Bruce Patmous was born in Springfield, Ohio, where he swam for 11 years for the Springfield YMCA, Springfield North High School, and Wittenberg University. Patmous’ coaching career is now in its 18th year. He started coaching with the Springfield YMCA as a volunteer assistant in 1983. He then added a head coaching position with Springfield North High School in 1984. Patmous moved on to the Wright-Patterson Flying Fish in Dayton, Ohio, in 1986 as the head age group coach under head coach, Howie Auer. In 1988, he moved to Lancaster, CA, and started Oasis Aquatics, a new club. After getting three swimmers to Junior Nationals within a year, he accepted a new position as head coach with the Canyons Aquatic Club in the fall of 1989 and has been there since. In 1990, Patmous added the associate head coaching position at the College of the Canyons, the junior college that is his home facility. Patmous has a wife, Pat, and step-daughter, Katrina.
The first thing that we are going to do today is look at a video and give you an idea, where Anthony came from. We are out in Southern California just North of Los Angeles, so we will show you some pictures of out there, show you the facility a little bit and just from there. I’ve got some footage from when Anthony was swimming at 11, 13 and at 17. I have a lot of video of Anthony, but it started to get a little bit too time consuming to go through everything and try and split out different things on him, so I’ll just give you a little bit of a taste of what he has done when he was younger. I have footage from NCAA’s and I have footage from the Olympic trials.
Just a little bit of background about Anthony since most people don’t know who Anthony is unless you’re from the West Coast. I’ve had Anthony since he was 8 years old and that was the first year that I went to Canyons
First thing that we are going to see here is a little bit of the background of the college. It’s been a junior college for about 28 years and we have been there 21 years. It was just a small school when it started out. There were only about 1500 students there and now , they started in the end of August I believe, and they are up to 8,000 students, so that kind of gives you an idea of how the college is growing and how the area around us is growing. It’s just the main entrance to the school right here, the school is about 28 years old right now and it is starting a push of increasing bringing in athletes as students. We will show a few pictures here of the area around the campus and just how important the athletics are going to become in the next few years, so this may not be our home too much longer. But here are the soccer fields, practice football fields, they have some tennis courts that are under construction. Off to the left here where you see some big lights, is the football stadium which is actually the first building that was on campus and they kept football going for a while and then they dropped it and just in the past two years they’ve brought football back as one of their main pushes to get athletics going at this JC.
This is the main phys ed building right now. It is scheduled to be renovated and increased, probably double in size. This is just a picture of the pool area. We are indoors and the main reason being that even though we are that close to L.A. we are basically two valleys away from L.A., and we relatively do have seasons, and we have had snow before, ten inches at one time. It didn’t stick around very long, but we did have it. We get frost, we get freeze. The trees actually do lose their leaves and change colors, so, just cause we are that close to L.A. we actually do have some seasons.
Now the next thing that comes up is our banner. We are listed as Santa Clarita, California. We just incorporated less than ten years ago, but the incorporation included five different cities. It was Valencia, Sagas, Canyon Country, New Haul and Stevenson Ranch. Within those five communities we are at about 200,000 residents right now.
This is the pool that we train in. They just put in a new ventilation system in, that is what that strange looking stuff is hanging down from the ceiling. It’s a six lane 25 yard by 3 lane 25 meter pool. There is quite a bit of deck space. At the time that these pictures were taken it was under their summer renovation. They actually plan their maintenance and renovation around the club’s schedule. So we finished training in this pool for the summer on August 15th and they started tearing it apart on August 16, and the college started up whatever that Monday was after that, and obviously the college classes were not allowed in there until they get done. So we do carry some clout as far as having some control over the pool and that really helps a lot, because if anyone tries to come in and do anything they basically have to check with us first, and being there for 21 years, has definitely helped us solidify our self in this area.
There will be some video coming up, or an interview coming up right now that was conducted by Southern California swimming, but first we have a few views of Anthony swimming, this is him as an 11 year old, and he is in lane 4 right there next to the guy in the yellow cap. All the kids in this race are 12 except for Anthony who is only 11. His best event, his best stroke as a 12 and under was backstroke and he was able to break numerous records swimming backstroke. He had a very comfortable demeanor being on his back. He wasn’t too interested in anything else, but this was finals, it’s what is called the senior Q meet in Southern California and it’s been noted as being one of the fasted age group meets in the country based on the number of OVC’s that are written out of this meet.
Next we have him doing the 200 freestyle. Again this is only at 11 years old and to me, I worked with kids all the way from 8 up to national champions, and for a kid at 11 years old I thought he had great technique. He holds his stroke together the whole race. The only thing that I can say right now is that if most of you heard the talk from Terry Laughlin you can see that he does lift his head a little bit when he takes a breath, but other than that, he is usually breathing on both sides, he has good hip position, good roll, attacks his walls. Basically he didn’t start swimming a 200 freestyle until he was 10 years old, so he is very green at what he is doing right here and as most 11 year olds probably had no idea what to do half way through this race, because most of his race has only been hundreds. Now this is being held at Bellmont Plaza. He is holding his own right here and for being pretty green in the 200 freestyle I had noted on the tape that I thought that was a pretty good swim for him. I think that this is only the second time this year that he had swam the 200 free and he was scared to death to do it. But at a younger age he was pretty easy to talk him into anything. I believe this will be his finish right here.
Next we are going to go to Anthony swimming a 50 fly. He is out in the middle of the pool and some people say that he has a great tendency to finish races, he had this tendency back when he was just a little one and when he gets to the wall right here, he is right there in the middle of the pool, he is probably a third or fourth to the wall in some other tapes that I have, but just watch how he finishes the race right here. But he is in the race with everybody but he gets to the wall first. And that is the kind of closing ability that Anthony has always had and he has shown that as you will see on the upcoming tapes, what he can do. This is Anthony at 13. This will be the last younger tape that I’m going to show of him. This was a morning swim, he was seeded with a bunch of 13/14 year olds and it was a relatively current time that he was entered at, and this is how he steps up to competition when it gets to a big meet. We are only at 50 yards right here and he is only a body length ahead of the field, I don’t think that I pan up to see what his time was on it, but he just has a great ability to race and when he sets his mind to doing something he just gets out and gets it done and he is showing it right there. There has been other times when he has been in races where he didn’t want to do the race and he didn’t feel like doing the race and those races were pretty obvious too, but we’ve all had those. The picture gets a little bad because I’m shooting toward the sun. If you haven’t been out to Bellmont, where the windows are right there is the pacific ocean. This is a pool that was built right on the beach, and it’s kind of a nice place to go when you get a break, you walk out the door and you are on the beach.
Now we will look at NCAA. Anthony is three from the top. And there again they showed his great closing ability. Anthony will be at the top of the screen this time. He traditionally has had a bad start, that is just something that Anthony is not very good at. If you ever see him stand up you’ll see that his legs are not much bigger than a tooth pick. Mike Bottom did a good job getting him ready for the Olympics because he had some pretty good starts as you will see at the Olympic trials. It’s kind of funny. They say here that the most important thing is the start and that is probably the worst part of Anthony’s race. He actually had a pretty good start there, he is the leader in the 50. This is in short course meters.
Now we move on to Olympic trials just about a month ago, this will be the finals of the 100 freestyle. This is a guy a year ago that was as shy as you can imagine. I turned around and I saw that I gave him a little grief about that after the race, I said you’ve been hanging around Gary Hall a little bit too long. This just kind of sets the field a little bit. I definitely have to say that Neil Walker just stepped up and took this race away, a very exciting race, just an explosive swimmer and I think that Anthony is right on his heals. Anthony just looked like he was working a little to hard on this. He just wasn’t being fluid like he normally is, he was just being kind of choppy and I think that cost him a little bit.
Now he switched to the 50 free. He is just going to set the field right now. I told Anthony that when Gary retires he needs to get those shorts and continue that tradition. A lot of other people had better starts, that is evident, but the finish is what counts here. So they both went under the American record so they should be seeded 2-3 at the Olympics this year.
Now I’ll talk a little bit more about the development of Anthony during the ten years that I had him. The 200 free was really was his first best freestyle event. He made both his first junior nationals and senior national cuts in the 200 free and I don’t know if he even swims that event anymore which is a shame I think. I know that he is good in the 50 and in the 100 , but a good 200 certainly wouldn’t hurt him at all. Backstroke was his best event, as a 12 and under, he broke some Southern California swimming records as a ten year old in the 50 back, 100 back short course and 100 back long course. His time in short course was 30.2, 100 back 1:05 flat, and then in meters 1:14.1.
Anthony always had a great feel for the water and I found that out when he was about 9. It always seemed like when he was swimming backstroke he always seemed to be pulling on the lane line. If you watch swimmers you have a pretty good idea what kind of distance per stroke they should be getting, and Anthony would just go way beyond that every time he would take a stroke. And so one day we were taking the lane lines out, and I had Anthony stay in the water after we were done, and I said, “all right you keep telling me that you are not pulling on the lane line, let’s see you swim a 25 back with no lane lines.” He did the same thing without lane lines, so that put the idea to rest that he was yanking on the lane line every time he swam. I knew right then and there having such good distance per stroke at such a young age, that some day he was going to be something great.
Now peaking for the 2000 Olympic trials, numerous times people said that he just came out of no where and no one had ever heard of Anthony before. Part of that might be true, just because mostly we swam on the West Coast, but a lot of that just has to do with him peaking at the right time. What better time in a career would you want to peak then in an Olympic year? We saw a few other athletes that made the team this year that were somewhat unheard of, but they are all on the Olympic team now and they stood up to the challenge and they made it. I think basically that is what it is all about.
A little bit more about the club. We are 30 minutes North of L.A. as I said before, when you saw pictures in 1994, ‘95 when the Northridge earthquake hit, basically that was us, we were just north of Northridge and we saw all the freeways that fell down, those were our freeways from us to L.A. so we were basically cut off from civilization for about a month and a half. Our town was pretty well rocked. We lost our pool, we lost everything. There was one city pool that survived. We went 3 ½ hours a day in that pool, outdoors 25 yards and at night when we would get done, it would be about 29 degrees, so fortunately we had heaters in the locker rooms and being an indoor team our swimmers don’t have a lot of parkas at their disposal, so it was an interesting month and a half.
We have abut 250 swimmers but it’s a little deceiving because we have a lot of kids that do a lot of different sports. Soccer and baseball are big around us and we have a lot of kids that do both, but they are not in the water the complete time. They may only be in the water six months out of the year, which I’m sure a lot of you probably have to deal with. As I showed you on the video it is a six lane 25 yard pool. At 6:00 we have 3 groups in the water that are about to get out and our senior group is about to get in, so we basically have 75 kids getting out of the water with 35 to 40 kids getting in the water. That can be a real mess if they all try and do it on one side, so usually what we do is we have our age groupers swim down to the far end of the pool and they get out at that end, and then our senior group gets in right behind them, and that is the only way you can do it when you have 100 plus kids on the deck that we have. So it took some getting used to make this work with the given situation that we have, but coming from Springfield, Ohio, and coming from a team of 120 kids at the Springfield Y, that is where I swam that is where I first started coaching and our lanes are probably only five feet wide and we probably only had 10 or 12 kids in a lane, so to me seeing this happen was just like going back home, and the kids had to adapt to that right now.
I know some of the comments from Anthony when he went up to Cal, he didn’t know what to do with all the room he had in his lane, cause he only had maybe two in a lane, and he said he was just lost. He said normally he was following somebody or somebody was right on his heals or he was running into someone. He said up at Cal there is just no one there. So he was a little bewildered when he got there and he realized in a program such as that you get all the room you want.
We basically run with five coaches. Most programs have a bigger pool and they run all their groups at once and they have to maintain a large coaching staff. We keep our staff pretty small and we just move the groups in and out and basically from 3:30 to 6:00 on a normal day we have five coaches on the deck and then when our senior group comes in at 6:00 we are down to two sometimes three coaches depending on what we are doing. So that keeps things a little easier and that is something that we are used to doing now. For a community college program which means that we have to keep our rates reasonable, so that anybody in the community is able to afford to swim here if they want to swim here, that doesn’t speak real well for the salaries and everything that I end up having to pay people, but, we are working on that. It’s probably the easiest way to put that.
Accomplishments are: At Olympic trials in ‘92 we had Lindsey Gasner, 50 freestyle. When I first went to Canyons, the original head coach that was there wasn’t stepping down. She was just kind of stepping off to the side, she was going to remain there and help me with the senior group. And she had a pretty good rapport with the senior kids that she was working with. With me coming in brand new I decided that I should probably focus on the 13 and unders, because that was going to be the future of the club, and Lindsey Gasner was a product of going down and working with those 13 and unders. I got a hold of her at 12 and by ‘92 she was at Olympic trials. Jennifer Parmenter came along in ‘96, third in the 400 IM, 6th in the 200 back and 200 IM, and then she went on to USC but unfortunately I didn’t see her at trials this year, so I don’t know what is going on with her right now. And then at this Olympic trials we hand Anthony Ervin there, 2nd 50 free, 5th in the 100 free. Two of the girls made it, Maureen Farrow and Amy Jones. Maureen Farrow in the 100 backstroke at time trials the day after she swam it in the meet, did a 1:03 and that would have been 9th in prelim, so unfortunately she didn’t do it when she needed to do it. But Amy Jones was a freestyler.
As far as Southern California swimming records, the club has established 38 of those records, Anthony established 7 of those as a 10 year old in backstroke, 50 back, 100 back short course, 100 back long course. He came back as a 16 year old, 50 free, 100 free short course, 50 free, 100 free long course, and the times Anthony did, breaking those records, in short course he was 20.7 45.1, and long course he was 23.3, 51.7. National age group top 16 times, our club has registered 310. Anthony was responsible for 29 of those, 8 of which were number one rankings. As a 10 year old he was number 1 in the 50 back , 100 back, as a 16 year old, 50 free long course, 17 year old, 50 free, 100 free, 18 year old 100 free long, 50 free, 100 free short course. So that gives you a little bit of the idea that he has been around.
National age group records: our club has broken 7, Anthony has broken 2. The two that Anthony broke were 17/18 boys 50 free and 100 free, he was 19.4 and 42.8. Both those records were previously held by Tom Jaeger. CIF that is high school out in California, California Interscholastic Federation, our club has broken 6 of those records, Anthony has broken 4, both the 50 and the 100 freestyle, his junior and senior year. In his junior year he was 20.7, 45.1, his senior year he was 20.2 , 44.1. At junior nationals, Anthony in ‘98 up in Grand Forks was first in the 50 free, 20.7, first 100 free, 45.1 and still did some backstroke there 51.9 he was 6th. Also in ‘98 at long course juniors at San Jose he was 2nd in the 100 backstroke 58.9 with on no rest at all, we took him up there just to keep him along with the group before he went to nationals and I signed him up to swim the 100 back. The whole time in the summer he said, I’m not gonna swim it, I’m not gonna swim it, I said that’s all right, I’ll just put you in there in case you wanted to do it. Then the night before he said, no don’t scratch me, I’m going to go ahead and swim it. so he gets in the next morning, I believe he was first coming out of prelim’s and then 2nd in the finals, and basically that was just mental, because he was pretty beat up at the time.
Senior nationals: our club has had 4 champions, Jennifer Parmenter that we mentioned earlier won the 200 IM, 400 IM at the University of Minnesota, in March of ‘95 and then Anthony was the 18 and under national champion at the University of Minnesota in ‘98 in the 50 free and the 100 free, 23.3 and 51.7. And that was his first nationals, so that was a pretty productive day for him.
Now these charts that are here, I have one for the 50 free, the 100 free and the 200 free. They show his progression as the years go by, starting out as a 8 year old, 38.6 in the 50 free in yards and all the way down to 21.0 in the Olympic team selection. In yards 34.1, and then down to 19.43. It just shows that he had natural progression all the way down throughout his whole career a little bit of a bump, his senior year because he had a little bit of senioritis, but he has obviously recovered from that. In the 100 free you see the same idea, just a steady progression right from the beginning, in meters 1:32.7 down to 49.2, and 1:21.5 down to 42.9 national age group record. And again just a steady progression all the way through. His 200 free, as you can see up there he got down to 1:56.9 200 meters that was probably the race he hated the most, 4 laps of free style in a 50 meter pool was basically pulling teeth with Anthony. He could do the 200 real well in yards because he had 7 walls to work with, he really appreciated that. As you can see, he went from 2:15.9 down to 1:38.4.
The next thing we are going to go over is our training program a little bit. Coming out of Springfield, Ohio, I didn’t swim any kind of a high powered program. I went to Whittenburg University, division 3, again not a high powered program at all, so what I had to do and I decided that coaching was something that I was really interested in doing and making it a profession, so I had to go out and study and get as much information as I could on successful programs around the country. By doing that I think that I learned an awful lot. Coming to these clinics teaches you an awful lot, especially age group coaches that are out there right now that want to continue, maybe become a head coach and a senior coach in the future, take what you are getting here and take it home mull it over, don’t throw any of it away, because I’ll even go back and look at some things that were from clinics 4 or 5 years ago from people that have stood out like Ed Spencer did today talking about Dynamo. Ed is from out in our area in Industry Hills. He did a great job there, he went to Reno did a great job there and then he explained what he did at Dynamo today. But you take notes from those things and refer to them as often as you can and try to pattern yourself like programs that have been successful and you’ll be successful.
The second thing that I like to do, is we will look at videos of world record holders and I’ll get a hold of as many video’s as I can, mostly under water, and look at what the world champions are doing, world record holders are doing and then I’ll sit down with my kids in similar situation like this and I’ll run tapes of world record holders and I’ll have kids stand up and tell me what’s different, about that what do you see that they are doing that you’re not doing. I try to make them learn by looking at what world champions, world record holders are doing, and they seem to get a lot out of that, because they will jump right back in the pool and try to emulate what they saw on the screen and if they can’t figure out how to do it and then we really sit down and really go step by step teaching them those strokes and they really eat that up.
When we get done with the trials we are going to do the same thing we are going to go over tapes, look at what people are doing, especially under water and I find that to be a very motivating factor. Plus it gets them out of some workout and they really like that idea. The third thing that I like to do is really work with feedback from my swimmers, you know we do a lot of test sets, we chart the test sets, we post them as a motivational factor. If there is anything that I change as far as strokes are concerned, after we do that in a workout, first I will explain the changes that we are making and then I’ll talk to them after practice, then I’ll say how does that feel, what does that feel like to you? Then we will go and video tape it and then they compare that video tape to what they were doing in the past and definitely make some progress that way. Kids are more susceptible to doing change if they feel like they are a part of what’s going on, if you involve them in a change that you are making they feel like they are part of that change and they are really acceptable and really adaptable to doing that.
The drills, training sets and season plan are on the flyer, we will look at that once we are done here. [See end of article.]
Training intensity: Our senior group has about 40 kids in it. I only require them to make 7 workouts a week because we draw from a 50 to 60 mile radius in our area. With that amount of time being on the road, you can’t really expect kids to make that trip ten or twelve times in a week. They do their car pool thing, still that is a lot of time on the road. That is two hours on the road to come all the way up just to train with us. So what we try and do is be as intense as we can when we are in training, and make that time just absolutely as efficient and as effective as possible. Once they get to the pool and it’s time to go to work and there is no more playing around, that is it. Basically what we do is, we get in, we get it done and we go home. So they kind of have a life on top of everything else that is going on.
Now we will refer to the handouts. [See end of article.]The part on the left is just a flyer that we hand out at different meets and things of that nature so that everyone knows who we are and where we’ve come from and what we have accomplished. The second one is our annual training plan, model seasonal plan that I go by. Our endurance phase, 60% of the season, 40% general, which is pretty much just freestyle, 60% is training with their specific stroke or event. 30 to 35% is speed quality phase, which is very speed specific, and we will show you some sets that have to do with that. The rest is the taper phase which is 5 to 10%. We are just looking for perfection and speed right there, nothing less. This whole seasonal plan, basically came out of Ernie Maglischo’s book Swimming Faster, I go by that and I base my seasons on major meets and that is what is listed next. From September 1, to January 15, it’s about a 20 week season and we break it down by the number of weeks based on the percentage of what we are trying to do. January 18 to March 27 is when nationals comes up and junior Olympics. Kids are tapered based on their age and what meet they are going to. April 4 to May 18, our state high school champs are the latest ones in the United States, in some ways that’s a good time to have them and in some ways it’s a bad time. It doesn’t interfere with juniors or seniors at all, at least in the spring. We can’t really rest them the way I would like to for State high school championships because then we sacrifice what we do in the summer and that makes the summer a very short season. I’ve always learned to adapt to the situation that we are in. As long as I’m in California and that is when the state high school champs are, then that is when we run our season. Then we go from May 21 to August 12th approximately, for national championships, juniors and JO’s.
On the next section, these are some test sets that we’ve done. This is what Anthony is used to for the ten years that he was with me. Basically when we do any pulling our equipment is paddles, pull boys. We do like to use buckets, not on the younger ones but on the 14 and ups. Lots of trainers and power racks are a big part of our program. I like to do a lot of descending sets where the yardage gets lower and the equipment changes. You know we may take a ten or 15 second break between a change of distance and they change the equipment that they have on, that just always keeps them thinking, keep them on the ball and knowing what they are doing.
When it comes to kicking, we pretty much do kick sets and some are swim sets. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how they do kicking a little differently then swimming. I think kicking is just as important as anything else, so we will do descending sets, broken sets, everything that we do in swimming we will do that in kicking. Obviously not to the same degree but to the same idea.
Speed sets are listed. These can be done a number of different ways. That is why there is kind of a variable send off that is listed there, and a lot of the things that I like to do when it comes to speed comes from Dave Salo at Irvine, obviously he has been very successful at what he is doing when he puts 4 athletes plus Amanda Beard on the Olympic team this year and they are only about an hour and ten minutes away from us. And Dave tries to get his program out to as many people as possible. I’m one of those people who buys into some of what he does when it comes to the speed work. The different sets are listed here. You can do a lot of different things with these. They are very, very general. You can do something like 8 25’s, you know the odd ones can be drills and the even ones freestyle or stroke. They can be full speed, they can be kicking, they can be anything that you want to make them. Coach Salo called it the MTV training of swimmers and today’s swimmer likes that. They like that variety, and especially out in California where they want instant gratification.
Probably number 3 is the one that I like to do the most. Go 6 100’s on a descending cycle but all the 100’s have to be all out, and this really helps I think in teaching your swimmers to finish their races when they’re tired. And if any of the 100’s as they descend the cycle are slower then the previous 100 then they start all over again. They basically have to start out pretty quick also. I mean if Anthony Ervin was doing this set and his first 100 was a 1:05 then we are starting over again. His first 100 probably should be a 51. And then try to maintain 51 or better as the cycle descends. And you can mix that up also, you can put fins on half way through, things of that nature.
We have a very short turnover time when it comes to changing equipment in practice. You know I might give kids 30 seconds to throw some fins on in the middle of the set and if they don’t get them on then they go without them and they stay on the same cycles. So when new kids come in and they are subjected to this they think it’s crazy but it works.
The last set I think came from Dave Salo and this is another one that helps kids finish races. You can have a variable send off cycle on the 3 50’s or on the 3 25’s but then on the fast 100 or on the fast 50 they just have to hammer it and you know whether or not they are going fast enough just by reading off the times. We do this a lot. And the kids sometimes they like it and sometimes they hate it but they know what it is there for and they know when they get into a race and they run people down at the end of the race they know why and this is one of the main sets that accomplishes that.
As far as drills are concerned we incorporate over a hundred drills into our program. Not all drills are for all swimmers and what I usually do when they get up into the pre-senior or senior group, is assign drills that they have to do for whatever stroke that they are doing and it’s up to them to remember what drills they are supposed to do. Some drills just don’t work for people at all. They had a girl that is at Princeton right now and when she used to swim her backstroke, she would throw her arms way out to the side so we had her doing the stroke catch up where the two hands touch right above her body and that is now called the Michelle drill and I have a few others that have to do that drill and it’s real simple to tell them when to do it, “O.K. we are doing the Michelle drill” and they know what they are doing wrong and they know what the drill is going to correct and a few of them have been assigned that drill.
A few of the drills I’ve come up with on my own by just playing around with different things as I’m sure many of you have. A lot of the drills have come from coming to clinics like this and listening to other coaches. Probably the best things you can do is come in here and steal ideas form other coaches, or I guess I should say borrow them and apply them to your kids. Whenever I go back after coming from a clinic I always come up with some new ideas from what I’ve heard at these clinics and we throw them at the kids and then they’ll come back and say you picked up another one from a clinic and they really like that and then they want to know why we are doing it, what it’s going to effect and then you sit down and explain what that’s all about.
Next on the handout are the test sets. There are basically four that are listed. The fifth one is kicking and we will do a couple kicking test sets per month. Probably one every other week. What we’ll do is we’ll do one of these four test sets per week on a monthly basis and then as the next month rolls around we will do the test sets again but we will do them in a different order and probably most of these are ones that everyone already does right now. The one that I feel is the most effective is number 2. When we go sets of 5 100’s and each 100 is a little bit different, but it really stresses finishing the races and the 100 free, or the 100 that is fast has to be within 2 seconds of their best time and if not then they have to repeat their entire set. So they are going through this entire thing setting themselves up for a fast 100 for that 4th 100 and then the 100 after that is just an easy recovery getting ready for the next set. Now we may go through that two or three times in one workout as a training set. We will also use this one time going through as a test set and they just have to hammer that 100 as fast as they can go. The other ones are pretty well used by everyone I’m sure. The distance swims that we do, that was based off of doing a T 30. We really mix these up a lot. Sometimes it will be all kicking. Sometimes it will be all pulling, sometimes we will mix IM into it. Sometimes we will alternate between 100 free and the number one stroke and whenever we chart this and put it up at the pool we always highlight what it is they were doing on that. And sometimes I will ask them to repeat that, maybe two or three months in a row, depending on what it is that they are working on.
Coming back to kicking. Again, I like to treat that the same as swimming. I like to do test sets on kicking. I think I heard a couple of coaches talk about doing that at this clinic also. A lot of times if kids haven’t had kicking in their background at a young age, when they get older they don’t realize how important kicking is. And it really is something that they need to learn at a young age and it will only get better as they get older and they work on it and I think that’s extremely important to kids right now. I know a lot of things that have been mentioned about going under water a lot and that is something that we’ve changed over the last couple of years. And if you don’t have your younger kids doing that now, get them doing that. I think that is one of the reasons Anthony is maybe a little bit short off of his start and short on his turns is that years ago we weren’t working on underwater at all and I think that of hurts him a little bit, but he is so fast when he gets up on the surface that he definitely makes up for it.
Our dryland program: Probably the only thing that we don’t have in here is medicine balls, and we haven’t really done too much on that yet, because I’m working with the college and trying to develop a good program using medicine balls as they are trying to develop a program with their football team and a couple of other teams that they have. So that is going to be more of what we are doing this year. I am waiting to see how that is going to be incorporated into what they are doing and how we can relate it into swimming.
I also coach the college team at the JC so any kind of testing or anything that goes on or any new products that comes into the college I’m able to bring that right into the club. And that is a definite benefit especially when you are working with sports medicine. If we have an athlete that gets injured in practice or anything like that we’ve got a trainer right there, right at that instant and they are taking care of it if it is anything major. I don’t think most places can boast that they have that kind of sports medicine available to them right away.
We incorporate a lot of different dryland programs and we rotate them monthly. High school swimmers do have a brand new fitness center that is basically a 40 minute circuit and it is watched over very intently by both the teachers at the college and sports medicine. And our kids, high school age, have to be at least 14, can go through that program and they do that two to three times per week . We are very strict on what we do as far as surgical tubing is concerned. We will do a 20 or 25 minute tubing set and the kids are driven wet from the sweat and that is how hard we are going to go on surgical tubing and we do all this before we get into the water. I feel that works as a very good warmup for the kids and also for the younger ones, it’s good weight training. You know normally when you have an adolescent or pre adolescent they shouldn’t do anything other than calisthenics and things of that nature with their own body weight and I think that this off sets that a little bit by using surgical tubing. And they enjoy doing it.
We do have a 6,000 seat stadium so we are able to run the stairs run the track, it’s an all weather track. We do wind sprints. Basically we can do anything out there we want. On Friday nights they have high school football and we will go down on the field before the games. Sometimes we’ll just play football ourselves and that will be our dryland for the day. Playing a little bit of football with the crowd in the stands wondering who the heck we are out there playing football. And we’re using the game balls and everything and the field is all stripped off and we look pretty pathetic but I think the people in the stands think that is the entertainment before the JV’s get out on the field. The kids enjoy doing that and it is a break in what they’re doing and I enjoy going down there and taking them to do that.
Our indoor dryland program: I have power racks listed there which obviously you’re going to be doing in the water, but it’s anything other than what we are doing in the 6 lanes. We basically call that our dryland program. We’ll have kids on VASA trainers, power racks, both kicking and pulling. We have two power racks right now. We alternate three kids on each rack and the VASA trainer is the same way. We have 3 VASA trainers and we alternate 3 kids on each VASA trainer. We have pull up bars, dip bars. Anything you can imagine we have assembled into the training room that we’ve been given.
One thing that we always do is we stretch ten minutes prior to doing any kind of dryland activities and then once we get done with our dryland they have ten minutes to get changed and be ready to get in to the water and our age group coaches have to get their kids out by their bed time. So that is basically our whole program and that is the history of Anthony up until now.
If I had it all to do all over again I don’t know that I would have changed anything with Anthony. He was very focused in what he was doing up until he was about 12 years old and then he kind of lost a little interest in it, instead of becoming a real pain in the rear and not doing anything, he kind of just went to the back of the lane and stayed out of everyone’s way and we talked about that, and we talked about taking a break and that kind of stuff. He had no interest in taking a break, he just didn’t feel like working for a couple of years and I knew with what he had showed me as a 12 and under that he was going to be great someday. It seemed kind of senseless to boot him down a group or something like that. We just kept him in the water and he stayed out of the way and everything was wonderful. When he got to high school he realized that maybe swimming was going to be a thing that was going to give him a free education and go on from there and that kind of rekindled him and I think that it was good that he had one stroke that he loved when he was younger and he switched strokes when he was older. He went from being a backstroker to being a freestyler, it was kind of like he was learning to do a whole new thing and it was later on in his career so it was kind of a re-birth for him and I think that really helped his longevity in swimming.
The question is, give an example of running 3 people on a VASA trainer. What we’ll do is we’ll go one swimmer will be on for maybe a minute doing whatever they are doing and they’ll alternate with someone and then they will go to a chin up bar or a dip bar and then the 3rd person is resting and then they will alternate like that. So there are 3 people on it but they are also alternating into something else and they have 1 minute to rest, so they’re VASA training a minute, and then either pull ups or dips for a minute and then 1 minute rest and then they get back on it again.
The question was, how many workouts a week do we offer and how many are actually attended by both, Jennifer Parmenter and Anthony Ervin? We are five nights a week three mornings a week, Saturdays also, so that’s nine workouts a week that we offer. Jennifer Parmenter would be at every single one of them, even at 13 she was doing doubles, but when she would come in in the morning we would be more specific as to putting her on maybe a power rack or a stretch cord or something in that nature. Anthony Ervin the same way, he would make all the workouts. Let me rephrase that, he showed up for all the workouts.
There were a few times I walked into the locker room in the morning workouts and he was crashed on the floor and sometimes I just let him do that. He is a very intelligent student. He was 4.0 something, his GPA and he spent a lot of time studying and I know that he had a little bit of a problem when it would come to sleeping also. There were a lot of times where he just flat couldn’t fall to sleep and he would get to sleep at maybe 3:00 in the morning and he is getting up at 4:45 to go to workout and he only gets two hours of sleep and he ‘s got to stay awake during school and having him as long as I did he was almost like my own kid I could tell when he was completely exhausted. If he was crashed in the locker room and I knew that exams were coming up I just let him sleep, because it really wasn’t bothering me, it wasn’t bothering him and the chances are had I woken him up and had him train in the morning he probably wouldn’t be very effective in workout that night. I just had a real good feel for Anthony and I think that helps a lot when you have kids as long as I had him, you can read them just like they’re your own kids. And most of our team is like that and we would lose very few kids and I like to get kids into our program as early as possible so I can get to know them and they can get to know me. It is a lot easier to coach when you have kids and you deal with kids in that nature.
The question is, what do we do on the power rack? Where we would place the power rack would be in the diving well, and that was 11 yards across so it was just long enough that when the weights got to the top of the power rack you would be getting to the edge of the pool. We would do sets where we would go maybe 20 seconds as fast as we could, with as much weight as possible both swimming and kicking. Pretty much just things just general like that, we don’t like to get real technical with what we’re doing. I like to try to keep things simple because generally when somebody would be on a power rack, if it was during workout, they would be over there on the power rack with a pace clock right in front of them, telling them when to go and what to do, basically reading the clock. There was so many kids in the water it was just impossible, unless we had a 3rd coach on deck that day to actually be standing over them to make sure they were going on the right send offs. That’s just something you have to sacrifice when you have that many kids in a small area and the staff that we have. But generally if you are standing down on one side of the pool and you got kids in the diving well you just turn the clock so that you can see what’s going on and I’m always carrying around 2 or 3 watches and I know exactly when they should be starting, what they’re doing and when they should be finishing. Very little rest time in between. And it’s pretty easy to tell whether or not kids are actually working out the way they should be. But we would never get real tricky on what we did on the power rack. Just basically use that distance and put it on a timed repeat. They tell you not to add weight to the thing but we added weight to ours and it hasn’t fallen apart yet.
Canyons Aquatic Club
Located in the Santa Clarita Valley. Training at the College of the Canyons’ indoor pool facility. Serving swimmers in the Santa Clarita, Antelope, and San Fernando Valleys. The Canyons Aquatic Club is one of the premier swim programs in the West, offering ‘instruction and training from the novice level to National and Olympic levels.
Since 1989 Canyons has produced:
-1 United States Olympian
-1 World Record Holder
-1 American Record Holder
-2 U.S. Open Records
-1 United States Olympic Team Alternate
-1 United States Pan – Pacific Team Member
-5 United States Olympic Trials Qualffiers
-4 USA National Titles
-4 World Ranked Swimmers
-2 US Olympic Festival Selections
-7 National Age – Group Records
-38 Southern California Age-Group -Records
-310 National Age-Group Top-16 Rankings
-28 National Age-Group # 1 Rankings
-Senior National Qualifiers, Finalists, and
-Junior National Qualifiers, Finalists, and
-High School All-Americans and Scholarship
-High School Finalists, Champions, and
“All our swimmers are winners.”
Tryouts are held year-round
For more information please call
Head Coach Bruce Patmos at (661) 799-0599
Visit Our Website at www.canyons.org .
ANNUAL TRAINING PLAN MODEL
Endurance Phase: 60% of the season = 40% general, 60% specific
-Speed/Quality Phase: 30-35%= speed
-Resting/Taper Phase: 5 – 10% =
September 1 to January 15
(Senior ‘Q’ Meet)
(JN and SN swimmers rest one week only)
January 18 to March 27
(Taper depends on which meet and the age of
April 4 to May 18
(State High School Champs)
(High school swimmers rest 1 – 2 weeks)
May 21 to August 12
(Taper depends on which meet and the age of
This is the type of training that Anthony had during his 10 years at Canyons. Things have been modified as the vears went on to maximize the potential of all our swimmers.
– equipment includes paddles and
– 5 gallon buckets with holes
– Vasa Trainers and Power Racks
– a lot of descending sets ( 500 —-
– add or delete equipment as we go
– kick sets are similar to swimming
– 5 gallon buckets, Vasa trainer, Power Rack
– stretch cor-ds, both short and long
1) – 8 x 25 – all fast – :20 – :30
– 4 x 50 – range – :35 -:60
– 2 x 100 – range – 1:05 –
– 1 x 200 – straight or with
rest of .05 @ 50’s
2) – 4 x 25 – all fast -:20 -:30
– 2 x 50 – both fast – :35 -:60
– 1 x 1 00 – straight or
broken with small rest.
3) – descending cycles within
sets: (all fast)
– 6 x 100 on 1:30, 1:20, 1:15,
and last 100 must beat times
of other 100’s
4) – broken sets (borrowed
from Dave Salo)
– 3 x 50 on :35 -:50 + fast
100 on 2:00
– 3 x 25 on:20 -:30 + fast 50
Drills: We incorporate over 100 drills into our training and we always spend the first 1/2 hour of workout doing drills for our warm-up. We will include drills in the middle of broken sets to make swimmers think about their technique at all times.
Test Sets: These are done once per month with the results charted and posted at the pool.
1) 6 x 10 in heats, 7-8 minutes apart
must average within 2 sec of their best time
2) sets of 5 x 1-00: – broken/variable
3) -3 x 200’s on 6:00
-3 x 100’s on 3:00
-results are posted at, pool / must beat
4) distance swims – 10:00, 15:00, 20:00, 30:00
-distances are recorded and posted /
5) Kicking: timed at different distances
-timed 25’s using the buckets
-times using different weight on the
-we incorporate numerous dryland programs
and rotate them monthly
– high school are in the College fitness center
2-3 times per week.
– surgical tubing circuit, 60 on, 30 off, 20
– running stadium stairs, 1/4 mile track, wind
sprints on field, push-ups, sit-ups, etc.
– indoor dryland program includes the addition
of Vasa Trainers, Power Rack, and stretch
cords, pull-ups, vertical jumps
– we always stretch 10 minutes before dryland