Development of Sprinters by Mike Bottom (2001)


It is an honor to be here today.  Ten years ago I was standing on the deck with Ira and David Marsh, and my dream was to change sprint swimming throughout the world.  At that point, it was a dream and thanks to David Marsh’s belief in some of my wild crazy ideas, (and at those times they were pretty crazy and sometimes pretty wild) it’s been a reality.  And the reality is that I get to come back to you and talk to you, because it’s not me that is going to change sprint swimming throughout the world, it is you.  This is all of what I’ve been working for, so that one day I could come up here and have this honor of standing in front of you and passing on to you some of my ideas and hopefully generating your creativity so that you’ll take hold of it and you’ll run with it.


So, today I have a video of what we did last summer, not this summer but the summer prior to this.  We didn’t do a whole lot different this summer and I would like you to see this.  But first, you will have to bear with me, because part of the honor of being up here is the ability to say thank you to so many of the faces and characters that have built me up as an individual and I know that this is something.  You know, you sit there and you say oh, he is going to go through this, but I hate to say it but you have to bear with me.  Because, you know, it’s like when you get on T.V. and you say, “Hi Mom.” You know it’s an opportunity for me to say thank you to some of the people who have made me what I am.


I swam for great coaches such as Mike Troy and Mike Hastings, I think I even saw him here. Bill Thompson was one of the age group coaches at the club that I was with.  Dick Jochums was another coach.  All of those individuals put effort into me, as a training the old base training kind of thing that I’ve struggled against all these years.  But the man who made the most impact in my life was a man named George Hanes, who right now is going through the struggle of his life in coming back from a stroke.  I know that a lot of you have been following him through the e-mails from his family and his friends.  If you haven’t, and if you’re not on that network, give me your e-mail and I’ll fire you off and update.  There is an update pretty much every two weeks on how he is doing, and I don’t want to mean this in a cruel way but it is fun to see him exercise all the things that he taught us as athletes.  It is not fun to see him go through the things that he is going through but it is fun to see the character of George Hanes come out once again in the challenges that are set before him.  It is inspirational to me as a coach, that we as coaches, if we can solidify what we are teaching within ourselves, that when those times come in our lives, that we can overcome those things and George is babbling right now.


The great Nort Thornton handed me a handout (I work with Nort on a daily basis), and he continues to feed me information.  One of the things that he handed me was a sheet on intercessory prayer.  It was a study done by a hospital on cardiac patients and it showed that without a doubt that intercessory prayer on a blind study effected people that the prayer did not know and the effected people didn’t know about them being prayed for.   I would like to take some time today to pray for George Hanes.  I think as a group we could really make an impact on his life and his family’s life.  I’m not pushing a faith; what I’m pushing is that you go inside your heart and grab hold of the belief and faith that you have and reach out to a great man who has been an inspiration to more athletes than any of us will ever effect.  If you will bow your heads for just a second with me, I will close it out with a few moments of silence.  “We do thank You, for the inspiration through the man of George Hanes.  We thank you for your power in him that has reached many of us.  We ask You now to give him strength, to give him courage to allow him to understand the lessons that he taught to so many of us in a real way right now.  We ask that You will be with his family, that You will give them the love and the patience as he goes through the most trying time in his life.  We ask for a healing of his body and the strengthening of his soul.  Amen.”


Alright, going forward from there, I mentioned Nort Thorton.   Nort Thorton, what a great man to have, to put up with me on a daily basis with some of the wild things that I bring into the program.  The crazy thing is that he brings in wilder things.  He just came back with a new machine.  It’s this machine that you pull this way and it goes that way and you pull this way and it goes that way and I haven’t seen it yet, but he is talking about it and I can’t wait to see what he brings through.  He always has great ideas and new ideas.  I mentioned David Marsh; his belief in me and his trust in me in what I was doing with some of the sprinters at Auburn was the foundation of what I do today.   Mark Schubert in his way tolerated me, and at the time at SC we won the sprint relay and packed 10’s and we actually won the 50’s.  So, that was an exciting time and he was the one who suggested that I go work with Gary Hall, Jr. and that was a milestone in my life.  I thank Mark for that.  Jim Steen, Mike Walker, Terry McKeever and all of the people that I work with have always continually made input into my life and it is a wonderful thing to have one another.


The hard thing about being a coach, as I was just talking to Rick down here, is we get up at 4:30 in the morning or 5:00 in the morning, and we go to practice and we go two hours to practice.  Then, some of you go to work after that and then you come back and then you go through it again.  And you have to listen to the belly aching of your swimmers because you know, even at the level that I coach and I can’t believe it sometimes, but they are always belly aching.  I can give them 10 25’s in the complete workout and they are still going to negotiate 5 25’s.  You know they still try and take away, and I’m dealing with grown men who understand, supposedly understand what they need.  I understand and I know that you go through the same kind of thing with your athletes, especially the 10 and unders and the 8 and unders and you have to negotiate everything.  That takes energy and that takes a lot of energy.  I wonder day by day when I look at some of you and when I talk to some of you, where you get your energy and how you survive.


You know some of us have gone through mates after mates or relationships after relationships because that relationship can’t support what we do.  And I hate to have everybody raise your hand, but how many people have been through a relationship and given up a relationship for what your doing here?  We do, we do that.  David Marsh is again a great example of a man who’s made choices to keep his relationships together. But that’s not easy and we all fall, because what we want is to see our athletes achieve.  We want to see, that is what we get charged about.  I’ll tell you, I had a great experience this summer.  I had a guy named Scott Greenwood swimming at Nationals and this guy has a heart as tall as he is; he is about 5’10.  He went a 22.9 in the 50 freestyle and this guy is at the top of his talent.  If I could take his heart and insert it in Anthony Irving or Gary Hall, those guys would be unbeatable for centuries.  And I cried when this guy broke 23, because he achieved something that was as close to his potential as possible.  And I know that is what each of you strives for and that is what we taste; we can feel it and when that happens we can taste it, because that’s what we’re about.  And I know that because I sat in the trenches with all of you.  I was there at Sunnyville Swim Club at the AA meets sitting there in the sunshine in the all day meets going, “Oh what am I doing this for?”  And then you would see some kid do a best time and come to you with this big smile and then you go, “Yeah, that’s why I do this.”


If you could take some energy from me and take some energy from this video that I’m about to show you, please do.  A lot of what we get from these conferences is not necessarily about what we get up here but what we get here. Because what you have up here, the tools that you have up here, you probably don’t need as much.  It is like your swimmers; what you have up here people, is you have creativity, and you have knowledge of the sport because you have been in it for a while.  You have resources, and you have a phone to call friends, but what you need is heart, just like your athletes.  You need heart, you need motivation, and you need a love of the sport to be re-passionized in your heart so that you do the things that keep you going.  I hope that his video will help you and encourage you and keep you going because you know we don’t have too many people that understand this in this life, isn’t that true.


Alright, let’s start this video and see what we’ve got. I’m going to stop it at times and talk and at the end we will have some questions.  I just got back from Australia, and it was my privilege to be with the sprint team 2000, the team of athletes, the support personnel and sponsors.  The process drug out to be just that, a dream realized.  This video is meant to leave you with more questions than answers.  It will introduce you to the many facets to the process.  It will not define any of the process.  If you purchased the video, good on you, every penny above production costs will go back to the sport of swimming.  The video will be available through your team dealers.


Video: We were working out in Phoenix at the Phoenix Swim Club, and we had about 11or 12 athletes from all over the world together with a common goal, which was just basically to swim fast.  Almost all of them were 50 freestylers or 100 freestylers, and we had a couple of other events.   I found that with these guys that I’ve been working with, that are the most talented athletes in the world, probably the best thing that I could do for them is to make it fun.  One of the things that David again mentioned, was he talked about the balance between individual and team, and the exciting thing is that these guys are individuals and what I’ve done with these guys is allowed them to be this way.  I think that what happens a lot of time with the younger athletes in our sport is that the individuals are driven out of the sport, because we have such a programmed philosophy in the sport.  I don’t know what was said yesterday, but I know that it was said over and over again that our younger athletes need a base, need a base, need a base, need a base.  I don’t doubt that, but I also know that we need talent in the sport and sometimes the base drives out our talent.  I know that’s not a popular view, but we need to find a way to keep great athletes like Gary Hall or Anthony Irvin interested in our sport and it starts out with you.  It starts out because they start out disliking swimming at an early age.  I was talking to some of the athletes at the world games and one of the most popular ways that I found to get guys to practice was donuts.  The promise of having a donut after practice got guys to practice.  And David talked about stickers; whatever we could do, and I’m not talking about not having them practice and go play the guitar or whatever, although that might be a good thing, it is about being creative in what we do at the younger ages and not driving them out.


Now, there are different athletes that are going to succeed and David mentioned how this is a sport in which those athletes that don’t have the most talent can achieve.  Alright, that is a great thing, but it is also a sport where there are a lot of talented athletes and we live in a country that has a lot of choices, so you have to have a balance between the two.  You don’t want to lose your talented athlete and I’ll tell you it is a challenge because Anthony Irving doesn’t do the things that the team does.  And I know I left Norwood with Anthony last week while I was in the Good Will Games and I think he is about ready.  I mean, I think Nort’s hair has not been grey ever and I got back and it is starting to turn grey and that is because Anthony does things differently.  Somehow you have to work it, you know?  I have to work it because the guy has so much talent, so you guys can be creative with your base work and all.


We did a lot of work in front of the mirror, to just allow the guys to see what they were doing and we did some legwork.  You can see I have a watch here and I’m giving them rates.  These guys were in and around the water for eight hours a day, four days a week, and three hours a day, two other days a week.  Those who say sprinters don’t work hard- that’s not the case!  We did a lot of work with snorkels especially with sprinters, because I think it’s important for them to understand balance.  They don’t breathe in a 50, my guys take one, no more than one breath.  Anthony doesn’t take any breaths in the 50 swim.  Most of our work done was with a snorkel.  What we are doing here is technique work to get the elbow up on the catch.  You hook a band right above the elbow and you have the other band with the guy in front of him swimming, so that other person will be swimming which he gets something out of and the person behind will be sculling.  That will pull the elbow forward, so the guy gets an idea of how to get on his side and get that elbow up and work on his high elbow catch.


This is a drill that John Olsen developed and learned to help them get on their side and their chest.   Don Olsen was a great leader of the team last summer.  Our sessions last anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours in the water and a lot of our sessions include dryland and water training.  A lot of work on starts is obviously a very important part of the 50 or the 100. One of the things in working with this type of athlete, and when I say this type of athlete I would say that most sprinters are ADHD and that is no joke.  They are ADHD and you will know a good sprinter because you could be talking to them and at the same time that you’re talking to them, they’re yanking on the person behind them and looking you right in the eye.  And you know they are not hearing a thing you’re saying but they have doing this with long hours of practice with their parents doing the same thing.  They are trying to get away with something while looking like they’re doing the right thing.
Great sprinters are like great racehorses.  When you watch the Kentucky Derby you watch those horses going into the shoots.  Those horses are rearing, they are kicking, and it’s not that they don’t want to race it’s just that they’ve got so many things going on in their head and in their mind and everything else going on in their life and it is hard for them to focus.  So, what I do is I do a lot of different things.  I do so many different things, and any kindergarten teacher will tell you this. Actually, I learned this from a kindergarten teacher, that if you are planning a curriculum for a kindergartner, you don’t plan anything over five minutes.  You get them five minutes at a time, and if you get them for five minutes you’ve got them and that is awesome. You either have to be very creative and have your bag of tricks behind you and ready to go or you have to have a well-written guide lesson plan for these guys.  And you know I hate to say it, but we are entertainers.  That is part of our job.  We have to be able to get up there and do the tricks, make the signs, and do whatever we have to do to keep the attention of those athletes.  And I know that you, as you are coaching younger athletes, are probably a lot better at that than me, but pass on the idea.  At some of these conferences, these speakers that talk about the games and the gimmicks- those are the kinds of things that we did hear.  Not all of these things make sense for them to do but the running and the diving was fun for them.  They did get work on turns, but they love to get out and they love to run down and they love to kind of flex and show people that they have muscles.  You know that made them feel good and that was part of the whole process.  The idea of taking what they like to the X games and putting them into what you’re doing.


I love David’s talk about what he does in his camps and I imagine that some of you have great ideas from what you’ve been doing and I encourage you to be creative. Especially, those of you with indoor pools or those who are working outdoors in the summer where they can get out and do different things.  We did a lot of work in Ralley Durham, and I guess a lot of the things that drove them out of swimming was the competition between swimming there and the athletes talking and one coach taking this athlete and one coach taking that athlete.  This is kind of a professional rivalry that goes on in our sport.  Well, I have news for you!  It is not our sport if we need to fight right now.  It is not between one another that we need to have a rivalry to get kids from, it’s the soccer program, the baseball program, and the skateboarding park program. You know, even with the drug addicts on the street that we are fighting.  We are fighting people to get our kids into the program from other sports and other places.  Or you could work with the others to do that.


There is part of the season where we do aerobic type of activities for the first few weeks and we work heavy on race.   Aerobic exercise does not breakdown the muscles, but we didn’t get into anaerobic exercise.  I tried to keep the heart rate in the water under 150 and out of the water it got pretty high.  The idea with the sprinters was to build their strength and to build the muscle back because when we got to the later part of the season that helped them out.  Then we would do lactate sets.  Every weight session we lift heavy and at the end of that session or that group of weights we do polymetrics.  So, if we did triceps we would then do plyometrics with the triceps, the theory being you don’t want to train a muscle to move slow; you want to train a muscle to move fast.  But what we would do is we would do the slow, heavy weights and end up with the fast motion.  We do weights, we do plyometrics, and then we do a stretch.


The success of the program depends a lot on the people who stick with the program.  We had a chiropractor working with us.  There were doctors that volunteered their time.  Any coach that coaches on the elite level understands the principal that it is a shard coaching responsibility.  A lot of you have parents that are helping now and there is some danger in getting parents involved, but if you have a parent that can help you in a way that you can’t help yourself, I would encourage you to risk the danger.  Address them directly and use that parent to help you out.


There is a real push to have our athletes to train in meters and I think that you will find that the greatest sprinters and the greatest athletes that swim 100’s and even 200’s don’t train all meters.  I think that when you go long course you do eliminate practices.  The second third is what I call lactate training, which is a lot of race training continuing with the strength work but backing off a little bit with that, and the last third is taper.


Video: I was sitting around watching you guys and watching the family interactions and it is a monument of what we are trying to accomplish the way you guys are treating each other and the way you are supporting each other.  You know there is always going to be conflict and the way we are getting through it and on the other side of it is just getting us all closer together, which is going to pay off at the Olympic trials and at the Olympics.  When you guys are standing up next to each other and you know that you’re on the same team even though you are representing different countries, and yes you want to win, but you also have a team member that is right next to you.  Everybody knows what that is like who has done college swimming and they know what an advantage that is.  We will have that advantage, because we are going to have three or four guys in the finals at the Olympics.  We are going to have three or four guys in the finals at the Olympic trials.  I mean, what is happening now with Bart and Gordon is just an indication of how we are going to do as a team.  It is going to happen for you just like it’s going to happen for them and you’re just going to have to believe it, trust yourself, and have faith in what we’ve done in the past, and take the faith of each other to the blocks with you.  For the U.S. guys, we have five weeks from yesterday.  So, we have five weeks and we are on our way down and Monday is going to be a real easy day for the U.S. guys.  We will hit the weights hard in the morning on Monday and we will hit the weights hard again on Wednesday, so you guys won’t be as fresh like Janet Evans but I think you can understand that’s got to be a part of it.


Swimming fast in the sport- this guys, this was a pivotal meet in the summer because they went a 22.3 and 22.6 and they were pretty fast times for unshaved.  This is really an important part of understanding the mind of a sprinter, in that the confidence of a sprinter is fragile. It’s important to understand that the confidence needs to be encouraged by either workout swims or by meet swims, and to understand that I would need to let these guys rest for certain meets.  I would give them three days rest for our meets because it was important that they have confidence.  Because when they stand up there and we’re talking 100th of a second between who is going to win or who is going to be third, what makes the difference is confidence. If they have that confidence standing up on the blocks it is going to pay off at the end of the race.  There is the adage that we have to train our guys through this and we are not wearing these new suits.


Is Dennis here with us?  He is after me.  Again nothing wrong with swimming fast, I know that is kind of anti the big training thing, but I have no problem putting a suit on a guy in the middle of the season.  Yeah, he might not drop as much at the end of the season, but in my mind it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that that guy has confidence and that guy goes forward with confidence.  When you look at the track times, guys can get up and run similar times all throughout the year.  Why is that?  Why is that true and why can’t we go to these different world cups and go fast?  I believe that is what it is going to take in our sport in order to bring that little peace of mind that we used to have over every other country.

So, recently I talked to Josh.  I would love to talk to other great swimmers that didn’t go and we have to find a way as a country to bring our best athletes to those meets.  When Gary Hall won the nationals this summer, within two minutes I got a call from Bart Kizeroski in China and Anthony Irvin in Southern California.  They both were watching on the internet.  I think that is a pretty big indication of how these guys bonded together in the summer and although they were individuals and although they were very competitive, there was what we call a lot of love going around.  You can’t be afraid of competition.  I think a lot of coaches kind of shy away from putting some of their best athletes to compete against each other because they need to save the ego.


Video: This was the first time that the U.S. brought a chiropractor to an event.  He is asking her, the antenna has given him new powers and he is asking her to guess a color.  “I can read your thoughts now,” is what he just said.  I think when in 1992 I stood on the deck with David Marsh, I said, “David, there are two things that will change swimming.  The first thing is we need to catch the Chinese. We need to find a way to catch the Chinese to turn that around to make sure that the drug induced swimming doesn’t continue. And the second thing is we need to move the bulkhead to 15 meters twice a week.”  This is kind of the result of moving the bulkhead twice a week, but the other part of it is we have to continue push testing.


There are speakers that will stand up here and tell you that you can do it on your own and lets not rely on supplements and lets do this.  The truth is that I sit and I eat with the swimmers and I drink with some of the swimmers (of course they are over age- they are 21 or better).  I hear what they talk about and the truth is this, every one of their minds are thinking, “Can I overcome the drugs? Can I beat the drugs?”  Now, we all know that history shows us that the drugs are out there and that those swimmers are swimming way above everybody else.  History has told us that we need to doubt what they are doing.  I sat and I had a few beers with Jaco, who is Peter Vanhuganbon’s coach and Inge’s coach and after more beers, the more challenged I became.  We were friends and I continued to press the issue.  I pressed the issue because I came in saying that if I were to look at you and say, “How many of you, and I’m not going to ask for you to raise hands, but how many of you think that I’m doing something illegal to make these guys go as fast as they are?”  Now, if you were to shake your head and say, “No, Mike we don’t believe that,” then I would call you liars. Because history has shown that, from the East Germans who I got to swim against and look at the hairy chests of the East German women, and the Chinese, and Michelle Smith, and put whatever name you want into it.  Whether it be Gary Hall Jr., or whether it be Inge de Bruijn, or whether it be Ian Thorpe, our athletes are putting those names into the ending of that statement.


History has shown that we are guilty until proven innocent, and we have to have a drug-testing realm that goes to blood and we have to have that blood on a regular basis. We have to have a test that is given at world championships and Olympics and that blood is frozen and an athlete signs and says that this blood can be tested up to four years in the future as tests are developed to catch the drugs that are out there that we don’t even know about and that they will relinquish their medal if any tests are shown to be positive in the future.  We have to have a stricter policy.  When I was at the European Championships, and I don’t even remember the guys name because I refuse to remember it, the Italian guy- he got up on the lane and he started shaking his fist after he broke the 200-meter short course European record like he was some hero.  When we know for a fact that 67 athletes tested with over 13 times the amount of human growth hormone in his system.  What’s with that?  The guy keeps his medals, and what does that say to our athletes?  The guy keeps on swimming, yes, we might get into a lawsuit situation.  It has to be done and it’s going to be done, because of every athlete out there.  And that’s the reason I argue with Jaco and I say, “You know Jaco, don’t be offended that I accuse you because everybody is accusing me of the same thing.”


What we have to do, is we have to prove and I have brought all the supplements that my guys have taken. They are from platinum performance and I worked with an individual that made the supplements for me.  I did research on the supplements and anybody can go to and get the supplements that we used this summer and last summer and you will find that they benefit you.  Now, is that wrong?  I don’t think so.  I think that we as coaches have now moved into the realm of having to be nutritionists or we have to rely on somebody to give us that information, because we can’t leave our athletes orphaned.  And I challenge the Australians the same way I challenge the U.S.- to not take the stand of we can do it without supplements, I think that’s crap.  I think that we need to be able to supply our athletes with the information to make choices. I’m not saying we need to give it to them.  Creatine is just the beginning, there is HMB and there are other supplements like L-Glutamine.


There are supplements that can help our athletes. I’m not saying that they need to rely on those supplements and I’m not saying that those guys didn’t train as hard as they could train.  What I’m saying is that what I gave them is the understanding of the supplements they were taking were going to equalize the HMB that the Italians were taking, I’m sorry, the human growth hormones that the Italians were taking. Is that wrong? Maybe. But because I’m concerned about my athletes I want them to be equal when they stand up.  Six years ago I had to make a decision.  I had to make the decision of whether or not I wanted to continue to coach sprinters with the type of supplements that are out there, the illegal supplements that are out there to increase strength.  Can I compete?  And I made a decision to try and do the research and find the people to give my athletes at least the fighting chance against those types of supplements.  The result is what we put together for Platinum Performance.  He helped me put together supplements that were for our athletes and they are available to every team at a team price, my guys have to buy them.


Video: Recovery is just as important as their training.  We worked with Dr. Summer who did a lot of different things.  One of the things she did was work with the guys on the biofeedback machine, which you will see in a little bit.  It allowed them to work their right and left-brain and race and think with their left and think with their right.  Dr. Summer states, “What we are competing against on the world level are teams like Phillip’s, which Peter Vonhunvon and Inge de Bruijn and several others have the access to the highest technology and training and we were able to try it again and try to max that technology.”

Thursday was our recovery day.  Coach talking to swimmer’s on video: What I would like you to do now is I would like you to get relaxed in a relaxed state, and I would like you to just think about letting your mind go over some of the things that are stressing. Think about some of the things that are in your guilt box, and then what we will do is go over a little check list and we will go through a mental check list and determine for you to do something about it or not.  So, I will take you through a relaxation process and let you get through some of that stuff and go on.  I think it is important for us to sit back just for a little bit and understand why this team is working and why things are going well for this team.  It is not only what we are doing in the water; it is a balance of all the different elements that make up you as individual athletes.  It’s what we are doing in the water for one, but it is also what you are doing with each other and in conjunction with each other and supporting each other.  It’s also what we are doing with Dr. Summer mentally, it’s what we are doing supplementally with our food supplements and what we are eating, it is what we are doing spiritually, and it’s with what you guys are dealing with individually.  And I know that each of you I know personally that some of you are going through things right now, and everybody is trying to get their lives going forward and that is the important part of the whole process.  We have John over here getting ready for his second child and then we have some other people just having their first girlfriend.  It is important that all the different avenues that come together to form your core are dealt with.


Dr. Summer’s voice:  The other thing I think you need to start thinking about, and I’ve talked to a lot of you about that, is about respect and not just respect for you and what your needs are but respect for the whole group.  Because as you do that and as you understand other people’s needs you’ll understand your own needs even better.   That is what makes the difference in the winning and the not winning, is knowing exactly what you need at the time, being very, very self aware of what is going on with your total body, especially with your mind-body connection.  Hey I was so proud of you guys the way you swam in L.A., it just gave me goose bumps.  It was just so neat to see and I just know that it’s going to be a great summer for all of us.  Mary and I are proud to help you in a small way, and I told Mike that this is just the beginning and this is going to go on and on and on and we want you guys to come back as long as you want to be a part of it.


I’m so excited about this whole team concept because I just see it growing and getting bigger and bigger and success has a way of breeding success and you guys are achieve the level you are achieving.  Everybody wants to know what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.   This whole town is buzzing, and the whole swimming world is buzzing about the world team and we want the world team to continue on indefinitely, and it will.  But, the first question I asked Mike is, “What can we do?”  I want to start planning now for next summer.  I want to start thinking about how we are going to make it better and bigger.  We have tried to do a lot of things the way we have always wanted to do them.  And what is fun for us is to see that it really does make a difference and it really does work.  I would like to close in a little prayer if that is O.K. with you guys.  “Lord, we thank you for the opportunity that we all have. We thank you for the Halls and the gift of this house and the gift of the weekend, and we thank you for all the supporters that we have.  We thank you for people like Heather who come along and have done so much for us. We thank you for Dr. Summer, for Jaco and everybody who has helped this team.  We ask you Lord that you give us an attitude of thanksgiving and of fearlessness as we go forward in our training and we look forward to the day where we can exhibit your power, your strength, and be an example to people around us.


Well that was the summer of 2000.  That is what we all live for I think, for the world’s sake.  As I said before, what each of us is fed by is those little races; the day-by-day races and the races in the little meets when each of our swimmers do best times.  And I have to honestly tell you that the excitement that I experienced watching these two guys tie has been equal at other times in my life by seeing guys like Scott Greenwood reach his potential.  And, although it is great place to aspire to be at this point, I think that it is wonderful to celebrate that victory at the Olympics. What you do everyday, and what you accomplish, and the little things with your athletes can be as tear producing and emotional as something like that.  I think it is a little bit like anything when you first get there.  I would think that at that point I would be so elated that I would be sitting on cloud nine, but the truth is, that was part of it and the swims by other people in the meet and around me were as exhilarating as those swims there.


So, I just would suggest and encourage you not to give up and not to think this is what you have to do, because what you have to do is feel good about what you’re doing right here.  What that entails is getting down and watching the little guys you know swim fast and watch them get excited and watch their eyes and their excitement because that’s what you are about, most of you.  And, I echo David Marsh’s sentiments that it’s exciting that this coaches encouragement incentive program has been set in place.  Because now of you who have raised up our future champions or are raising up our future champions, you will get to share monetarily in what is going to happen with them and you can be excited that they go to the next level and you can let go of them and see another college coach like David Marsh, Skip Kenny, or Nort Thorton take them to the next level.


(Question) Bill, you know not to ask about the white string.  What that was, was a timing system that I developed a long time ago with Auburn- it times them to the 10 meter mark.

(Question) Which brings up a good point.  I carry my stopwatch everywhere and I carry it to remind myself that I am a coach and that’s my life.  I time everything, because when you are sitting in a bar (anybody want to challenge me you can tonight) athletes respond to time and athletes respond to measurable quantities.  And that is a good question- guys have great starts because we time them.


(Question) The question was, “How do I feel about creatine in light of the recent study in France?”  I mean if you read the story it is way out there, but the question is, “How do I feel about giving something to my athletes that might hurt them in the future?”  I think that is what you’re getting at right?  That is what each one of us has to go through.  You have to look at what you’re giving your athletes, and the first question you have to ask yourself and the first question I have to ask myself is, “Is this safe?”  And creatine, not all my guys take creatine, some of them like it some of them don’t, but, creatine, in my opinion has always been shown safe. It’s probably one of the most well studied substances out there and shown as being safe.  Now there is a chance that drinking diet coke can cause cancer, right?  So, you have to weigh things.  What you have to look at is, “Is L-Glutamine, a natural substance, going to cause cancer?”  I don’t think so, and I do go through that with everything that my athletes take.  And most of the things, I would say all of the things that my athletes take are what I would take myself for better health.


(Question) The question is, “Will this approach work with a distance swimmer?”  Well, Dick Shobert is here, “Dick, what do you think?”  That is a great question and I think what we have to look at is I was standing on the deck and Doug Frost walked up to me and said, “I know why your American distance swimmers aren’t swimming very fast.”  I’m thinking, “Well, Tom swims pretty fast.” But, he said, “Because your distance swimmers are swimming like sprinters.”  And, I’ve been saying the reason our sprinters aren’t swimming fast enough is because our sprinters are swimming like distance swimmers when the truth is that the 50 is now in international competition and we have to look at the stroke for the 50’s.  I train my guys differently and I teach them a different stroke for the 50 and the 100, two different strokes for the 50 and the 100 and I’m sure that there is another stroke for the 200.  And I’m way sure that there is another stroke for the 1500.  And Doug Frost said we are not getting on our sides enough. There is a little bit of distance information for you in the sprint training session that our athletes are not getting on their sides, and I think if you watch Ian Thorpe you can watch that he does drop his elbow a little bit as he rolls to his side.  He starts his hip and he gets his hand down and he is using his body very well in his catch.  Sprinters don’t have the time to do that; you have to be on the water when your hand is.  You can watch Anthony- when his hand hits the water he has a hold of it.  He is uncanny like that.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  He has the ability to put his hand in and grab hold of the water right away.  Now, in order to do that, if he is going to put his hip into that, if he is going to tie it to his body, he’s got to have fast hips.  So, you saw a lot of motion like this as we work a lot of speed in the hips because they’ve got to have fast hips, and you don’t have time to get over to your side with sprinting.  I try to get them over to their side as much as I can but they don’t have time to do that.


(Question)  No women and no breaststrokers.  Well, I coach a men’s team at Cal Berkley and I love coaching men because you can talk to men, and talk about women and you can tell jokes and you don’t have to worry about offending anybody.  But, this summer I’m not going to get sued, so what I’m going to do is I’ll bring in international athletes that are women so that I know that I won’t get sued.  But no, I had two athletes this summer and one of them was Theresa Alcimer and the other was Dominque Ditsy and it was a great experience to have them join the program.  Breaststrokers- I just don’t have any breaststrokers, but I had backstrokers.


(Question) The question was, “What would I recommend for an age group program’s average yardage?”  I don’t even… the truth is I don’t count yardage with my athletes.  We do what we have to do.  I’ve watched Dave Salo’s program and I think it’s a great program.  People think he doesn’t do yardage.  I sat on and watched his workout, and he did a non-yardage workout that was 6000 yards and it was not a yardage workout.  So, I think that the idea of yardage and I know that we have a tendency to think that way, but it is more about getting what you need done than it is about yardage in my opinion.


Are you from Australia?  We have payback here and it is time for payback.  Just have a seat there for just a second.  Everybody that is a U.S. citizen stand up please.  You just keep sitting there if you’re from Australia.  I want everybody to just go, “U.S.A.”  We heard this, “Ozzy, Ozzy, Ozzy, da da da da,” we had to hear it all the time.  O.K. “Go U.S.A.” on three.  One, two, three, “GO USA!”

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