Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our 4:00 speaker. My name is Mary Ann Gerzanick-Liebowitz and I’m the assistant coach at Oregon State. And I am here to introduce Chris Plummer to you. Chris is the head coach of the Carmel Swim Club and Carmel High School. He was named the 2008 Girl’s High School Coach of the Year and the 2008 Indiana Swimming Senior Coach of the Year. He’s also worked at the Cane Aquatic Club in Coral Gables, Florida, where he coached the Virgin Islands national record holder in the 100m breaststroke. He’s also been an assistant coach at the University of Miami where he coached 12 NCAA All-Americans, the Netherlands Olympic silver medalist and the Canadian National Champion and Olympian. So please help me welcome, Chris Plummer.
Glad to be here, really excited about this. I presented before and I’m honored to be here personally. This is the greatest time of the day because right now, I’d be on deck coaching so I’m really fired up at this time. 3:00 is the time that I look forward to and I think when you’re coaching, you got to love that time when practice starts and I know everything that I do just kind of revolves around that time, getting excited and pumped up for that time.
We became Gold Medal Club last year for the first — we’re the first one in Indiana and it’s been a challenge. It was never easy but I have a lot of people to thank and there’s been a lot of people that put hard work into this so I’ll begin here.
The City of Carmel is 30 minutes north of here. It says on the Internet there’s 68,000 people there. It’s a town. It’s a strong community. I would say 95% of our athletes actually live in Carmel. Due to recent events, this number may be changing a little bit as there’s been some resignations around us but we’ll see what happens. Like I said, it’s a community swim team and with a 50-meter pool. But they cannot deny the strong tradition of high school swimming that exist. The girls, 24 state championships in a row and the boys have won 12 overall. This is a good thing and this was a bad thing. We loved high school swimming. Everybody trained for it and when that was over, it’s like, it’s another 12 months away. That’s [indiscernible] [0:03:06]. So for us to get above this, we had to think beyond just high school. And that was kind of a big epiphany for us.
And right before I became head coach in 2005, we had zero athletes qualified for junior or senior nationals. So it wasn’t like when I inherited it, we were like right there. We had a long way to go to be a Gold Medal Club. The presentations I’ve noticed through the days that I’ve been here, they just keep telling me a lot of things that I already know. And today, you might just find out. I’m just going to tell you all the things that you already know so the best books he perceived are those that tell you what you know already. So maybe today, I’m going to affirm and confirm some ideas and thoughts you had and maybe you can take a little bit further in your programs.
It all starts with possibilities and there’s these two hikers in the Appalachian Trail and they were hiking and they just started to do the trails. They did some trails. This couple did trails in Mexico and California. They decided they’re going to hike the Appalachian Trail and all along, they were trying to shed weight because you walk thousands of miles and it’s all about how much weight you’re carrying on your back. They initially started with 45 pounds on their back and they came across this guy and his trail name was Wolf. He’s walking around and he’s got this little light backpack and the couple goes, they started talking to him. “How did you get such a light backpack?” And they asked, “How much does it weigh?” And this guy Wolf says, “It weighs 14 pounds.” They go, “14 pounds? How did you do that?” And he said, “All you need to know is that it’s possible.”
So for us, we just needed to know that getting to the next level was possible and Chris Webb, who is sitting right here, and I came back from our first junior nationals and said, “How are we going to do this? We know it can be done but how are we going to make this happen?” We knew we had the ingredients and that time we sat down and we needed the recipe. How can we make a national level impact? And it was planning, it was talking, it was a lot of things but we knew that the capabilities were there.
We decided we didn’t want to build a team. There’s lots of teams out there. We wanted a culture. We wanted something that defined itself. It would start to run itself. We wanted a culture and this culture today, I believe is very strong. This morning, at Carmel High School, there were 70 senior athletes practicing at 5:30. I mean, 70 seniors at 5:30 on a Friday, that’s some kids who care a lot about swimming and that’s a culture.
We decided we want to build the foundation on hard work and that stem both from the athletes and the coaches. There was no easy way. One of the first things we did was, we said, we just need to practice more. We have to do more. We were not getting it done. So practice in the afternoon, it used to end at 5:30 or 5:45, we changed it to 6:00. In the mornings, they were going three mornings a week, we went four. We knew we had to up where we’re going. We had to do things differently, had to do more.
We visited Mark Hesse and he left a profound impact and he just talked about having kids engaged in the workout. Just don’t swim laps. Just don’t go up and down the pool. You have to make the time count. He talked a lot about just getting them to think and try different things and be engaged. That was a big word for us in the beginning, be engaged. We discovered from going around too, the secret is there are no secrets. There’s nothing I’m going to tell you, that we got this special water up in Carmel and man, you need this. People seem to think you just swim at Carmel and you go fast but there is no secret.
We believe in fitness, becoming athletes. We need to make athletes. Fitness is different for different people but we knew we had to be fit. We were not going to get beat because we weren’t fit. That was not going to be a limiting factor for us. Show up every day. I remember when I first got to college, my coach said, “If you just go to class every day, you should probably get a B.” So I was like, “How do we get kids to come to practice?” We had all kinds of crazy ideas. We’re handing out movie tickets. We probably gave them Dairy Queen which was a terrible idea but it made them come to practice. We did everything we could to get them to come to practice at first. We rewarded the kids who came.
When we started there were 38 kids in the senior group and now like I said, we had 70 this morning. There’s 90 in the group. We just found a way to make it exciting. If you came seven times in a row, you end up with this $50 gift certificate. We’re going broke but kids were starting to come to practice. And we had really high goals. We said we wanted to go send a lot of kids to junior nationals; big, high goals. They look at you like you’re crazy but we knew we could do it.
I love quotes. They’re on the top of every practice I have and high achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation. What expectations are you putting upon your athletes? We wanted to have a national impact. We let them know that and we held them to a standard, high expectations. And we said — some people don’t really like this especially the parents. We said, “Our goal is not to win the high school state championship. Guess what? We’ve done that 20-some times.” It’s not a big deal here. It’s great to win but there are better things out there and if you are a national level impact swimmer, the high school meet is just pure fun. That’s just pure fun.
And at that time, when Jenny Connolly and Michelle McKeehan, they were Olympic Trials finalists and they were setting national high school records. It was evident for all of our kids to see that and it was great to have those examples and say, “Listen, these girls here are the best swimmers in the state, in the country and it’s because they’re going to bigger things.” And we also talked about the struggle and struggle is a biological necessity. If you want to get better at something, it’s a necessity to struggle. We embraced the struggle. It is about the struggle. And so as coaches, we struggle to get our program better. As athletes, they struggle to make that climb but that’s what makes it worth it.
We had to have a place to take risk. We talked about when the kids walk in the door to the pool, it’s okay to take that risk. The rest of the time you’re like, don’t do the risk. Don’t do drugs and don’t do alcohol, don’t drive. But in the pool, it was like, take the risk, go for it. What if you don’t get it, it’s not a big deal. But go for the time today, take that risk, put people on the blocks, do crazy things but take the risk. And we had to hold accountable to a goal. What’s your goal? Did you get better today? Did you improve?
We talk about as coaches always adding tools to our toolbox, going everywhere, talking to different people. When you watch somebody coach, I don’t care who they are, they’re probably doing something very well. Pay close attention. I liked what he said there. I’m going to use that. I want to make that mine. We visit other people in all clubs. I was trying to think of all the places I’ve been and watched people coach and all the great things. Whether I was at University of Texas, just watching Eddie Reese do a practice. We went up to Michigan with Bob [inaudible] [0:12:32.2]. We went everywhere. We had to get out there. We had to find the way. We didn’t know the way. I told everybody on my interview I did but I didn’t know. So I went and found the way.
My first year at high school, we got second in every single relay at the high school state meet. The guy who beat us is in the back row here, Southeastern. They beat us every relay. And I watched it. I go, “Our turns were terrible. Our starts were awful.” I knew that and I knew we had to get better but when I have parents like, “Hey, Chris, the turns, they’re terrible.” Parents in the stands are telling you this and you know they’re right. I’m like, “Oh, geez. We better go do something about this.” So I went to Auburn and I learned a great deal from Richard on the turns and I did the turn camp and talk about a culture. The one thing I can tell you about Auburn and I knew why they were successful, the guys after practice were working on pushing off the wall. College guys after practice working on pushing off the wall. That’s a profound thing. That’s a simple, but they knew the importance of that. So that stuck with me.
And thanks to Tony Young I was able to follow Ray Mitchell at nationals here. Just the simple things. He was like whispering in my ear all day without asking questions. Just constantly, like do this, don’t do this, this works, read their body language, don’t let them too many pace 50s, keep them calm. It was just great. Just following him around, it helped me and gave me the confidence at the meets.
And get around your local people as much as you can. One thing we did one time that we need to do again, we had coffee at Starbucks for three hours and we said, “Everybody bring in a workout and talk about it.” So for three hours, we sat around and talked about our workouts. I still remember that day and I still have all the workouts from all those coaches. I still remember the things that they said and I carry those with me. Again, a little tool on my toolbox. Come here, come to conventions, get out there. Almost all my full-time assistants have been to Colorado Springs at some point, training symposium, National Select Camp, Diversity Camp. I send my assistants. They gain a lot of knowledge from going out there.
And read, read a lot. I love reading. I have here these books mentioned all day so I know I must have read something good because everyone’s talked about these books, at least to the talks I’ve been. Mindset, Talent Code, Outliers, Blink, Science of Winning, Periodization. Internet, there’s a lot of stuff on the Internet. Be careful. But I’m always trying to find a different way, a better way, a different way to say something. Take it in, learn.
Staff. I look for things when I hire my staff. Number one, are they hungry? Do they want to be there? They have to want to be there. What are their goals? Hunger and being humble. At a talk today, I heard someone say, “Being humble is a strength.” It’s a strength. It’s not a weakness. It’s a strength. My AD told me I liked you because you were humble. I look for that in my coaches. Are they willing to learn? Are they willing to teach? Are they willing to find better ways?
I work to the people’s strengths in my group. Some people talk about working on weaknesses. Everyone, we know we need to work on our weakness but who likes to do the things they’re not very good at? If somebody is good at something, I let them take it and run with it. Because why, they love it, they’re passionate about it, they take it and run. They do a great job. I try to work to what they’re good at. Integrity, doing the right thing. You need to be able to trust your staff when you’re not there to do the right thing. I mean, you got to find out information. You got to go behind their resume. You got to look past the resume. Find someone who is not on there who’s worked with them.
Loyalty. Again, you need to trust them. They are on the front lines, talking to parents. What are they saying about you? What are they going to say? If something’s going wrong, how loyal are they going to be when they know you may have done something wrong. Are they going to stand up to the parent? The more people I have full time, the better off I think we’re going to be. So when I look to hire people or create new positions, I do my best. It’s not 100% but I try to get them involved in the senior program and in the age group program. Does a couple of things, they’re fully invested. They’re all the way in, all chips in, all the time and they know what the end product is going to look like. They go to senior practice. They know what out top athletes are doing. They know what they expectations are and they can take that back. You don’t want them to do senior practice but they have and end in mind to where they’re going.
I’m not looking for “yes” people. Just don’t say yes because I said it. I want to talk about it. I want to hash it out. I want to know if you agree. I want to know the good points, the bad points. Tell me what’s good. Tell me what’s bad. Just don’t say yes. Just don’t say yes, disagree. Let’s talk about it but whatever we decide, we need to have a unified front to the membership. It’s good to talk it up and I said Chris’ name but we had some tremendous arguments and he never lost an argument when I worked with him. And I have someone that really keep us working towards a goal, office manager, lists, emails, documents need to get done, she’s on top of it. If you have questions of whether you should spend money on an office manager or whoever, go do it. It was the greatest thing we did.
Board of directors, we all have our issues. Some of the things I’ve done, I don’t know if it’s right or wrong but this is kind of our motto, athlete-centered, coach-driven, administratively-assisted. That’s on the top of every board report I send in. I want the board members to know what to think. I’m giving them hints. This is who we are. I do not let them cross into the wet side. When that happens, you got to shut that down immediately. You get a little bit, they keep wanting to stick their fingers in there and you got to remind the board of directors like, ‘”Listen, this is what I do full time. You guys do a great job managing the dry side. We’re going to handle the wet side.”
Anything that’s going to be controversial, whether they like it or not, anything that’s new or people are going to talk about, I try to let the board know first even if they don’t like it. At least they know. The worst thing is to be surprised. No one likes to be surprised. A kid gets in trouble and you find out second hand and it’s worse right? You rather have the kid come tell you. I always try to communicate to them first. And I try to take all my new board members out to lunch. If they know you a little bit better, that could help you. And I communicate with the president about once a week. We talk on the phone. So it’s good. He’s your boss or she but every year we have a new boss. You need to communicate regularly.
And we also have our pool environment. Why is this important? What does your pool say about your team? When they look up or they walk in or when they go in, what are they going to see? What are the reminders that they have? What’s their environment going to be? The first thing I did or one of the first things I did was put up the Olympic flag. It wasn’t there. I mean, we’re trying to get to be the biggest, the best and there’s no sign of that anywhere. It’s just high school championships on the wall so I had to change that. I had to put the Olympic flag up.
And then we have 10 important words. We decided one morning in the staff meeting what we want to put on the wall and you can see here. This is like a ledge that goes along the length of a 50-meter pool and there’s the 10 words. That way, when the kids are kicking and they look up, they’re going to see these words. I don’t even know if they know that they’re there but I do. Kids not doing something, if someone not working very hard, you stand them under intensity and you have them talk about the word intensity and then they know it’s there. The other thing we do, I don’t know, it’s kind of subtle but perseverance is the greyhound which is Carmel High School Greyhounds and above that is courage and that’s the Carmel Swim Club logo. We’re really integrated. We’re really mixed. I try to blend the two together like not have a difference between Carmel High School and Carmel Swim Club. We’re one and the same.
And I have posters. I mean, every high school kid, college kid loves a poster. So I put posters up and everyone does that. It say long quote but USA swimming, how to sum it and they had these seven things that every swim club should do or does that’s really excellent. So I just took all their ideas and we did it at Carmel.
Consistent head coach leadership. I talked to the board like, “Hey, don’t fire me because if we want to be good I got to be here.” And then when I was head age group coach, the same way. “Hey, you got to keep your age group coaches.” This is one of the things they tell us to be, to do. System-wide goal, so what’s our goal. How are we getting there? Hold everybody accountable. Common teaching language. Talk about arguments. Try to write a common language for your team. This was like weeks at different people’s houses arguing what drill or what should we call it, how are we going to do it?
Now, it’s finished and it’s this growing, breathing document. But the language, kids now one drill is from one group to the next. People are talking the same language. If you’re learning French and next year, you got to go to Spanish, that’s tough. Every drill is the same. You kind of ease the burden of moving from group to group when the drills are the same.
Having supportive parents, that’s a work in progress. That’s constant. It’s like your yard work. It never goes away. You always got to do it. You always got to work on it. Having a stable pool situation, we have that covered but it’s always you got to work on that. You don’t ever want that to go away so it’s a relationship. Maintain a standard of excellence. We just took what they set to do and we’re trying to live that. So that’s kind of a philosophy and then how do you apply it, right? These are all great ideas but how do we apply that to our club?
One of the things we did is what we called Operation Omaha and so Olympic Trials in 2008. We’re in Omaha. In the fall of 2007, 10 months before the Olympic Trials, we created a group and say, “Hey, let’s try to get everyone to do the trials.” We started with a group of 14 athletes who had all Junior National cut, like the NSCA club-one that’s in Orlando. We took that cut just because we knew you get a few more kids in there. Our idea was to shift the paradigm. Try not to make qualifying for Olympic trials this unrealistic thought that way out there but make it a reality for your club. Move in that direction. Change the way they think. And that was the whole idea behind Operation Omaha.
So we had several goals. Number one, obviously make the trials. Two, communicate the information back to the club and to our community. Sell this to the community. We wanted to use this as a catalyst. Get it going, get it started. Celebrate the commitment, knowledge and achievement that this group was going to have. Some of the results, we had two qualify. It was tough. One made it when she shouldn’t have. This goes back like we really don’t know what we’re doing. And the other one made it the last minute and the story behind the last minute, we go to Texas. There’s a big meet and we’re going to get all these cuts in early June and swam terrible. It was awful. We had a lot of share of bad meets and that was one of them. So we had this Carmel meet two weeks later and I knew that a couple of girls, they did have shot.
So one, we worked this girl for 10 days as hard as I could. I never talked about it. Her name is Trish Regan. She’s right here on the far, your left or your right, my left. Ten days we worked really hard, don’t talk about it, dry land, everything. Go right back up in volume. And so three days before this meet, I say, “Trish, I think you can make this cut.” She goes, “You think?” I go, “Yeah, I think you can.” She goes, “Okay.”
Saturday night, 200 IM, she misses it by like 3/10 and she gets out of the water and she’s kind of sad. And she comes out of the locker and she’s kind of happy because it’s like, “Thank god this is over. I didn’t get it. I can relax now.” And I pulled her over and I was on the phone. I called Tony Young and I’m like, “Can I get a time trial?” He’s like, “Yeah.” So I pulled her over. I said, “Trish, come on. I think we want to do a time trial tomorrow night.” And tears just start flowing immediately. I’m like, “What did I do? Oh, geez.”
So the next day, we had this time trial and finals. That warm up, we played four square in the parking lot. Let her warm up for 10 minutes. She got behind the block. She made her cut. And then she got dead last Olympic trials. All that work, we got last. She made it but the good thing too, three more made it in August at junior nationals. Starting to get some traction.
And that summer, I took 18 kids to junior nationals. People started looking around and going, “Who’s this Carmel Swim Club? 18 kids.” And a year later, we took 21, came in 5th in the women and this is the relay that broke the 1780 national record in the 400-medley relay. Good stuff. Suits, yeah we had them on. We broke the record. I mean, it’s fun. I certainly know — I don’t know what would happen had we not but it was a fun relay. They swam fast. And I believe this was happening because of what we did with Operation Omaha.
That’s our team at Juniors that year and they’re excited. They’re pumped up. The parents behind this group, they wanted to talk to me and they wanted my kids to sit down. They’re telling our kids who are cheering to sit down. I’m like, we’re cheering, we’re standing up, we’re doing a great job. Keep it up. And then this past summer, we were seventh in the overall standings at Junior Nationals, our highest placing. And I think the most important thing is that we knew we belonged. Going from 2005 to having zero to a place where we know we can do well at this meet, I think that’s huge. That to me was about being gold medal.
The three overall summary here was, I can’t tell you when we raised the bar, it’s like all of these other kids wanted to come and do good as well. It helped everybody in the whole team. I think the idea of going big paid dividends farther down the road than we initially thought. I’m really excited for Operation Omaha 2.0. Dryland for Senior group, take it just as seriously as our swimming. The problem is, is I’m a swim coach. I knew nothing about dry land. I know but I think I knew enough to be dangerous but enough to — it’s scary.
We have a pretty good idea of what to do in the water yet we do what we probably did in dry land with our own coaches. What do we really know? We’re fortunate enough to hire an expert Vern Gambetta. Just revolutionary idea, thoughts and I would recommend if you ever want to hire Vern, he’s great. But we’ve talked about, I mean, training the whole body in movements, not muscles. And seniors do dry land every day. I don’t know what the effect is but I think it has a profound impact.
In our six days, we do two days of really core work and cardio. We do core work every day but two days of core work is a big focus. Two days of upper body day and a two day of lower body and total body so it’s well split. It’s well balanced. Injuries have gone down. But the thing I can’t tell you enough is make it menu driven. When I say leg circuit, our kids instantly know what to do. They know they’re going to go 20 squats, 20 lunges, and 20 step-ups. It’s not like you have to write it on the board and say, “Today, we’re going to go, this, this and this.” I mean, I would spend 10 minutes trying to tell them what abs to do. Instead, you just give them something and they’re going to do it.
So Jungle Gym series, they know they’re going to go pull-ups, push-ups and body rows on the rings. They know that. It’s not like you have to explain it. The core modules that we do is just like, okay, I’m going to go 20 of these, 20 of these, 20 of these, 20 of these and you know it. It saves time. I encourage you guys to make menus for your kids so they know, do this and they’re going to go do it. And it works and it complements the swim training. The two need to work in concert. When I constant like, what does that mean? You got to play with it. You got to figure it out but the two should work together.
Failure to plan is plotting to fail. We spend a lot of time on planning. Plan, plan, plan. Everybody does this right but I think you got to take it to the next level and have a season plan, weekly plan, daily plan. You got to do it all. But I keep all mine on Microsoft Excel. I can pull up last year, Saturday morning, I know what we did. I know what we did four years ago. I try not to recycle them too much but it’s always a good point to look back. What were we doing then? What do we want to do different now? What are the thoughts that we have? If you do something great and you don’t write it down, you’ve just missed an opportunity. So you got to look back constantly.
And our full-time staff, we meet once a week and that’s the office manager, full-time staff, swimmers and the aquatics director. We got to get on the same page. There’s nothing worse than showing up and something not being where it’s supposed to be. So we take the time to meet. Of course we go to breakfast which makes it a lot more fun although I always leave hyper-caffeinated so it makes for a great day.
Cycle is around six weeks and that gets back to [inaudible] [0:35:31.5]. Six weeks of training, that leads to stable adaptation. Progressions, again keep track. Know what you’re going to do before, next week, or in the next two weeks. What are you going to do to make that better? Where are you going to progress? Keep track of it. Simple, right? Test sets. If it’s important to you, how do you know you’re getting better at it? If it matters, you should test it. Testing is training. Training is testing. So you’re not missing out on your training if you’re testing.
My daily plan, it’s like I said, everything is written on Excel. Every workout probably has a quote on it and I know what the quote was last year. I know what I’m going to put out this year. It’s got volume. It’s got minutes. It’s got everything they need to know. Warm up, if you see a team that’s getting in and out of the water constantly during warm up, it could be us. People look at us like we’re crazy when he hop out, in and out of the pool. That’s just the way we do it. Talk a lot about warming up dynamically. So if you don’t know what dynamic warm up is, Google it. But basically, it’s about movement and getting the range of motion ready to go.
So we do it. I mean, there’s been days like it’s 30 minutes, 40 minutes, we’re in the pool, out of the pool. We’re doing lunges. We’re doing pushups. I think it keeps it different. You have a different way. Who says we have to get in the pool to warm up. Everybody does that. This is a unique way to get the kids moving. Does it really matter if they’re warming up on land or the water? I mean, I don’t think — I think it’s the same also. Our warm-ups are usually, they’re different and the kids like that. I mean, simple things. I always try to make technique changes early in the workout. If you want to make them last, put them at the end. We do speed early in the practice because that’s when they’re neurally ready to go. If you want to increase speed, do that. If you want to maintain it or endure it, you put it at the end.
The aerobic sets, they’re the foundation of what we are. I heard someone talk about chasing the speed goddess. We may chase the speed goddess a little bit too much this past year but the foundation of teenagers I think is aerobic development. This past summer, we had a boy scoring a 50 and we had a girl scoring a mile, same team. So it wasn’t like the aerobic kid beat up the 50 guy. Of course he missed a lot of practices so maybe I might have slowed him down if we train too much. But I think kids can get better training aerobically.
And this is a relay from, it’s a national setting relay that we had in 2008 I think or 2009. We had suits. I know that but they weren’t like the Jakeds or the rubber, nothing like that. It’s just a TYR suit. But the good thing about this relay is there’s only one 50 freestyler on this relay. The other thing is, that morning, I didn’t know who was going on it. I had a pretty good idea but for the four spots, there’s probably two or three girls. So this great relay that we had, I mean you got to go with who’s hot at the meet.
A couple of things that I think, dry land leads to — I really think it helps their dolphin kicking and we spend a lot of time on that. So I don’t think our starts are the best but if you watch our underwater kicking, particularly off the turn on this relay. I apologize for the constant screaming.
And this is our — leading off here is Megan Detro. She’s our only 50 freestyler on this group here. She goes to Ohio State. She just exploded off that turn right there. This girl coming up is really a butterflier and a backstroker. She had never swam freestyle in a relay before this meet. She went 23.1. She was pumped. Dolphin kick right here. Don’t watch her turn too closely. I did my best. Not bad. And the girl on the end is a 400 IM-er. Slow start. I think she went 22.9. 1:32.7. Pretty solid relay. It was fun.
I believe that’s a culmination from 2005 having none to 2009 having a lot. It was a struggle. It was a build up and I know I talked about not being high school and I show a high school relay but it was fun. It was just a fun relay, going out there. Like I said, we thought at that time we’re going to go for the medley national record and we end up getting beat by Baylor by 7-100s. In this relay, no one had any idea we were — oh, that’s a national record? So it was just kind of fun. But it was the dry land, it was the work, it was the years and years of getting to that point. I think all of us, you don’t want to put it all on circumstance. We make our own way.
I’m happy to answer questions now. Yes?
[audience member]: We have similar situations in Ohio [inaudible] [0:42:40.5] to get those kids to get beyond the next couple of three weeks looking into their [inaudible] [0:42:53.3] championship let alone sectionals or NCCP or something like that. What was one of the things or what was the line of communication that really you felt made a big impact on them [inaudible] [0:43:08.4] type of change or growth?
[CP]: I think a lot of it came down to the personal meeting. I said, “I think you can do this.” And Daniel Hassler, he’s going to Princeton, he went 425 in the 400 IM. He tells me when we had this goal meeting and his best time was 449. I said, “Daniel, I think you can go 430 in the 400 IM.” And he goes, “Dude, you’re nuts. You’re crazy.” But that stuck with him and so there was a trust in him, a belief in him that he could do it. You had to find the right leaders to say, “Listen, I think you can do this but these are things you’re going to need to do and you got to hold them accountable to that.” It was a struggle. It wasn’t easy but when you believe in a kid, when you tell them they can do something, there’s power and magic and that. And I think we’ve picked enough kids to say, “Let’s do this.” And it’s just like, you get a few that catch it and everybody sees what the result is, that really gets the ball rolling.
[audience member]: What are the other nine words you had —
[CP]: Courage and perseverance. I knew this question was going to get asked tonight, but determination is up there, intensity, integrity, if you guys want to help me out.
[audience member]: Pride.
[audience member]: Commitment.
[CP]: Commitment. It wasn’t like this rocket science like we’re going to come up with — these are the magic 10 words that’s going to transform the Carmel Swim Club. It was like, we really like these words and instead of spending months trying to figure out what this is, let’s get this done up on there. Having 10 really good words is better than not having any at all. I would say, whatever you want to see from your group, that’s what should go up on your wall. Or have the kids decide. I mean, if I were to look back, I’ll have the kids pick 10 words, then we’re empowering them. Were there any other words?
[audience member]: When you were talking earlier about showing up every day, [inaudible] [0:45:38.5 – 0:45:49.7 ]
[CP]: No. I think like what you said, the head age group coach, 13, 14, 12 years old, they need to start showing up every day. I remember, I look back and I have some of my age group practices and on the top, on Monday it says, “Congratulations to 13 kids who came every day last week and here’s a reward for that.” The message is, go to practice, go to school. Going to school every day is not an option. You have to go to school. Swimming, you can make it that part of their life too. So obviously with the senior group and I think that 12, 13, 14. Now, is it perfect? No. We had kids that don’t do it but I believe that, go to class, go to school. Do it and you will get better. Just being there, you have to be there. That’s a given.
[inaudiable question from the audience]
[CP]: Yeah. I think high school has a part in that. There’s a couple of things we do. Number one, they’re told to do that the night before. Let’s make sure every time a Carmel kid’s in the water that we’re supporting them because you know what, when you’re back there, you want to feel and see the same thing. High school is a part of that.
[audience member]: There’s a difference between. [Voice off microphone] [0:47:50.0 – 0:47:58.4]
[CP]: I would say, we do a great job in practice of supporting each other. It’s like, we went to this LSC Camp in Colorado Springs with the LSC. I don’t know. There was a lot of Carmel kids there and at the end of camp, every day, every kid was cheering for each other. The kids that went there brought that back. And we talk about in practice, being vocal with your teammates. Cheer them on, help them out, be active. When you’re helping them, you’re helping yourself.
The other thing we do is we call this thing called the winner’s circle and I’m not like this big, soft guy like hugs every day. But every group gets together in a circle and they recognize the good things that happened last week. It takes 10 minutes and it empowers them to say, “Hey, you did a good job on your pull-ups last week.” And there’s power in that because we as coaches cannot see all that. And when another kid says it, it’s part of the culture. When we were standing up and the parents are yelling at us, I’m like, that’s how I know we were doing good. You can’t. You got to feel it. You got to live it and we talk about being vocal in practice. If you heard and tell somebody else to go after it, they’re going to return the favor.
Jim, did you have a question?
[inaudible question from the audience]
[CP]: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think having all of our lead coaches, at some point in their life was an assistant in the team, helps a lot. Number one, they know what it’s like to be new and number two, they’ve been through the program. They know. Common language, that’s what we call this drill here. We do have a common language DVD. We probably need to use that more and staff meetings, entire staff meetings, the Mondays after big meets. We don’t have practice but we get everybody on the same page. It’s hard because we have 15, 16 coaches, people with multiple sites, I have no idea how they do it. In social activities outside all that stuff. I mean, I don’t think there’s anything magical but I think we’re at a point now where a lead coach steps out, an assistant coach can come in and it just kind of works its way up. Yes?
[inaudible question from the audience]
[CP]: Well, in my vision, I would like for our graduates or post-high school graduates to come back in the summers and represent Carmel because that really hasn’t happened enough. Maybe someday we’ll have kids that want to swim for us year round who are done. I see the next step is to make an impact at Olympic trials. I saw the cuts. We have a lot — I don’t want to say a lot but a fair number of 18-under athletes that will have cuts and we want to swim again there. That’s going to be a big challenge that we haven’t done. We’re not that far off but I know the higher you climb, the tougher it gets. The air at 20,000 feet is a lot different than the air at 28,000 feet. You’re high up but I know it’s going to be harder.
So we want to continue to rise and make further strides up the national level and just continue just to improve everything. Learn and have kids — and the other things is I want to have kids give back when they’re done. We don’t have enough of the graduates coming back and wanting to coach for us. I think that will happen over time but we’re getting there. You got to constantly look to get better. If I ever want to look at my rearview mirror, I know I’m in trouble.
Any other questions? Guys, I really am happy to share anything that I do or have so feel free to email me or call the office but, thank you very much