My name is David Marsh and I was going to join in with Dave on the presentation, but I asked if I could just introduce him and then I will make a few comments and then he has got a very good presentation that explains on a broader sense some of the things that has gone into some of the fast swimming – not just with Fred, but with his whole experience at Auburn.
Dave showed up on the Auburn campus and said, “Is it okay if I come and volunteer here next year” and I said, well, where are you from? He said well, UC Irvine and I say, uumm – well okay and then he gave me some of his background, which was he swam with Clayton Cagle coming up in Texas – one of the best age group coaches in the country or best senior coaches in the country over the length of time. He went to UC Irvine where he got an electrical engineering degree – so didn’t do the kind of the classic like I did – the easiest degree possible and then he swam for Dave Salo and then worked for Dave Salo so his background was phenomenal. When he showed up to campus he had an immediate impact and so he went from volunteer to GA immediately and then within one year went from GA to fulltime assistant coach and then to assistant head coach very quickly too and that is because of his impact on the program and his abilities that you will experience here in a couple of minutes.
Dave was in Auburn for five years – the last three years he won National Championships each year. We were lamenting last night – with really three different personalities of teams and how different they were and really won the championships in very different ways.
Most of you that know that it is kind of loosely or closely observed – the Auburn program. It has always only been as good as the coaches in the total program – not anything magic that I have done, but Dave has been one of those magic parts during his window of time.
He went on to Maryland for the last couple of years and had begun to build that program. He also in the meantime, married Cathy Sursi which is really I think, another thing to his credit – not only for his taste, but also for his investment into the overall sport. Cathy is one of my favorite swimmers in terms of not just her personality, but her interest in the sport over the years.
Recently he called me and he said David, what do I do about this? This is an interesting one and he had an opportunity to consider a California-Berkeley position and his first thing he talked about was his concern about Nort and said look, you know this is an interesting thing, but my concern is really this is Nort’s program and how do I go in and how do I go in and do it the right way to manage this and handle even considering the job and I was just talking with Nort in the back of the room and I think things are going well and the transition is beginning to do really well. No question Dave Durden, you are going to do a great job there and he will make an immediate impact and then he will I am sure, do very well competitively.
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Dave Durden: A couple of comments – David asked me to kind of transition Cesar a little bit and maybe – because you know Cesar broke Fred’s record and so they are a couple of guys who are going fast in the 50 freestyle. Really there aren’t too many comparisons – they are very different. One of the commonalities was that they did cross roads in Auburn and I think when they were in the pool together I think – well I know – Cesar seeing Fred daily and understanding not only what kind of – that he is the kind of person that he could be like, but also seeing that he was capable of going fast like Fred, made a real impact on Cesar at that point – so kind of like it has been over the years with the Auburn program – I see you know Ryan Wochomurka, Bill Pilczuk is here and Brett is here and the guys that have really built the program have handed it on, okay? And I believe Fred handed it on to Cesar.
One point I want to make about the two of them is always – these guys are looking for ways to get a little bit better. The standard was probably set an all time high when Dean Hutchinson and Bill Pilczuk were there and they really perfected the best start in the world for many, many years. They by far had the best start. They didn’t swim quite as nice once they hit the water, but they got a great start and they swam very fast over a lot of years with the talent provided them by their parents, but Fred probably more than electric, pure athlete – Cesar – beautiful feel for the water, you know, but both a phenomenal racing temperament that I would say was one of the keys when Brett Hawke was a great champion sprinter. You know, they all had – just that ability to turn on the fire – at the same time as you guys have hopefully experienced also, very classy people.
I do not want to steal any of David’s presentation on Fred, but at the question and answer I will come up and we can tie it to any questions and compare the two or some other parts of the program; I would be happy to come up during that portion of time or at the end up here.
So – let’s let David begin the presentation and I want to introduce the new Head Men’s Coach at the University of California – Berk2ley – David Durden. Thank you.
I am going to try and run through things fairly quickly here. I have got a lot of information to cover so I was actually sitting in the back listening to some of the translators back there, so guys I am sorry if I start talking too fast for you, but it is worth it, you know, good luck, go get it with it.
I appreciate David’s comments. David, I have always felt has been more than just a coaching mentor for me. I have very much felt a part of his family – Kristin, Alyssa, Maddie and Aaron and I think that just goes to David’s personality and a little bit of the legacy that he has left at Auburn in creating that family type environment. It just doesn’t stop at the pool. It extends to his life, so as much as he has mentored me as a coach – he has mentored me just as much in my life and I am certainly appreciative of that.
It was funny, last night – I don’t know if all of you guys were down at the pool last night when they were going over freestyle and backstroke and breaststroke and butterfly, but as I was listening to the different technique sessions through David and Dave Salo and Glenn Mills and then Richard Quick finishing with butterfly, three of those coaches have really impacted my coaching philosophy technique.
I started out – as David mentioned – learning how to coach from Dave Salo and then learning the college environment from David Marsh and for the past two years at Maryland, Glenn Mills who lives in Annapolis, really close, would come in and work with our breaststrokers and so I have been exposed to just some fantastic coaches and that is what is so exciting for me in heading out to Berkeley is that is going to continue, obviously with Nort and being in the office with Nort every day I have already learned so much, but having Teri across the hall – having the water polo coaches who are fantastic in their own right, right next door to us – it is really an awesome culture for a coach and obviously that gets exposed to our athletes. That is the only recruiting thing that I will do for the day and I will get onto the good stuff – the swimming side of things.
Just here in a second, here we are going to take a look at the swim and I want you to watch Fred through this – what I felt were the good things that he did through this particular race – his turn – stroke rate – body position and obviously, he went that swim without breathing which, you know, helped his body position, but the bad things I also want you to notice because Fred was pretty fanatical about these things as an athlete. The start and the breakout – he is a little bit slow on it and that is a little bit of the reason why he went down that first 25 – went 9.2 seconds on the way down and came back in 9.4 seconds on the way back, because his start was bad. It was just a little bit better than terrible. If it was terrible he probably would have even split that 50 so that was something he has obviously worked on.
There should be sound to this – which should be fun and I will explain that in a second. There may be a point when you need ear muffs with this – actually there may be no sound with it – I apologize. There is Fred right there in the white cap – I am going to pause it for just a second. He is in the white cap – lane 6 so it is – he is the 3rd from the top. He is wearing the all black suit – full body suit. Again – looking at his start, turn, breakouts off of both the start and the turn and then his finish into the wall. He is in the white cap – third from the top – going into the wall right now – he comes off that turn – good breakout – still no breath – head stays steady – touches the wall. I am going to let you watch the reaction. There is a good little story about his reaction there. And then he hops out and does a “rah, rah, sis boom bah”. I really wish there was sound.
My wife was sitting next to our person who is videoing that and she had a couple of explicatives in that video that I wanted to share with you. That would have embarrassed her a little bit, but on that finish you see Freddie touches the wall, he looks back at the scoreboard and what was going through his mind is that he thought he went 19.7 and so he was a little bit disappointed. I mean – he touched the wall and was like 19.7 – that is not good – looked over at his teammates and saw that they were going nuts and then finally you know – looked back again and refocused and saw that it was 18.7 so that was just a pretty cool story about that.
I am going to switch videos here as I go through some of the building blocks of what we went through for Fred. The big picture points that we worked on with Fred, and I must confess that David hit it right on the money in saying that it was so much of a collective effort at Auburn and really it was you know, kind of two parallel tracks at different times. There was a group of coaches at Auburn that really laid the groundwork for the sprint success and David being one of them and in that transition to Mike Bottom and went to Rocco and went to Adam Schmitt and went to myself and now with Brett Hawke at Auburn. I think it is completely fair to say that it is a collection of coaches that was responsible for that, but at the same time it was the collection of coaches in that environment, Bill Pilczuk who I learned a tremendous amount from in terms of the start. Aaron Ciarla who brought some fantastic things to the environment – I mean – it was a constant learning process. Our diving coach, Jeff Shaffer taught our athletes how to enter in the water – how to shape their body upon entry and so we really exposed our athletes to a multiple group of folks. “PK” the strength coach at Auburn was fantastic in working with the athletes so as much as I am standing up here talking – I am standing up here representing a big group of people.
So, the big picture points for Fred were technique, the detail work which we always talked about with him was start, turn, finish, strength motivation, environment and training. I know that earlier this morning Mike talked about motivation and environment so this is a good – kind of a segue into some of those things.
Technically – I am going to go through a couple of drills here; I have a couple of videos on them – a little bit in my haste of my movement over the last couple of weeks is that I was able to pack all my stuff into a couple of suitcases which is pretty sad when you can get your whole life in a couple of suitcases and move, but one of the things that I did leave were some drills and some drill videos, etc. But fortunately, there are some very, very good athletes that Nort, Mike and Bart have developed over the years at CAL that I was able to utilize yesterday morning to get some things down on video, but I am going to cover three drills quickly that I thought in working with Fred and talking with Fred, that were really beneficial – first is what we term as the water polo drill. Basically what that was, was the head was up – remained still – he is swimming much like a water polo player would, typically we put fins on for that, as the chest/head lowers into position, we are looking for the hips to rise up – really driving the kick – not a lot of rotation in the swim and this is kind of, you know, what we really kind of focused on in those type events and looking at a wider hand entry just outside the shoulder were really the things that were effective.
The video – let me see if I can do this effectively – these are a couple of CAL athletes here – this is Nathan Adrian – that is moving through this and again what I want you to look for is head position, hand entry – you can even see where I pause it right there – he is already putting his elbow in a position to get right into that catch position. We felt that it was extremely important for Fred just to set that catch just as quickly as possible – set it very, very deep. You can see Nathan’s hips are real low in the water right now, as he is moving through this as he starts to pick up the kick – the hips rise up. He still keeps the same stroke rate. Mike talked about Jernej – this is him doing that same drill. He just moved down through it just a little bit quicker.
The other two drills that I thought were very, very effective with Fred are something that he kind of liked and again – I am not talking about sprinting very generally or coaching sprint athletes – I am talking about what worked for Fred. So, I am not necessarily up here saying that this is the key – this is the magic dust, but it certainly worked well for Fred in some of these drills. We did something that is called “quick catch” and we could do it with fins – no fins – snorkel – without a snorkel – head up – head down – different body positions really – having our athletes try different things – learn different things and basically all it is, is a sprint doggie paddle. If you guys were at the pool last night, David was talking about a little bit of that high elbow scoop drill – that is what this drill is, effectively, but done at a high rate of speed so Fred or this drill is just really staying up front. You are not going past your hips at all – you are really working on forcing the hand deep and getting into a quick catch position.
Jernej is doing it with just his goggles out of the water, but you can see again, we are trying to get his fingertips down quickly – his elbows up in position quickly – again, the hand is shooting out. It is not shooting across the body line. This is Nathan doing the same drill with the head in position. You can see it is pretty effective that if you use a snorkel on this you do not have to worry about breathing so that is what we were working on – his bodyline – again the hips – there is very minimal rotation through that. We are trying just to really work on that front catch position and then the third drill – this is a little bit slower drill so when our sprint athletes would do just a little more general aerobic work to kind of keep them engaged and keep them focused on what we were doing. This is something that I stole from David, which was very effective, basically just taking a paddle and holding it – rather than putting it on – just holding it. Again – we are trying to feel the pressure or trying to have the athlete feel the pressure on the forearm. Some of the times when our athletes would wear paddles and swim a little bit slower it would really plane out with that paddle and start to press down and we really wanted them to get into a quicker high catch position so that was a very effective kind of training tool for them, especially when they were swimming at a little bit slower speeds.
You can see Nathan here – just holding the paddles over the top and the paddles really extend – almost to the elbow and so they really, really work on keeping a good high elbow position.
It is interesting to hear Fred talk about this technically. Out of probably the one hundred things that I could have put down on a list that I thought were effective for Fred from the technical standpoint – his thoughts on it were probably one of the last things that I would have put down on a list so it shows you how much I know as a coach. I would have you know he said oh it is this – it was this – it was this and really for Fred – he felt the endless pool was something that was very, very effective for him. One, because it gave him immediate feedback. He was able to get in for warm-up and warm-down and really set his elbow position. There is a mirror on the bottom of the endless pool and so he was able to see where he was setting his elbow position before he got into a practice and then after a hard practice he would go back in there and do a lot of his warm-down in that environment. It was very, very effective and he was a very, very intuitive swimmer so he was constantly tweaking things in terms of his catch position so I thought that was pretty interesting. As I said, I would have put that probably down on the very, very end of the list.
The dive – as you saw from that swim – Fred did not come up first at all and in fact later on that night when he went 18.9 at night in the individual swim and won, his dive was almost even worse than the prelim, so it was something that was – it was a constant work in progress for Fred. In fact, this is a good little story about that – after we got back from NCAA’s he had his French National Championships – maybe a week later or so and on the Tuesday after NCAA’s we went into the video room and just had his races up and we were just watching him – looking at him – looking at him and typical Fred – he was just watching it and watching his start and on his start his back foot was coiling down towards the blocks and then accelerating forward so he just wasn’t in a great start position. He was like – golly – I could have been 18.6 and I was like well, yeah, I wish you could have, but you know – it was something that he was constantly looking to get better and to get faster.
With Fred, and this is – I am not probably doing this complete justice – I know that I am just skimming over this, but if you want to learn how to do a great start – you need to talk to Bill Pilczuk – fly him out – have him spend time with your team. He is, as I said, he is amazing at it and so – Bill – what is the going rate for you? Is it $10,000 or 5,000 pounds – whatever it is. Talk to Bill. He will be in the back and have an order form for you, but track start position – just looking at the feet inside the shoulder – typically what we talk about or what Bill would talk about with the athletes is taking your hand and making sure that you could slide it between your right and left foot and your front and back – that was a good solid platform position. Head was in a neutral position. We talk to our athletes about really how to load the hands. It is not leaning back to load the hands – it was just sliding your body back slightly to load the hands on the blocks and keeping the thumbs down and what I mean by that – a lot of the athletes that I work with in a camp environment or even when they come in the school, they will put their thumbs down to help balance them and really just kind of curl that over the side to help them with and a little more and a little bit better power position. You can see Jernej here – his head is in good position there. His thumbs are down – that back foot is up just a little bit slightly – the front foot is – we are looking for the weight on the balls of the feet there.
The second thing that we talked about in the dive perspective is pulling with the hands and quickness with the feet. Obviously, I didn’t do a very good job with that – because Fred didn’t have a very quick start, but it was something that we constantly worked on – pulling with those hands – keeping that head down and forward and quickness with the feet. As you see Jernej do this – I want you to look at the blocks. The block that he is on is a good indication of how hard he is pulling with his hands and that is all you are going to see on this is that quick pull with the hands and see that block move back and that is really kind of the image that we wanted Fred to have through his start – was just pulling on that block and then almost ripping it off.
And then finally – the entry – really, really, really concentrated on the entry. And as I said, Jeff Shaffer – the diving coach who has coached multiple NCAA champions in the platform and springboard events and was a US Olympic diving coach – did such a phenomenal job in teaching our athletes how to enter – how to shape their body – how to hold their body – the concept is very similar from a diver trying to rip their entry – as well as it is from a sprinter getting off the blocks into his first couple of strokes, so again – the overall concept that we worked on was just trying – trying to keep the body line as straight as possible – thinking like a pole – if you heard David last night – if he could turn his swimmers into a pole and just keep them that way – that is what we were – really – the visual thing that we were working on with Fred. You are not going to see very good poles here so to speak – the first one is Nathan and if I can pause it well enough – you can see his legs are apart there just a little bit. Jernej is going to do it here in a second, but the entry is real deep so you are going to see him and I want you to look right when I play it – I am not a great video editor so I didn’t have time to do this, but you are going to see as he finishes this dive and completes his dive that his back starts to arch and when that happens he is starting to lose a lot of speed. His feet are apart – as you see – I want you to take a look at that because when you see Jernej do it – he is a little more experienced – a little more powerful of an athlete and is able to keep his body in just in a little better line. Okay, let’s see if I can do this – Teri and the girls are working out that morning – don’t worry – I just missed that – I am not going to rewind this, but you get the general idea. He is getting his body through that one position there and so that is really the concept of what we were trying to explain.
Now there is, as I said, this is Fred specifically. That year – that 04-05 year – we had a swimmer – Ryan Wochomurka – he didn’t make it here this morning – hey – alright – 10 o’clock – he is here. Making that transition from swimmer to coach – man – you gotta come to these things. But Ryan – we talked about Ryan carried his speed a lot further. How he shaped his body was a lot different and I still to this day think you know – he was one of the best at 15 meters that I have ever been around – that I have ever seen and so his breakout time was a lot longer than Fred’s. Fred’s start was so bad – his swimming was so quick – we wanted him to really get off the block – get up and start transitioning into fast swimming right away so that is what – as I said – that is the concept that we talked about with Fred.
Alright, turn – the submerged turn – this was where Fred and you saw that race and maybe if we have time a little bit later we can watch that one more time – after we have kind of gone through this, but the submerged turn – this is a very, very tough concept for athletes to learn and we have been teaching this a lot in our camps – in fact, I feel that the best person that I have learned from is Morgan Bailey – who is the head coach at CAL State – Bakersfield. He does a great job in explaining how to submerge into the wall, but the general concept is as that last half stroke comes around and that recovery is at the top of their stroke, that they are starting to press with their chest and as that hand enters the water their head is already below the water line and it just takes them right into the turn. So many times swimmers will swim right to the wall – swim and then turn – it is two separate events. We tried to take that swim right into the turn and make it a continuous event rather than to swim – stop – turn – sort of the philosophy that some swimmers take. As I said, it is a tough concept. You are going to see a couple of drills on this that these two guys were doing. Do not watch the first one because I need to talk about that. You can hear my whistle through it.
One of the things that I did this summer in our camps in having these athletes learn how to do the submerge is I had them kicking and then as they started to press with their chest I could whistle loud enough – Jernej cannot hear me quite yet, but I would whistle when I felt they were in position to go into that turn and he obviously didn’t hear the whistle on this one so he just keeps going – you can hear me whistling, but he just keeps going, but on the way back you will see it a little bit better as he starts to press down with the chest – you see that head submerge and just goes right into the turn. Again, for some of these guys – this is Nathan kind of swimming into that submerged turn and typically when we teach these guys how to do it we teach them without a wall. When you add the wall to it is a whole other set of obstacles for them to sort of overcome so Nathan is doing this without a wall and again – for these guys – they did a good job and just me trying to explain it to them yesterday morning.
Finally – the finish – I am sorry – the push off – I got ahead of myself.
Coming off the turn – what we constantly, constantly did with the sprint athletes and Fred is no exception to that is have them – how they pushed off the wall – pushing off on their back – rotating to their side and then rotating to their stomach. It really helped with the quickness of how they were coming in and out of the wall. From their shoulders to their hips there was no bend and that is a hard – that was a very, very hard concept for a lot of our guys to grasp because you are coming in at such a high rate of speed and as you plant your feet you are going to naturally have that bend in your back so Fred had very, very good core strength – not a very tall guy – about 6 foot on a good day and you know – probably about 185 pounds – 190 pounds – so he really wasn’t a big guy and I think because of that his explosiveness coming into the wall and his ability to shape his body really, really, really helped him and you are going to see Nathan do this with a flutter kick – coming in back, side, stomach, and then you will see Jernej do it with a little bit of a dolphin kick, but again – you are pushing right off – a little bend in his back there on that, but then made the rotation. So every turn – all the time was back, side, stomach. There was no exception to that – back, side, stomach – back, side, stomach. Boom – Jernej comes off – boom – boom – makes the transition to his stomach with a little bit of dolphin kick there. Let me pause that.
The last thing – the finish. This was, without exception, every time he came into the wall Fred would do – Mike talked about you know – visualizing the finish – doing the – I termed it as championship meet finish – you know – touching – throwing the hands up in the air. We just really worked on the technical side of it – making sure that that hand came down, that head stayed down as they touched. One of the things that we always talked about with our athletes that when they touched the wall they just rolled their back in because what happens when they start swimming fast or get into a set – they just come in – touch the wall – lift their head up or they come in and they want to see the time and they lift their head up so to try and get them away from doing that, we would have them touch and just roll their back into it here and if they do it right – they wont hurt themselves, but Nathan here – bumped his head a little bit, but he understood the concept of it – just roll the back into it – there you go – he deserved that. He was giving me some flak that morning. You missed Jernej, but you get the general idea through it, okay?
This is Fred’s take on it – you know – just in talking about those three details – the start – the turn – the finish and again these questions that I talked with Fred about – I typically do a – kind of a season-end questionnaire to help me as a coach, you know, to kind of – as I said – there are some things that in the way that I see it as a coach, but okay – these things help and then when you talk with the athlete – they are on maybe a similar page, but they have their top three things that help them with something or a little bit different so it is very interesting and I asked Fred these questions a year and a half later to kind of have him removed from the emotional experience of that and really kind of think through things so as he said – the finish was the same thing – every time – how we would finish.
Strength – I am going to brush over this, okay? Just only because this is a 23 year old athlete which is a lot different than you know – a 13 year old female athlete or 15 year old male athlete so I am just going to brush over this quickly – out of the water you can see what he did the different times of the season – the fall – the December time frame – the February time frame and the resistive work in the water – the power work – the strength work in the water – just some different ideas that we utilize there. You see – Fred talks about PK – kind of the focus was core strength and he talks about improving his hang clings and bench presses. Don’t go out and do hang clings and bench presses – it was just something for Fred that worked so I thought that was fairly interesting as well.
Okay – motivation and environment. We really tried – in working with a lot of these sprint guys – the focus coming into practice was typically out here and we had to direct them towards a specific point. A little bit of what Mike talked about this morning – just trying to get them focused in on one thing so we did some things environmentally to create that. The power morning was something that was done after a lifting session. Coming in – it was typically the twenty sprint athletes – you know – four groups of five – 20 minutes – 8-16 efforts – very, very fast – very, very, competitive. The expectation was to go and win. We were not looking at times. We were not looking at – you know – how fast they were moving. We were looking at the competition side of things. Were they beating the guy next to them and the motivation for that morning was the green jersey. The green jersey was something that Aaron Ciarla kind of brought to the environment. Everyone has you know – kind of followed or at least has watched the Tour de France and the yellow jersey goes to the guy that is leading the race. They have a jersey for the guy that is king of the mountains – it is the polka-dot jersey. Well, the guy that is the king of the sprint gets the green jersey and so Aaron Ciarla went online, bought a replica green jersey and so for our power mornings we typically would do some kind of swimming with shirt work, but the person that won the power morning the session before got the green jersey. So he was the marked man for that session so everyone wanted that green jersey. Everyone wanted to be fast to kind of have the honor of wearing the green jersey and I don’t think Ryan Wochomurka ever wore the green jersey.
Power rack was also something that was a very, very useful tool. When I first got to Auburn – I mean – it was a systematic approach to how the rack was used during the practice session. We just kind of enhanced it a little bit. We took the sprint guys and put them at the same time going off the racks so that they were racing each other off the rack. It is you know – a strength movement in the water so we had our strength coach come in and run those power rack sessions and it was phenomenal – just the energy that was created in that environment and what we did with all those guys is that at the end of those sessions they would – you know – they would record their times – record the weight and that gave them a power ratio and so we would post that power ratio the next day after they finished, so that was important. For these guys – they like to see the power ratio going up or to see if they were better than someone else on a specific power ratio and it was trying to get them immediate feedback to let them know where they were was very, very important.
The 15 meter pool – using the bulkheads – we would set the pool up to 15 meters. We would put lane lines in there – a timing system in there. The goal was – there were 15 meter world record times for the guys. They knew what they were. Some days they would come in, in just the regular training suits. Some days they would come in suited up, but it was really a cool environment. We kind of had to put the reins on them a little bit because you know, sometimes they would be out there doing 15 sprints trying to you know – trying to get a hundredth of a second faster, but that gave them the ability to explore things. You know they would touch the wall – see their time up on the board immediately – take a little breather – come back and play with things – tweak things coming off the blocks or on their breakout. We really don’t have a heck of a whole lot of time to do any sort of swimming in a 15 meter swim so it was really working on their starts. We used to do – three lappers or 45 meter swims. That really kind of honed in on their start – a couple of turns and a finish and that would you know – typically go about you know – 19 seconds or so and that was a good kind of indication for them as to where they were. Again, sometimes they would come in and do that in their training suits – sometimes we would come in and do that in a racing suit.
Relay starts again was just something to kind of get them directed – get them swimming fast at a particular level. Twice a week they would – we would pull out the relay swimmers – mix up the order – use the quick start system – the motivation and the goal there was to be at a .10 takeover. If they hit that three times in a row I would take them out for an NCAA allowable, occasional meal – steak dinner for all of you college coaches in here. Needless to say – I have kept the wallet in the pocket – no one could do that three times in a row, but again – that was the motivation. In other words, we had to attach something to it – not just – you know – do a relay start, but do it this way.
From a motivation standpoint, I thought that was interesting and just a little quick story about that too. I remember – that year in particular – the Conference Championships were at the University of Florida and they were a little bit earlier – in February and Fred – I can’t remember right now – I think it was 19.5 ish – I am looking at Ryan – is that about right? 19.5 or 19.4 – something like that – anyway – a couple of weeks later there was another dual meet out on the West coast where someone had wrote in or an editor had written on Swimming World online that said well, you know, this is such a fast meet – this was an unbelievable meet – you know – here is Fred – he would have finished 5th in this race at this particular dual meet. So pretty much every day we just print out that article – highlight what that said and you know put it in his locker and every day we would find it in the practice crumbled up – thrown in the trash can. Every day we would print it out, highlight it for him – just constantly remind him that there were guys out there that at that point in time were faster than him, so it was – that served as a good motivational tool for him. From an environmental standpoint – I mean – Fred was really a team guy and you know, I think the environment that we had at that time with the group of guys that were there really, really inspired him and encouraged him.
Training: I am going to run through this quickly – I am running out of time. There were five different schedules – early fall – fall – late fall – pre-conference and an NCAA schedule. It is kind of the running joke in Southern California – everyone asks – well you don’t have four seasons out in Southern California and I say that because I used to live out in Southern California so would go yeah, yeah you do – you have early summer, summer, late summer, next summer – those are your four seasons so that is a little bit like the schedule here – early fall, fall, late fall as they move through things.
The focus in early fall was technique, conditioning, it kind of moved into some leg dominant training. Just a typical set – typically long course early on in the season – and that is just a 1500 meter set, but more so – it is not necessarily the set that I want you to focus in on – it is more of how we move to the not a lot of swimming – more of going body position in the swimming – a lot of snorkel work you can see there – a lot of leg driven work so going into some sculling into swimming, going into some surf kick which was you know – we define that by hand over hand – having the head up – driving the legs and keeping the intensity of the legs as they went into the swimming so it was – it was something – it just wasn’t you know – a 50 swim – a 100 swim – it was always taking it from the body position that we wanted into the swim.
In kind of the peak part of the fall training season, we set up the weekly training on kind of two mini weeks so our athletes would double on Monday and Tuesday – Thursday and Friday they would go single on Saturday so effectively during the week they would have two days off – Wednesday and Sunday and that was for the recovery aspect of things. These guys were working hard – lifting hard – you saw from the earlier slide they were lifting four times during this session so they needed a day where they just had nothing and that was very, very effective for them.
On a Tuesday afternoon team set and kind of how the team set was structured – you see a 150 there on two minutes and a 100 there on three minutes – this may be a version of a team set where like the mid-distance guys were probably going twelve 150’s at this point in time on two and a half minutes so at least every other 150 they were leaving together so that way the sprinters were connected to the mid-distance folks that were connected to the distance folks, but typically – for the sprinters – they would go a 50 fast into the turn and then keep the intensity of the legs, but come back to really you know, working on their body position – keeping their stroke nice and long so effectively as they were fatiguing we wanted them to home in on their technique through things and they would come back and go a hundred fast kick or 150 fast kick, 50 easy and that gave them enough time to get ready for the next 150 and that was important. That was important that not only did they have the opportunity to race fast – to go a 50 fast, but to come back and to really, really work on their technique – whether it be from a stroke count perspective – if we put some limitations on them there or just in terms of a movement. I think it was pretty individualistic in there, but we really, really wanted them to home in on some technical sides of swimming while they were completely fatigued.
In the late fall – that was typically coming off of a December invitational – we go four days with really good work – a week of finals – four days of really good work and I put in kind of a fly specific set so you just don’t see that – all he did was free, free, free, free. With the 75’s, 50’s, 25’s – similar philosophy – going back into some drill work, some body position work for Fred and then moving in on the even swims – 75’s, 50’s, 25’s going into some fast work.
One of Fred’s – I guess really tough parts that he had to struggle with in his butterfly was his breakout so a lot of things that we did were more geared toward his breakout. Three strokes fast off the wall – two strokes fast off the wall. He would typically lift up on that first breath and we were really trying to get him away from that and Coach Quick was working with the butterfliers last night. You know, really concentrating on having him breathe through the back part of his neck and that was you know, something that we really kind of designed the sets for him that way.
Pre-conference schedule: Monday, Wednesday and Friday – they would go fast. Tuesday and Thursday was more of an aerobic recovery, hypoxic – kind of you know – breath management sort of work. A typical set and 8 is kind of an arbitrary number – it could have been six or five or whatever, but eight 50’s from a runner – which they would run from the side of the deck – jump in – dive in and go a fast 50 and it had to be under 20 seconds. What this allowed the athletes to do was to warm themselves up – warm themselves down – manage their energy levels and you know – we didn’t necessarily – we were there when it was time to go for the 50’s we would be there to time them, but for the other times they were you know – warming up – warming down themselves.
The NCAA schedule in the March timeframe was a three day cycle – day of recovery – day of off pace – aerobic, hypoxic work and then a day when they were going fast and I remember this set specifically because we went four rounds through this – a 50, plus two cords where we were assisting the athletes – pulling them in and as we moved through the four rounds they were supposed to descend everything down. They added some equipment – the second round was with paddles – third and fourth rounds were paddles and fins and on the third round and I remember this specifically – Fred went you know – from a push, paddles and fins – something like an 18.5 or 18.4 – something like that and it was like – what are you going to do on the next one? Like 16.1? I mean – and so right then it was like – that’s it you know? I mean Fred had this uncanny ability to work hard as a sprinter. I mean – he worked his tail off whereas some guys you had to push, but Fred, we had to pull back a little bit and say okay – you know what? After that third round – we said – you know what? You are done. Go warm down. And that was kind of the unique thing about Fred is that he didn’t you know – he just wanted to go work and sometimes as a coach – we just had to pull him back a little bit and say – you need the rest, buddy.
The last question I asked him, you know, what led you to believe you were going under 19 seconds and as he said – really nothing and I don’t think we really pushed that either. You know, he was trying to be the first man to go under 19 seconds and I don’t think we ever talked about it, but I think, as coaches, we kind of knew something special was happening in that particular year. Obviously, the year before when he set the world record, short course meters at 21.1 – and you knew that that time and that swim was fast enough to go under 19 seconds, but we never did and I have talked about this with David last night, but we never did talk about that. We talked about the components of fast swimming. We talked about the start, his turn, his finish, his elbow position, his technique, how fast he needed to be in particular sets. Not necessarily about how fast he needed to be at the end of the year. And that is typically how we handled – kind of that group of athletes is you know – really focusing in on the skill, rather than trying to focus in on the time side of things. In other words – let’s master these skills to go fast, rather than try and do 18.86 which I think was his personal goal and just keep talking to him about that.
So he was and he still is – just a fantastic person and I wish – you know – a lot of times you see swimmer’s times on a page and you do not get a sense of the person. I mean, Fred was the type of guy that made you a better coach because you just wanted to coach him and like a lot of those guys during that time – I still think that probably the 2004 year – where we had four guys in a short course meter environment – went 1:23.7 in a 200 free relay. That to me is still such an amazing performance because you had four guys that were averaging under the world record and even now, the world record is 20.98 short course meters so you had four guys averaging under the world record. I mean, if you put that into perspective, if you put four guys on a relay that were averaging under the hundred long course meter time then that would put them at 3:11 – you would chop another second off what is now the world record so that was something that was pretty special during that time and it is not just Fred. I think it was the collection of athletes and the collection of coaches and the collection of people that really pushed that environment to that level.
That is it for me. Thank you very much, I appreciate it.