Specificity of Training by Paul Hutinger (2005)


Introduction: I have the distinct pleasure of introducing our next speaker. If you read your clinic book, he has the longest personal bio of anybody so I am going to recommend you visit that for all the background information. I just want to say that Paul Hutinger is the oldest of the presenters here and has a distinguished career to go along with that. He has been an age group coach, a college coach and a Masters coach – all with quite a lot of success. He is also a World Record Masters Swimmer. He has his Ph.D. in exercise physiology from an esteemed Mid-west Institution and, therefore, he is probably better talking about the subject that he is going to tackle this afternoon than anyone else here. I am going to turn the podium over to Paul Hutinger.

Coach Hutinger: Thanks very much. I am going to be sitting down. I hope that I will be able to visualize with you, but when you get to be 81, there are different joints that go out on you and we have a back problem over here. I told her I might need to lie down there later on. Well, the topic today is specificity of training. I wanted to start out with a name that some of you that are in that 45-50 age group might know and that is Scott Shake. He is a 47 year old Masters swimmer from Arizona and was one of my best students in exercise physiology at Western Illinois University in 1983. Every time I see Scott at a National meet, he comes up to me and puts his arm around me and says, “Hey coach – I remember that specificity of training that you gave us in class.” You can see why I always thought of Scott Shake as one of the best students that I ever had, because he remembered one of the principles that I gave in class. 22 years ago I was teaching a graduate class in Specificity of Training. That is my topic today as well.

The students were in their mid-20’s. Some were athletes or power lifters or strength people. You can imagine that I was going to challenge them on the swim bench. Well, the isokinetic ergometer swim bench is a repeatable swim bench that measures work load in kilopound meters. Now the one that the ergometer has here is measured in watts. You would have to do some transition to get kilopound meters out of watts, but I trained on this machine every day or five days a week anyway, pushing 4 times x 90 seconds. Now, that is a minute and a half. You know how long that is! It was almost like an 8 week program of high intensity swimming would be.

I told the students that I use this machine. I said, hey, “I have been training on this machine.” I brought it in to the upper gym and challenged my students. I always beat them, but Scott Shake was in this particular class. The year that I am talking about in ’83, I was 60 years old at the time. Well, Scott Shake, being a 25 year old, was eager to get on there and show me up. By the second round, most of these students were wiped out, but Shake was still hanging in there. We were going through the third set. I always hated to get the swimmers on that swim bench because even though they had not been on it, I knew that their arm strength was such that they could survive those 90 seconds. Shake kind of had a grin on his face when he came into that third set, but about half way through he started fading out, which I would have predicted. I was averaging 90 kilopound meters for each of these sets which were an average of about 200 kilopound meters for every 30 seconds. If you deuced it at 30 seconds, why, you could probably run a score of maybe 400, but the average was 900 on that minute and a half or 90 seconds, so he faded out. When I got on, because sometimes I trained like 4 x 90, and because I was going to get ready for this class, I knew that I could keep that 90 kilopound meters pace (3 X 90) all the way through. I did and I beat Scott Shake. He couldn’t believe it. How could this 60 year old guy beat me? You know? He was pretty strong and in shape, for a 25 year old. Well, he learned a lesson – specificity of training. “I trained on that machine Scott – you didn’t.”

Now then, I need to mention that they have an ergometer in one of the booths here that you could check out. Now, I have been swimming or coaching swimming since 1953. I was an age group, high school, college and of course now with the Masters swimming. The Florida Mavericks is the team I have now. I earned my doctorate at Indiana with Doc Councilman, the chair of my dissertation, and the dissertation was on strength training. Isokinetics was just coming in at that time in the late 60’s, so I got in on the isokinetic strength machines from the beginning.

I wanted to say now that this is an honor for me to be here to talk to you coaches. You are out there doing the hard work. A lot of the swimmers appreciate that! I want to thank Scott Rabalais for inviting me to present today. My wife, Margie, and I were instrumental in forming a new Masters team called the Florida Mavericks in 1996. Our members are located in all areas of Florida. We even have one swimmer from St. Louis. In fact, he is one of their top swimmers. These logistics are different than if I was on deck coaching. It is a little bit different way to get a swimming program, but there are a lot of swimmers out there that do not have any direction. They need some support and that is what I feel that we are giving, so I need to be creative. I use a phone, email, newsletter, handouts, and then discussion at meets. A lot of time “at the meet” is the only time that I have a chance to really get together and talk to the swimmers about their program.

I write a “tip of the month”. There is a card that I have that you can get up here later, but you can hit the website. Let’s see, who was our webmaster last year? Bill Volking was our webmaster. You know what a great guy he is! When he volunteered about four years ago to set up this website, Margey and I said, “we can’t afford to pay you, Bill.” He said, “I will do it for free, but just this year.” Since he took over as editor, he is a lot busier now and so he did ask us to find a new webmaster, which we did. There are a lot of good things on that website that you could find and every issue of the newsletter is on there. We put out a newsletter about every two months and I write a “tip of the month” column. It is only about a half page, but I concentrate on specificity of training for them, of course. I get a few that will read that and follow some of the tips. But, if any of the coaches or any of the swimmers want coaching suggestions, I tell them, give me a call on the phone, anytime or give me an email.

I will be glad to help you out with any of the goals that you have. That is one of the important things that we try to set up too. It might be just to be able to participate in hour swim. Oh, I can’t swim for an hour, okay; can you do ten repeat 200’s? Yeah, I think I could do that! Spread it out over an hour so sometimes you can get them going that way where they cannot really swim for a whole hour. One of our 90 year olds said, “I don’t think I could swim for an hour. I only swim for 30 minutes when I go to the pool. Well, we overcame his adversion to that pretty fast.

I usually try to include examples of application of principles, specificity of training and then they can handle that into their training at any level that they want. They just put it in their own repeat times. Say, I give them a set of something and they have to modify. Then, this general thing that I give them can be fit into their own program and these results have come out pretty good. They have ranged from World or National Records to personal bests. The increased feeling of self-worth for the swimmer is amazing and rewarding.

Now, the next example I am giving is Jean Troy. In her youth, she swam during the summers and developed her swimming skills. She didn’t compete in high school or college. At age 45, she was introduced to Masters swimming. She gradually improved her times and was successful in the top ten level and eventually reached All-American status. Now, thirty years later, Troy is age 75. She competed in the Worlds in New Zealand in 2002. She not only won her five events, but set world records in all of them. 50 free – 37.4. 100 free – 1:28. 200 free – 3:17. 50 fly – 47. Then at the Nationals in August of that year, she broke the 400 meter freestyle – 6:55 and in short course meters she had the 100 meter free – 1:26. 200 meter free – 3:11. 400 meter free 6:44 and the 800 – 13:59. What was missing, the 1500 meter free? This gal was a sprinter. She had no idea of ever competing in the 1500. Well, listen on. Here we go.

She wasn’t accustomed to real hard workouts, but since she was aging up to 75, she wanted to do well. This was before the New Zealand meet and she didn’t have access to a 50 meter pool. For specificity, because of that lack of specificity, you want to get in a 50 meter pool if you are going to compete in a 50 meter pool. That hurdle made it even more outstanding to come out of a 25 yard pool. She had to do more 75’s. That kind of helps a little bit to get you through a 50. She also did 200 kicks and pulls. Once a week she would swim an 800 at pace and tried to concentrate on breath control off of her hard push-offs and then she would do two power strokes. That is usually the time you want to relax and just kind of cool it going off your push-off, but she would work hard on that.

Now she considers herself a sprinter and so when I talked to her about the 1500, she actually rejected the idea just like that! “I don’t even want to think about that,” she said. Well, the seed was planted and a couple of weeks later she gave me a call. “Hey, what other training do I need to do to train for the 1500?” So, she had been doing these ten 100’s, kind of quality stuff on 2 minutes, handling about 1:40. This was for a 75 year old! I told her she needed to really get up to about 20 of those hundreds and then work on that race pace of about a 1:40 for yards. That would give her the pace that she needed to get the record on the 1500, which was about a 27:30 so at the Nationals that year. So she had her training set up. She got in the 1500. She started fading about ¾ of the way through and then came back and got back to her pace and went a 27:09. She was almost 25 seconds ahead of Krauser’s record, which was a good record. When she was asked by others how she got 10 world records? She told them, I worked my butt off!

How many of the swimmers that you have been associated with do not really have a background like Troy had, but yet if they can get in, if they have some ability and work hard can there goals be met. A lot of coaches can see these individuals out there and what an accomplishment for a 75 year old, World Records, and not just one, but ten. The next swimmer that I wanted to talk about on specificity is Robert Blake. Now, he is a swimmer from St. Louis that I have known for years. I did want to apologize to St. Louis partly for working with Blake, but a few years ago they really didn’t have much of a program. I am from St. Louis originally and have followed and swam a lot of the meets down there. When I was in Illinois I used to go down to St. Louis regularly and swim. I have known a lot of their leaders over the years. We have a new leader down there that is going to help their program. Robert Blake started doing these and one of the handouts that you can get today is some of the pace work that I give the swimmers for a 1650. They work on that for the hour swim. It is a great motivator for them. They know where they are going and who they are training. They get in and swim that hour swim. It is not as hard for them to do and they know that they set a goal for it.

Well, Blake set a goal after working on these ten 100’s and worked up to twenty 100’s on his pace work and then once a week, he would do a 3,000 straight swim. The previous year he swam 3,400 meters which he felt was a great effort. Then after his specificity of training, he increased that yardage by a couple of hundred yards, getting up to 3,600 as a 79 year old. That gave him a first place National time. He knew that he was close to this 3650 which was a record for the 80 year olds, as he just aged up this year. He followed similar training that I had as a December Tip of the Month. Challenges for the hour swim was one of the things that I sent out about that time, although you got to start working before December on the hour swim, like the first part of November. He increased his yardage by about 120 yards in this past year and got the record at 3,750. This was Blake’s first National Record! I can appreciate that he is an 80 year old swimmer. How was an 80 year old able to accomplish these remarkable swims in spite of being two years older than he was and go faster? You can’t do that. It was the results of these goals that he set for himself and his training that he followed. He says, “I am a stroke counter and a glider.” If you ever saw Blake swim, you would see that nice long stroke he has going for him. He says, “I pace, pace, pace until I glide, glide.” He did it at a pace that he needed for that record. Nice going Blake!

When I coached an age group team in Kansas City, which goes back to 1955, they didn’t have much on age group around at that time. I had a 12 year old named, Don Pennington. At that time the majority of the swim program was sprint events. The chair of the AAU age group program was a woman that was ultra conservative. She would not approve anything over 100 yards or longer for swimmers 12 and under. You couldn’t swim the 200. They really would not allow you to swim them. Her rationale was that they were too taxing for the younger swimmers. We know now it is different, but she felt she was protecting the age group swimming at that time. Pennington was not a sprinter and barely made the C relay. That was like 12th on the age group team of 12 year olds – 11 & 12 year olds, so you know, he was bottom of the barrel in sprinting. I thought he was better suited for long distance events, so I switched him to a distance program and entered him in the 1650, in what they called the open or men’s events. They even had that available at the time.

I don’t think the chair of the age group program knew that some of us coaches were doing that: putting our younger swimmers in that group because she wouldn’t have liked that. After these competitions with the older swimmers, I couldn’t believe the status and respect that Don got from the team. This was the self-esteem in masters that introduced me to what we can do with some Masters swimmers, by what this kid accomplished. Now, Don went on to doing more distance events and it carried over in the college swimming at Kansas University. He was their first All-American in the 400 IM and the 1650. This has given me the concept of enhancing self-esteem to many of the Masters swimmers.

I had a brother that had polio and it only affected one side of his body, so I had a great appreciation of polio. One day in the locker room this guy comes in, both legs are gone. I talked to him saying “what was your problem?” He said, “I have polio.” He was the last child in his family. He had a good attitude! He said, “Well, if I wouldn’t have gotten polio, I would have gone to Viet Nam and you don’t know what would have happened there! His attitude was pretty good. I talked to him for a while and I gave him some ideas for his swimming. He was working with a pull buoy, mostly. It was in the fall. I said to him, “You know, we got this hour swim coming up and it would be a great event for you. You don’t have to go anywhere. He does have some trouble getting into some buildings and swimming pools, as you might expect. He got kind of enthused about it! I told him you cannot swim with that pull buoy though, so specificity of training entered in here. He had to figure out how he was going to balance his body with his leg dragging down. Well, new position in the water came about by dropping his head a little bit lower which got his legs coming up a little bit. He got through his training.

He entered the hour swim that year. This was about two years ago. He wasn’t last in the 55-59 age group. You can imagine his self-esteem. He could hardly walk. When climbing out of the pool, he can’t even use a ladder. He has got to pull himself up and get out on the deck by rolling around, then trying to get his prosthesis on and getting up. I told him a couple of weeks ago, “Steve, you do a better job getting out of the pool than I do and I have to go over to the ladder and climb up”. Of course, he can’t use the ladder to climb out so he is kind of forced to roll out on the deck and get out, but he did a better job than I did. He swam 2,260 yards in the 55-59 age group, which is remarkable. You can imagine the push off that he doesn’t have. He just swims off the wall, but boy can he swim.

The next topic on specificity, in the spring of 2004, was about suit selection. This was just last year. I decided to buy a long suit. I had been swimming for years and seeing all these swimmers out there with the long suit and thought, “oh, what could that do for me?” Well, you know what the literature said. Not much improvement with a long suit. Well, they did this on college swimmers, mostly. I aged up to 80 last year. I thought maybe I deserved to try one of these out and checked with some of the swimmers for advice.

There was a Canadian swimmer that said she liked that Arena suit that went all the way to the ankles, so I got an Arena. I invested quite a bit of money, as most of you know, on a long suit. You can buy those suits next year or a couple of years later for a lot cheaper price. In fact you can get a $300 suit maybe for $75 – $100. I would suggest getting it when you really need it. I am about 5’ 5”, weigh 135 pounds, and have 13% body fat, which is not too bad, but I had loose skin. Now, the average older person has loose skin, but mine is extremely loose. It was kind of an inherited thing. The research on the younger ones showed only tenths of seconds, maybe a second and only seconds in some of the longer events. I wanted to see what it would do for Masters swimming.

I had a background in some research studies and so here is what it did for me. In my March practice last year, wearing my regular Speedo suit, I swam a set of 10 X 100 yards backstroke with fins on at 2:30. I would average about 1:20. I had this set that I would do. This is one of the things that I learned from Doc Councilman about a quality set and doing those maybe every two weeks to see how your program is coming along. My best 50 and a 100 yard backs were 37.1 and 1:27 and that was in the 75-79 age group. In April, wearing the long suit, my times for the same set of 100’s dropped to a 1:15. I was 5 seconds faster in these sets than I was with my regular suit. Now, maybe the placebo effect was going there. That’s what we all say, right? Well, no.

At Y Nationals in April, again wearing the long suit, my times were 36.1 for the 50 and 1:22 for the 100. Both of those gave me 1st place in the 75 age group that year in the top 10. Now in the 50 meter pool, because after that, we are switching to 50 meters, my practice repeats were, using fins all the time to try to save my shoulders, were 1:25 wearing just my trunks, but doing 1:20 with the long suit. Again, I am about 5 seconds faster on a set of ten 100’s in that quality set with the long suit. I know it works. For any of the Masters swimmers, I would highly recommend one. Boy, what a great improvement! You might lose like a couple of seconds every year, but here I put this long suit on and 5 seconds faster on my repeats. I couldn’t believe it, but it was there right? It’s a miracle. What a time, as an 80 year old, to get that big push with that long suit. Of course, I was ready for the World’s in Italy.

During my first practice, Margie was timing me for 8 X 50 backstroke on two minutes. Now, the two minute interval wasn’t real exact because as you know, when you get in to some of those pools, you do not have that much space in between. It was before the meet started that week so I did have a pretty clear lane to get these in. I was working on my 200 backstroke and had a pace of 48 that I was working on. I hit all of those on the 48, you know, maybe 48.5 or 48.9, something like that, but they were all in the 48’s. I usually use some quality sets like that to set up my events ahead of time. So, the next day, I came in and had just my trunks on and thought I’d just go in with these rather than my long suit. The first four times of 50s under 2 minutes was 52 seconds. What about my 48’s? Maybe I am a little tired from the day before? I put my long suit back on. Margie timed me for the next four 50’s which were back to 48s. That was to me proof positive. After all those repeats that I did, I thought maybe I was a little faster, but boy when I did this, it set it up for me. I think that helped me get mentally prepared to get that long suit back on and see my times come back down to 48, because that is what I needed to repeat.

When I raced the 200 back the next day, I had a 3:30 which was a national record. I was pretty pleased with that. This was 13 seconds faster than I had done the year before. You don’t improve your times like that with just training, because I usually try to keep a high intensity training every year. It doesn’t matter if I am aging up or not aging up. I still work on my times. I was 13 seconds faster than my best time the year before. My 50 meter back time was a 41:4 which was also a national record in the 80 group. That was about a second and a half faster than my best time on the 50 the year before where I didn’t use my long suit.

For my 100 back, I liked the indoor pool better. As a backstroke swimmer, you could see the ceiling. Then I went to the outdoor pool for my 100 and think that affected my time a little bit because I missed the record by about two tenths. I went a 1:35 which was about two seconds faster than I had done the year before in my best 100 back. Now, there are several things: an improved streamline is achieved in that full suit and it compresses that loose skin that most people have as they get older, that came about because of the suit. In order to achieve the most benefits from specificity of training, swimmers need to train with a long suit several times before a major meet. For me, it was a pace quality set of those 10 X 100 back on a 2:30. I did that every couple of weeks.

There was a 60 year old on the St. Pete Masters team which is where I train in St. Petersburg. He was going to swim in a meet coming up in a couple of weeks. I asked “do you have a long suit?” Saying no, I said, “boy that can really improve your time. I gave him my extra long suit because I did buy a Speedo in between. I let him use my old Arena suit. In practice for the meet, he was going some 400 repeats. He was usually going about 6:10 or 6:15. Sure enough with the suit, he was under 6 minutes on repeats. That made a believer out of him. He is going to buy his own suit then after borrowing mine for the meet. That was another example for using that long suit.

I am sure that all of you have used broken swims. I am using kind of broken swims and specificity of training interchangeably. Some of you probably have already noticed that. In your IM workouts work on specific strokes and turns. Broken swims are used by all the coaches. In 1983, as a 60 year old, I was training for the record in the 100 IM. Part of my specificity of training included sets of 25’s with a goal time of the splits I needed for that IM record. You need to write all your splits down. You have got to know your splits for your IM and train with those splits. No matter how much time you need to rest in between, there are two ways to go at it. One is to swim with maybe a 15 second rest in between, but I like to go with the time that I need. Better yet, as you notice on those eight 50 meters at the World’s that I was trying to go that 48, I could get by with a 50 or a 52, when I raced. I also, besides this set of 25’s that I would do, would usually do like 5-10 broken hundred IM’s. I would also mentally rehearse all the details of my swim before practice and at the meet before competing.

This is a brief description of what I would go through mentally. You are there at the meet and you want to try to warm-up in the lane that you are going to use. Mentally think that they call us up to the blocks. You are in the lane that you are and you see the backstroke flags across there. The starter’s command sounds, so you dive in, breathing, and kicking. I would take 7 strokes on the fly to the turn. This is a 25 yard pool that I am talking about. I would turn on my back having 12 strokes to the flags and then count under the flags when I turned. You want to get that perfect. Push off on the breaststroke for a good under water stroke coming up and then into the wall. Then you push off for your crawl leg with no breath out of your turn, you hope. Then power stroke on free with no breath for the last six strokes. You look up at the scoreboard mentally, and there is the record you need! I did have the record as a 60 year old – 1:06.3 for the hundred IM and that record held for about eight years. I used that same technique for 200 and 400 IM. Just because I swam the 100 doesn’t mean that I didn’t look at that 400 IM. That is even a better challenge! I use that same technique in working on those IM’s.

There is a book called, “Psycho-Cybernetics.” It is out of print, but some of you might be able to get a hold of one. It describes the basic principles to improve performance beyond training and stroke mechanics with mental preparation. If you haven’t ever done that, and if you haven’t had your swimmers do that, you are missing something. Since a person needs to be considered totally ready, confidence needs to be built into a positive self image for a well-rounded program. Establish the groundwork for a good self-image and confidence during the year with regular training sessions, which all of you do. Program yourself for success. Specificity of training with mental practice training, stroke mechanic skills and race strategies are key. You want to do all of that mentally and physically in the pool. This book was required reading by Doc Councilman’s successful team back in the 60’s. That is where I found out about Psycho-cybernetics.

How about that for a coach to say hey, we got a book that you have got to read here. What is it coach? “Psycho-Cybernetics” is the name. What is that? Well, you are going to find out when you get through reading it. We are going to have a quiz on it, too. If you fail the quiz, you have to do an extra 5,000. Okay now, age group coaches. You all teach flip turns on freestyle, right? Masters coaches tend to follow this method, even as age group coaches do. Some swimmers wouldn’t be caught dead doing an open turn. Oh, I use a flip turn on every one of mine. That would be a sign of poor technique or you are a lesser skilled swimmer. However, as swimmers get older, a good open turn can be faster. I love to get in and beat someone that is using a flip turn. I use an open turn with a good push off, go past the flag, come up, and they are behind you by about a foot. Burwell Jones is in the 70 age group now. He is still going right around 20-23 for a 1650 and 1500, well under 21 anyway as a 70 year old. What kind of turns? Well, he will flip a couple in the first part, maybe the first 200 of his 1500, but then he does that open turn and goes past the flag on his push-offs and beats those that are using flips. A good open turn can be faster.

I had a swimmer, Charlie Weatherbee, who is a 70 year old and on the Florida Maverick team. He is kind of an average swimmer. He gets in the Top 10 sometimes when he ages up, but that is about the level that Charlie is at swimming all events. He was swimming the 1500 at Rutgers in 2003 and beforehand we were talking about the 1500 strategy that he had coming up. He told me that he did the flip turns for the whole race. “I am really hurting for breath about half way through,” he said. I told him to go with open turns for the whole thing. Hmm open turns? Yup, you will feel better if you flip, say your first two, and then go open for the rest of them. He went a minute faster than he had ever gone before. He couldn’t believe it. We had been talking about the 200 back, which I swam. We talked about some things there. He was successful in doing better in that, as well. He was so happy about that and of course, he uses those open turns more often and practices on them too.

Now, I have mentioned about the positive things about coaching, but how many of you have actually coached a swimmer to get DQ’d? That sounds negative, doesn’t it? Well, is Scott Rabalais here? Back there? Okay, well now that he has gone, I will tell you about Scott. He is a coach in Savannah. He had the nationals last year and in 2000 he wrote an article called “Tips for Seniors” in Swim Magazine. He wrote: “Those that are swimming at the age of 70 – 80 or older, although quite healthy, are not executing the 15 meter under water breakouts for the fly or the backstroke.” Well, why not? That is a true statement. You do not see many of those 70-80 year olds going 15 meters under water on their breakout on fly or back. I thought, hey, as a motivating challenge to a 75 year old, what else could he say? I was determined to prove him wrong, especially since there is still some life in us old geezers!

We had a short course meters meet coming up in a couple of months. I started on my specificity of training. Hey, I learned that someplace. Being a backstroker, I work with fins and a nose clip for several weeks. Fins and a nose clip helped as I did several dolphin under water kicks, which is across the pool, all 25 yards. I finally got to be able to do all 25 yards. I could save some urge for that time. I knew how many kicks I needed. Let’s see, 15, 20 kicks. I should be there! I could see the backstroke flags up above and at first I could hardly stay submerged without the fins, but I persisted. Finally, I perfected a 15 meter under water breakout without the nose clip and without fins. I was ready! So on a bleak day in September 2000, I entered the 50 short course meter back. I asked the referee, well I knew the guy, and knew what he was going to say. I said, if I go past that 15 meter mark, would you DQ me? This was what I wanted. He said, “Absolutely.” That was just what I was waiting to hear. I want you to be sure you are standing right there at the mark, when I am going by you.

Yeah, if you could see any of the posters, wow. I had one up about this big. There is a picture there of him raising his arm and showing that I was DQ’d. Margey took some pictures of the start and then surfacing past the 15 meter mark. I needed more than that, didn’t I? Okay, I had to have a signed DQ slip from the referee and that was also on that poster.
About a month later, I made a presentation on aging at the USAS convention to Masters swimming. Rabalais was there. I presented him with a plaque including a certificate for the 70+ challenge award in appreciation for motivating and encouraging the over the 70 age groupers to train for the 15 meter underwater breakout on fly and back. He loved that! Thanks a lot Scott, because from that I started some turns. I have showed a lot of improvement, too, so I had some specificity there on those things.

Now coaching masters, as you all know, presents unique challenges as swimmers age into their 50’s and 70’s and even past the century mark. We can dig up four 90 year olds, but we can’t get them to a meet at the same time you know. That is a big challenge even though you might have that many on your team. Some are still capable of swimming incredibly fast times in workouts and meets. When aging, a greater potential exists for injuries and disease as we all know and workouts need to be adjusted accordingly. We need to keep them in the program. This was emphasized by Kerry O’Brien’s talk today. As coaches we need to be aware of the different abilities and goals of our swimmers. If their goals include national or world record performances or competing in their first meet. You know, this is my first meet, trying a new stroke for the first time or swimming to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I challenge you to strive to find ways to include specificity of training in your daily workouts.

One of my goals for the future, you have always got to set goals, right, is to be in the first heat. Now, I do get in the first heat sometimes as an 80 year old in the short course meet they had here in April, but I would like to be in that first heat when I am 100. If it takes a lot of people to help me up on the blocks, that is okay. I am about at the end here. I want to tell you about three handouts that are up here on the table. One is intensity, not yardage. This was written a long time ago, but you are going to see the application for today even on the intensity and not yardage. You know, I went 5,000 in workout today. Well, how did you do that and what kind of intensity did you use in your training is very important, especially as you get closer to the meets. The other is pacing for the hour swim that I mentioned before.

Now, the other handout is a rule change for the handicapped. I had a bike wreck about six years ago. I tore completely off the supraspinatus. They re-attached that and my arm has been going down hill ever since then. Now, when I had that injury, I couldn’t swim with that arm for about a year. Six months anyway from competition, I wanted to swim in the meets. The rule said the referee can, with a note from the doctor, can give you a dispensation, like the Pope can do, to allow you to swim with one arm or leg that isn’t working right. You know, some of the other strokes besides the freestyle. I did swim some one arm strokes at that time. Well now, my arm has deteriorated to the point where I am scheduled for a shoulder replacement, which I am trying to stay away from having. I am using some other approaches like prolow therapy and rehab.

Anyway, I have been swimming some one arm swims. I swam an 800 a couple of weeks ago. My time was in the top 10 with one arm freestyle, so I was pleased with that. I went 19 minutes or something like that. I usually will go maybe 15:30. Anyway, I entered a meet and found out that the rule had been changed about three years ago. A lot of people do not know about this rule. We really need the rule changed because what the rule says is that the “Para-Olympic handicapped people” will classify you. You have to meet their standards. This is a Masters rule. I do not swim in a Para-Olympic program, and none of the other Masters swimmers do, but yet we are using their rule. What is the idea here? I know a lot of swimmers that would have stayed in the program. We want people to stay in the program. They wouldn’t stay in the program if they are excluded, saying, well sure, you can swim one arm freestyle if you want or one arm backstroke, but you are not going to swim the fly or the breaststroke.

Six years ago when I was swimming one arm, one arm breaststroke. That is tough! What advantage is that for a meet? So anyway, for the handicapped rule should be changed for Master’s swimmers. I have one of the handouts that you will get. This will be appreciated by any of us handicapped swimmers that only can use one arm in the future. Think about that and get a rule change. I don’t know how that rule got in, but it got in there in the last three years. I really didn’t know anything about it. Now in ending, I want to thank my wife, Margey, who helped put this material together today. She helps put relays together for the team and many of these include top 10, All-American plus National and World Records. We had a national record about two weeks ago in the 400 meter freestyle relay. That record was in the 80 age group. Then this last year we had 13 relay All-Americans on our team. We have about 65 swimmers on our team. I want to give Margie a lot of appreciation for all the help that she has done on that. Thank you for coming today! You can pick up any of these handouts up here and then there are some cards up there to identify our team and our website.

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