Interview With Olympic Head Coaches Eddie Reese and Jack Bauerle by Mark Schubert (2007)


Published


Introduction by Bill Wadley: Welcome to the ASCA World Clinic where great coaches come to improve and meet other great coaches and walk away with great ideas and have an opportunity to really share and learn from one another. We would like to thank you all for coming this evening. I think you are going to really enjoy this evening. I have the pleasure of being the President of the American Swimming Coaches Association and I am really excited about the opportunity that we have this week to really share together. I would like to encourage each of you to take full advantage of the World Clinic by introducing yourself to someone that you have never met before. I think probably there are two or three things that everyone can gain from the clinic and one is that you can gain great new friendships by just putting your hand out and shaking hands with someone that you have never met before. And before you know it you will have a lifetime of friendships. Also you will be surprised at all the great knowledge that is in your area and in this room. Everybody has unbelievable ideas and we are here for an opportunity to share those ideas. I would encourage you to take a moment and ask questions of your friends and do not be afraid to share your own ideas as well. And we are very, very blessed in America of having some of the worlds’ greatest coaches right in this room and we are lucky because many of us have had the chance to get to know them. They are just unbelievable people. They are easy to get to know. They are willing to share and teach us all of the great ideas and all the great things that they teach their athletes. I have the opportunity to introduce tonight’s lead speaker, who is Coach Mark Schubert. He is our USA National Team Head Coach and General Manager and everyone knows his name. It does not matter where you go on the planet, Coach Schubert is well recognized and well respected. He is for most of us, if you didn’t know, he is the winningest club coach in American history. His teams have won 63 National titles combined over the years. Coach Schubert has been an Olympic Coach since 1980. He is a seven time USA Olympic Coach which is what we consider to be the highest honor in our profession. Coach Schubert is a five time ASCA Coach of the Year award winner and he has also been inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, as well as the American Swimming Coach’s Hall of Fame. Please join me in welcoming the world’s greatest swimming coach, Coach Mark Schubert.

Mark: Bill asked me before he introduced me, he said, do you still get nervous when you talk in front of this many people? I said, “its just like when they say ‘Take your mark.’ It’s exactly the same. And I do not think that we would be doing this if we didn’t get a little bit nervous when they said “take your mark”. I want you to know that I was not planning on wearing a tie tonight. But Coach Reese said, we are all wearing ties tonight. If you have ever seen Jack Bauerle in a tie you are ahead of me, because I never have. So Coach Reese we give you all the credit. I do want you to know that I did bring a tie and when I bought this tie, it is 2/3’s patriotism – red and blue, and 1/3 performance – GOLD. I don’t really need to say anything else, do I? Because that is what we are talking about. I am going to let the head coaches talk a little bit more about this year. But I am going to talk a little bit more in broad terms and I hope in terms that everybody in the room can relate to, because it is important that everybody in the room relate to them. I am excited to address you about the 2008 Olympic Games and the upcoming Olympic year. But as you all know, as you think about your experience in swimming, the Olympics affects everyone. It affects all of our motivation. It inspires us all. It is one of the many things that makes us proud to be an American. But if we have somebody that has the opportunity to represent America there is nothing quite like that. I know one of the proudest moments I ever had as an Olympic coach is when I stood in front of the team and showed them the cap that they were going to wear the next day – the USA Olympic cap: with the red, white and blue flag on it. And I reminded them how, when they were little they watched people like Matt Biondi and Janet Evans wearing that same cap, and they dreamed about wearing that cap some day. We do not all get to do it. But we all get to strive towards it and we all get to take extreme pride in those who wear it. I think the Olympics are important to all of you because it gives you an opportunity to create a dream. I do not think that there is any swimmer coach that has not had a direct and profound effect in creating dreams. We all talk about technique. We all talk about strength. We talk about power. We talk about training. We talk about psychology, but the dream is what the Olympics is all about and all of you have the opportunity to create the dream. All of you have the opportunity to help your swimmers realize that they can accomplish more than what they personally perceive. Seldom does a swimmer accomplish more than the coach thinks they can. Usually the dream will start with the coach and be spread to the swimmer. Usually the competence will start with the coach and be spread to the swimmer. You have such an important job. Challenge them. If human beings did not need to be challenged we could cancel the 2007 ASCA World Clinic and just turn on a computer. The human beings need to be challenged by coaches; coaches that think outside the box; coaches that do not accept discouragement; coaches that keep trying when their swimmers sense that they cannot try anymore. You make such a huge difference. Remember to challenge them in practice to learn how good they are. There is nothing better than driving home after practice with the visualization in your mind of a swimmer’s face when they have just realized that they are better than they thought they were when they walked into practice. I am sure that you can all close your eyes and visualize that moment that you have helped that swimmer understand that they are better than they were when they walked into practice. That will always carry over to swimming meets. Challenge them for the thirst of knowledge, knowledge regarding technique, knowledge regarding training, knowledge regarding the little things – the starts and turns – relay take-offs. I will tell you an interesting story. I had a swimmer, on the national team who is currently a world record holder, who swam on her first relay on the national team and had never swum on a relay before. Therefore, she had never done a relay takeoff. If you aspire to be on one of our relays this year please practice relay takeoffs on a regular basis. It is basic, but it is important. Learn from the excellence of others. We have so much good happening in American swimming right now. We have so much that we can learn from the excellence of those around us, our fellow coaches and our fellow athletes and ourselves. Be observant and share your observations with your swimmers. One thing I always used to do when we were having a bad meet, and it seemed like we swam a lot of prelims and not very much finals, is we would always have a team meeting and say okay, we didn’t make the finals so now we are going to observe. We are going to observe what these great swimmers are doing and then we are going to have a meeting afterwards and we are going to talk about it. Either they learn something watching that or they did not want to have two meetings to talk about that and they made a lot more finals the next day. Challenge your athlete to move to the next level. That requires the risk. It requires a risk on your athlete’s part. It requires a risk on your part to take your athlete to a meet that is harder than the meets you are going to right now. Take your athlete to a meet to teach him how to win. If you take them to the same meets all the time and they swim against the same people all the time and they beat the same people all the time they are not learning how to win. You have to challenge them to learn how to win against numerous different opponents to truly have the confidence that they can get their hand on the wall first. It was interesting, this year we had a National Team Coach’s Meeting in Colorado Springs in April. One of the things I wanted to share with you was a common thread of comments that came from coaches when we asked them the question, “your athlete was very successful at the World Championships this year, what did you do differently that caused that success? That caused that improvement?” And almost, to a coach, it was that the athlete had finally made the commitment to excellence, that they did something special that year, that either they were more consistent in practice or their practices were better, that they were more committed to good nutrition, that they were more committed to general overall fitness, that they were more committed to training and doing the kinds of things outside the pool than they had ever been in the past. And they realized that the things that happen outside the pool are just as important as what happens within the pool gates themselves. The other thing that I think is common to all of us and I am asked, in this new role, why is United States swimming the most successful Olympic sport in America? The answer is very simple. It is a culture of teamwork that starts at the country club level, permeates the club level, the high school level, the YMCA level and the collegiate level. Of all the National Teams I have been a part of the easiest thing about being on a National Team is the team factor. Everybody loves it. Everybody thrives on it. Everybody gets the commitment to helping each other to do well. I had probably the most unusual National Team experience this year I have ever had at the Pan Am Games. It was an awesome facility. We had a great team. They were highly motivated. We had an unusual challenge of having to swim fast at 10 AM in the morning. Actually what we found out was the biggest challenge about morning finals was not saying we are going to swim faster at night because it was really the morning and having to get your brain flip-flop between prelims and finals morning at night. But the most unusual thing that happened was when our Captain, Gary Hall, gave a tremendous USA Team cheer and there were 6,000 Brazilians in the stands and at the time. We didn’t know it was good-natured but there was a thunderous boo. I do not think that I have ever been at a swimming meet where I have had 6,000 people booing at our team and I thought well, this is going to be interesting. Either we are not going to hear any more team cheers or let’s see what they do. What they did was come immediately back with one cheer and then another cheer and then the rest of the meet was how loud can we get them to boo? It was awesome. It was absolutely awesome. They were not intimidated. They were so proud of their spirit and the way they supported each other. Men’s team improvements I believe, on that team, were 60 some percent. Women’s team’s best time was nearly 90%, which was one of the best of any National Team. We can swim fast in the morning. It is not hard to figure out. I challenge you to challenge your swimmers to break the pecking order. I think one of the best things we have going in American swimming right now is pressure on every great swimmer to get better. This year we had 189 athletes going to international competition wearing USA. We had 36 coaches getting international experience and giving their best experience to those athletes. We had terrific improvements at the Nationals, at the Japan Invitational, at the PAN-AMS at the World University Games and obviously at the World Championships. I don’t think that there is a swimmer in America that feels comfortable and that is a very good thing and that is a very good thing to teach your swimmers. Break the pecking order. One of the last things I am going to challenge you to do. If you are a coach of one of the thousand athletes that are going to qualify for the Olympic trials create a strategy right now, this week, to make sure that every athlete leaves the meet feeling successful. The meet inherently can be somewhat of a negative meet in that only two swimmers per individual event, six swimmers per relay, feel successful from the standpoint of making the Olympic team. But I challenge you right now to develop a strategy to make sure your athletes leave that event feeling successful. Other than the Olympic Games it is going to be THE most exciting event on this soil in swimming for a long time. That strategy should be either to do your best time, to get a second swim, to make a final or to get an experience that will put you on the Olympic team in 4 years or 8 years or 12 years. I have had the pleasure of watching coaches that develop that strategy and I have had the pleasure of watching those swimmers that haven’t succeeded the first time, but have made such an awesome contribution to the National Team in future years and at future International competitions. Be prepared to turn disappointment into determination, disappointment into determination. When I say that, I am not just thinking of the success of the 2008 Team, but success of the 2012 Team and the 2016 Team. Talk with your swimmers this year, talk about our great American swimming history. Show films of Olympic swimmers. Talk about our swimmers that are making history during the Olympic Games themselves. I challenge you in that. I was at a meeting last night and a very good coach said, “in the American swimming heyday of the 1970’s,” and it really struck me because I think we are in the middle of the greatest swimming heyday of American history right now. I challenge you to make it true and I challenge you to make it meaningful for every swimmer in our Country, which will make us good for years to come. I want to introduce you to our Head Women’s Olympic Coach and I might say that both of our Head Olympic Coaches were elected by the selection committee unanimously which I think is pretty awesome. I can tell you, having sat in those meetings both of our American Coaches were selected not just because of the great athletes that they have developed, but because of the fact that they are great team coaches, as I said before, the success of the American National Team. Our Head Women’s Olympic Coach, Jack Baurele.

Jack: It is an honor to be standing in front of you and I want to thank Mark for the opportunity to help the USA do what we want to do next summer. I would be remiss if, standing in front of you, I didn’t thank a few people that sort of gave me an opportunity to coach the athletes that I have had over the years. I want to start with just a few people, but my mom always told me to thank everybody every chance I got so I am going to do it. Well, Dick Shoulberg helped me out back in the 1970’s when I first got a job at Georgia and didn’t know anything. Eddie Reese calls me all the time and tells me what to do. I also want to make a special thanks to Jon Urbanchek who has been an absolute gigantic influence on how we did things in our program and as you probably know, he has influenced a heck of a lot of programs throughout this country.

But you know, listening to Mark, we talked last week about what we were going to say, no one knew what they were going to say and Mark just said everything. Anyhow, I don’t have too much else to add to it, outside of maybe a couple of stories now. But basically he stole a little bit of my thunder, as far as the dream and about getting there and making it a positive experience. Because I think our last Olympic trials I had with our group we had kids make the team, we had kids final and some of those kids were the happiest ones I have ever had. It is all relative. Not every kid is capable. More kids are capable than they think as we well know, but to challenge them when you get back is the most important item. As Mark said, and there is a reason why he is leading us into the Olympics next year, it is so important that we challenge a kid. But that confidence comes from us first, alright? If you do that they will go up levels and levels and levels, but challenge them.

If we have learned nothing from this summer we learned this, when we went to Nationals, before we went to Nationals, most of us thought as coaches we would have a team of – matter of fact, the head coach, Chris Davis thought, “I am not sure we are going to have that many kids on this Japan trip. I’ll bet you we have 8 or 9. I wonder if Mark really wants me to go? Maybe Eric Hansen can take over instead and we will just send one coach.” Well, I think we had 58 athletes and what happened was, the only thing that got thrown out there was a high bar, alright? Everyone rose to the high bar. Because of that we have kids right now that know, not think, know they can make an Olympic team and there is a big difference. We also have kids that thought they were going to make the Olympic team realize that they had better get on the stick and that nothing is golden. And that is going to make us even that much better coming up.

Two quick stories I would like to share with you as we walk into the Olympic year. I think you have to remind yourself, sometimes getting there, sometimes there is a trip up. I had a young lady, Maritza Correia, who I shared with Peter Banks all these years. She is a wonderful young lady, but her first Olympic trials, and believe me she was as good a swimmer in that Olympic trials as she was the next time she made it. She missed in 2000 and then came back and made it in 2004. For some of you, for some of the athletes, it is important getting there too, alright? It might give them the chance to make it the second time around. As we know, we will always have some surprises. We will have kids make this team. We have been on international trips whether it is World Championships or Pan-Pac’s throughout the years, and we look down there one year before and you can honestly say sometimes 40-50% of that group will change by the next year. So we have kids out there right now that are going to be on that team that just do not really realize it yet, but it is up to us to make them believe. Maritza was a perfect example, but you have to have them as ready and they have to believe in themselves. She did not believe in herself as much in 2000 as she did in 2004 and that was basically the difference.

One other story, and this deals a little bit with failure and success, which I think failure makes us a lot better than success all the time anyhow. Two ladies in 2000 went into the 200 freestyle. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. And one young lady, Julia Stowers, whose coach, Garner Hallan is here tonight and then Kim Black who was swimming for me. They were 17th and 18th in the 200 freestyle in the year 2000. I do not know if some of you remember this or not, but to me it is one of the most amazing stories. It impacted me because Kim was my swimmer and a great young lady – a perfect 4.0 student and biology student of the year at our school, just an amazing kid. So when things go wrong for those kids you feel pretty bad and I went over to the pool and I saw Julia over there – and Garner you can correct me if I am wrong, but it looked like she was crying. I had one doing the same and I finally told her to get her head up and, because it is really hard to walk when it is turned around. And so I said, let’s get together, you have a meet left. Well, it ends up two people scratched and both of them went into the semi-finals. So they were 15th and 16th. Then they made the finals and both of them made the Olympic team, alright? But I will tell you this – that started from 17th and 18th. Had they just let it go emotionally and not kept their wits about them, they would have never made the team. That is a pretty darn neat story you know.

We will see a lot of drama next year and a lot of good drama. And while I am sitting here I would be remiss if I didn’t say welcome to the Australian coaches, wherever you are. Where are you guys? There we are. I will say something and I hope Mark – this is alright – this is my favorite group of coaches that we coach against internationally, all the time, alright? Great guys, great competitors and you know – there are never any hard feelings one way or the other. And believe me we have a challenge on our side, the women’s side, to stay up with them and we are going to be coming after them in the way they are going to be coming after us. But sportsmen is the best way to describe the group and I have always liked being around them. It just sort of makes me feel better at a meet and we know when we walk in we are in for a darn fight every time. So it is a pretty nice way to go. I am just going to say another thanks. As you know, and you probably could just sort of sense the feeling, of all the coaches – how comfortable we feel – how motivated we feel as a group, under Mark’s guidance. It has been a great year and it is going to be… we have greater things yet to come. And I want to say thanks and just to let you know – I am going to do my damndest and my absolute best to make sure we are the best team we possibly can be, and do the little role that I can do at the best of my ability before 2008. And I am going to send this off to Coach Eddie Reese who is not just an expert on the men’s team, but also on my women’s team so he can tell you everything you need to know.

Eddie: Well, I have gotten the blame for everything up here. And I do not choose to wear a coat and tie. I don’t know what started this stuff. I do like to be on time. And I like the Australians too. In fact, before the Sydney Olympics I took three years of Australian and couldn’t get the language. See, they did get that. They didn’t think you would get that. I need to start with a personal note. I get a question about a rumor from all the guys I am recruiting this year. It is – am I going to retire after the 2008 Olympics? And I am not going to retire after the 2008 Olympics. My wife said that – she doesn’t want me around.

I like what Mark said about challenges and one of the greatest letters I have ever read was written by Dick Joachim eight to twelve years ago. He talked about why he had as many men or boys on his team as girls. I see that on my brother’s team in Austin with the Longhorn Aquatics. They are not easy coaches, not even an easy brother, but they challenge the swimmers and you definitely have got to challenge the men or the boys.

I would like to congratulate you on a 2007 year of great swimming. It was unbelievable. From the – if you look at the NCAA’s, the top 32 places were incredible for men and women. The World Championships were good – everything the rest of the summer. In the Nationals I had a guy in one of the early heats of the 100 free go 50.7. It is a guy that doesn’t get to swim at night much unless he jumps the fence of the pool. And he went 50.7. I said, “he is swimming tonight”. And 8 heats later he is standing next to me tonight. But that is a credit to the coach’s out there. I mean – 50.7 did not make our top 24. I think 50.4 was 24th. Whatever it was it was a little faster than I wanted. But from a club coach standpoint from a coach in this position, it is a great position to be in. And if you had looked at the times in some of the – I love to look at the relay splits of guys that swim them in the morning – that are not ever going to swim the event. I had two guys at the Japanese meet, or one guy at the Japan meet who doesn’t swim freestyle in public very often, split 49.4 on a relay. And that goes back to what Jack is talking about – don’t have any limits. I do not like the Nike slogan – “just do it” – but not many of us can “just do it”. That is something like Bo Jackson and Michael Jordan can “just do it”, but the rest of us have to “go for it”. We have to commit with no guarantee and that is the name of the game and not many kids will do that now days – will make a 5 or 6 month commitment with no guarantee. To get somebody to do that, that is a credit to you.

I am excited about the Olympics and I know that trials will be tough. We have all talked about it. We have thought about it. The last trials we had – we had 680 people in it. That bothered me a lot because 95% of the swimmers in the 2004 team all swam in the 2000 trials. So there is something to that exposure. So we had only 680 kids in the trials. And worse than that, our percentage of fast swims was under 15% for men and women – or faster than they entered the times I think. Right now, we have already got more people coming to the next trials. Personally, I would like to see 1200 people at the trials. I am one of these guys that thinks that every meet, except maybe the Olympic games, is a developmental meet – the kind of meet where somebody comes in and sees something – they get better just because they saw it, or just because somebody went fast. At my first team meeting or my third team meeting – whatever it was – I am not supposed to remember that stuff any more. You get over 40 it is like that, isn’t it? And we talked about the barrier breakers – the guys that do the times like the first guys that broke 50 in the 100 meter free. The first year it was Jim Montgomery and some other guy – can’t remember who it was – the guy went to Alabama, but there were two guys – I can remember who it is – but they broke it.

Now what has happened? How many people have broken 50 in the 100 meter free? 150? 140? Someone breaks that barrier and somebody takes the “I am going to go for it” attitude and goes for it. I know it’s great to aim for Olympic trials and we have – half of us think if you put real fast times they will go fast or will try harder to make them. I don’t aim for – I do not aim for the qualifying standards. I try to find a way to get swimmers to go faster every year and pretty much that says it all. We have all had swimmers, young and old, who have leveled out. Part of the trap that comes with that is – if they were very successful last year we have the tendency to lean towards well, that worked last year or that worked. I was good four years ago with that. Well I can remember what I did 15 years ago and it will not work now because we are going too fast. When you make somebody better last year – when they come into the next year, they are different. They are not the same organism that they were the year before and I have never seen easier work – I have never seen easier work – I have never seen it work. It will work maybe for younger 12-14 when they just get bigger and stronger and faster through physical maturation. But train them hard, keep them smiling and lets go fast this year. Thank you.

George Block (?) : Before our coaches get away I would like to take a moment to thank our sponsor, Speedo, for our speaker gifts. But more importantly I would like to thank our coaches, the greatest coaches on the planet, for the things that they are about to do for USA Swimming and for our organization and Coach Reese, good luck and thank you very much. And how about our Olympic coaches?

If you have questions of our Olympic coaches – I think they will be happy to take questions. If you could stand and tell us your name and ask your question if you have a question.

Eddie: Yes – somebody else will have to hear this – I will not hear it. I did. I wanted to come up here and say that – I wanted to announce in front of this group that I was going to retire and give it about a 15 second delay and then tell them I was kidding. But I figured there would be people out of the room before that so I just figured I would cover it – cover my bases here. Because I am getting carpal tunnel syndrome giving all these recruits the reasons why I am not retiring. And part of that reason was part of my talk I left out. Obviously, you have no where to go. But I am really enjoying it. I am having fun and you know what? I am working hard to get better. I do that every year and I think – I am never satisfied. I think that is what this sport demands. Like we had the worst NCAA’s – probably I’ve ever had – considering the athletes I’ve had – this past year and I know why. Do you remember Frank Busch talking about all the kicking he did, two hard days? Well I did two hard days and then four more hard days and we were not any good, but it paid off in the summer so right now I have got an idea of what works for my group: freestylers – they got to be able to kick. It doesn’t matter whether you are a miler or a 50 man or woman. Backstrokers – we have renamed – do you know what spin drill is? We had a real good year backstroke-wise and we did – I am not allowed to call it spin drill any more because it is a form of work, not drill. And Aaron Peirsol said, it is now spin. But backstrokers – if you want to get them better, a fast way, a difficult way, is spin. Breaststrokers have got to be able to pull and keep their hands moving. When their hands slow down their legs slow down. When Mike Barrowman was a swimmer – of course he was flipping his turns in workout, but he never did a dolphin kick. Except off the walls. I can say that now. But when he was doing breaststroke pull he would do that – what I call a foot fall. No hips – just the half kick. You know, the fly kick occurs where the breaststroke could occur, but he pulled a 4:16 for 400 yards breaststroke pull. Alright, that is fast and he doesn’t get tired and that was his gift. He refuses to show that he gets tired. As for butterfly – I do not have a clue what to make them better. I have no clue on that, but I meant to say that earlier and if given a chance, I will dominate this. Well obviously, I have been married for 43 years – I do not get to talk at home.

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