Ed Spencer has spent 34 years as a coach in swimming. He has coached high school for seven years, college for six years and has been a USA Swimming coach since 1966. Ed was the head coach of the Industry Hills Aquatic Club, Reno Aquatic Club and most recently, the Dynamo Swim Club. Ed has coached four swimmers who won over 20 Senior National titles and held over eight American records. He says the primary influences in his philosophy have been Peter Daland, Willis Casey, Don Sonia, Don Gambril, Mark Schubert, and a lot of assistant coaches that he’s had the pleasure to work with.
I am going to give you an outline of the Dynamo Swim Club, which is a little bit of a unique program, in that it is a parent owned program but yet they own a lot of their facilities. We have a budget that is a little bit in excess of two million dollars a year. We have to treat it like a business, there is nobody to bail us out, there is no tax dollars to bail us out, there is no college program that maybe can turn around and shift money around and bail you out if you spend a little bit more money than you planned to or you didn’t bring in as much money as you’d hope to. I’m going to talk a little bit about what we attempt to do and the structure that we have. As I go through this and talk about it I think what you are going to find is the one person, the one leading person that developed the program that is currently in Dynamo is Pat Hogan, who is the head coach there for ten years, a very instrumental man in organizing everything. Everything I go through and read, I know that it has sort of organizational skills applied to it, he either developed it, designed it or molded it for the particular time that it needed to be used. He was very instrumental in the development of building pools that Dynamo now owns.
Here is a little background on myself. I grew up in the Philadelphia area. My first coach was Peter Daland, and we were in the beginning of the present day’s Suburban Swim Club. Peter organized a group of little summer league pools and got us together and in two or three years, we begged borrowed and stole pools here and pools there. at one time I think that I was actually training in about five different pools within one weeks period of time. We had one pool that we would train one night a week and went to another one and slowly that program developed to a point where they themselves built their own facility and then could then run their program.
I’ve been coaching for 34 years and part of that time I did coach college but still did coach club swimming at the time, because club coaching is really what I believe in, what I really enjoy doing. I like working with kids, most specifically teenagers. I also did teach high school for a period of about 7 years. My primary influences I think probably started with Peter Daland, just the fact that I was very young and very impressionable and Peter undoubtedly one of the finest coaches that we have ever had in the United States and I think that he has made a profound impact on me. I also swam for Willis Casey in college who I think was a tremendous man, tremendously organized and later became AD at North Carolina State. He was probably the person really responsible for getting the big money contracts for T.V. for basketball and things like that in the ACC when he was the athletic director at North Carolina State. He was the one that actually developed that first contract, the big money contract for T.V. so that all the ACC games were televised. A very organized man and person who made a profound impact. And I also had the opportunity when I first got into coaching, I would finish a workout and then Don Gambrel and Ron Ballatore would come in and they would start their workouts immediately afterwards and probably three out of every five days I would just hang around and just watch these guys coach and watch the way they worked, so I think those are people that made a real profound effect.
Also the assistant and the co-coaches that I have worked with over the years, I think as head coaches we picked up tremendous bits of information from our assistants, some of them have much better skills, at dealing with people, at dealing with problems then we do, I think that when we see that we learn how to use those things that we pick up from other people and we learn a great deal from it.
I started like a lot of you probably started, I basically had my own little program and then eventually moved to a little bigger program and then eventually got the opportunity to be involved with Industry Hills and became the head coach. And during that time I’ve had the pleasure of coaching Jeff Kostoff and Jenna Johnson and many others but those two, I think were the ones that then gave back to me not only a lot of thrills but also some real ideas about motivation. They would tell me about the workout. In some cases with Jeff Kostoff he would even come back and make suggestions how we could do it the next time and this is coming from a 15 year old boy, who was the American record holder at 16, but a young man who really knew why he was in the pool and what he was doing and it really gave me, I think, a time where I started letting kids take a lot more ownership in their swimming. And I firmly believe in that. I think that one of the goals that we have is not to just push and force them to do stuff, but try and get them to take ownership. Some might not, and I think some of those are going to have to rely on leadership from the team, I think you’re going to have to, in some cases, take a little heavier hand with them, but when you can find those swimmers that will take ownership, they’ll work harder for themselves for that ownership.
My priority and the priority that we try to live with in every program I’ve been with is the number one priority in these kids lives are their family and #2 is their education and #3 is swimming. I think with those priorities you can still become the greatest swimmer that you are capable of being. But I think that the family is very, very important. I think creating the support and I think when the family and the parents understand that you feel that way I think you have a lot more support back from them, they are trying to make this process work the best for their kids.
A real quick history, the Dynamos had a real rich heritage. They have had American record holder in Mary Ellen Blanchard. Just most recently I believe about two years ago that record was broken and it stood for about ten years. In 1988 ‘89 they actually were national champions in the women’s division and second place in nationals combined. This past winter our girls were second at nationals, so it is a strong team with a rich, rich heritage. Started in 1964, a bunch of summer teams got together and formed a little organization called the Sandy Springs Summer Association and like any other program I think probably some coaches and some parents were trying to make it a little bit better. They went to Dekalb County and they basically took over the sponsorship of the program, helped it with money, helped it with finding pools. It grew until basically about 1979 and that is when Pat Hogan came in and started putting his influence in it. They formed the Dynamo parents club, which is the organization right now that really is the organization that drives the program.
In 1980, I’m sure again through Pat’s hard work, they built their own pool. It’s an indoor, 25 yard by 25 meter pool with a teaching pool, weight room. It’s a great facility. In ‘87 and 88, the Dynamo merged with a club, a small club which is about 8 or 10 minutes east of us and we formed the second part of our program. And then in 1995 we were approached by a group called the Watkins group, which is a real estate developer, and this is something that I think that maybe very few people have ever explored, but it really does make a lot of sense, this group wanted to bring in a high profile swim team into a shopping center. The reason was is they wanted those thousand to fifteen hundred people that stop everyday to bring their kids to lessons and swim team, or whatever, cause it made a great group of shoppers. It did two things, it brought people in, but it also brought them in, in a real nice flow, in other words, we are open 14 hours a day and we start early in the morning and we finish late at night and these cars just keep coming in and dropping kids off, and it made a great stream for their clients that were in the shopping center. So they basically built a facility for us and charged us rent and gave us an option to buy. Within probably fifteen months it was turning a profit. So the Dynamo Swim Club bought it, so we own that facility, the second facility. This group has most recently extended the same offer in an area called Sugarloaf which is about ten minutes north of the main facility, Chamblee, and about ten minutes east of the Alpharetta facilities and we now have a nice little triangle, to build a indoor 50 meter pool with a 3 lane 25 yard teaching pool, in an area that has 70,000 cars that drive by everyday. The demographics are in an area that is probably close to a third of a million people within a ten mile radius and the demographics are real good, about $80,000.00 income per family, 2 plus children aged 14 and under in each house. So to them it is a no brainer, it works really well for them. They like the 1500 people that are coming in, the mom’s that are dropping kids off for the team or dropping some of the older ones off for lessons and they have an hour to hour and a half, two hours to shop. This present shopping center, the Sugarloaf Shopping Center, has a large market, Publix market, much like any other super market, children’s healthcare of Atlanta and about 70 other shops and about half of the shops are set up in a kids village and it’s basically all designed for children. Some pediatricians, some youth stores, just the retail stores and then there is about two day care centers and then a bunch of fast food places. So we are really looking forward to that. We basically are entering into the arrangement right now, it should be built, we hope to be in by next June or July. Same deal, same company and the thing about them that it has worked so well at Alpharetta and if this works the way we all think it will work, I’m sure that there will be other shopping centers. To them it’s a business deal, I mean they love it. They build these shopping centers with this kids village idea, that they want to have something where people can come in and they can shop for their children in one stop, they can get them hair cuts, they can take them to the doctor, they can do everything and what we have is a real, real good offer for them.
The first pool we have is an indoor, it’s a 25 yard by 25 meter pool so it is a ten lane, and then we have another pool. The shopping center, Alpharetta is just an 8 lane 25 yard pool with another four lane 25 yard pool which is shallower. We can train in it, but shallower and we basically use it for lessons. In 1990, Dynamo built a 50 meter outdoor pool at the first facility the Chamblee facility and last year we covered that with a fabric buildings and we now use that year round and that building is from a company in Buena Ventura, or Ventura Santa Barbra area. They basically started up during desert storm and they were working for the government building these fabric buildings that they could just erect in no time, planes, armor personal carrier, tanks, everything you could basically imagine would go in these and they were camouflaged and they were kept out of the elements and they are now going into the pool business and we got hold of them and talked with them and they engineered a building which works real well over a 50 meter pool and we ran it all year last year. We can open up the sides, we can keep it completely shut. In October we are putting in a heating and ventilating system and it allows us to use our facility much more effectively. Since we put that in our Masters Group was allowed to grow from 55 to about 220, mainly because we now finish our groups early enough that we can really create a viable Masters program.
Dynamo has been really fortunate to have I think a great, great group of coaches go through it’s program. I think Pat was the first and the one who really set everything up, as Pat was finishing his career there, a young age group coach David Marsh, then became the head coach. David Marsh when he left and prior to going to Auburn, I think left and was at Las Vegas Gold for a while. Alex Braunfeld became the coach and for four years just improved the program to the point that during that period they won women’s nationals, they were runner up in the combined, during that period of time Mary Blanchard was American record holder, two young men that came through that program eventually became Olympians, Carlton Bruner and Eric Wunderlick became Olympians on the 1996 team. After Alex, Steven Bultman was there and then Pierre LaFontaine was the last coach. and during a lot of that period of time, Kathy McKee who I think is probably the reining age group coach in the country was the head age group coach for Pat and all the way through with Alex and I believe part of the time with Steve. So I mean one thing they have done was have great coaches there and I think those coaches have gone on to really distinguish themselves.
The Philosophy of Dynamo. I think this probably is the same as a lot of people. Dynamo program strives to instill in swimmers an understanding and appreciation for such goals as high self esteem, personal accountability, self discipline, goal setting, goal achieving. The real feeling that we try to instill in the kids, is the process of trying to accomplish something that is probably the most important. But accomplishing is great, but it’s that doing and going through the process is the important part. The hard work, the training, the setting goals, the trying to accomplish those things that you thought maybe you couldn’t do.
The Dynamo parents club organization is a 501 C-3 non-profit organization. We have 13 officers, besides the president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, each one has a responsibility. We have one that is in charge of external fund raising and this is something we more or less redeveloped, a committee that basically their goal is to go out and try to raise money. I mean they are constantly writing letters to foundations, they are constantly trying to tap into the alumni source, all those areas where we feel that there is money available. People there is money out there. It is amazing. It’s just getting the right people to be willing to be able to work and make the right phone calls. One of our assistant coaches one night is having dinner with a friend of his who he had swum with at Bernal’s Gators up in New England area and Jim asked his friend where he worked and he explained where it was and on and on. The friend said the guy who owns the company actually swam for Dynamo about a decade ago. And any way this thing just led to the point of Jim writing a letter and saying and like introducing myself and things like that and would you ever be interested in being involved to help support the program. And about three weeks later we got a check for $51,800, and it was a successful young man who remembered the program. As with every other single swimmer that we’ve worked with that was very happy with what happened, he cherished those times. And believe me I don’t think that $51,800 is the last money we’ll get from this person. But I think that there are a lot of those people out there.
I had breakfast with Nort Thornton this morning and he was saying that the swimmers that he has coached at Cal have basically created an endowment fund of four million dollars. And these aren’t necessarily people that are real, real wealthy, these are just people that are very appreciative. So I think for all of you especially in a club situation, there is that out there, whether it be through Foundations, whether it be though your alumni, whether it be just trying to find the right person. I think sometimes we’re afraid to say, hey we need some help, or hey we’d like to do something, here is this cool project, can you help us out.
A long with that external fund raising we have an internal fund raising person and that’s, we all do it, we all do a swim a thon. We all do candy sales, we all do all these different things, we all do about three or four things that work real well. We do a grocery script program, make quite a lot of money in that. We do a national script program where we do everything from Sears to Fudruckers to Chili’s restaurant to Costco and all the different ones. It takes people to run them, but once you get the people in and they become organized with it, you do have a steady stream of income coming in. We have people on this board that do communications within the team. Group mom’s, each group has a group mom. Each group has parent meetings with the coaches. Basically at the beginning of each season, talk about what is going to happen what is expected, how the process of moving from this group to the next group, what is expected. The people have a real clear cut idea of the expectations of the group, what is going to happen at the meets that we’re gonna go to. Maybe most importantly is what are the expectations to move on to the next group. The parents clearly understand that if they are in age group 3 what would their child needs to be doing to ready to be moved to age group 2.
Key personnel in the team. Each of our facilities has a head coach. I’m treating it like a stand alone facility. The reason is, is even though we may be eight or ten miles away, during Atlanta afternoons and evenings that can be an hour away, it isn’t that easy to drive during workout time, from Alpharetta down to Chamblee or from Chamblee out to Mountain Park, so we don’t have a lot of switching and kids that live in one area trying to train at other spots.
So I have Alex Braunfeld who is the head coach at the Alpharetta facility and he basically runs that entire program. He has a facility director who makes sure that the pool is taken care of, who makes sure that the lifeguard scheduling is taken care of, interacts with the lessons program and things like that, but basically Alex runs that program. We have about 250 swimmers there and we do a little under $300,000.00 with Swim America at that facility. At Mountain Park we have a young man, Hugh Convery, and that is a rental, that is a little less responsibility in the day to day work, but he is our web master, he is the person that does our web site, if you know anything about our web site, it is the number one busiest web site in U.S.A. Swimming and that is a daily, daily chore and it is a daily, daily love for Hugh. Keeping the thing up to date, advertising on it, doing all the things. We are in the process of trying to reorganize it so we can do one time sign up for our lessons programs, and I don’t know if any of you had heard, what Karen Leonard has talked about, the Swim America program is now gonna be incredibly advertised through Proctor and Gamble with diapers that can be used in the water and they’re gonna be doing T.V. ads. She feels that by next April that there is just going to be this huge market of people just ringing our doorbells where can I have lessons, where can we have these Mommy and Me lessons, and we want to be ready for that, so we are gonna try and redevelop our websites so people can come in and go right to the Swim America and they can see the schedule of classes availability the availability in each class, sign ups and the checks and all we had to do is send them back something that says we received your money you are enrolled.
Hugh does all that and he also does the top ten. He also does our records, he also does our parent hand book. We have a hand book that is about 80 to 100 pages not counting the records, not counting the roster that goes out and each year we have to change that with minor things, personal changes or things that come up, all our schedule of meets have to be changed and Hue does all that.
I have Alex actually run our staff meeting, he is incredibly organized. I really like being able to sit back and listen to what’s being said and listen, absorb what is going on and Alex comes in very prepared, and gets through the meetings very quickly and I’m very appreciative for it. He also does a lot of our travel arrangements for everything except for the national meets, and he usually has those done about 18 months in advance. He is a very organized person.
We employ about 20 full time people and over 100 part time people during the busy summer months and about half that many part time people during the winter. Our administrative director is Edie Wunderlick, Eric’s mom, and she has the thankless job of collecting all the money and sending out all the notices to people who still owe money, collecting all the fund raising money, all those things, and she’s very relentless, she is very good at doing it. And I have a young man Mike Kotter who is my business manager and without him I don’t see how we could possible do this. He probably works a 70 hour week and he is the one that interfaces with everything. He interfaces with all the three facilities, what is happening in the lessons program, the life guarding all the other programs. We run probably 20 other different types of programs, some for Dekalb County like arthritis programs, senior synchronized swimming programs and things like that and he really interfaces with all this. All I really need to do from him, is things that we may be changing, calendars and schedules that may be changing and he does all that work and he loves it. He loves that aspect of it. He worked his way through college and got his masters degree in business and this is real exciting for him.
At the Chamblee facility we have about 350 swimmers, we have about 220 masters and we do about a quarter of a million dollars in swim lessons. We are always trying to figure out how to do that a little bit better, how to organize the program. Like I said before, one thing we think that we need to really do is get more on line registration so that people don’t have to go through the physical part of coming in, signing up and doing all this stuff so that they can basically just over the Internet be able to see when classes are available, what the availability of each class is and go from there.
We recently have entered into a new aspect and that is management of summer league pools. Atlanta has a huge, huge area of communities that each one, when the communities were developed they actually put in summer league pools and there are hundreds of them. There are companies like Swim Atlanta who have been doing this for years. We had been asked by, in some cases parents, who belong there that are also parts of Dynamo if we would be interested in doing it. We just started doing it last year. We did lessons programs at about 30 of them and we managed a few of them and it looks like next year we are going to be managing about 20 and doing lessons programs at about 30 or 40 of them.
The structure of the team. The basic structure was set up a long, long time ago with the exception of one group that we added from the Swim America program. We have added a group called The Great White Sharks, and this is a group that I had Reno. It is primarily 4, 5, and 6 year olds. At Reno our 4, 5, and 6 year olds were called Minnows and Dolphins but we had a Great White group that was a little bit later on. I liked it, the parents and the kids sorta like the whole idea of the Great White sharks, and I felt that we needed something that was a bridge from the lessons program. We were doing 7,000 kids a year in our lessons program, and at the time we really didn’t have a way for 4, 5, and 6 year olds to be on the team. So we started this group and in the last year and a half we have had over a hundred go through our Great White Shark program. A majority of them have gone through it into our next steps, so it has done exactly what we want, it has become a bridge from the lessons program on.
The lessons program is great, and when you use numbers like half a million dollars of lessons and stuff like that, that’s great, but, what’s even greater is when you get that little 5 year old that joins the team and then goes away to college 12 years later and you’ve had him the whole way. I mean having that person and having the income and all that during that period of time, and what they can add to the program, what their family and what their parents can add to the program is really the most important thing, so we want to get as many from the lessons program into the team. We go through step by step from green to gold, age group 3, age group 2, age group 1 and then into senior program. We have a senior 2, senior 1 and a national program. At the different facilities it may be a little bit different, this last year I actually split during the Olympic year, the national group and senior one group so that it gave me a little smaller group to work with. We had 14 qualify for Olympic trials and nine of them were in our facility. I wanted to be able to have a little bit more time, to spend with those. I have actually 12 in the group, so we split the group into a senior 1 and a national group, and now we have come back in September and we merged the two groups together and I’m working about 31, 32 kids with an assistant, and which is really the way that I prefer it. I felt that during that Olympic year that their needs were going to be a little bit different, their travel to the meets were going to be a little bit different and I wanted to split it.
A lot of what we have tried to do with these groups is basically just a continuation of what was in place. Most recently Hugh Convery has taken some outlines from U.S.A. Swimming that have certain behavioral objectives and what we are trying to do with the different groups and he has tried to adapt them to our groups, we are actually creating and we are passing these on to the families in our program, what each group really means, not just that they are 7, 8, 9 or 10 and that they can swim 25 yards of freestyle backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke and that’s about it, but behavior objectives, whether at that point they need to know how to use a pace clock, whether at that time they understand the arousal syndrome, do they understand getting nervous to understanding how to control being nervous, are they really competitive.
Some of these groups we have, really we don’t talk about competition that much. The Great White Sharks we don’t really talk about competition with 4, 5 and 6 year olds, we are trying to make them technically good and safe in the water. One of the things that we’re really trying to do is make sure that when these kids come out of lessons at a year later they haven’t forgotten everything that they have done and they are unsafe. What we are trying to do is really convince parents that it is great, your child has learned how to swim, your child is 5 years old and he or she can swim 25 yards, but if you don’t keep this up a year from now, your child may not be safe. And one of the goals is to build their stamina up and work on all four competitive strokes and quite selfishly, probably one of our great motivations is we want them to become part of the team. We ideally would like them to go through our lessons program, become a Great White Shark and then move on and then go through the whole process and be a very happy member of the Dynamo Swim Club.
Our Great White Sharks swim about 40 minutes a day, actually they swim about 30 minutes and they do about 10 minutes of dryland, we do a lot of real basic simple things. They do a lot of running, they do a lot of bouncing, they do a lot of galloping, they do a lot of running side by side, we just try to do a lot of things to make them interact with other people and just sort of make them pretty healthy. We do play around with some real little medicine balls and do some, hand me, hand me, hand me things, just some things so that they start doing some trunk turning things, but nothing real hard. We do, do some burpees, we do, do some jumping jacks, we do some different things. We swim for about 30 minutes a day and we offer it five days a week and we offer that two or three times per day. In other words, presently we have 3:30 to 4:10 group, we have 6:00 to 6:40 group and it looks like we may be adding a third segment. So we offer it two or three times because usually that group, especially the families are the ones that are not real committed and you want to offer that as much as possible, you want to try and make it so it fits into their schedule. Both parents are working parents, they are going to pick up their child at daycare, or they are going to pick up their child somewhere, you want to make it available possibly at 6:00 if they aren’t, maybe the 3:30 works real well.
Do we allow parents to move their children from one time group to another? No, what we really do is we say we would like you to enroll, if the 3:30 is the group that you want to be in but we do say, if there is going to be a problem or whatever please talk to your instructor and make sure it will be all right. The same girl does all of them. She actually was very involved in the lessons program and understands the lessons program and actually she is the one that sort of looks at the kids and evaluates and makes sure that they can come up.
The next step is our green group. These are 50 minute workouts. They are in the water for about 40 minutes and they do about 10 minutes of dryland. The dryland gets a little bit more intense, I certainly wouldn’t say that it is real intense, but I mean that they start doing things a little bit more actively with the idea of trying to get a little bit stronger, trying to become a little bit more athletic. The gold groups are an hour workout, they are about 45 minutes in the water and about 15 minutes out. A lot of times with drylands, we’ll spend a little bit more time with then 15 minutes.
I was really impressed, I think it was the ASCA clinic in Orlando, when I went back to that I took the age group track and tried to listen to as many of those speakers that were talking about age group and a lot of those people were really advocating almost 50% of the total workout time should be dryland and 50% swimming. And it really makes sense economically, when I was at Reno we did that with some of our younger groups out of necessity. We were forced to basically take about 90 kids into one two hour session that is all that we could have at this one pool. So we cut groups that were normally training for an hour, hour and fifteen minutes back to about 40, but we brought in elementary level P.E. teachers and we had them work with the kids 45 minutes dryland. And the upshot was I don’t think we went backwards, I think we certainly stayed even or whatever, but I had more parents pulling up and saying how athletic their children looked, because they were spending another 2 hours a week doing things physical exercises. They really physically looked better, so I don’t think that there is a problem. So if you are in a situation where your pool time is severely limited, spending as much if not more time dryland can help. Ed Frasier who developed Jeremy Lynn and quite a few other real good breaststrokers always spent about 50% of his total workout time was dryland, and he felt that not only was it really important but he was sort of in the same boat, he just didn’t have the time, the luxury to say we are going to be in the water 2 hours, so he spent 1 hour, or plus in the water and an hour, hour plus out of the water.
As we move up to our next group, the age group 3, this is where they start becoming competitively oriented and we start really extending the workouts. They are in the water for about 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and a half and they spend pretty much a half hour or more dryland, and they start really getting involved in things. They are really running. It’s not uncommon for some of these guys to be running two to three miles, it is not uncommon to enter them in 5K’s throughout the year and things like that. They start doing more things with medicine balls. We do a lot of trunk twisting, we try and do a lot of things that you’re going to hear right here at this clinic. We copy a lot of things from Vern Gambetta. We do a lot of quick squats, having the little guys trying to do 20 squats where they come half way down so that their hips come down even with the knees. We try to do 20 of them in 20 seconds and then go to something else then come back and do it again.
The next group is the age group 2 and these guys are starting to put a little bit more time in. Their total workout time is about two hours and 15 minutes and they are probably in the water about 1 hour and a half to an hour and 45 minutes. It’s just again a step up. It’s one more step up. The criteria to move to that group, a lot of times isn’t how fast they are, but it’s how well they can pay attention. A lot of it is, have they really started setting goals, how is their behavior, things like that. The difference between age group 3 and age group 2 is, I think, a little bit more cognitive, almost then just a building level. Although the age group 2 are a little bit bigger and a little bit stronger and probably a little bit faster.
For age range, it’s really hard to say, because at age group 3, you know I could say it is 8 to 14, I mean it could be a real gifted young very mature person that has been in our program for two or three years through the green gold program that really knows everything listens and pays attention, and then there could be somebody very young that is really pretty far, they are better than gold, they know all four strokes real well but it’s just that they need some time in there. A 14 year old could be in there for a real short period of time. Age group 2, I have 10 to 14 as sort of a guideline.
Age group 1, they train about two hours in the water and they train about 45 minutes of dryland. The 14 year olds in the group are offered in the group the opportunity to come into morning workouts twice a week during the winter. During the summer they do have 8 workouts a week. Senior 2 in our program is for those swimmers that are primarily 14 and over that are maybe not quite talented enough or not quite motivated enough to really commit out of senior one and nationals, and that doesn’t mean that they go in there in this lost world and they never come out of it. It does mean that some of them go in there and they work hard and they move their way up. We had two swimmers out of our senior 2 group that were junior national qualifiers this year. But usually the make up of the group of those that want to compete at the high school level, don’t want to come to morning workouts, they want to come to five maximum six workouts a week. They don’t want to commit to quite as much dryland and everything like that.
Our senior 1 is about a 2 hour 15 minute workout and about 45 minutes of dryland and at the national level, we spend anywhere from 2 hours and 15 minutes up to about 2 hours and 40 minutes in the water and they do about 45 minutes of dryland. We do nine to ten workouts. And like I said before, during the Olympic year I split the groups and then probably three of the other four years, I will have senior one and national work together. The only real difference between the two groups in my estimation is that the national group during that Olympic year, their needs are a little bit different. If we grow and we have a national group that is 20 or 30 I probably would break them off and they would be separate. For numbers wise I like working with about 30 or so and combining the two groups. Most of our coaches coach two groups with the exception of our Great White Sharks coach, she coaches two Great White Shark groups and two green groups and also does some dryland. And the way we try and fit that in is she starts real early at 3:30 and finishes with that group at about 4:10, and the green group which is a 50 minute group, she meets that group and coaches that group until 5:00 comes back does dryland for two of our groups from 5:00 to 5:30 and then 5:30 to 6:00 and then she does another group at 6:00. A young man who will be working with me with my group, will work with me from 3:20 until 6:00 with the national group and then his group will have had dryland taken care of by one of our P.E. people. So those kids will have done dryland, stretched and they will be waiting on the deck for him. He’ll walk away from my group and he will get those kids in the water and they will go 6:00 to 7:45. We try and streamline it that way and use more people doing dryland that are real good doing dryland.
The best person that we’ve had since I’ve been there doing dryland, was actually our pool manager, and he had played college ball, he had worked in two or three pro organizations as a coach and he was just incredible . And the kids loved him and feared him and when he would have them doing pushups, it was like marine boot camp, the kids loved it, when he had them doing pullups it was the same way, incredibly organized and what was so great, was that the coach that would be senior 2 coach at that time, he knew exactly what was being done, he could sit down with Tommy in the beginning in the week and say this is what I want done, this is how I want it. Tommy would take it and follow it right to the T. It was done exactly right, but the great thing is, Jim could turn around after working with one group and there was his group, all done, or, everything was done, stretched, they’ve done their work and it made it a lot easier. The other thing is that we were using our pool time much more effectively. We were having the dryland being done while our coaches that are coaching swimming and using the pools as effectively as possible.
Some of the organizational aids that we use. I’ve referred to the parent hand book. Every family member get’s a parent hand book. I’ve changed it a little bit, we do a three ringed loose leaf notebook so that throughout the year as things change we can just send all that stuff out. When you are dealing with 550 families, that really becomes a chore and when things change you don’t want to have to change the whole thing. We try and upgrade our records, we try and upgrade our top ten list, we try and upgrade our rosters usually at the end of our appropriate seasons. At the end of the winter season, we will then send out to all our people the new top tens for short course, all time history of the club, the new records and then we will basically send out an update of the roster. We don’t replace the whole roster we will just send up an update of the members who have joined and the members who have left.
Like I said, this is a pretty involved thing. We try and explain everything from our fund raising programs, how they work, how they’ll benefit you, to the different groups, how the groups are set up, everything that every parent would need. Along with that we do parent group meetings with each group so that the coaches get a chance to sit down with the parents and explain exactly what the next season is going to be like. And at that time, a lot of times, they will actually let the parents put some input. Some of the groups, they are so new at it that a lot of the parents, might like to almost have this thing happen about every month or every couple months. For the senior group, I rarely meet more than one time in the Fall and one time in the Winter, late Winter, because I’m dealing with the kids. But with some of the real younger groups, you’re really not dealing with the children as much as you are dealing with the parents. They want to have some sit down things and really want to interact with the coach.
And also it really helps when you have kids that are moving up. We move our swimmers up mainly at this time of the year just as we begin the season, right around Christmas time, again usually in April, and then again when school is out and the very beginning of June. We try to make these move ups all happen at the same time and then a lot of times we will have a parent meeting at that time, so if my child now moves to age group 3, I can have a meeting with the age group 3 coach with other new people as well as some of the other ones if they want to be there and hear what are the expectations and what is going to happen.
We also, in this parent hand book we try and have all of the appropriate records all of the appropriate time standards, everything that they are going to need. So they are not calling Edie to know what is the time standard to go to this particular meet or what is the time standard to go to that particular meet. We also do that with our website. If you ever get a chance at www.dynamoswimclub.com, Hugh is incredible, he lists every meet that we have had this past year in the archives. So anybody can go back and visit every meet that they were in and they can see what their child did or the kid can see what they did at a particular meet. We go to a lot of meets up at Mecklenburg. When Mecklenberg will put that psych sheet out for that, then Hue will have that psych sheet on our particular website. So everybody that is going up to the Ultra Swim can turn around and click on to our site and see what the psych sheet is. But he is incredibly organized that way and it makes it really well for our people.
When we have our meetings with parents we will have one coach cover for another coach in the water, during that period of time. A lot of times we will schedule these things after my groups are completely out of the water and then I may take a green group at 6:00 while the green coach is working with that particular person, or I may take age group 3 and we try to make them so that they are real easy.
Ours is a very inflexible schedule, in other words, out of that 31 kids there will be 13 or 14 who will know that their morning workout will be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and those Tuesday, Thursday workouts will be completely different than what the Monday, Wednesday, Friday workouts would be. They will also have Saturday morning workout together and then they will have five afternoon workouts together. But the one coach who will be working with that group, will work with them probably three out of every five workouts and then every morning workout and the design is to give them something that is going to enhance their 50 and 100.
Each family has a mail folder at the pool that they train in and in the folder we place our Weekly Ear. If they’ve been out for a week for some reason and they can’t remember if their group starts at 5:30 or 6:00 they have that on the refrigerator they can look at it. It’s just basically information and we also do a lot of congratulations in it and we try to use that as something that when we come back from particular meets, or whatever it may be, there is a lot of hype in it and congratulations. We don’t try to name names as much as just trying to broad base sort of congratulate everybody. We do try and single out those that are outstanding performances. It’s not like we avoid doing that, but we try getting away from the situation where some people feel offended because their child wasn’t named. They feel that they were equally as good as somebody else that was named. But we do certainly, club records, Georgia records, things like that, we make sure that we acknowledge all of those people that make new time standards, we certainly acknowledge those.
We do a common newsletter, which is all the information we think everybody needs and then on the back of that newsletter is the Chamblee Swim News, the Mountain Park News and then Alpharetta, and then each coach, Hugh, Alex and myself, we design our own that is very applicable to our group, because we have workout changes that may take place at our pool that aren’t, obviously, going to effect changes somewhere else.
We do a Monthly Ear that goes out to each family, but we do a Weekly Ear that goes to everybody. Everybody comes in on Tuesday morning and if it isn’t there on Tuesday morning we hear about it. Quite honestly when I got here I though this was ridiculous, because we didn’t do that at Reno, we did a monthly newsletter and we thought that was enough work. I mean to me, it just solves five phone calls, just by taking the time. And I just learned real quickly how to take the last one and then just make the changes and make the additions and do what needs to be done. For me it might be a 40 or 45 minute proposition once a week. It could be one call. We have staff meetings every Monday morning and we go through everything after we come out of the staff meeting on Monday we then make the changes and do what we need to, to the newsletters or the Ears and then the Ears go in the boxes by Tuesday morning.
We try and make the place really look like it’s a happening place. We have all the bulletin boards full of top ten times, national age group records, Georgia record times, Dynamo record times. In our weight room every newspaper clipping. I don’t care if it is for somebody that did something great, odyssey of the minds, or somebody had done something that had nothing to do with swimming, we try and get those up. We encourage parents to bring stuff in about their children. Just so that we always have things up there so that people can walk by, and it is interesting. Nort and I were talking about it and he said you know, a lot of times you have groups like Masters groups, and lap swimmers and these people that don’t know that much about swimming until you show them. And it is amazing, we have a group that comes in at about 11:00 and they are all 70 and older. There is probably ten or twelve of them, guys, and they lift weights in there and they can’t wait for me to walk in or one of the other coaches to walk in and they start talking about this or that. There is nothing on that bulletin board that they don’t know everything about. I mean they come in and they read them and whatever.
We did a raffle for a Nissan Pathfinder and we just put stuff all over and we had parents trying to sell them and everything. These older guys are coming in and they wanted to know what their odds were and all that stuff and half of them ended up buying tickets. There is a huge group of people and they may have nothing to do with your team. You may rent the pool for two hours in the morning and two hours at night, but you can capitalize on them as people that don’t know that much about your team by making sure that you have as much stuff there. I remember when we were at Reno and we had some real gifted people involved in this odyssey of the minds and it was incredible that, how excited people got about it. If these kids are going to the national championship thing that had nothing to do with swimming but we were making a big deal about it.
I think things like communications make a huge difference, I think if parents can be brought up to speed all the time on what is happening, if they feel like they are being communicated from us to them about everything, then they are more apt to devote time to doing these other different things.
Parent’s meetings — I will do one in about two weeks, I will do one in the later part of September and then I will do one in April and the reason I will do one in April is I will probably pick up some more people that will move up either from age group 1 or may move from age group 2. At that time I am going to have new parents that don’t really know that much about what happens in our group. So I will have a meeting and the same thing will happen with age group 1, age group 2, age group 3 all the way down. We do a new parent orientation a couple times of year and a board member, a lady who is a teacher in real life, a psychologist, she will run those and they are like 15 to 20 minutes. They are just real quick and she’ll run maybe 3 or 4 of them on one day, she may say there will be a meeting from 4:45 to 5:00 so people can come a little bit early to pick up their children and she will just answer questions. She makes sure everybody got their parent hand book. Does everybody know how we do our meets, does everybody understand how you enter the meets and whatever, whatever. Just so we try and make everybody knowledgeable, because if they aren’t it ends up that they call Edie or they call me or they call Mike, it just saves those communications, those phone calls. I really believe that if parents know what’s happening they are more apt to get involved and they are more apt to take that time that they feel they would have wasted trying to find out information and help you out.
They have a little bit different way of entering meets there that is very new to me. Everything is done through high tech, we send out notices about meets, the meet is coming up in five or six weeks and we’ll send out a notice and the people then respond back and they’ll say my child can go or with my group I will get back something in writing that says they can go. It may say that I can go Saturday but I can’t go Sunday, or whatever. It is and then we enter them and then we post the entries on a particular bulletin board that that’s what it is designated for and it will have whatever the meet may be and it will have all the people. In some cases it may be 200 people entered and it gives an opportunity for the kids and the parents to see the events. We are constantly reminding them and in our newsletters we remind them, check the board and make sure those are the events that you want to be, check the board and make sure you are entered both days or whatever it may be. And then it is their responsibility again to come back again and say there is a mistake, or I’m only suppose to be in on Saturday, can you please change it or whatever, and then we send it in.
We have an escrow account which is basically kept by Edie, which she pays all of the entries out of. The parents on their monthly bill will get something that says your escrow account is now down to whatever dollars please bring it back up to $60.00. So parents when they write their check for the bill, they just simply add that $52.00 or $58.00 or whatever it may be to bring that escrow account up so that at the next meet that comes along there is money in their account to pay for it.
(Inaudible question) Is the escrow account a separate account? It actually is on paper, but it actually isn’t. There is an account and we know what each family has in it, but it really is just in the general operating.
(Inaudible question) We basically send out entry blanks and said we want you to go to these meets and circle the events and it was up to the family to send them in and this is a little bit more organized and I know that the people that received them say that this is a lot more organized, because we can get the entries in and in a real short period of time and have a psych sheet up on our website with everybody that is coming to the meet, and all the other clubs can basically go to our site and see exactly who is in the meet and what events are there, where their kids are and whatever.
(Inaudible Question) We do and we don’t, I mean it really is the coaches responsibility to look at that meet and decide what he or she thinks that swimmer should be swimming, based on the caliber of the meet. I mean there may be events that the swimmer isn’t qualified to be in, but also if I were an age group 1 coach and I want to accomplish a certain thing, maybe early season I want my swimmers all swimming 400 IM’s or 500 frees or 1000 frees or whatever it may be and then that is going to be part of the entry process. But if say I made a mistake and that’s up on the bulletin board, young Jim can come to me and say coach you didn’t put me in the 200 fly and that’s my best event and I can then make change or I can tell them why at that point we are not swimming the 200 fly.
(Inaudible question) In Georgia, the high school season is reasonably short and there is no conflict whatsoever. There may be a conflict occasionally with the meet that the kids are going to and it’s very important that swimmer is at that particular meet, maybe a key dual meet or something, but to be quite honest, I think a majority of our kids, if they miss two workouts during the whole workout season, that’s rare. There is good parts about it and there is bad parts about it, I mean, the good part about it is yes, that happens, the bad part about it is that up until this year the meets have been in horrible facilities, there, it just has never been a program that has been real viable. You can look at the Georgia records and you won’t see a name like Mary Ellen Blanchard, she just never competed, and the other swimmers never competed.
(Inaudible question) I write the workout everyday. I don’t sit down at any one point and know exactly what I’m going to do eight weeks from now or six weeks from now or four weeks from now. I mean I know going in exactly what we are going to do, probably a third of the time I will post a workout at each lane, if I’m working with another group or if we have a large group. I may actually write the workouts out so that everybody understands that we don’t waste a lot of time. Now Alex writes them out, I mean those kids come in and each one of them gets their workout for each lane and they go through it. I don’t think Hugh does. I do it when it’s crowded, if I have two groups I definitely will do it, so I don’t have to communicate what certain things mean.
(Inaudible question) We encourage part time staff to come to meetings, full time have to come. Because quite a few of our part time actually either go to school or work. To recommunicate, I mean I do a very informal staff meeting with my group that afternoon, so if anything comes up I make sure that they understand it, understand if there are any changes, or if we added something to the schedule that they weren’t aware of, or Edie comes to me with something about I didn’t get move ups for something or we didn’t get something for attendance awards or we didn’t get something for something, but I don’t really have a sit down second staff meeting, because we can just interact so easily. I mean we just get together and talk.
(Inaudible question) About 10 or 11. I have three full time coaches and there are three full time coaches at Alpharetta and Kevin here is a full time coach with Mountain Park, so the head coaches and their assistant coaches, I like to try to have our business manager there once in a while if there are some things that are coming up that have a need to be addressed at that level. But other than that, it is really full time coaches.
What I try and do is run, basically about 50% of the workout is very generic and we start out and we may do an aerobic set, we do a lot of drill work, we do a lot of kicking, no board kicking, whatever it may be, and then at a point somewhere between an hour and an hour and 5 minutes, then we start going distance, middle distance, stroke work, IM work and whatever. When I was at Reno, Dave Hoover was my assistant who is now the head coach there. We had a couple of parents that had been coaches and they had children in the program. We had about 60 people in our senior group in 8 lanes and what we would go maybe the first hour and we would divide them out and Dave might have three lanes of sprint, fly, back, IM or something and then I would have one parent Joe, would take maybe butterflyers and then another group would take middle distance and I might work with IM’s and distance people, but I think that there is a lot of generic stuff that everybody needs to do and I think it is a way of making sure that your distance people, maybe are doing a little bit more power work and your sprinters are doing maybe a little bit more aerobic work by having them do a little bit more generic type things.
When I as in Industry Hills we actually did a thing when we combined all the older age groups two days a week and they didn’t get in based on the kids I coached or that Mike coached, or the other assistant coach, we would bring them all in and mix them up based on who they wanted to train with and then we would hit them two days a week early season with universal sets we wanted them all to do. And it really worked well cause then the sprint group could spend a lot more time doing sprint work on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and the distance people could spend a lot more time doing distance work.
(Inaudible question) We are really pretty good right now, we have one very over enthusiastic non board member, and really to be honest, this is the guy that actually did the whole Alpharetta deal and this is the guy who really is doing the Sugar Loaf deal right now. Half of our job is sort of containing him and making sure that he doesn’t just become his baby and we are not aware of what is going on, but, he has done a phenomenal job. He is a banker, he knows the numbers to call and how to do it and he puts the package together. I mean I certainly couldn’t have done it. I don’t know very many other coaches, that can sit down and really talk about the financing things and different things and what needs to be looked at but, we have, since I’ve been there, been very fortunate. We’ve had real good common sense board.
We try to structure the board that it is equally represented, we have two members from Mountain Park and then we have six from Chamblee and four or five from Alpharetta. We also, like everybody else, I think tries to, we try to make sure that we have parents that represent younger children as well as older children.
(Inaudible question) Edie gets paid for what she does, Edie works about a 70 hours week. We have staff meetings at 10:00 during the Winter season and every Monday at 1:00 during the summer season. We may miss two of them in August, we may miss one over the Holidays and at Christmas time but other than that it’s every Monday at 10:00 and every Monday at 1:00 during the summertime. There are 550 families that she basically has to handle all of the billing, all of the whatever, whatever, whatever, keep track of where they are fund raising. We try to hand out to each family where they are with their fund raising. Now one new thing that we are doing this year, and so far, all of the input has been real good, is we have had a problem that we have always billed for 12 months but we bill over a nine month period, so we swim 12 months a year but we bill September through May. They don’t get billed June, July and August as long as they paid through those nine months. I think that one of the major reasons was, that we had a lot of swimmers that would swim summer league and by getting that money in the first nine months then we didn’t really lose money if they chose to quit swimming, especially the real young ones that swim summer league. We bill every month for nine months. So we take what we think that the people should pay on a yearly basis and we divide it by nine. The good part about it is, you do have some kids that swim summer league and they really are petty talented young people and they need to be training in our club throughout the summer period of time and going to meets with our club and we have taken away that option, of saying let’s just swim for the summer league, because it doesn’t cost them any money to continue swimming, but what we have found over the years, is that there are people who might swim through the summer and have not paid a penny toward their fund raiser, and we had no checks and balances with it. So what we have done starting this year is a third of your fund raising has to be paid by the first quarter of the season, and two thirds have to be paid by the half, and three thirds or all of it has to be paid by June 1. And we try and we’ve put together a schedule where we do a swim a thon in November, we have four meets that we develop a program, we sell meet adds that fit in that period of time. We do a supplemental swim a thon in May so that people that are three weeks away from the end of the season for their fund raising, we give them another opportunity and of course we run the script programs and things like that all the way through the year. So we have a lot of families that just network with other friends and they pay their $300.00 fund raising just out of grocery script and that is pretty easy.
In our fund raising we have a $300.00 annual fund raising requirement per family. At Reno our dues were a little bit cheaper but we were $300.00 per senior swimmer, each one. And $200 for what would be equivalent to our top age group kids and then all the way down to $100.00 for some of the other ones. We had a family that had four kids at senior nationals and we had nine of them in our program and that family I think at one time was paying about $2,300.00 in fund raising. Now our dues were a little bit cheaper but there is a big difference between $300.00 and $2,300.00 in fund raising. I think if you offer enough things and they’re simple enough and the people understand them, the fund raising shouldn’t be that hard. We do grocery script, they can earn 4% on everything they buy. The average family spending $400.00 a month, just by their family they are doing $16.00 a month, they are pretty much getting about 2/3rds of it done that way. If they network they can do more. When I was in Industry Hills we had families that did $7,000.00 or $8,000.00 a year. They just networked out 4, 5 or 6 families and did people at work and things like that.
We do a swim a thon, we do it in early November. This year we are going to try and do a couple of new things. We are going to create some letters that we are going to write. Some of them will be children oriented, so like my coach is going to make me swim 100 laps and he might make me swim some of the butterfly, you know sort of put it into the vein that a young child is writing it and it’s going to be so hard and all these different things and have it on the websites that people can just download it so that if you wanted, if you had a nine year old child, you could download this thing and you could copy it and you could put down everybody that you wanted to send it to. If you have looked at the swim a thon, I think last year Mecklenburg was number one in the country with 60 some thousand dollars. There was a swimmer from Michigan who did $12,000 – $13,000 all by himself. I mean one person raised that much money and they did a lot of mailing outs and I think people that live away from where you are, are more apt to give $10, or $20 or $30.00 then somebody you hit up every time something comes along, grandparents other relatives and other people like that, so we are going to try something where we have 4 or 5 different letters that can basically be downloaded, copied and the people then could mail them off and whatever. I think that the people learn that once you do it the first time, the next time is pretty simple. Once you open that door and get people to give, the next time it get’s hard for them to not give, it’s not hard for you to ask them, it’s hard for them to not give.
We do swim meet ads, we have a meet in December, January, March and then in June that we basically produce a program that has meet ads in it. We encourage people to go out and they get 90% credit for the meet ad, so if you did a one page ad that was say $250.00 you’re 2/3rds of the way toward your $300.00 right there, if people come in way above the $300.00 they can roll over 50% of that amount that is above it. So if somebody came in with say $1,000.00 in their given year, they get their $300.00 credit then half of that $700.00 or $350.00 then can roll over and put it in their entry escrow account if they want it and probably go to their meets for 3, 4 5 years or whatever.
We do a national script program, I think that I mentioned before that it is real simple. Twice a month the 15th and the 30th people put in an order of what they want, I don’t even know half of them that are on there, but it’s Chili’s, Blockbuster video, and a lot of places like that, Costco, Costco you only get like a ½ % or something like that, but some of the other ones are quite a lot higher, we have some families that give gifts and things like that, at the holidays that can’t be based on this.
The meet schedule: We try and have five levels of meets. We have one for the entry level people, we have those ourselves, we call them Saturday night specials. They come in and they enter the meet right then and there. We try and keep the sessions about an hour and a half. There are no awards, there is very limited disqualifications. It’s more of the officials who are mostly our officials, they will basically come over to the coaches and say, coach your little girl in lane three was doing this or whatever, and then the coach can then work with the child. At the end of the meet they get pizza. And we try and make that as harmless as possible for the kids and the parents, because a lot of the people that are there, this is the first introduction for the parent and an hour and a half is a lot easier for them to swallow and have the kids have pizza and go home and have a great time, for the first, second or third experience, then going to a four hour meet. We do four of those a year. We try and fit them in when there are no other meets that these kind of kids go to.
Our second level of meets have no time standards. We do a pentathlon meet in October and then we have throughout the year about four or five meets which are meets that there are no time standards. We do a Fall invitational so anybody at any level can go to it. We do a 10 and under no time standard meet in January and then we do another meet in April.
The third level are the ones that we host, or other local meets that usually are time standards, and these are your real traditional meets where we’re inviting teams in and it’s a moderate caliber meet. It’s usually not your top caliber but it is a moderate caliber.
Our fourth level are ones that we basically attend at the age group level. We are fortunate, we do a quad meet in November where the same four teams Dynamo, Mecklenburg, Swim Atlanta and Nashville get together and we rotate the sites around. This year we are doing something we did last year that seemed to work, we are doing one weekend older and the next weekend younger, and it’s real good competition, real good friendly competition, and good quality swimming. We do three or four other meets that are higher caliber. We do another meet called eastern classic where we invite 10 teams in throughout the country, Tualaton Hills, Phoenix came with Fontaine and we were treated and sorta got a preview of Kleet Keller, he broke three records in that meet and you can see that he was on target to doing something pretty special. I don’t think anybody knew it was going to be quite as special as an American record but he was in the meet. Blue Wave comes up, Brooke Bennett and their group and we’ve had Lake Erie come down with their great group of swimmers. North Baltimore, last time North Baltimore was there they beat Dynamo by three or four points over a three day weekend. But Pat has brought his 14 and unders to the meet for years most recently he hasn’t but it’s a real good high caliber meet. We do a couple of other meets that are not quite the same way but we try to draw the really high caliber teams, especially the teams locally and on the outside.
And then our 5th level is your national type competition, it used to be with the junior national program and now primarily the U.S. Open, we try and do a lot of things at the motivational level. We try and inundate these kids with praise. We try and work on every thing that has worked well in a particular meet. We recently had a state championship, and we came closest to beating Swim Atlanta, over I think about a decade, and we were about 67 points behind them. We ended up braking about 20 Georgia’s swimming records.
We try and make a big deal about those things. We honor those kids. We do a senior recognition ceremony where all of graduating seniors and their families come and it is a setting sort of like we are here and we have each one get up and they talk about the experiences and we talk about them. We have 31 graduating this year and going everywhere from Stanford to Yale, to Georgia, to Georgia Tech, to Florida State, everyone, not everyone will swim but everyone will go to a fine institution.
I think the one other thing I just wanted to mention is that we own a lot of our facilities and I think that there are some real good points and there is some hard points. I mean there is nobody to bail us out. I mean we have to make it operate like a business and the people that have proceeded me have done a phenomenal job in setting up those programs. Obviously the two biggest things are the team itself and your lessons program and for us that is very close to a million dollars. But we are always looking for new things and we are always trying to line with other organizations. We are in the process of trying to do something with Dekalb County. They are in a position where they have a lot of money for capital development, but they have no money for operational budget. So they don’t have enough operational budget right now to run programs but they have 20 some million dollars to build new facilities. So they are stuck, they don’t know what to do. We are trying to see if they would be interested in say our locker rooms to expand our locker rooms or make our locker rooms more disability friendly or do things like that, to do things like where they could put capital into our system which we need, but then we will run programs for them for nothing. Because we are open and if somebody is coming and is willing to say, sure we will help you expand these locker rooms and do this and do that, and whatever needs to be done, we can run some programs for them and use the pool when it is not quite as crowded.
We do things with birthday parties and some of these things sound sort of silly until you look at the end of the year and you realize you brought in $13,000.00 or something like that renting out the pool for birthday parties and stuff. But there are a lot of things, the master’s coach that I brought in, I just want to basically mention this, I basically set him up almost like an independent contractor and said here is your salary everything above this certain net. In this case it was $18,000.00, every thing above $25,000.00 you keep 1/3 of and he is almost at the point of bringing in $9,000.00 a month now. When we put this new facility in if he does what we think he can do, this guy can make $125,000.00 a year. But we make $250,000.00 out of it. I think those are things that a lot of times even at smaller clubs sometimes you think, ah I don’t even want to worry about it, but I think that and Swim America are two things that I would look strongly at as profit generators for your program because a lot of times it’s hard to give the family an inexpensive way to swim, pay your coaches what you think your coaches deserve, pay the pool rental and whatever it may be and have any money left, if there is any money left. And I think you need to look at some of those other things. Masters, swim lessons, they are real profit generators.
(Inaudible question) Level 2 are meets that we host so people don’t have to go anywhere. But they are usually meets, for our people but they are regular meets, like a pentathlon meet, our Saturday night specials are sanctioned.
(Inaudible question) That is a January meet we do it over Martin Luther King weekend, probably half of the teams come in shaved. A lot of teams will take that training time over Christmas and just kick the crap out of the kids and you almost get a natural rest when you go back to school and then they’ll shave for the meet. Quad meet is in November and that’s three teams, other teams. We do a long course meet in May, the spring splash and then three weeks later we do a meet called Dixie Classic. They are more or less opened to everybody. Dixie Classic has a little bit better time standards, a little bit harder to come to it. But, they are long course.
I personally think that none of us advertise as much as we should. Most corporations put huge amounts of money for advertisement and we don’t. We seem like if somebody says well let’s spend a thousand and do something everybody goes oh wait a minute it better be really worth it. We do every year and they are already in, we do ads in the high school newspaper. We don’t tell prices but we do tell swim times. Almost all of the elementary schools do a directory that goes home which tells all of the kids that are in the school, the parents names, addresses and phone numbers,. We do a full size ad in there and they are only $25.00 so I mean we may hit 11 elementary schools with 500 students for $300.00 or $400.00 maximum. We do those kind of things. I really think anything that you can do to take advantage of a story, you know you have somebody that does something pretty remarkable, whatever it may be, something that a reporter would buy into, and then in that you make sure that the way the article is composed that it brings a lot of attention to the program, how a person can join the program, or whatever, and I don’t think that happens very much. A lot of times you see this great article about something and then that’s it, it just washes out at the end and whatever, whatever. And then you see ones that are a little bit more organized and it will say so and so swims between 3:00 and 5:00 at Dynamo Swim Club, anybody interested in information about Dynamo Swim Club and then the phone number.
I think those things are really important, I think that any time you explain the value of what swimming does and then how people can take advantage of it are really important. We try a lot of the real youth parent magazines that are available. They can go to gymboree or some of these little organizations, and you walk in and there always seems to be parents.
Dave Hoover and I have been real good friends since we coached at Reno and we fought the city with a bunch of stuff and with what I’ve learned since I’ve been at Dynamo I would have gone back and said look, privatize your lessons program, we will do your whole lessons program, we will give you 20% of our profits we will do whatever it needs to be done, because they would have 500 people stand in line for lessons, in 180 spots and at the end of the 180 they would tell the other 300 to go home and it was absurd. They could have really creating some revenue for the city and whatever. We were doing it, we could really make some money.
Give the opportunity for coaches to be able to make more money and that in itself would be really good. We have an assistant coach that you could only pay umpteen thousand dollars as a full time whatever, you can give them the opportunity to make another $15,000.00 and those kids again are hopefully going into your program, minnow program, dolphin program, whatever.
(Inaudible question) Up to now very little. Oddly enough Edie produced a paper two years ago that over the last decade that the sum was over $470,000.00 from people who basically walked away and that is almost a half a million dollars, and there is nothing that they could do to it. Fund raising is a little bit more difficult I think. We don’t let them register in September if they haven’t paid, but if they are already on the team, and they claim to come back they have to pay before they register. We won’t let them on the team, but the ones that walk, the ones that maybe bail out for summer league and the kid says oh I don’t know if I want to go back and they still owe $300.00. You can send them letters and whatever, whatever. I try to figure out a way to do a class action suit. One day I was sitting down and trying to figure out how can we create installments that had to be met. This way if they don’t do a third of it, if that $100.00 isn’t in by December 1, we basically can say I’m sorry you can’t swim until your parents pay that $100.00.
(Inaudible question) I’ve been in sort of three different scenarios where people could earn some credits, where people could go to the meets and do some timing and things like that, some of those things were nightmares, with almost 700 swimmers. I don’t even know how you can monitor it. But we do have responsibilities and requirements for work. We do work days, we just drained a 50 meter pool and sandblasted and we just re-carpeted all of our offices and weight rooms and painted. All this is done by parents. And we try and get stuff donated and in some cases buy stuff. We are subcontracted out the actual painting of the 50 meter pool, but almost everything else, my senior group and their parents had to be there, so we had some people there on Saturday and we got an incredible amount of work done. And then there was another Saturday, with age group 1 and age group 2 and we have to bring their kids and they may do outside landscaping or something.
(Inaudible question) Then they just pay monthly. If they remain on the team then they would know from September to whatever, and if somebody comes and joins the team in February, they would have to pay all the way through every month.
(Inaudible question) For the Great Whites we charge $65.00 a month, for the greens we charge $76.00, for the golds we charge $97.00 and then it sort of goes up, the national group is $160.00.
A couple of things that I think are really important at the club level are to establish some things like work days and days that parents and the kids can get involved and take ownership of the facility. This morning I was having breakfast with Nort Thornton before these talks and he was talking about how at Cal Berkley it is so hard to get athletes to pick up towels and keep the locker rooms clean and whatever, and he said he had a discussion with one of the other coaches and he said how can you expect to be and take pride in the University that you go to if you can’t even keep your locker room clean. He said he has had this discussion with the water polo coach and he said it even got to the point where he said, how can you expect your guys to score goals when they can’t even put a towel in a towel bag or a towel in a barrel or something. I think that the thing at club level, and even with rentals is it is important I think, to have the parents get involved in making sure that you keep the place clean.
We just got through last weekend. We have drained our 50 meter pool, we are re-finishing it, re-painting it, actually doing a lot of other things and we ended up having the senior and national group come in with their parents and we had about 65 people. We had drained the pool, power brushed it and then had it sand blasted and what we had to do was clean out all the sand and hose it down and do all this stuff. We ended up painting both locker rooms and painting the weight room and painting one of the coaches offices in the entry way. Sort of as a result of that kind of philosophy we had another parent who donated carpeting so we ended up having the entry way and the coaches offices and the weight room recarpeted. The paint was donated, so we had a ton of stuff done basically for nothing.
I think that what would be pretty hard is maybe a rental, with going to a school district or going to a city and saying you want to do this. But I think that any of those kind of things are appreciated. I think any of those kind of things, with maybe especially keeping them clean, especially doing all the things that are really important, keep that relationship really good. I know some of the situations we had, especially in Reno, they waited for us to do something wrong, they waited for some graffiti to show up somewhere that they could blame us for it and we ended up having to really do the exemplary job in making sure that everything was perfect.
We try to organize it where we do one that is mainly external, we do a lot of landscaping work. We usually precede it with having somebody trying to go out and get three things, in the Atlanta area, Georgia area, you have Pike’s nurseries and some of those people are really interested in doing those kinds of things and you just put a little signage up.
Nest topic: The coaching philosophy that we are trying to adhere to is basically an over distance and IM training type of philosophy. I’m not saying that we take our Great Whites, and our greens and golds and we are trying to over distance them or whatever. We are trying to make them technically perfect. But as we start moving up the chain through the age group 3, age group 2, age group 1 and so on we are trying to make these swimmers, look forward to the opportunity to swim distance, look forward to be able to swim the 400 IM.
We do two over distance meets throughout the year where ten and unders are allowed to swim 400 IM’s and 500 frees and whatever. Now with the push being that these are going to become possibly events along with the 200 strokes and whatever, it really sets well, I mean they are really looking forward to it. The Australians for years, I think it’s not any part of their new program, but they have for years had these over distance events. John Seeban, who, I believe was the Olympic Gold Medalist in ‘84, so he was what 20 in ‘84 so he is probably close to 38, 37 or 36, whatever, he still holds the 10 and under 800 meter free record in Australia. I mean there are swimmers that eventually became great 200 flyers or great whatevers who were immersed in this type of training culture.
There is nothing wrong with doing some over distance and there is nothing wrong with racing over distance. Really a lot of little kids are probably made more to swim aerobically and swim longer and race longer than they are the shorter stuff. Our philosophy is to prepare them. I think the 400 IM is sort of an excellent focal point, because we are not prejudging somebody and saying that you are going to be a backstroker, breaststroker or butterflyer. What we are doing is saying we want you to become technically proficient in all strokes and we want you to be able to learn how to swim the individual medley. If there is a bad stroke in there that is something that we try and make them feel responsible, but they want to do everything that they can to make it better.
This year in April we brought in, I can’t think of the name of what the group is, but we did a set up of an underwater video track and we did all of our age group 3 and aboves and we charged them $30.00 for it. When you get all through, I don’t know how many of you are familiar with it, but they film all of the strokes on the side and the front and back, and if you have any special things, if you have any special considerations they will do that. If you have somebody that technically has something that you really want a little better look at they will do that. Then you sit down with the master tape and you create a second tape for the athlete and probably average about 20 to 25 minutes for each tape. So you put a little time into as a coach, but when you get all through they have a tape that has everything in it. You can do the slow motion, you can do the narration, the whole bit. They take it home and it gives them something to really relate to. What I’ve used it for is, as I see swimmers, maybe start to correct these things and then you see them maybe starting to fall back apart again. It gives me something really to remind them. Throw the tape in and listen to what I was talking about on your catch in backstroke, listen to what I was talking about your timing with the breaststroke kick or whatever, and they can go home and they can look and it. They can go, Oh, that is what he means and whatever. But, it worked really well for the young kids, age group 3.
As we come through our groups we start just adding more work, more distance. We still are trying to work a lot of technique. When we get to age group 3 and age group 2, I would say we are still working 85% technique and 15% conditioning with the conditioning taking the place as a result of the things that you are doing. I think that as we work through our groups, we start giving more complex instructions. That may be the limiting factor why some kids don’t move up as fast as other ones. They just can’t, they have difficulty understanding and completing complex instructions. Some 9 and 10 year olds may be incredibly fast and have perfect strokes, but they just have difficulty going past that third or fourth or fifth thing that you’re trying to get someone to do in a particular set. So it is better to keep them back until they have matured and can learn this.
When we finally get up into our age group 1, which is more or less our elite swimmers and there could be some real good 10 or 11 year old girls in there that are swimming top 16 level and they are very mature, they understand how to follow instructions real well. They understand all the different things that are needed, the discipline and whatever. That group is really training for a purpose and most cases the purpose is age group regional championship, zone championships, and things like that so they are really putting together a season where maybe they’re overloading and getting a little bit tired. They have a real periodization to their workout schedule and then they are really resting for the appropriate needs which could be sort of a mini rest for a state meet, to try and qualify for maybe a zone championship or going directly towards age group region. In our group 1 we had a 14 year old girl go 4:47 this year and made Olympic Trials — swimmers at that level. We have a young man 11 and 12 year boy that did 5:00 minutes in the 500 free, so there is some real good quality swimmers there. Kevin had real a good 9/10 year old backstroker breaking state records. There is some real good quality in that group but we don’t want to rush them. We are trying to keep their workouts at a level that they can handle. I mentioned before we don’t let them do any double workouts unless they are 14, so even if it is a great 10 year old, great 11, 12, 13 year old, we’re still just keeping them at single workouts during the school year.
The senior 2 group, which is a possible group that some of the swimmers would be moving into and it’s very possible that a 13 or 14 year old as they age, they may never get into the age group 1 group, they may go from age group 2 and just because of the ability, because of what they really want, what they express to their coaches, what their goals are, that it is possible that they go right from age group 2 right into the senior 2 group at 14 or 15 years old. In that group we are trying to keep it technically perfect. A majority of these kids are going to swim races that are almost 100 yards or less, a majority of them, their goals are high school swimming, maybe summer league swimming and if they improve, if over a period of time they continue to improve and they get excited and change their goals they could then move into the senior 1 group but we keep the yardage a little bit lower in this group. They probably do in an 1 hour and 45 minutes 5,000 to 6,000 yards but really working on things technically. If there are a small group of them that appear that be really distance oriented, that group could maybe broken away and they will do a little bit more, but we are really trying to make them technically perfect and that is the goal. Usually they don’t have the skills to be a swimmer that would be in age group 1 because they just don’t have the feel, they don’t have the natural talent, so we are trying to enhance that.
In the senior one and the national group we’re really starting to almost individualize as to their best events. We are obviously at this point. We are saying, O.K. you’re qualified for senior nationals in these events, or you’re qualified for juniors, but we still do a lot of IM training. Probably two of our workouts a week are completely IM training, 2 workouts a week are stroke training, where we actually work best stroke and worst stroke in the same workout. We may do a lot of work in the first hour on worst stroke. We try to work anywhere from the stroke people in this group training maybe 7500 meters up to the distance people training maybe 10,000 in 2 ½ hour workout. We do sort of fluctuate this through so there can be some workouts where there is sort of a recovery aspect to it because it is more aerobic, it is more stroke work. There really isn’t much in it where we are saying we are going to recover after a particular workout. We just keep training and the way the thing fluctuates we are not going to come in and hit them with a real hard workout that has a lot of anaerobic parts to it and then come back the next day or the next afternoon and do the same thing. We are going to try and give them the chance to probably have 36 to 48 hours in between really intense training.
All of the groups do a lot of dryland and I think that is the one thing that we can even expand on. I think if somebody said, O.K. coach add 15 minutes to every workout, I think I would just choose to add 15 minutes of dryland. I think that the Europeans have shown over long periods of time that they can keep their athletes out of the water and do a lot of other things from cross-country skiing to other things like that and really keep them in great shape.
A young man that I talked about before, Jeff Kostoff, who was as a high school senior was an American record holder in the 500, 1000 and 1650 ran cross country every fall and he admitted, he said there is nothing as hard as a cross country running race, he said he had never swam a 1650 or 1500 that is as hard as racing cross country on a hot September day. And I think that there is no reason why we can’t use running or even allow our kids to get more involved in running and promote a good healthy athlete that is still going to be a great swimmer.
We do a lot of rehab everyday. We try and have all of our athletes do rehab work mainly most of it is with light surgical tubing and real light weights. The people who have more of a problem with shoulder problems, we have them on an individual program that is set up by Skippy Madson. Skippy is a physical therapist in our area, she is also a master swimmer. She is also one of the top managers, she was on the 1996 Olympic Team, I believe 1998 World Championship Team. She basically does 90% of this just gratis, I mean she does it because she really cares about swimming, she doesn’t charge anything. If somebody has a real individual problem and goes through the necessary steps of going through an orthopedist and basically needing a prescription she then will sit down and as a professional and basically handle them as a client. In most cases she comes in and sets up a program. She went out to Mount Park and took all of the groups to do stretching programs, rehab programs and whatever.
I think it’s important to start rehab before there is a problem. I don’t think rehab should be trying to solve a problem. Rehab should be trying to make a person stronger in the joints and trying to prevent shoulder problems from happening. We run a lot. We don’t as much real heavy, heavy weights like I think what “” was showing, we don’t do as quite as much of that. We do a lot of body things. We do a lot of push ups, we do a lot of hanging knee ups, we do a lot of torso work, we do a lot of medicine balls. We probably do medicine balls 3 or 4 times a week, with 2 of the days doing mainly trunk work and 2 of the days doing things that although it does involve the trunk, it’s mainly upper body.
Then later on we do a lot of plyometerics. We have actually started doing desk jumps, which are really fun because a lot of times not the best swimmer is the best desk jumper. We just have regular school type or business type of desk and we just keep adding mats on them. We have kids that do 12 of these in 20 seconds. They got to just stand in front of it and jump up boom, and then they jump down and jump up. The distance people, of course some of them have to jump off a platform. I think a girl named Amy Baily who was a personification of aerobic and she had a vertical jump of about 8 or 10 inches and we would bring this platform in and then she would jump up about that far. Now she could do it for 2 hours probably, but very, very little vertical jump.
We do also a lot of competition in pull ups and my immediate assumption is that if you’re a mega distance swimmer you can’t do 10 pull ups if you’re a guy and 6 or 8 if you are a girl. It really gets some of the lazy ones to work a lot harder because if they can’t do it on that day then they are going to train in the distance lane. The problem is you get some real high achieving distance people and all of the sudden that girl does the 12th one and they say, coach does that mean I’m not a distance swimmer?
I briefly talked a little bit about facility ownership and the rental thing and I just wanted to go over one more thing. I think whichever way your club is operating, whether you’re renting facilities or whatever, there are a lot of options out there, there are a lot of things out there. There is money out there that can help you out, and we talked a little bit about swim lessons program and the masters program and things that expand your program to make it a more complete program and they also bring in money. I think Paul started the ball rolling the other day when he started talking about a lot of us worked our whole career and really never make the money we would have if we have taken the career that we graduated from college for. I graduated in Engineering and I ended up doing this. I’m sure a lot of people that graduated in Engineering when I graduated from Engineering are already retired and managing large businesses or whatever and a lot of us chose this because we want to do it. We want to work with kids, we want to better their lives, we want to make them faster swimmers or whatever. But, I think that we need to find ways to generate the money to be able to get paid what we should get paid.
I want to go over a little bit about distance and individual medley training for the second part of the talk. I think the really important thing is to make sure that everybody is on the same page. That your age group coaches that bring the kids up through the group and everybody really believes that their roll is not only how to teach the swimmers how to swim well but to prepare them for the next level up so that each person coming up into the next group is prepared to be in that group. We have been really fortunate with that all the way across the board, that all of coaches really embrace this. All of the coaches really felt that they wanted to go this route and they took a lot of pride in middle distance, distance swimming, IM training. I think that you need to reinforce this philosophy back to the swimmers. I think that you have to make them realize that more people qualify for their first national event in middle distance IM and middle distance events then there are in the shorter events, it’s just a fact. Most males, it’s very rare that they’re mature enough and powerful enough to be able to qualify in the 200 yard events and below. But you do find a lot of them at 15 and 16 that are already making national times in distance events. I think that part of it sometimes is really a good sell tool. On the other side people say yes coach but college coaches want the sprinters and stuff and I don’t really think that is true. I have a lot of people that call up and the first thing out of their mouth is they want to know about this person you have who swims a 400 IM and the person that swims the 500 and 1650. I think they want good swimmers. I don’t think that they are going to bypass a good swimmer to pick up an average 50 swimmer or 100 swimmer.
I think that if you not necessarily glorify the distance events, but if you make the people in the program really proud of the training that they are doing, the type of training they are doing and you take advantage of the other things that are out there, in other words the postal swims, then you can make these people proud of what they are doing and that the training that they are doing is paying off by their successes.
I think that identifying the athlete that ultimately is going to become more of a distance swimmer or an IM swimmer is a little bit harder. What we do is just treat everyone the same way until they move up into probably about the age group one level. We start seeing the ones that are a little bit more successful in IM and distance and letting them do a little bit more training towards that. The goal is to still make them a complete package and that is to work on all four strokes and make them successful in the IM. As they move up into my group and we start really specializing. I need to start, if it hasn’t been done already, to try and really identify the distance swimmer, or the swimmer that I think is going to become a better 400 IM’er and that is going to become their goal. Sometimes you might have a 15 or 16 year old that comes in and there is no indication that they really could become a great IM swimmer but you know that a year or two down the line if you could just correct a few things and they’re willing to accept the responsibility to work on that one weak stroke that it will happen.
When I came to Dynamo, we had a young little girl named Amy Bailey who was about a 1:09 100 yard butterflyer and it is the only thing that kept her from being an average IM swimmer. She was very determined to work on anything that made her better. This last spring she was 5th at nationals in the 400 IM and she went out in 1:07 in long course meters fly on the way going out. Getting to that point is what allowed her, the other strokes were there, we all knew that the other strokes were there, it was just she’d be so far behind in the butterfly that she was almost out of the race, but she was willing for a two year period to really work on extra fly and do all the things that were needed and it paid off.
But it was easy to identify her, that she could be that kind of swimmer, she was already a real good distance swimmer and she had all those things that I talked about, almost jokingly. She had a real low vertical jump and she was very aerobic. I mean you could put her on a VASA trainer and she could go all day long. She could do things all day long. Great training ethic, I mean she wants to do things right and not afraid to work all day long in doing it. I think with the IM you do want people that can swim 3 pretty good strokes. I say pretty good, I don’t mean they have to be great, but I mean 3 pretty good strokes and that they can swim fairly well aerobically. In other words if they can’t swim the breaststroke aerobically, the breaststroke is just this really big, powerful stroke that deteriorates very quickly when they go from the 100 to 200 and its going to be a little bit difficult for them in the IM. I think that you can find a fairly ordinary person, like Tom Wilkens was when he went to Stanford and work on those strokes over a period of time and turn out that he was a very gifted IM swimmer. If that person is really willing to work on the stroke, especially work on the weak strokes.
We basically go anywhere from 9 to 11 workouts depending on the time of the year. Obviously the 11 workouts usually are the ones that take place over vacations and things like that. I try and go through a rhythm that would be double workout, single workout, double workout, single workout, double workout, type of arrangement. There is a built in period of time where emotionally and physically they can recover so we do a lot of things that are basically doubles of Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday possibly and singles on Tuesday and Thursday and we give them Sunday off. When I was at Reno we always did Sunday workouts because we just were a little bit limited on workout time before school and a little bit limited on workout time after school. And we found Sundays just became just a great workout and we would have almost 100% attendance. We would do things like, we would have a regular workout and then we would let them do stretch cord things for maybe 50 minutes. Because we had the whole pool, nobody was telling us a time to get out, no groups were waiting around to jump in, so we could devote 3 or 3 1/2 hours on a Sunday morning doing a workout.
But, it doesn’t happen in Atlanta. I was sort of told when I first got there that Sunday mornings, if they are not going to a meet are family time and church time so I left it at that. We don’t do Sunday morning workouts.
I talked a little bit about our drylands and I think that the more things you do the better. Paul I thought really had some great stuff. He talked about a lot of things. I think that the important things are the kids understand why they are doing them, that they are doing them in a healthy way and they are doing them right, because drylands can be that bugaboo that creates some major interests. My feeling is that kids have to be dressed properly and you have to make sure they are wearing shoes. You have to make sure that in the weight room that there is a very conscience effort on all parts to be safe, to spot right, to do all the things that are right. I think all of us have horror stories of kids that were injured, sometimes career ending injuries. I mean nobody was really messing around, it was just something that happened and the spotting wasn’t being taken care of right or whatever. So I think that those things are really important. I was going to ask Paul who sits down at the bottom of that rope and catches those kids if any of them fall off or whatever. I think those things are important. You have matting where you need to have matting, you have the things set up the right way. It scares me when I see kids in weight rooms or barefooted or with socks on or stuff like that because I mean you can crush bones and you could do things that are irreparable. I’m so blessed that I just work with one group, but I’m unblessed with the way the schools are. I run a dryland for 40 minutes before a workout and we do a 1 ½ hour workout and I run a dryland after for the kids that can’t come that early. With one group I get done early enough to get home, the second group in the winter, we really have problems in running because they are running in the dark. But, we are fortunate that we have about a ten acre area where are pool is where they can run the perimeter of the whole area and they run 6 times and that is a mile so they don’t have to go off the area to do any running and everything else is self contained. We do 90% of our running right on our property, so basically, I can watch them. One thing we do, they call it a dairy queen run. It is a 3 point something mile run we do that on Saturday mornings after workouts. Usually on those workouts Alpharetta and Mountain park may even come in for that Saturday morning workout and we lump them all together so we have 70 senior swimmers and then they will all go out on a run together.
I think that it’s really important that the dryland is very organized and it is very controlled and there are not kids in there that aren’t in there for that reason. I’d rather tell a kid to just go sit in the bleachers and wait for the swimming workout to take place if they are not going to really be there with that attitude because the last thing you really want is somebody to get hurt.
What we do is we start more strength work in the beginning of the year, along with running along with neuromuscular type of stuff. As we get more in the middle of the year, we start doing more desk jumping, more plyometeric work. We do a lot of hurdle jumping and things like that. We do a lot of medicine balls and I’m speaking sort of generally because age group 1 is doing a little bit differently and Alex is doing things a little bit differently up at Alpharetta and Hugh may be doing things a little bit differently based on what they have. Mountain park has some limitations in that it is a rental type of thing and they have to drag a lot of stuff out so he is a little bit more limited in what he can do.
For the remaining transcript please refer to handout notes at end of article
In our training, especially with having kids that may be swimming primarily 100’s and 100 stroke and 200’s all the way up to distance people, what I would like to do is a very generic part of the workout where we all workout together and then we just branch off at a specific point at the end of a specific set. In the basic workout design I just basically start almost every workout with a boring 500 and somebody one time a long time ago said if you just start with something that is just sort of moderate and just let them swim through it and watch them, you get a good indication of aches and pains or problems or whatever and it gives them a chance to sort of just get their body a little bit warmed up get the shoulders a little bit warmed up. It doesn’t matter what we do in dryland, they’re still not necessarily going to be warmed up for those kind of motions. Then we usually go a pre-set. A lot of times it’s worst strokes and it gives them the opportunity to work worst strokes along with kicking and a long with drill work. Then we may do a kick set that may be as little as 500 or 600, preferably no board. Another day it may be as much as 1500 or 2000 and it may be with or without a board and it may be a mixture with or without a board and it may be a mixture with or without fins.
We may do some things that are special. A lot of butterfly on their back with fins and then doing some real blast fast things off the wall, underwater, no breathers so that the flyers, the backstrokers and the freestylers are getting a lot of work doing that and then mix it and let the breaststokers mix in some real fast breaststroke pulling with those fins on at the same time and let them race the people who are doing the fast stuff under water. So we might do something like a 150 moderate on your back dolphin and at the end of that 150 you may go 6 25’s really fast, breaststrokers on top of the water, flyers, backstrokers, freestylers doing under water no breathers. They are racing, I mean they are really racing each other and they start getting real vocal and they are laughing and having fun, you know, I got you, I got you. You know it’s part of a whole warm up thing, but we are really working on a lot of abdominal work and we are really working on a lot of leg work.
We may hit a point where we may or may not do a pool set before we split it up, but usually we try and get the first hour somewhere in that neighborhood of getting the kicking done and some kind of a pre-set done, it can be as much as 1500 or maybe a little bit more. We are trying to work on a lot of drill work and the warm up and then we break it up.
The distance part of it and the IM part of it we may do a set that is fairly long mixing pulling and swimming and I have some sets in here where it sort of describes some of them. Or we may just do a pull set then a swim set, but we try and pull everyday. We may pull as little as 1500 to 2000 in one day but we may pull as much as 500 in another day. Obviously if we pull real long, we probably kicked a little bit less and we probably will do the swim set a little bit less. I like to pull 3 times a week pretty intensely and most of our pulling is paddles buoys and sometimes paddles, buoys and fins. We may finish a set where we will take the buoy off and just do paddles and bands. I don’t like to do too much of it, I just think that sometimes it is a contributor to shoulder problems if they can’t keep the body balanced real well and they get a little bit sloppy. I say here that we pull hard 4 to 5 times a week. The distance people may have to do 5 of them a week, I wouldn’t say that is every single week, they may do, most of the people are pulling at least 3 or 4 times a week pretty hard.
I have some examples of pull sets and probably one of the most fun pull sets is the first one for the distance people and we do a 3500 and they just do it like 500 easy, stretched out, and they may be breathing every 7th on that or 5th and then we go to 100 fast and they go right into a 400 easy, 200 fast, 300 easy, 300 fast, 200 easy, 500 fast, 400 fast and then 100 easy. Then they take a minute and then we just start talking about what they are going to do and then we may have the middle distance people do a 500 all out and we will have the distance people do 1000 all out. Steven Brown pulled an 8:49 1000 one time at the end of that set. The goals are to really go fast and we track the 3500 time, the total time including the minute, and we also track what that fast 1000 time is or the 500 time is. Kids really want to look and we have lanes sometimes where the kids get real excited about everybody breaking something, everybody broke 10:30 on that 1000 or everybody broke 9:30 on that 1000, I think it’s a great event.
It’s an event that is trackable. There is some merit to the kids seeing where they are and the progression that they make throughout the season. It’s a real good pulling set, it gives them a little bit idea of pace, sometimes they may be saying at the beginning of the set, coach I just like to be able to pull easy, holding 1:05’s and 1:04’s during the easy part and then really be able to build up and go 58’s on the fast part and then when I get to the really fast 1000 I want to try and break 9:40 or I want to try and break 9:38 or whatever.
Some of the other ones in there, the second one I use a lot is not a recovery, but when I don’t necessarily want them worrying about really hammering real, real hard, I’m just going to say we are going to do a set and the real fast guys might be on like an interval like 1:05 or 1:10 or something and I’ll just say you’re going to pull a 600 moderate, now we are going 2 300’s, 3 200’s just stay on the same interval, just let yourself build as you go through it, but not trying to kill yourself. I mean you are just trying to aerobically get yourself up into that really good point and just keep it there and you’re getting short rest all the way through as they get shorter it gets a little bit more exciting. They may pick up the pace a little bit, but the goal isn’t to turn around and finish up with any all out type pulls.
Some of the other ones, there are some that get a little bit intense. What we are trying to do is maybe go something easy like a 400 and then 4 fast 100’s and just go back and forth through this 2 or 3 or 4 times and the goal at the end is we had some kids pull 100’s on 54, 55 and they’re just trying to make it, it’s their whole goal. I mean we are not trying to see if they can go 52 on any of them. We are just saying, can you come in and hit the wall and be ready to go 54 and make all 4 of them. As they get better maybe next time they will be trying to go intervals a little bit faster. I think sometimes the pulling, there is some real exciting things that they can do and a lot of kids, especially distance people, that may be the fastest that they are going to go in workout. Steven Brown could never swim an 8:49 but he could pull an 8:49. There are a lot of girls that can get in and really do some really fast pulling that will never see that kind of time and I think it’s good for their bodies to get in there and be going through and sort of learning how to adapt and streamline and everything through the water.
(Question Inaudible) My preference about what paddle they use is what they feel best about. Most of our people use the stroke master paddle. I have a couple of people that use the Tyr and they like those. I don’t have very many girls that like the Tyr paddle. Most of them are on Stroke Master. We have some that pull backstroke. I have some that actually use those little funky Speedo ones that are sort of like cup shaped and I have some people that really like those for back stroke. I have some people that never pull with paddles in backstroke but will pull with those and like those.
We do, do some things, like I said before we take the buoy off and pull fairly fast with paddles and just a band and what I’ve done with the band is, is just take old surgical rubber tubing and just tie it into a granny knot and it leaves two little pig tails and they are about that big, and that is what we use for our band, it slows them up much more than an innertube, it last a lot longer and those little pig tails, if you leave them longer it really slows them up. So I mean if you want it you can take two pieces and tie a granny knot up here and a granny knot and have four pig tails and it really slows them up. I mean it’s amazing that little bit of resistance can do. So that is what we use for our bands. They are comfortable, they are a little bit more comfortable because they are a little bit stretchier and they are a little bit thicker around the ankles and I think it makes it have a little bit more resistance.
The kicking, some of this is just a little bit outdated, because this summer I really started doing a lot more no board kicking, a lot more things from Total Immersion type of concepts. We are doing a lot more on our side, a lot more things kicking on our sides, rolling to the stomach, rolling back to the stomach or the side, the back, or things like that and a lot of underwater work. We still do kick sets and we test usually with the kick board and we do test sets in kicking, but I really have gotten a little bit farther away from just getting on a board and doing the 12 100’s or 10 100’s or 8 100’s, where I spend a little bit more time doing things that can incorporate more drills with hard kicking on your side, your back and on your stomach. We do a lot of stuff under water with kicking. I think we are all going to look back ten years from now and realize how did they not swim under water as much as we do now. I think it’s very obvious. I think people are going to be doing so much more swimming under water, even at the age group level. I see what we are doing with our kids, 7 and 8 and 9 of getting them used to trying to be under water and race their races under water. I think it’s just going to become inevitable. When I swam, I remember people swimming races like 4:40 in 500 free and there would be a point when they would stop doing flip turns because they were too hard. Now you never see that. I mean now nobody would ever stop at the wall and take an open turn and take a breath because they wanted extra air, and I think the same thing about being under water. I think you’re going to see more age groupers get used to that idea, that every turn they come of the wall and they are under water 10 meters or 12 meters or whatever it is and it’s just going to become the way they race. They are going to be much faster. We are doing so much more with the younger age groupers and I think the kids just accept doing them.
In the swimming I’ve included some pretty involved sets and I just try to explain it and leave it this way so that you can take any part of it you want. You can adapt it any way you want. A lot of times if I’m doing a set that is primarily for the distance people, I’m doing the same kind of set for everybody else. The second one is a perfect example, where I have it listed down here where we do 13 300’s, 400’s, 500’s whatever it may be, and we just send #1, 2, 3, 4 and then on #5 I let them swim real easy, it is a recovery. Then # 6, 7, and 8 they continue that descend. Then #9 is easy and then 10, 11 they keep descending. 12 is easy and 13 is the fastest. Ideally with a distance person, you want them to get this feeling of descending 1 through 4 and some real easy on 5 and then they’re being able to perceive that they need to swim just a little bit better than they did not on the last one but the one before that.
Somebody is doing 500’s and they start at 5:11, 5:09, 5:07 and 5:05 and now they swim an easy something, now we want them to come back and try and be 5:03 or 5:02 or 5:04 not 4:55 or not slower then the one on the previous one. What we will do with this one especially with backstrokers and breaststrokers, where we may have backstrokers doing 300’s while the distance people are doing 500’s, we may have IM’ers doing 300 IM’s, 75 of each. We may have IM’ers doing 400 IM’s while the distance people do 500. We may have backstrokers doing 300;s breaststrokers doing 2 50’s, whatever it may be in the pool at the same time. The goal is the idea of a good aerobic descending set where they are working on pace.
Some of the other things we do in here are, what a lot of other people do, I’m listing them as distance workouts so some of the yardage things are a little bit longer, but a lot of them can be done cleaner. On #5 I have a thing we call the Reno special, Alex gave it that name, and we do this I would say maybe 3 times a month and it’s just a good aerobic set where they can work some real fast swimming in between. We will go 75 and 25 all out, 75 and 50 all out and 75 and 75 all out. The distance people get a chance to really work stroke, we may go through it three times doing fly, three times doing back, 3 doing breast and then 3 doing best. Where all the 75’s are done pretty easily, freestyle and then all the fast things are done in that particular stroke, and we do them sort of on shorter intervals. We may have the distance people maybe doing 75 yards easy on 50 or 55 or something like that. The middle distance people may be doing the easy 75 on a minute or 1:05 where really the object is not to be swimming easy and in getting a fair amount of rest. It is almost like after that fast swimming you have this active rest 75, that you can swim comfortably and work on technique and basically you are going to get to that wall and within a second or two it is going to be time to go again. The middle distance people may get a little bit more rest and also the reason is to give them an opportunity to try and swim technically well so that they can’t swim quite as fast as maybe the distance people can.
As you get down to the shorter event people, I mean as you all know some big guys, that swim 1500, I mean they couldn’t swim an easy 75 in 50 seconds or 55 they may need to be on 1:10 to be able to swim that easily and get a little bit of recovery effect. But, what they may be doing, is they may be pushing off and going ten seconds on the 25’s. They are putting so much more in those 25’s then the other person. So much more in the 50, and so much more in the 75, so they need a little bit more time on the 75.
When we set this up it is all done that way, there may be 8 lanes of people doing it and there may be 5 or 6 different send offs and when it’s all done one group may be doing 12, 14, 16 times and another group may only be doing it 8 times. It’s going to take them a lot longer to do it.
At the very bottom I’ve got a set that we’ve really incorporated into our program. We call it Michael Klim set, and this was I think, I don’t know if it was in Splash magazine or one of the magazines that came out from USA swimming, it was a set that he did and I’ve adopted it and I do it almost every Wednesday. We do it with a tremendous amount of variations, but the set basically, the way he did it was a 400 meter free in 6 minutes and it was supposed to be done at an aerobic level, and Michael Klim in long course meters was, I think he averaged like 4:35 or something like that on it, so for him obviously there was a certain amount of control to it, but he still was probably keeping a pulse rate of 141 or 150, and that is followed by a 100 on 1:30. In this set he held his freestyles at 53 and below and they talked about a set he did in butterfly, and I think in butterfly he held a 58. We had a group of girls and their goal was to be somewhere between 4:50 and 5 minutes on all the 400’s all the way through. So when they came in they were not as recovered during that period of time as somebody who was more sprint oriented, somebody that was maybe a 100/200 swimmer, that was allowed to swim a 300 pretty easy, or was allowed to swim the 400 much easier. The goal was to sort of make those 100’s maybe a little slower because they were a little bit more tired, but a little bit more specific for the races they are going to swim.
If a girl is going to swim a 400 free and 800 free or whatever, it may not be very good if you just flop through a real easy 400 and then blast 100 all out. That may not be as good for her in preparing her for the 400 and 800 and swimming a little harder on the 400, and then still being a little bit tired when she does that all out 100. We did some things where we would take the more of the sprint oriented people and maybe go through and say, alright 1, 3, 5, and 7 you go the 100 all out, on 2, 4, 6, 8 you go a 50 rest 10 and a 50, and what your goal is to do 1, 3, 5, 7 all out. Maybe a backstroker that was holding 1:04’s and then we are saying we want you 3 seconds or more faster on the even ones then you are breaking, so you are doing the 2 50’s with 10 seconds in between we want you going 00 or better.
A lot of times we are looking at a second 100 of a 200. I don’t know if it’s 100% applicable that way, but we would use that as a reference point. I found that a lot of girl backstrokers can come nowhere near doing that set. There was no way that you could really correlate one way or the other. I did find that a lot of the girls middle distance people that they could hold most 2nd 100’s of their 200’s. They were going a little bit faster but we had some girls routinely could be 1:01 to 1:02 all the way through 8 100’s free. One of them is 2:03 200 freestyler and the other one is about a 2:05. So they are pretty close, but I found girl backstrokers were way off. The boys were a little bit closer.
But this was a great set because you can really vary it. You actual could do, if you had a 1500 guy, you could reverse it and you could just say you’re going a fast 400 on 6 minutes you got an easy 100 on 1:30 in between. But we tried to make this a real quality set and we tracked it. We had a girl average 1:03.6 and we like to think that by the end of the year maybe she could average 1:02.2 or 1:01.8 or something. And we never tied it into second 100 of a 200 but we did talk a lot about that is what the purpose of this is, is to really work on developing that speed and power for the 200 race. That is why I sort of slowed up on the people doing the 400 and 800, I would make them maybe do a little bit harder 400 in between, because I felt that what I wanted them is a little bit tired so it would be a little bit more meaningful for their swimming.
I do a lot of all these. A lot of these things that we are trying to accomplish were to give them things that would reoccur. They would see these particular sets maybe at least 2 times a month, 3 times a month and where they may not have really looked forward to it, they did look at them with the idea that they wanted to try and constantly be better and constantly doing a better job then they did in the last time. I think that sometimes if you get those sets that aren’t test sets or anything like that but the reoccurring, that it really gives you a good idea, am I going in the right direction, it gives you a really good idea of are we doing some things that are getting our kids more ready to swim these races the way we want them to swim them.
In the IM sets — I call them IM sets, but they really are working different strokes, change of strokes. Look at number 3. We have the distance people maybe doing 6 900’s or 5 900’s or 4 900’s or whatever, part of it is easy, part of it is strong. They will do an easy 100 and then a fast 50, easy 100, fast 100, easy 100, fast 150, easy 100, fast 200. You could real easily take another group and say you’re going to do an easy 75 and do the same 50 hard, the same easy 100 hard, the same easy 150 hard and what you are doing is that person is doing a 75 easy in between. When they get done, they are getting done 100 yards sooner so that probably you are going to have everybody leave at the same time. Everybody is going to be on the same wavelength and they may actually be getting a little bit more rest, because what we’ve done is some of these we have said easy 50 then rest 10, easy 50 then rest 10. Somebody might be in here going easy 50 resting 10 and then an all out 50 fly, easy 50 rest 10 and then an all out 50 fly, 50 back and they work their way through and build a 200 IM. When we do this set a lot of times we will do it a couple times through where they build a 200 IM and we are really trying to work on the transition turn. We are trying to get them in and out of the walls and then we may say let’s go one time doing it all fly and one time back, one time breast and then maybe the last time work on best, worst, choice, whatever it may be, so we do six of them, two of them IM and we are really work you on transition. We really want them to get used to coming off the fly into the back, off the back into the breast off the breast into the free and then we may do one specifically for fly, one for back, one for breast.
If we are doing our sprint group or other groups in here we might be doing it almost the same way, but doing 2 IM’s and letting them specialize then they do four of them in their best stroke. We do a lot of IM stuff with fins on. We do some IM’s where we do a 250 IM or 500 IM where we do one length of first stroke, 2 of the second, 3 of the 3rd, 4 of the 4th. We may first time through start with fly the next time start with back, 3rd time start with breast, 4th time start with free.
We do one, nobody really seems to like it, but it just seems, I’ve had people that have come back and said I really think that I get a lot out of that, I wish I did more of that in college, or whatever, we just start with a 250 IM then we put fins on we do a 500 IM, 750 IM, 1000 IM and then just come back down, and it’s long. It’s with fins they are working really strong off the wall, but when it’s all done, it was just very aerobic. There was very little of it that was real, real fast, and they are holding their breath under water on each of the walls, they are trying to work a good fast turnover when they do the breaststroke part. It’s just a good aerobic set and it gives them an idea of working on the different strokes but it isn’t specific enough that I think it needs any recovery. It’s a good recovery type of set.
One of the things that we try and do on a Friday, at least maybe 3 Fridays out of every 4 is set #6 where we go 50 50’s. We are trying to go really high quality and the distance people will do this, this is one of the times that they get the chance to try and really hold 200 pace or faster and we will go four of them perfect form and then 4 of them all out free, 4 of them perfect form and then 5 of them best. A lot of times freestylers will stick with the best, and then 4 of them perfect form and then 6 of them which could either be best or choice and then usually when you get to 7, if we are going short course, we do transitional IM, where they will go 50 fly and then they will go fly back and then they’ll go 50 back then they go back breast, and then 50 breast and then 50 of it they go breaststroke freestyle and the 7th one is free and all of the freestylers all have to do that.
The last one where we do 8 50’s, usually we will do 400 IM. Usually they will go 2 fly, 2 back, 2 breast, 2 free but a lot of times we may also do that also best. We may have backstrokers, breaststrokers, flyers do that best. It’s real exciting but when it’s done, most of them feel that it’s just really a grind, because they are doing 4 perfect form, but then it’s 4 all out 50’s and then 5 all out then 6 all out then 7 then 8, but it’s a real good time. I think that on a Friday afternoon workout, to have 40 minutes left in the workout and have them all really ready to go and get them fired up and then really go for those and really set some goals is exciting. We have tried to do it where we have some girls trying to be under 30 on every single 50 long course meters. Flyers trying to be under 32.5 on every single one. I think that it becomes a real goal oriented set, where they are really trying to put together a set that they have a lot of pride in. And again, we track the set and I have a butterflyer that can tell me probably almost every time she did the set, what she tried to hold and what she was able to hold and then where she was by the end of the season.
We do a lot of broken IM work. I used to do, what I called a predictor 400 IM where we would get up and we might do a little 2500 type of warm up set and then we get up and dive a 400 meter IM and then we go 50 fly all out and then rest a minute and then 50 fly, 50 back, rest a minute, and then 50 back, 50 breast rest a minute, 50 breast, 50 free and then rest a minute and I had a couple years where we did that about two weeks out from nationals. It was almost right on the button. Some kids are a little bit better when they rest. They are a little bit faster that way. The times may come out a little bit faster but I had one national that was incredible, I mean there were three or four kids that only two weeks before, the time they did exactly what they did in nationals.
We will do a lot of things and they may not be that high quality oriented, where we may just come in and they’ll say let’s go 6 400 IM’s and the first two are going to be straight, really long, trying to work right off the walls and the next two we are going to take a break at the 150, 250, 350, so you still really work the transition. The break just gives them a break so that they can go 50 fly and 50 back and work the transition. We try and cycle through the week where we may have 2 to 3 workouts that are really high quality with one of them may be almost being predictable. We’ll have two or three days that we will work a lot more IM and a lot more endurance type of things. We may do a lot of stroke work that is more endurance.
We try and sprint almost everyday. I think that no matter how distance oriented somebody is there is, working on speed is still always important. I think that one of the things that is really important on our part of this whole thing is trying to recognize what the individuals need to motivate them. What is going to make them really get faster and whatever. I had a young lady that was swimming at Stanford and she called up one day and she said that Richard had her do this set and it was so cool and on and on and so we started doing it, and some kids got really excited and it worked really well. For some others, it was almost like the pressure was too much. What the set was is, you would do a 150 moderate on a interval that you thought you could do an all out 200 and just barely make, so if you are doing freestyle and I have a young man that I think can break 1:52 for a 200 from a push. I might say, O.K. Mike your gonna go 8 times through a 150 on 1:52 and then a 200 on 1:52 and your goal is, I don’t care how slowly you swim on the 150 that is your active rest, but your goal is to try and break 1:52 on all the fast ones. Some kids just really struggled. They might start off alright and they just became very frustrated just trying to do that. I mean the closer they got to not making it, it just became very frustrating. So I found some people it didn’t work very well with. Some people having that kind of tension and whatever through the set, is really good, it’s really motivating and it keeps them excited. Some other people aren’t.
I think that with the way you design some of the sets you need to take that into consideration. There maybe some people that you can still do the set but you have this understanding with them that you are going to put them on an interval that may be a little bit easier and maybe they’re going to be very successful all the way through it, but you expect them to be going faster and you expect them to be getting more rest then that couple seconds rests that some of the other people are doing. That sometimes will solve that kind of problem.
In our seasonal planning we usually start like we are right now with about 2 to 3 weeks of just sort of getting adjusted. We are spending a lot more time in meetings and we are spending a lot more time watching video’s and things like that, setting up our dryland, explaining what the year is going to be. We are also doing, I mean right now they are probably doing between three and four and 3 and 5000 of easier stuff and drill stuff and I think that the sooner that they can get working doing things underwater and making all the swimming comfortable. It is sort of more enjoyable to get started that way and then really understand where we are going to go and what we are going to do and how the dryland is going to operate.
We take more time, we are spending probably an hour and 15 minutes in dryland right now and just so they understand all the other things in spotting each other and working together and learning the 18 exercises that we are going to do with medicine balls and whatever.
Then we start usually from the 3rd week to the 6th week where we are just trying to develop the base and we are just building up the yardage, and everyday it’s almost like we are not really looking for too much fast stuff. Those quality sets Michael Klim having started is just building it up and a lot of 140 pulse rate type swimming, 130 pulse rate type swimming. Adding a little bit of pulling, mixing a little bit of stroke, again doing a lot of stuff underwater and we may start adding some fin stuff. I don’t like that too much too early cause sometimes their feet just aren’t ready for it. But, we do take that time and probably for a 6 week period we really start building that up. A lot of times we just look at maybe a meet into our schedule that we’ll fit into it, and so we say, O.K. from now until whatever, this is what we are going to do.
From that point on we are going to start adding a little bit more quality for the next 5 to 10 weeks. Usually we start getting into what I almost described before where we periodized that next 10 week period. They know when they come in on a particular day that it’s going to probably be more aerobic oriented and they know it’s going to be a really hard exciting motivating quality set. But they know, and it’s not real drastic, I mean it’s not that they come in one day and they are doing 5000 yards in one day and then they are doing 12,000, they are still doing a fair amount everyday, but they know that there may be a day that there is going to be a lot of long easier pulling, long stretched out this, some work with fins on. But then we are going to go in the 50 50’s at the end of that or we are going to do something else.
I think the taper is such an individual thing. I think the earlier you can get swimmers to understand what their bodies need the earlier you can get them to forget what “” mentioned yesterday, forget how they feel and whatever, but get them to know that this is what you need, to work really hard to this point and you are a 13 year old super distance type person, you may need 20 minutes taper and that is all you may need to taper. The sooner they understand that and also understand that maybe when you’re 15 it may not be that way, so we are really going to watch this, and it may mean that you may need a little bit more work. I had a young lady that was a 2:15 flyer, 800 and 400 meter freestyler that would train until we got on the plane. She would still warm up 4000 meters in the morning at nationals. She had to, she knew it. She went to UCLA and the first thing she did was sat down with Cindy Gallagher and she said Cindy this is the way I am, and the good thing about it is I swim fast every dual meet, I mean I can up and swim pretty fast almost all of the time. But I’m not the kind that is going to make huge drops, I’m not the kind that is going to need much in the taper. She understood it, we understood and we found out the hard way. We tapered for juniors and she swam horribly and came back and trained and in a week, probably a week later went to a dual meet and went her best 500 free. It’s like, you don’t need to rest very much, and we made that decision.
I think in a taper the most important thing is the kids have worked hard, and done what they need to do. They have to believe that they are going to swim well and, but they have to understand. I think Olympic trials it is so evident. I think that there are more people, the ones that did what they needed to do and were confident in what they did, and performed well. I think there may have been some, maybe from college from the end of the college season or whatever, they didn’t do quite as much and all of the sudden it starts to come back and haunt them. Gee I should have worked out a little bit more, gee I should have done this I should have done that. I think in this tapering process the kids do the hard work and do what they need, prepare themselves at all levels. It’s just a matter of easing back on the yardage. Some people have things that they specifically do, they do a lot more quality work at one point or quality work in another. I remember Bud McAllister talking about Janet Evans and how she didn’t really didn’t need to rest that much and how he would just back off a little bit and let her do a little bit of sprinting, about ten days out to about five days out and she was ready to go but she still kept up her yardage pretty high and you would see her at nationals still pulling and doing sets and stuff. I think the big thing is to find out what each person does. Rule of thumb, big, strong, heavily muscular people probably need a lot more rest then little wispy highly aerobic type people. I think your Auburn programs and some programs like that, that do just tremendous amounts of power and some of those guys they can rest six weeks. Skip Kenny at Stanford has taken some people through 6 week tapers and stuff. They may not come down as much as other people, but they feel they’ve done the work and they feel confident. So you had to sort of put the program together but they better do the work early in the season if they plan to do that kind of a taper.
So I think the big thing in there in the taper is maybe looking at the age of the athlete, size of the athlete, past history of the athlete, certainly the muscularity, the events that they are swimming for. You might have the bigger sprinter type people starting to taper a little bit longer, still doing real long easy type stuff, maybe doing a little bit more technique work, where they are spending more time going off of the blocks, more time in and out of the walls and stuff like that while your middle distance people are cutting down yardage a little bit, but are still doing more pace work and more work that is going to have them ready to do their races. Maybe two, I don’t like to do any broken swims or anything really that hard much inside two weeks, ten days in. We still might do some things that they are racing a little bit slower than pace, but I don’t like to do like that thing I described like that broken 400 IM, I don’t like to do that earlier than two weeks out. I’d rather not do anything that intense where they are going to be hurting for 2 or 3 days afterwards.
I think that some distance people could probably go through a whole season and never go to a meet. I think their meets are almost every day in practice, and I think all of us have coached people, who maybe until the next to the next to the last meet of the year their fastest 500 was that 10th one on the set sometime in practice. I mean I know when we coached Jeff, I think Jeff went 4:20 something low, 4:21 something, in a workout one time and he didn’t see 4:28 or 4:29 until we started really getting ready near the end of the year then ultimately went 4:16. We saw really fast times in workout and I think what happens is that you find more distance people will get into the rhythms where their bodies are perfectly warmed up they are perfectly stretched out, their glycogen is flowing and everything is working right, they descend a set right and they do just incredible stuff and for that reason I think some of them could get by with less racing.
I think your middle distance and your other people really need to get up and race and I think for your sprinters you almost need to create that race atmosphere, a lot. I know Sam Freas who has a good book out on sprinting, he said when he was at Arkansas that he would take his guys that swam the 200 free and 200 medley relay and he would bring them in two mornings and warm them up and he had cameras at each end of the pool, starting blocks on each end of the pool, the 25 yard pool and he would say, alright we are going to do an hour of sprinting and he had 4 guys at each end and these guys would just sprint for an hour. They’re doing maybe a 25 in 9 seconds on about 1 minute and 15 seconds so it wasn’t that hard. They video taped every start and they video taped every exchange, they video taped every underwater everything that was being done. He felt for those guys that was important. That was 50% of their race right there, so to him he felt that was really important in creating that atmosphere twice a week. I don’t think that he did it on Thursdays when they had a dual meet on the weekend. I think he sort of let that go and the dual meet was the competition. While he was at Arkansas he had phenomenal sprint relays. A lot of cases he was taking sub caliber people and creating great sprinters out of them. He wasn’t getting the same ones that were going to some of the other bigger schools, and he did it through a real sort of exciting way of doing it. He kept these guys really motivated coming to morning workouts.
In summary I think that the biggest thing with all of this training is as they get older, to identify and try the best you can to identify what their needs are, to make them the best swimmer available. But don’t categorize them too early, I think before 16 or 17 before puberty is certainly too early. We try and sort of treat them like an IM’er until they are almost at the national level., I think you train them and you reward them and you try and make them take ownership of their program.
(Inaudible question) Tapering. I don’t know if Angel Martino or some of the really strong, the really heavily muscular ones need much less but I think in general, it’s the amount of muscular but I also think it’s the event. I think a big, especially somebody who has done weights to enhance themselves, somebody who is naturally pretty muscular, I think they need more, usually that means more males need more rest. I would think Angel Martino, probably needs a fair amount of rest, she is a very heavily muscular, very strong young lady.
(Inaudible question) I think all of us that have worked with distance swimmers who have probably seen their best lifetime swim happened in practice and if it can happen in practice, then maybe you don’t need to rest very much to get that kind of thing to happen in a meet.
(Inaudible question) Well I think that part of the whole thing is that those people are talented and that is their stroke and a lot of the credit should go to the coaches that work with them as they came up that they didn’t let them just cross their legs and become a two kick cross over type swimmer. Jeff was a great six beat kicker and when he trained, everything he trained was 6 beet kick. The bad part was that Jeff was never as good a long course meter swimmer as he was a short course yard swimmer. That was because he had a lot of difficulty keeping that kick up and even training the same way. He didn’t have to kick as long. It’s like the story of the 200 meter/200 yard backstroke. 200 yard backstrokers now swim 70 yards backstroke, 200 meters backstrokers still swimming about 150 meters of it, just because those other four walls make so much of a difference.
(Inaudible question) I think his questions was with all of the demands of school and the demands of morning workout and afternoon workout and whatever about how the kids cope with maybe not getting as much sleep or eating right. I think there are some that unfortunately probably don’t sleep as much as I think. I think the eating habits shouldn’t enter into it, I think that they should be taking care of themselves, eating well, snacking well. I’m not advertising it, but we do use Endurox. Most of our kids eat a half of Power Bar before a workout, a lot of times they’ll come in and almost before they start dryland they will have something to drink, usually water and a half of a Power Bar and at the end of a workout they’ll usually have a Power Bar, and Endurox.
But I think sleeping is a problem and you hate to ever say I think you’re dwelling too much on school or I think you’re dwelling too much on some of this other stuff. We have kids, I think they struggle getting 99.9 on a test instead of saying that swimming is really important to me and maybe 99.2 isn’t that bad. Jeff had a great comment, he went to Stanford, he graduated and he did real well and he said, you know I study enough and that is it, he said I want to understand everything, he said I’m not going to become fanatic about all this, I’m not going to over do it. I want social life, I want a competitive life and I want an academic life and he did very well and he put it in perspective.
(Inaudible question) Probably right now about 650 to 700 swimmers at 3 facilities. There is about 100 at Mountain Park which is a rental and that really is a group that is going to go up to Sugarloaf, and Alpharetta has about 250 and we are 330 or something.
(Inaudible question) I use my watch more for doing stroke count then I do for time. I also like it when I know what everybody’s stroke rate is when they are swimming well, when they are swimming fast. Usually when I’m writing splits down in the meet and then at least every 100 I have stroke rate after it all the way through. Then we do a lot of things where that is where the target is, the target is more stroke rate then all out.
(Inaudible question) We will do that sometimes in the 50/50 set. I may watch the girls that are primarily 400/800 swimmers and then take their stroke rate and say your swimming right where you need to be and if it’s 31.5 don’t try and go faster than 31.5, but that may be a girl that we are trying to get to hold 1:03’s in a 400 and that is what the goal is on that particular thing.
(Inaudible question) At our one site at Mountain Park we have a little bit of a combination where we combine. We still call them age group 2 or age group 3, but Kevin might run a workout that has age group 2 and age group 3 people in it. Now he may run it with age group 2 here and age group 3 here and they may be doing similar things but different on interval and different on number of reps.
(Inaudible question) At our site we have 4 month old, 5 month old people taking lessons and we have 90 year old masters. I mean, I like that, I just think that is sort of neat and I have a feeling with this SwimAmerica thing we are going to find a lot more of us with a lot more 4 month old, 5 month old, 6 month old programs.
(Inaudible question) I think you just do a good job of recruiting. We go to all the big summer league championship meets. You know Swim Atlanta will have their table down there and they may be giving out tatoos and we are giving out our tatoos and I mentioned earlier that I think the one thing that maybe we don’t do as good a job on is when we get the opportunity to have publicity, that we don’t extend the invitation for people to join. By that I mean, one of our girls at Mountain Park was a finalist at the Olympic Trials and we composed an article that went out that was in the paper and at the bottom we insisted on having something that she swims at Mountain Park, bla, bla, bla anybody interested please call. I think that those things are really important, because I think that a lot of people that read great things and think this would really be great for my children, but then they don’t have any way of finding out and they don’t take the time to then find out about it and they just let the moment disappear.
We have a great competitive relationship with Swim Atlanta. I don’t know what may have transpired in times before I was there but I work very well with Chris Davis and we invite them to our meet and it’s very exciting and we race them with Pat Hogan’s Mecklenburg team and John Morris’ Nashville with have a great relationship with them. We rotate those meets with a different facility and I quite frankly think that that’s what makes swimming good. When I was in Industry Hills it was great to race Irvine, it was great to race Mission Veijo.
(Inaudible question) Oh there may be some but I mean I just sort of feel that we do a good job with the kids that we get and there is going to always be a percentage that is not going to be exactly what their parents want it to be, so be it. I also think the program is the important thing. The other 680 people that stay, they’re staying because the program is the way we have tailored it and it is what they want and not maybe exactly what that other person wanted. I don’t care if they would go from their program to ours, ours to theirs, usually you see an unsuccessful person, usually you see a person who it may be on the verge of getting out of the sport.
When I first came Alex went up to Alpharetta, and Alex is an incredible coach, and he is a very demanding coach. There are 3 or 4 people who he said I think you would be better off in Senior 2 and they didn’t want to be in Senior 2. I have a saying, you want to wear a Rolex but you want to pay for a Timex, and that is the way some people are. I think people want to be in the national group but they want to train like they are in Senior 1. You know they want to come once a week and they want to wear the same t-shirt that the Olympic Trials people have. Anyway, 3 or 4 of those people left the program in the first month and none of them are swimming 6 months later. So I mean I think there is always going to be that, I think there is always going to be people that they may be unhappy and their parents may be looking for something, an easy way to keep them in the sport or whatever, and I think the best thing to do is make them accountable and if they don’t want to swim get them out of swimming. Let them become a better student, let them swim at their school, let them play soccer, let them do all these other things. I mean I would hate to think that somebody hangs on for a year that didn’t want to be there anyway.
(Inaudible question) Most of what we do the kids are responsible for, for knowing what they average on a test set. I went up to Caroline Burns and she could tell me for almost every Michael Klim set she did what her average was for 8 100 frees. I can remember them too, I mean I can’t remember all of them but I know the best set she had she held 1:01’s on every set and went 1:01 on everyone except one and she went 1:02.1 and that is the best set she ever had, so I mean I know that particular one I know some where she started at 1:03 low and finished at 1:01 something but I can’t, I’m not going to run back and forth with 12 people and try and track each time and whatever. “” brought up the point that maybe you could have a parent do that or somebody said that yesterday, maybe you could have a parent do that and my job is still to motivate and my job is to spend the time to try and get them to swim fast, get them excited, not to be tracking all that stuff. I think it really is important to them, I think that should be their responsibility.
(Inaudible question) I do a lot of things where we do things as a group and a lot of transition. I mean we may do things where I say we are going to do the easy freestyle down, finger tip drag, some very uncomplicated something, and then coming back I want butterfly breathing every third stroke and working on whatever and then we do that for 4 50’s and then we do butterfly down and backstroke coming back, and then backstroke drill down and we make a set of 24 50’s or something and we are all doing the same thing. I’m more or less correcting the group until I see something really wrong and then I walk over and say you know you’re doing this bla, bla, bla and try and work on this time or whatever. I’m doing more things like saying let’s do this on this, let’s do that on that whatever just in the beginning of the season.
DISTANCE/ INDIVDUAL MEDLEY TRAINING
DYNAMO SWIM CLUB
Background: Thirty-four years of AAU/USA Swimming coaching including seven years of high school swimming and water polo and six years of Division III college swimming and water polo. The last twenty-six years have been primarily coaching at the senior national level. The primary influences in my philosophy have been Peter Daland, Willis Casey, Don Gambril, Don Sonia, Mark Schubert and a lot of great assistant coaches I’ve worked with.
Philosophy: Priorities in life for all swimmers that I coach are: 1) Family, 2) Education 3) Swimming, etc. I believe you can be a great swimmer, sticking to this plan. I believe in working with the swimmer and his/her parents toward the swimmer’s goal. I believe in leading the swimmer toward “ownership of their career”. I believe in distance/ IM based training for age group swimmers.
Key Ingredients For Success: #I) I must believe in my philosophy and preach that philosophy to the coaches, swimmers and parents. #2) The coaching staff must believe and support the program. #3 The swimmers must buy into the philosophy. #4) You need to reinforce the philosophy (make swimmers take pride in their training and make them believe they are accomplishing things that few others can do and make them special) and have success (surround them with proof of their successes records, top five, top ten, top sixteen, records, league, state, Junior, Senior National, Olympic qualifying times).
Distance Athlete Identification: Generally, less explosive strength (fewer pull-ups, lower vertical jump, less bench-press, etc.), faster easy swimming (warm-up, easy swim after faster effort, less difference between faster and easier swimming.
Individual Medley Athlete Identification: 400 IM swimmers have similar characteristics to distance swimmers, except for the super breaststroker. Swimmers have no real problems in at least three of the strokes. Has ability to swim “easy fast”. Swimmers have willingness to commit to improving all strokes. Swimmers are usually flexible and have good 200 times in strokes. 200 IM swimmers have speed in three of the strokes and no uncorrectable problems in the fourth. Swimmers have good technique and mentality to refine strokes and turns.
Workout Schedule: Nine to eleven swim workouts per week. Six or seven workouts are two to two and one-half hours per workout. Others are one hour to two and a half hours based on time availability, time of year, etc. Dry-lands are 45 minutes per day, six days per week during school and 60 minutes per day, 4 days per week during the summer.
Dry-Lands: During school: we run two days per week, we do calisthenics two days per week and do weights/medicine balls two days per week. During the summer, we run two or more days per week and do strength training (weights, med. balls, stretch cords, calisthenics, etc.) two days per week. We do rehab at each dry-land workout. Do not use strength training that develops bulk or size. In general, distance swimmers need to do higher reps with lighter weights, med. balls, VASA trainers, swim bench, stretch cords, pulling for strength.
Swim Training: For distance training there appears to be two different philosophies: 1) Each workout is designed to train a specific energy system (examples). 2) Most workouts use descending sets which expect faster swimming, which over a period of time (week, cycle, etc.) will train all of the energy systems. I’m more towards the latter. Younger teenagers need a lot of aerobic and sub aerobic training.
Basic Workout Design:
1) Warm-up: 500 + of easy swimming
2) Pre-set: 1000- 1 500 of technique, drill, no board kicking that increases in intensity-swim efficiently, raise the heart rate.
3) Kick set: 600-2000, four to six long hard sets per week.
4) Swim sets: 2500-7000 +, aerobic, threshold, alternating aerobic/threshold and faster, descending sets, race pace (Lactate tolerance), short rest sets, IM sets (25-75 % of the time). * Shoulberg
5) Pull sets: 2000-4500 (paddles, small buoys, bands). We use paddles and bands without buoys one to two times per week (short distance, fast pulling).
6) Sprint sets: almost every workout- broken, easy/fast, relays, stretch cord, etc.
notes: We pull hard 4-5 times per week Sometimes the main emphasis of the workout is a killer pull set. We mix kicking with drill especially during “easier kicking days” and use fins three to four workouts per week. Remember: Pulling is an important strength developer for distance swimmers. Some distance swimmers need more pulling than others do. (two beat or three beat cross over vs. six beat kickers)
Examples Of Pull Sets: (Pulling develops strength- Very important for getting home At end of IM)
1) 1×3500 (500 mod. /100 fast, 400/200, 300/300, 200/400, 100 (rest 1 minute) 1000 or 500 all out. Have had 8:49 for 1000 in workout
2) 1×600.2x300s, 3x200s, 4x150s, 6x100s, 8x75s, 12x50s on extremely fast base.
3) 6x 600s on 6:30, descend 1-4 then add 25 or 50 on #5, add another 25 or 50 on #6.
4) 1 x 400 on 4:20, 5 x 100s on 60; 1 x 400 on 4:30, 5 x 100s 5 8 or 59; 1 x 400 on 4:40, 5 X 100s on 56, 58; 1 x 400 on 4:50, 5 x 100s on 54, 57.
5) As many 300s/200s/150s/100s with a set rest interval in a certain time in 40 minutes).
6) Backstroke pull sets descending followed by breaststroke fast pulling with fins on.
7) Breaststroke pulling followed by freestyle pulling fast.
Examples Of Kick Sets:
1) 16 x 100s, 4 on 2:00, 4 on 1:50, 4 on 1:40, 4 on 1,30. Notes: straight descend or 1-4,etc. Use last set on very fast interval as a challenge to make.
2) 1 x medium 200 on 4:00, 4 x fast 100s on 2-.15; 1 x medium 150 on 3:00, 4 x fast 75s on 1:45; 1 x medium 100 on 2:00, 4 x fast 50s on 1: 15; 1 x medium 50 on 60, 4 x fast 25s on 45.
3) Fin sets-drill sets, underwater sets, breaststroke pull with fly kick, fly kick on back, long catch-up drill.
4) Dive sets. Notes: Incorporate dive work with timed 25s to work on speed & body position underwater. Relays with underwater 25s kicking. These are very challenging to distance swimmers and FUN.
5) Mostly no board kicking on side, back and rotating through front, back and sides.
Examples Of Swim Sets:
1) 1 medium/1 fast, 1 medium/2 fast, 1 medium/3 fast, 1 medium/4 fast. Notes: May be done all free or IM on the fast. We like to descend the intervals on the fast-400s on 5:00, 4:50, 4:40, 4:30.
2) Descending sets: 13 x 300s/400s/500s-descend 1,2,3,4,6,7,8,10,11,13, #5, 9 and 12 are recovery. Notes: Goal is complete descend, teaches pace control. As season progresses-ask for tighter descend pattern but don’t go too fast on #s 6 or 10.
3) 18 x 300s: 300 recovery on 4:30, 3 x 300s strong on 4:00, 300 recovery on 4:30, 3 x 300s stronger on 3:50, 300 recovery on 4:30, 3 x 300s stronger on 3:40, 300 recovery on 4:30, 3 x 300s strongest on 3:30, 300 recovery on 5:30-dive 300 all out. Notes: Set up whole set to really challenge swimmers on last two intervals, Don’t be afraid if swimmers fail. Allow swimmers, who can’t make the interval, to stay at the previous interval. This is good example of challenging the different energy systems.
4) 6 x 900s/800s/700s on?: 100/75/50 M-50 fast, 100/75/50 M-100 fast, 100/75/50 M-150 fast, 100/75/50 M-200 fast. Notes: Mix IM or stroke on some sets. Base interval on what’s being done on fast swimming. Keep intervals reasonably fast since there is Medium swimming at the beginning and through each repeat.
5) 75 M/25 fast, 75 M/50 fast, 75 M/75 fast. Very short intervals (“touch and go”), 10-16 times through. Note: You will really see a difference between distance swimmers and sprinters in this type of set and desired swimming dictates much slower intervals for sprinters. Fun set for both but sprinters may only do 2/3 of the set with much more rest.
6) 6 x 400s/500s/800s/ 1000s on interval, Descend 1-3 or 4, then break with short rest interval between that allows swimmer and coach to know actual time. Ex) 6 x 800s on 10:00, descend 1-3 then # 4 is 4 x200s with 10 secs. rest between 200s and # 5 is 8 x 100s with 10 secs. Between 100s and #6 is 16 x 50s with 10 secs rest between 50s. Set goal times for the broken swims like best times, records, etc. (Brian Goodell)
7) Alternate long easy swim with race pace or “all out” broken swims. Ex.) Easy 300 on 4:30 followed by broken 1000 [10 x 100s with rest (10/20 secs.) or active rest (easy 100 on 2:00 or easy 200 on 3:00)] (1900-2800yards) then easy 300 on 5:00 followed by broken 500 [ 5 x 100s with more rest (20/30 secs.) or active rest (easy 100s on 2:00 or easy 150s on 3:00)] (900-1100 yards) then, easy 300 on 5:30 followed by broken 200 [4 x 50s with more rest (30-60 secs.) or active rest (easy 50 on 60 or easy 100 on 2:00)] (350-500 yard) then easy 300. Total yards= 2900 with no active rest and 4350-5600 with active rest. Active rest limits lactate production. Usually will have faster times but you need to look at desired result.
8) Michael Klim: easy to medium hard 300-400 M. on 6:00 followed by all out 100 M. on 1:30 8 times through. We do this about once a week. Variations.
Examples Of IM Swim Sets:
1) Long course: 1 x400 free on 6:30, 1 x 400 IM on 6:00,1 x400 free on 6:30, 2 x 400 IM on 5:50/55, 1 x400 free on 6:30, 3 x 400 IM on 5:40/50, 1 x400 free on 6:30, 4 x 400 IM on 5:30/45
2) 4 x broken 400 IMs (50 fly, 50 fly/50 back, 50 back/50 breast, 50 breast/50 @, 50 free) Depending on time of year and purpose of set the rest intervals may vary from 10 secs. to 60 secs. 60 secs is a reasonable predictor in long course. We usually follow this with a set of 200 IMs and the 200 best stroke.
3) 6 x 900s (100 free or stroke-50 fast fly; 100 free or strke-50 fast fly, 50 fast back, 100 free or stroke- 50 fast fly, 50 fast back, 50 fast bring; 100 free or stroke-200 all out IM. We stay on reasonably short interval and descend interval throughout season. You may do stroke
4) Fins on: 1 x 250 IM, 500 IM, 750 IM, 1000 IM, 750 IM, 500 IM 250 IM (build as you go). Based on 25 fly/50 back/75 breast/100 free time whole thing. Exact rest interval in between swims.
5) Short course: 300 form free on set interval 3 x fast 400 IMs on 5:30; 300 free, 3 x 300 IMs on 4:15; 300 free, 3 x 200 IMs on 3:00; 300 free, 3 x 100 IMs on 1:40.
6) 50 x 50s on 50- 4 perfect form free/4 all out free, 4 perfect form free/5 all out best 4 perfect form free/6 all out best 4 perfect form free/ 7 all out transitional IM, and 4 perfect form free/ 8 all out-400 IM.
7) 3 x 100 (50 fly/50 back, 50 back/50 br, 50 breast/50 free on 1:20 or 1:30 or 1:40) then fast 50 fly, repeat 3 x 100s, then fast 100 fly, 3 x 100s, then fast 100 fly/50back, up to 400 IM. You can dive 400 IM.
8) 400-600 of 25s fast fly then right into 8 x200s-100 medium back/fast 100 breast on 3:30. Keep all 100s back even and descend 100 breasts to all out.
9) Sets of 7 x 50s/100s/150s/200s transitional IM. Build into transitional turn and fast second half Swim odd 50s even working on technique.
10) 75 swim/100 swim or 150 swim/200 swim. Pick an interval that will be just makeable for the 100 or 200 and do a set of these going medium 75 then fast 100 or medium 150 fast 200.
11) Broken 200 or 400 IMs. Break 200s at 25, 75, 125, 175 and 400 IM at 50, 150, 250, 350. You get to work transitional turns and both strokes.
Note: We cycle through the week mixing fast swimming, pulling and kicking so that we don’t over do any one thing. We don’t have specific recovery workouts but I try to prevent overwork
1) Preparation/adjustment cycle-2-3 weeks: easy swimming, technique, kicking, stroke work, definition of practice terms, etc.
2) Endurance cycle-3-6 weeks: develop the base for the rest of the season: a lot of long sub threshold, over distance, shorter rest swims, mix IM, start longer pull sets.
3) Quality cycles: 5-10 weeks: More race specific, faster swimming, some longer rest intervals,
4) Taper cycle-varies from no taper to three or more weeks depending on swimmer. (size, age amount of muscle, etc.) Stroke rate work, race pace swimming, broken swims, strategy rehearsal, etc. See below.
We basically add more event specific sets as we progress through the season. We also shorten some of the longer pull sets and expect faster times. As we progress through the season, we try to do faster g in the beginning of practice and do more of the pulling kicking and endurance work later in the practice. We do more broken swims later in the season. The total yardage may drop 5-10 % near the end, prior to actually starting the taper. We taper about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 weeks prior to the meet Tapering is individual based on size, age, muscle mass, prior experiences and events to be swum. In general, the first half of the taper, we cut the work down to about 66% of prior yardage. During the second half of the taper, we cut from 66% to about 40-50 %. We may still pull fairly fast during the first half but probably less than half of regular pull sets. We kick about half as much but not real hard. We do some race pace broken swims and sprinting during the first half and more race pace +2 secs. per 50 or 100 during the second half. During the second half we start doing a pre-meet warm-up that will carry them through the rest of the taper and the meet. We do a lot of warm down swimming. We dive everyday during the first half and every other day during the second half.
Competition.- Distance swimmers need competition for developing pace, experience, strategy, etc. like everyone else but you may find that they do better times in practice than in meets during the early and middle parts of the season. Many younger distance swimmers don’t need any real rest or taper before any competition. They actually perform more poorly with rest. Take in consideration other events.
Summary: Identify, train (goal driven), reward, rehearse, taper, swim fast!