on October 20th, and I can pinpoint it because the green book says so.

 

The first couple of weeks were pretty rough, you know that Wow didn’t change much. Here were some of my impressions that I recorded. He had really struggled with his balancing points. He was what we would characterize as a sinker, and Jonty Skinner’s probably not here in the audience, but when Jonty was doing some buoyancy tests last spring, we were at a Pan Am assembly at Colorado Springs, and he would have the kids on the Pan Am team do this buoyancy thing where they were pressed down horizontal on the floor of about 8 feet, and then a video would record first of all what’s the first position of their body to move, and how long it would take them to break the surface. Well, about a minute later, they were afraid he was going to die, and he had come up off the floor about 2 inches, and said O.K. he’s a sinker, we’ve established that.

And you can see this as a coach in his first couple of weeks. Yea, low hip position, really plows through the water. When he swam breaststroke, he took advantage of his power at that time, upper body, and he would swim way too vertical, and when we finally started doing a little bit of speed issue with the breaststroke, I could tell he had some instincts at pushing his balancing point further forward, and it heavily revealed his great weakness at that point: his legs, naturally. His legs would not support distance per stroke, so therefore, he’d need that pull real fast. And in those days, in his first few weeks, he went on to record distance per stroke stuff, he was typically at what we’d characterize as easy breaststrokes swimming in a yards pool, about 10 strokes per 25. Now, compare the progress that he makes.

 

Now, he swims virtually everything that we do in a yards pool that is not fairly maximal effort in six strokes or less, and so his distance per stroke and stroke efficiency and learning to balance his body position along with everything that we have done, really has enabled him to do some of these fun things that we’re doing.

 

O.K., so now we’re in the end of the third week of his yards jump into the pool, and we go to Richmond, Virginia and we had set up a plan that really wasn’t going to be concerned with racing, and one of the strengths that Ed carries today is that he will be a student of the sport. Study and buy the plan, and the plan basically was this: that we would attend no morning workouts. Six sessions would be our schedule that we would try to follow. No morning workouts with the exception of Saturday morning.

 

So he was just coming from 3-6 every day, and obviously in the beginning, he wasn’t taking advantage of the full three hours. Furthermore, before we made huge biomechanical stuff, I would take a couple of weeks to really evaluate where he was and just offer some suggestions. Finally, he grasped the idea, and I think that this is critically important. He grasped the idea that it was O.K. to allow himself to  get into condition without competing with the group. Very important point.

 

As an example, mid-October, you can imagine that our aerobic development at that point, you know, for the kids that are in condition, you know, would handle, let’s say 6 times 500 yards freestyle with a 112 base, therefore they are going on 6 minutes. 2500 yards set, and I would say to Ed, O.K., you get a set like this, son, you try to swim 500 yards in a set that’s 2500 yards long like that, you’re going to be dead in the water after 300 yards, trying to keep that tempo. So instead, let’s learn how to take our heart rate. We established heart rate 22 as an easy aerobic development tempo for his heart, and I said I want you to get about 20 seconds rest. If they are doing 500 yards getting 20 seconds resting under 6 minutes, you do 300, I don’t care. But just time it out even if you have to turn around on that last 50 to get your 10 or 20 15 seconds rest and your heart rate’s at 22, great.

Now, it took him a couple of weeks not to race the group, and he got very tired and, you know, we kept his yardage low. But then he finally got it, and the kids forgave him that period like most good athletes would not forgive others who are in good shape, and they allowed Ed to do his aerobic development properly. And Ed bought it. He knew that that was in his best interest, yet his instincts were RACE, RACE, come on.

And so, now we were at three weeks, and we’re doing our first racing. Boy, he was in heaven, because he remembered back to that 11-year old experience. This is what he lived for. All right, so we go to Richmond, Virginia, and we’re swimming the Nova team, a very fine team in Richmond, that had just opened their own pool, it was a 25 yard by 25 meter, and we’re swimming a tri-meet with Nova, and NCAC, North Carolina Aquatic Club. Ed gets up there in the 100 yard breaststroke and he’s like a bull… Come on, lemme go, lemme go. And it caught our eye. You know, he goes 27 out, you know, and just blistered the first 50, and then struggled just like he had in that summer league experience, you know, bringing the 110 home in 38. He comes back home with a struggle. Nevertheless, he goes 59.1. You see that on the 8th of November, a 59.07. Now his life … 58.9.

O.K., so all the coaches said, wow, that was pretty impressive. You know, a guy at about 13 yard pull out and you know, good power off the block. All right, so here we are and his aerobic development continues. A couple of weeks after that, oh by the way, he went 217, pretty ugly 200 yards breaststroke, and you know, front-loaded out to the tune of about a double 0117. Hello, Ed.

All right, so though we came off that, and we said all right, what are we going to do. There is some natural racing instincts that have to get some refinement from the get-go. And we started talking about the relationship that his legs would play in the stroke and how that would have to play catch-up so that he could take his stoke to a higher level at lower stroke counts. And he did just that.

Then, five weeks later, even though a lot of our group at an invitational meet that we run is fairly well rested, for him he was relatively unrested. You know, he had a couple of those weeks of 6 practices and, you know, we had some good practices in there, but his mental side just took over when he knew he was going to get in a more exciting racing pool, deeper water, and he showed some good progress going 57.17 in a 100 yards breaststroke. Now, this is at month 2, end of month 2 of training. He goes 57.17, blows away his best time by a second and a half from the previous year, and made good progress in his 200 yards on working his body position and goes 210.45.

Very important point, coaches, now the training plan has to now involve management because any coach that sees this progress after two months, could have come to the conclusion, Wow, this 100, particularly, is going to develop very fast, so how am I going to incorporate that development of the 100, which is, you know, skewed much faster than his development of his sport, so that his coming out party is justified with a little bit more swimming. How’s that translate? I was afraid that he was going to make his yards, 100 breaststroke cut, to a senior national level of the United States, and his 200 wouldn’t even be at the junior national level, and he would be at a disadvantage as a result. Management. Critical. So what did we do?

I sat down with him, and I told him that I wanted the rest of his sport to play catch up now. So I kept him tired for his dual meets in high school, which typically really get rolling for us in January. That wasn’t too difficult to keep him tired, and he understood the bargain, you know, because he was throwing some 57s in little throw-away dual meets in the 100 breaststroke. So then it became necessary to limit his opportunities to make that cut so that I could let his sport play catch up. And we manipulated those opportunities.

For example, as we worked our way through the season, you will see… Eric, would you put the meters up there for me? We had a late January, I think might be the date, long course meet, and he was pretty tired in this, but it was a good experience for him. On the 24th of January, 1998, he swam a little long course meet that we host in Northern Virginia, and he went 109.8, front-loaded, 239. Boy, if I have the splits for him at 239, he would laugh again, because that was real ugly. But you could tell, he was real powered in late January, and then as we got into the championship series of meets in February, that’s where the manipulation of his training and opportunities had to kick in, so that we could have his coming out part with a little bit more swimming to show off.

Our goal was to swim the senior championships in early March, and bring that 210 to a junior national level, I think was a 208 cut at that time, maybe… 208 probably, and limit his exposure to the 100 yards breaststroke, take away that exciting final swim at our high school region meet that he had won the previous year. And so, what we did is we went into that meet, swam in the trials, and I had him mentally try to negative split the race. So he went like a 57.0, or 57.1 in high school in the morning, scratched finals, swam his relays for the team, and then we lined up in March and true to our plan, he takes a real long stroke and low stroke count to a 207 in yards 200, makes his junior cut.

So, we’re facing the meet at Pat’s pool in Mecklenburg, very excited that at least now I can bring the 100 and the 200 for this young man to his coming out party. Let me back up. All of you, when you’re doing your training plan and you have to manage your training plan need to call on you previous experience. My experience that I called on in this training manipulation, and the plan, was a guy named Mike Schwankle, a very fine breaststroker that I had years before and against all odds, he went nuts at the end of the season, he had just made his junior cut the prior December, and he bust a 57 flat and a 203 in a yards effort and never goes to juniors and goes to Federal Way that year, and he won a 107 and a 224 in meters… I never managed his plan as well, and I always thought, gosh, you know, if I had that same situation arise, I would remember this, and I would manage it better.

Mike landed on his feet fine. His dad came in one day, he was a military gentleman, after his 10-year-old son,  announced that he needed a $110 pair of shoes. Dad said, good, pack your bags, we’ll go get that $110 pair of shoes, and  he took the Schwankle family that summer to Alaska. And there they stay. Mike had to spend his senior year in Alaska. The coach at the time, Chuck Horton, recruited him, and he swam high school that year. That was the only thing they had going where he was in Alaska, and he had a fine collegiate career, although they ended up going, I think 201 and 55 as yards best. But I think that if I had had Mike for that senior year, I would have managed his training, and I remember that story, and you all need to as well. Learn from your experiences of management and take you athletes developmental best interests to heart when you have the opportunity to do just that.

 

Well,  I can’t have a better example that Moses, so we go  to Charlotte, you know, with the opportunity now to swim two swims. Now his, as you’ll see from my plans, he had  a couple of college visits before Charlotte, and the coaches were great, you know, they were saying, yeah, Peter, I hear you, 57 is good. It’s good, Pete. O.K., so he goes to Charlotte, and he looks at his first psych sheet, and this tells you a little mental side of Ed Moses. He sees the psych sheet and he is buried …. two 7s like 35th, 37th, something like that, and he comes to me and he goes I’m a witness. Now, bear in mind that he had gone from 210 in December to 207 in March, and I’m thinking, yeah, good. I’m thinking, great, there’s no way, but I mean, if he even comes close… If he even comes close, it’s going to be as a result of this competitiveness and this desire to be the best.

 

So two days later, he lines up, takes six strokes, goes out in his first 25 six strokes, goes out in a 56 and I thought, well the plan’s come through… the plan is coming through. Thank goodness I gave him this coming out party. He goes 201 in the morning and 200.01 to win that swim at night. And, as you can imagine, when he came back to me, I visited that moment where he came to me with the psych sheet, you know, 37th and declaring himself to be the next junior champion. And we went over that. I said Carry that with you, boy, that was just impressive. And then he goes… he bypasses 55 in yards and he never sees it, goes 54 twice in prelims and finals, and he splits 54 in a real fun relay that we had, so everybody is rubbing off Ed for our men’s team at that meet, and we really had a good showing there and it was really fun.

 

O.K., now management comes back into play. So here we have a young man, he has gone 54 and 200 and you can imagine, you guy, I’m everybody’s best friend. I walk on deck in Minneapolis, I got coaches calling from the stand, Hey Pete, nice tennis shoes, baby. I look up, and you know it’s not a woman’s coach. But who could have forecast that. I mean, when I was calling coaches that year and saying Hey, you gotta keep an eye on this guy, you know, given the background, golfer turned swimmer, 58, coming into season with 57 at Christmas time, O.K. now he goes 54 and he was, you know, he is going to be a player, and this decision to go to nationals, this is critical management, I believe.

 

So very often our athletes shy away from meter swimming if they haven’t had some decent exposure, and we really need to jump right into the pond here, and this was a critical decision that his parents were extremely supportive of. Take him from that wonderful experience in yards that, you know… many would look back and say, boy, we should just end the season there on this high. But I say, we’ve got to throw him into the big pool now. The parents supported the issue, management of the plan. Go to nationals. So we go to Minneapolis, and  I distinctly remember that first warm up in Minneapolis. He gets out of a 50, I mean, just loosen up, 400. Swims a 50 and gets out of this one long pool. You know, we had just flown in, you know, he’s pretty tired from …. you go, it’ll get better. And it did.

 

You know, next day is the 800 day and the strokers get an opportunity to work out the kinks, and he did, and he got a little distance per stroke going, and so then he lines up and he is bringing the 239 to the table, but the 200 in yards, and he goes 2 minutes 22 time, and that was his final, so I think that he might have been 223 in the morning. But, critical first step in his venture in meters because that’s a playing time for a first big opportunity.

 

And then a couple of days later, I think that my notes will indicate on his 100, which was a real fine swim. His morning swim, he took it out in a 29, and he finished fairly slow, and we work these aerobic finish ratios, and I will share with you, we have a very definite plan of race rationing that we developed for this summer, and this is true to his character. He looked at those splits, looked at the way he developed the race, and at night he was almost the same time, like a 103.3. I think that was his morning swim, actually. The 103.32. I think he went 103.36 at night, but he raced it much better. He was out 7/10th slower at the 50 at night, and he had like about a 2 second split differential coming back, and even though his time didn’t change, his ability to manipulate race started showing up right there. And so that was real nice, he placed third in the nationals. That certainly didn’t have our best players because the NCAA season had just finished up. But it was a good jump for him.

 

I think that the critical point is management, you know, and once again bridging from this world class picture to  be to your 8 and under or your 9 and 10, you’re faced with the same decisions. Do they take that real nice age-group championship development, and now do I have him apply for zones, you know, or do I have him go, you know, on a travel trip, or do I let him stand on his accomplishments. Well, you visit that all the time in the development decision in the management of your training plan. But, to have that plan, to have your athletes buy into it, that is a critical part of this whole process, and I would encourage you to come off this talk to visit your notes, your plans, and see where are your opportunities to manage better, and maybe take that opportunity to a new level of plan management.

 

So he comes back, and now he’s a graduating senior to be, and we’re faced with more management because there’s  no question that he’s feeling good about himself, and he’s developed nicely, and so what to do?

 

Well, I had to keep his nose down. He’s a very social guy, as you can imagine, he’s got prom coming up, he’s got graduation, and in our area we live close enough to the beach… it’s almost a ritual, you know, parties, graduate, all night grad party in our area that’s you know, a lock in, you know, to prevent dangerous situations in drinking and such, and then you go right from the lock in and you rest a day and you go to the beach for a week of unsupervised activity. And, so,  I had to have a plan, because I had several graduating this spring of 1998, at a very good level of swimming.

 

So what I did, I’m sitting there developing my plan, actually, at juniors in Charlotte, because I realize that I’ve got all these cats that are going to graduate and I need a good plan. So, I was asking around, and somebody introduced me to Michael Stuart, West Florida. I chatted with him, and got a great little trials and finals meet in the Clearwater/Tampa area the third week in June. So I immediately put that in the plan. I said, O.K., kids, there will be graduation, and I had 13 that year graduating in my training group. And, of the 13, about 5 or 6 of them were at this junior/senior national level. And so, my role is if you do go to the beach week, that’s the end of your season competitively. I’ll train them, but they are not going to swim meets. So the kids bought into the plan. We had this cool deal where several of my kids were going to graduate, go to their all-night party, wake up, well, not wake up, stay up, get on the plane, go to Florida. And that’s what we did.

 

The idea, and the carrot out there was 3 days of trials and finals and then we were going to spend two days in Florida, and we would do a 3 hour workout in the morning which Michael set up space for me to do, and then we would go  to the beach, you know, and we had a blast. We went down, and they rented jet skis, and it was so reinforcing of a great plan… it kept everybody in the fold, and it kept Ed’s nose right where it needed to be, you know, clean and with a lifestyle of training. Critical point. Managing the plan.

 

So, now we’re back, it’s the end of June, we’ve come off   a couple of real good days of fun and training, and we’re looking at Clovis, and if you follow my training plan, you’ll see that he had several weeks where we were finally able  to move into a stepped up plan… we went a few weeks of  9 sessions in the water, and he was hitting his first morning and afternoon. At this time of the year, we’re doing meters in the morning for about two hours 15 minutes, to the tune of 6 or 7,000 meters for him, and then we come back and we do finesse biomechanical race speed stuff in the afternoon. We do that Monday through Thursday, and I give him Friday off, and then we come back for another yards look on Saturday.

So there were 10 opportunities a week, and Ed was, if you follow that log, somewhere in 9 or 10 for several weeks looking at Clovis, and we’re looking at that meet, certainly with some lifetime best times in mind.

 

So I’ll step back. I’ll go with you a little bit on some of the race strategy stuff that we developed. As a training group, we’re looking at some relationships, and what we want to be able to do in practice, is, for example, for a stroker, we want to have them swim into a turn, watch—will start when their hands touch the wall, initiating the touch and turn. So the watch starts there, they’ll swim 50 meters long course, and watch stops on the hand contact at the end of 50. Consistently, one month out the athletes need to show that they can do a time that represents at least the speed of the finish of their shaved 100. Consistently. That’s just the way we train, and we find very good results with using that as a step of indicator. And we’ll also do some dives, and in my 50 meter pool, it’s all coping stone finish, it’s a beautiful training pool because it’s so slow. Shower at one end, 3 1/2 feet, it’s great, you know, you can go from that blue collar pool to the real fine pools and feel like you’re stepping up into it.

 

So, we’ll dive off the coping stone to do some 25 indicators, and what I will do is I will stand at a 25 meter break point, and what they want to do is establish a time where their head breaks the 25 meter plain, the watch stops there… take that time, double it for a breaststroker, add 3 to 3.5 seconds, and if they can consistently hit the time that they need for what we’re working for in the swim, then we know we don’t have to do relatively taxing dive 50’s to establish it can be done. And I can also do like an altitude adjustment, I can do a pool adjustment.

 

You know, for Ed coming into this season, when I wanted him to be under 13 seconds at that 25 meter break point. You know, in our blue collar pool, he struggled to do that and his stroke was pushed artificially too hard. So, typical for him would be a low 13 in the pool, but I knew that when rest kicked in, you know, this was really not going to be an issue.

 

So, the summer before Clovis, though, he was hitting 33s on those touch/turn/finish 50’s, and he was hitting, you know, the high 13s on his 25, so we went into the meet thinking that we weren’t going to really change too much from the spring. We were trying to effect still a 29 front end and see if we couldn’t bring that 32 into the picture on the back end. And, I feel like in hindsight, if you looked at the NBC coverage of the Clovis meet of Ed’s swim, it doesn’t really focus on him, because he placed third. But is showed enough of his cycles… it really looked ugly. He was too vertical, he wasn’t pressing his balance point forward, and he was just trying to power his way through the water.

 

So, he comes in, he goes 102, which was a best time, and he places third. So it’s good, I mean, despite the mistakes, he got through the nervousness and the stakes were higher now, and he gets to the point where he can now play at the international level, being selected for the Pan American Games the following year. His 200 made some progress, he goes 218, pretty ugly, still not being able to manage his leg strength, so I look back at his training plan in hindsight, and we really suffered the dryland training from graduation through that Florida trip, leading up to the Clovis meet. And that was evidence that his legs were not supporting his distance per stroke and even though he made that jump from 222 to 218, that wasn’t a reflection of where he could have been, maybe should have been. It left him real hungry in that event.

 

All right, so we finish up, and now we’ve got the new training plan, and as I had a lot of college coaches in the audience, and those of you who have worked with me… my plan there is to be partners with the college coaches and be an active part of the partnership. Mark Bernadino deserves so much credit in the continued development of Ed during his first year at the University of Virginia, Dino and all the classmates at UVA and so it is so easy to get that rapport going on what we did with Ed, but Mark was well aware of the training limitations that Ed brought to the table. You know, with just the amount of time he had been in the water, and really helped him come along at a continued slow pace.

 

But Ed didn’t want to compromise too much and quickly got into basically a 9 session a week routine with UVA. He would swim Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, and basically there he would lift and do 2-3,000 yards of swimming, and he would swim Monday through Friday in the afternoon and do a weekend workout.

 

We said, go on, take a practice off in the fall and Ed checked off on that and said No thanks. So his development was secure. His mind set was great. The environment was wonderful, and Dino, like, continued to chat at least once a month and Ed got to participate in a little dual meet with the Big 10 All Stars and in late October, early November in Chicago,  I believe, did O.K. there. He swam a Princeton invitational in December, and on yards, unrested, he went 55 and 201, I believe. Some pretty good swims to have a highlighted midseason meet, but he didn’t shave for that, and as the college coaches will tell you, one of the big issues, you know, even with talented kids, it takes a high degree of talent not to rest and make NCAA cuts. So that’s always the rub, you know, how are you going to treat your athletes, you know, who do have the capacity, perhaps, to make some cuts unrested.

 

Well, that was the plan, to give Ed the opportunity there at Princeton without a big rest and shave, and he came close, but no cigar there. So he had to plan his rest for ACC champs, and that was fun for me, because I stayed in good contact with him, and I was at the University of Maryland, and he put some good times up, 153 and 157. He was second in the 100 there, at ACCs and won the 200. Feeling pretty good. So here’s the big test now, because he’s looking… we had already made the decision to go to NCAA… well, not that decision, but to go to nationals after NCAA, and that was a tough.

 

One for the men especially, because that necessitated them flying directly from Indianapolis into Long Island. But again, that was planned management. My feeling, very strongly, was that Ed simply didn’t have enough meters experience, and the more racing he could do—we wanted to take advantage of that. And so we followed up with the plan.

 

He went to NCAA, did well, and improved on that 53 and 157 marginally, and I thought he was O.K. in his swims. ESPN covered it, and I was able to watch his strokes and that was really the first time that I put swims to countrified music, and we slowed down the tape and, you know, we would start with the entry stuff, and, you know, I’d show him last in the water frame by frame and then I would really blast the volume on country boy. So that was one of the things, we’d study tape, you know, take some noted down, and we were fine as Dodge, so he would be in the water faster, lower trajectory, and he was able to accomplish that by the summer time. And he was beginning to show that he was pretty beat up.

 

By the time he got to Long Island, he swam O.K., kind of like Clovis, though, tired by that point, but we were really investigating his window of being able to swim fast. And so he did O.K., 102.2 and wins his first national championship. That was significant in and of itself because again, the management of the athlete… he wins his first national championship, albeit not with the stellar field. We don’t care. He gets in a race and takes that experience notch in his belt, carried it forward.

 

All right, so now he gets home after a spring that college coaches will attest is not always an easy time frame, you know, from the end of NCAA to get him bridged over and Ed did a pretty good job. What he did… we sat down with  a plan, we’d take away the traditional lifting that the rest of the guys did, and we just went medicine balls. And all he did was pick up Mike Bereman’s program, and he did medicine balls four days a week, and the program is about an hour long, and then he would swim, and he was swimming every day except Sunday, and as many sessions as he could get in. He typically got in about 8 sessions through exams.

 

So we get back, planned management again, looking at Winnipeg. What are we going to do with the plan? Well, I want to take this to a new level, and just like all you guys do, you’re looking at the green book, you got to raise the bar up, you got to bring them to an even higher level of performance. And true to Ed’s character, he rose to the occasion where at 10 sessions a week he takes these 10 sessions, we’re working with races that all along the way showed that he was making the progress that he needed to make.

 

So, his summer in a nutshell… last summer… in Richmond in mid-May, in one of those blue collar pools he goes 107 and 229. Three weeks later, in Maryland State he went 105.1 and 224.7, and two weeks after that at Santa Clara he’s 104.3 and was deked in the 200, but he did put up a 220, and then our senior champs he goes 103 and 218 and those were real confidence swims for him because he is going to take this now into Winnipeg. The plan was going to be for two weeks rest. Well, you can call it anything you want, race preparation taper, and we maintained those training sessions all the way up to when he left and incorporated the time that he was going to spend transitioning to Winnipeg. So that’s what he got.

 

What we wanted to see was how long that fitness would last, because we wanted to create such a monster of fitness that he could take his racing and race for a month off the training that he did. Now, in fact, we didn’t investigate the month, but he could have had the opportunity to go to Pan Pacs on the heels of his fine swimming at Winnipeg and then at nationals and we turned that down. That wasn’t in the plan to investigate it fully, and I saw that the rest that he could have following nationals was critical, being the last opportunity to get guilt-free rest prior to getting into his final preparation for Olympic trials next year. He had the opportunity also to take part in the competition that’s going to be here this weekend, and we passed on that for the same reason.

 

All right. How’s he doing with his plan? Just a little tentacle stuff if you will.

 

(Eric, can you throw that race ratio stuff?) So I told you a little bit about what we’re trying to do in practice, indicating where they can be. He indicated all the way through in those 50’s and 25s that the plan for the summer, no question, could be 28 and 32 — 28 out and 32 back, and we were shooting for 17, 18 strokes on the front end, and wanted to see what the stroke cost was on his back end, and in his different looks at the 100 he was anywhere from 21 to 22 strokes coming back. And almost all of them are consistently 28+, 32+. So we feel like the plan fulfilled itself, but also mentally on the back 50, we’ll look at this ratio to get him to keep his body position strong and rely more on his legs.

 

On that second 50, we look at this ratio, what he can do from his touch time to the head, breaking the 25 meter and now we’re at the 75 meter mark on the way back to 100. I want him to be that twice plus one second.

 

So on the morning at nationals at Minneapolis, he was 2Y plus about 1.9. And Rick is standing up with me, I like watching the races in Minneapolis from up top because I can really see where the race is see their bodies, and he made all the adjustments. He is out slower, he went his 2Y plus one exactly and 101, 012, and it was a real superior race for him, particularly under these circumstances of racing Ferrera. So he has got this capacity to make these adjustments. I’m not suggesting to you anything other than this is what we used to create the framework for racing, and it allows me as a coach administrator to see if the athletes are on my path, and Ed makes this a real fun journey.

O.K. Eric, if we can, let’s look at a real fun ending of the season. I’m going to show you a little countrified version of his 100 race at nationals that ends out the season, and then a little ESPN/Canadian coverage of his Winnipeg swim going the 009. So, sequentially, they are not right. The music is first to the 101.2 and that of course happened last in August, but we’ll go the 101.2 first and then the 00 swim at Winnipeg. (Music)

 

I haven’t beaten him at golf yet, but that’s a project, too. I actually used this song for his march out in Minnesota. He is giving thumbs down. We’re looking for 13 1/2 meters under 6 seconds. He was 5.5 on this dive and at about 13 1/2. I tell you, I recall he was about 12.8 going out here, on the way to 28.7. We’re looking for a turn touch to put departure under 1.0. Strokes on the way back of 17. (Applause)

 

(Announcer) So Ed Moses continues his ascent in the world of swimming. We talked about his leg kick… You can see him coming off the wall there… Look at the streamline. He keeps his head down in that locked position looking straight down at the bottom of the pool. Look, he brings his legs, feet, excuse me, all the way up to his buttocks and then just slams outward and then back inward where he finishes his kick so well, points his toes to the back. Right there he sees his toes pointing backward, and look at the front… Throws his head down, and that’s so important. Very early in his career he had where he was putting his head straight down, but now he tucks his chin underneath his chest and throws his head between his arms which gives him a nice streamlined position out front. This guy’s just going to keep getting better and better. Nice reach to the end. You can see how undulating he is to the finish. Boy, I tell you, this guy is so exciting to watch.  National meet record for Ed Moses.

 

Ed, a couple of years ago you were a golfer. Decent golfer. Now you’re the best American breaststroker. How do you explain that?

 

ED: It’s really hard to explain, but I feel it takes a lot of discipline in both sports. They’re both really competitive, and you have to focus in on what you really want to do, and I think that’s how I transferred from a golfer to a swimmer. It’s really the same thing.

 

(Announcer) Such a quick ascent leads to a lot of jealousy amongst your competitors and fellow Americans and all around the world. Is that difficult for you to handle:

 

ED: Well, it was at first, but I feel that I’m working just as hard as anyone else is now, and I’d rather be setting an example and be the role model than everyone’s saying, Man, he came on strong just lately, but I feel that if I keep working hard, I don’t know what I can do.

 

(Back to speaker) I can tell you that I partnered with him on medicine balls and my wrists are still recovering two months later. He does work as hard as anybody I’ve ever trained or seen trained, and that includes some pretty good breaststrokers. This will go off of freeze frame, right into the Pan Ams.

 

(ANNOUNCER): The 100 meter breaststroke finals. Two lengths of the pool in the men’s 100 meter breaststroke. The Canadian is in lane 5, Morgan Navi. And this morning, Ed Moses had a tremendous start and had a half a body length right off the start, but does not have that distance this race right now, so perhaps the pressure is getting to him because he made the other American is moving up on him. He is probably right with him at this point and after the preliminaries, Ed Moses is flying at the half way, was way ahead of everyone else. As far as the lane 3, got the good start, is Ed Moses, currently in second place, the Morgan Navi is off the wall. His quick time is 28.91. That’s a fast time, but Morgan Navi 29.1 is very fast for him going down the lane. He is in a great position… he’s in third right now, he is obviously going for the gold medal, or any medal he can get to plus that Canadian record of 101.9. It’s Ed Moses of the United States in lane 4 with a slight lead on Garret Morris and Morgan Navi of Canada. It’s Ed Moses continuing the lead, just over 5 minutes to go. It is going to be Ed Moses at the wall for the gold. The battle for silver. A tremendous battle for silver at the wall, and it goes to Morris. Navi makes it a dead heat. We have a dead heat in the men’s 100 meter breaststroke for second place. Ed Moses takes the gold.

 

(SPEAKER) Thanks, Eric. O.K., I felt that was kind of fun just to wrap up with a little visual, you know, of how he ended up this 22 months, and folks, I think… what I challenge you to do is, you know, every time we have something really cool like this, you know, somebody that does a Maher-like 200 fly or in this case somebody takes a very humble beginning, and in a short span of 22 months really racks up some eye-opening numbers. But you know that there’s going to be somebody who does it even better. So, if you have the opportunity, if you have that athlete, how are you going to do, and hopefully, a little presentation like this might make that process a little fun because someday, somewhere, there will be an athlete who will be on a faster track than Ed was for 22 months.

 

I want to wrap up just real quickly just offer a couple of little fun things that we do… this is not a talk on breaststroke, but one of the fun things that Ed had with this summer is that we took some paddles, stroke makers that we make for the hands, and in an effort to really work on some flexion and resistance, I fashioned about a month before he came back from UVA some for the feet. I put it on a lot of my IMmers and breaststrokers, and we just tried it and as you can feature, it would be just a task, just from the ankle all the way up to the toe, and we used extra finger tubing just to effect that.

 

And, here’s Ed, and you know, and I was telling him this on the phone, and he said, I can’t wait. So he comes back, we buy ten pairs of stroke makers, he takes it to his little shop at home, and in the period of two days he’s crafted the stroke makers exactly to the angle of his ankle, and he just takes the idea, he owns the idea and takes it one step further. I think that’s testimony to the kinds of stuff that you’re looking at with an athlete at this level. Just wants to make everything better, wants to own and take ownership of everything that we do. He makes my job real easy, makes us all look good, and I’m very blessed to have had a guy like that.

 

What I’d like to do is just entertain your quick questions and then send you guys out for a much needed stretch of your legs. Yes sir?

 

(Question). That’s a good question. The question was what do we do with ankle flexibility? His flexibility was very poor when he came on to the team, and the way we measure it is, we’ll have the athlete kneel down and create a straight line from the knees to the shoulders in that position, putting their feet back, and we’ll take a ruler and we’ll measure their flexion without forced stretching as a starting point, and then we go through a lot of flexibility and stretching each day that pushes that. The medicine ball routine does a great deal of stretching those issues, and we will also do some assisted ankle stretching and sit positions. So by this summer, he could kneel in that straight line position and have his ankle flush to the floor, and that we felt was so critical, and in the development of his legs his first kicks in that 9 or 10 strokes 25, he would kick down and then drift together. So we changed that to kick straight back and have the simultaneous close, and when you look at his kick underwater, there’s nothing real impressive about most fast breaststroke kickers that just strikes you, wow, because most of it is the quickness of their ability to grab water on the flexion, and Ed does just that. Boy, from here to here, he grabs tremendous amount of water, and we did work on that a great deal. Good question. Anybody else? Yes, ma’am.

 

(Question). Oh, high tec workout manager. You’re talking about my training schedule and workouts? That’s what I was referring to. I use just the high tec workout manager to record my workouts, and I keep some notes in that category, but most of my notes are on this handwritten.  Yes ma’am.

 

(Question). Yeah, the question was how much forward motion or forward balancing did Ed bring to the table? He was much more vertical, his balance point too far back in the beginning, and so I would just teach him through some dolphin balancing drills to press forward and feel his hips elevate, and so that he could stay forward better, and he really has developed a superior attitude. We use the phrase walking posture. I think it is critical for beginner breaststrokers too. Very often, on the insweep, kids will lift their heads up and get out of this walking postures. So, we’ll try to get that image using that phrase, and we’ll say O.K., let’s take this walking posture forward, let’s do just one breaststroke in the walking posture, try not to let them get out of their posture during any phase. Yes sir.

 

(Question). O.K., yeah, I was concerned with the development overall. He’s got a powerful freestyle that he still has some wrist issues with, but he went 53 and the 100 for us in the relay meters, and he’s been 46 in yards and his IM development is really going to take hold next year. I intend… I think the sport is much more interesting, you know, if they have some more doors to open and our training particularly our aerobic development training, is really heavily IM based. Yes, sir, in the back.

 

(Question). I’m sorry, couldn’t hear you … Oh, does he practice other sports other than swimming now? He plays an occasional, very occasional round of golf, and he spanked me at the end of this season, but I only played two rounds myself. But no, soccer is no longer part of his workout routine, and he stays fully focused. Other questions. Yes.

 

(Question). That’s a good question. I don’t really have a 25 test base very frequently. We do an old version of super 500 that employs a lot of 25 stuff, and we’ll do that in scuba belts for the first half, and they’ll wear about 10 pounds. Yes.

 

(Question). Oh, for the race, yeah, well, we find that we get a lot of looks in the 2-week resting period, and I’ll give him a starting point, so I’ll give him a couple of looks on the watch early in the season so that he can again reference their power starting points, you know, in the beginning of the season. But, we get several looks, I would say, at least two or three looks on the watch per week in the last two weeks of race prep.

 

(Question). That’s a good question. The question, if you heard it, was when he was only 207 and 57 going to juniors, was it in the plan to go to seniors? I had no doubt in my mind that he would bring the 100 to the senior table, and yes, we would have gone just for the 100. I was so pleased with that 200 development. All right, one thing that I left out that we couldn’t manage and it was through no fault of our own, we thought we were going to get a 200 look at Winnipeg. Two days before the meet, the administrators decided they would not allow extra swims by the athletes. And so we were denied an opportunity to even get a swim. So, Ed stayed much of the night trying to get out of Canada on Sunday. He flew in, I picked him up at the airport about 11:00 o’clock, and then I let him sleep about an hour, and he came over for time trial and put a 213.4 up on the board for a time trial. Under very difficult circumstances, so we expect him to be a 200 player now in meters. Yes.

 

(Question). Kick time compared to swim time. We did a lot of kick looks, and what I wanted him to be able to do is see how close he could get to 30 seconds in kicks and yards, and we would do less frequent looks at meters, but I think his best time in a yards kick that we recorded was 31. Yes.

(Question). How do I manage his knees? You mean, for flexibility? Most of his knee strength… we’ll do two things. First of all, is dryland routines exclusive medicine balls now. And so he gets a lot of warm up jumps prior to doing that, and then he will do a mild stretch routine before he gets into the heavier knee aspects of the medicine ball. And then in the swimming workouts we’ll do two things. The routine that we’ll follow is that they will swim for about 400 meters, and then we’ll do a 4 minute stretch that’s in the water that does incorporate some knee stretches, and then they’ll swim a warm up series that might be 800,000 meters, and then we’ll do a continued warm up that doesn’t address the knees at all, mostly shoulder work. And then they get into their first heavy set. Yes sir.

 

(Question). In the water? On land. Yeah. The only measurement that I use is that one that I mentioned where the athlete, and I’ll have a ruler and I’ll look at the distance they can achieve, but hyper, beyond that, I don’t. Yes, sir.

 

(Question). Whole stroke training to drills. Everything that we do is set up with drills. Always. And because I really feel they have to get into their stroke, and the same thing  is true of racing. They have to set up the races exactly that way, too. We’ll warm up with drills, and they’ll carry those drills and carry the image of gotta get my stroke, can’t race without the stroke… don’t leave it behind. Though Boomer would say you left your trike back there. Yes, sir.

 

(Question). Yeah, that’s a good question. What’s our percentage of breaststroke swimming? Well, typically in the aerobic phase, they’re going to be about 40 % in IM, and then once we get out of that phase, you know, depending on where we are in the season, and they’re into some really good serious stroke work, twice a week we’ll devote especially to lanes and some really heavy breaststroke work. Typical of that work out in yards would be 9,000 yards for Ed in the winter time for us, and, well, let me change that around… in the summertime, now that he’s with me, when we do those in meters, typical of the workout would be about 7,000, and in breaststroke about 3,500, and he does that twice a week in specialty lanes, and then other looks and test sets might add up to maybe 20-25% of his total work in breaststroke and drills and swimming. That would not include kicking. Yes sir.

 

(Question). What is Ed’s strategy to carry his speed into the wall? What we want to do is we use the phrase swim through the wall, as opposed to swimming to the wall, and we will swim through the wall at the turn and through the wall at the finish, so that by image there’s not this end point. Too often… I’ll never forget Joseph Naj chiding Berryman in Barcelona when he puts up a world record 210 and they look at the tapes afterward, and Joseph kind of tongue in cheek would say, Michael, here’s the wall, and in the video of his underwater finish, poof, and in Joseph’s perfect English, How’d you touch fingertip 209. O.K. So I think swimming through the wall is the best answer I can give you, certainly with maximal speed. Now, as opposed to Michael, who was coached to really pick up his stroke tempo, stroke rate, underneath the flags, we don’t promote that too much. There is an adjustment that has to be made, a decision around the flags, you know, to carry into particularly the turn speed right before the full extensions were won. Other questions. Well, folks, I really thank you for your time. It’s been a long morning.

 

(Applause)..

Sponsorship & Partnerships

Official Sponsors and Partners of the American Swimming Coaches Association

Join Our Mailing List

Subscribe and get the latest Swimming Coach news