The Rise, The Fall and The Future of American Men’s Distance Swimming by Chuck Warner (1998)


Introduction: I first remember him as Eddie Reese’s assistant in Texas. When Eddie first came to Texas he was at his most hyper kinetic stage. Chuck was there as the sedative on deck. And, he’s been all over the place since then, in Connecticut and Ohio, and Florida, and California, and now back to New Jersey. And, every place he’s been he’s had great teams, great individuals. It’s an art and a science coaching both a team and an individual, Chuck’s done wonderfully. He’s been a great contributor to the sport through ASCA and through the United States Swimming … he’s always trying to give more back then he takes away. And, in his travels he has developed not only a technical interest in the sport, but a historic interest. Almost, a historic passion. And, especially for distance swimming, distance swimmers, and coaches of distance swimmers. I think in the presentation this morning you’re going to hear and see this passion come through. Chuck has asked me to give you three, sort of warnings before the talk. This is going to be an unusual presentation. It’s going to be extremely visual. And, so because of that he has handouts, but he’s asked that they be handed out only after the talk. So, they will be back there in the Adidas area after the talk. He didn’t want people tempted to look at the hand outs, he wanted you to be able to see and hear… hear the music, see the slides and hear what’s going on. He gave a pre-cursor to this presentation at the National Team Coaches meeting in May. At the end, the question came “How do we get out of this box”. Today he’s trying to talk more about getting out of the box. Getting good again. And, I think at the National Championships this summer, we saw that we’re well on our way to being out of the box and getting real good again. Much of this material that he’s assembled… and much more, is going to be available in a book that he calls “For Champions – One Gold Medal”. Right now, he’s just in the process of securing a publisher for that. He doesn’t have the details out, he’s not ready to announce that, but it should be any time now. In fact, at the clinic he’s busy talking to publishers. But, it’s going to be a great book, as you’ll get a taste of it today. I am thrilled to welcome Chuck Warner.

Warner: Do you remember a hot and humid week the summer of 1988 in Seoul, Korea? The 1988 Olympic Games the last time America had a finalist in both the 400 and the 1500 freestyle for men. It was Matt Letlinski, who just missed medals in both swims. I wonder who remembers summer in Los Angeles in 1984? In an Olympics absent of the world record holder, in both the 400 and the 1500; the last time American men won a medal of any kind in Olympic Games in the 400 or 1500. And, I wonder who can recall, the last time America lead the world to swim the fastest 1500. It was twenty-two years ago, in Montreal in 1976. When Brian Goodell and Bobby Hackett finished first and second in the 1500 and Brian and Tim Shaw finished first and second in the 400. The first time it had ever happened in American history. Our failure to succeed over the last fifteen or twenty years has haunted me like it’s haunted many of you.

The summer of 1985, as I was assessing my situation as coaching the women for the 1995 World University Game in the distant group, looking ahead at what Coach Kemmerling had for the men’s group and thinking ahead to ’96. It occurred to me that over the last fifteen or twenty years I’ve heard answer after answer, solution after solution, clinic after clinic, panel after panel, in restaurant after restaurant, and on pool deck after pool deck; all quick solutions. Eliminate Junior Nationals, eliminate the short relays in NCAA’s, we’ve got to work harder, society is killing us; on and on it went. It occurred to me that history’s really the story of people, and the only way we’re going to truly find out where we were, how we got good, and how we can get better again is to examine the lives of the people that were involved in helping us to get good to begin with.

So, I started in on what I thought was a summer project to write a book about the story of Bobby Hackett, Brian Goodell, and Tim Shaw. Three years, reading thirteen books interviewing about forty people over – over a hundred hours and spending somewhere between fifteen hundred and two thousand hours writing a story; I think we’re at the finish line. I’ve come here today to try and summarize briefly the things that I found. To start, in the early days, we weren’t very good in distant swimming. In 1920 Norman Ross won the 400 and the 1500 in blazing times of 5:26:08 in 1918 at the Olympic Games. In 1936 Jack Medica was the first American to ever set a world record in the 400 free style when he went 4:44.5. We all have world record holders on our teams, they were just born at the wrong time. It wasn’t until 1956 that George Breen was the first American to ever set a world record at 1500 meters for men.

I should say, our women have done well enough, that it wasn’t my focus, and the focus has been on the men. In the late 1950’s there was three young coaches in America that started to make 1500 meter swimming more important. The young guys’ names were Jim Councilman, Peter Daland, and George Haines. The face of American distant swimming truly changed in 1960 when an accident that seemed to take a boy’s life and turn it for the worse, made American distant swimming turn for the best. His doctor told him that he couldn’t play football or basketball, or any running sports anymore. At thirteen years old, he had done a little summer league swimming. He marched into the office of Sherm Chavoor, Ardent Hills, with his black steel toed boots, a chain hanging from his belt, absent his usual pack of cigarettes rolled up under his sleeve, looking the rebellious image of James Dean, an actor of the time and announced that he wanted to become a swimmer. His name was Mike Burton.

By 1966 after six years of training diligently in levels of volume that had been unheard of at about 80,000 yards a week with Olympic champion Debbie Meyer; he set his first world record. By 1968 he was Olympic champion at both 400 and 1500 meters, although the times of the day would swim at Mexico City at seven thousand feet, which make them appear slower than they would have otherwise been. If you could see this chart, which most of you can’t, you would see in Burton’s training that it’s long sets, it tends to be short rests. Practice was conducted off Sherm Chavoor’s hand stop watch. They would swim across the pool with one heat or one group coming in, and they would all go again together.

There wasn’t much of a speed element involved. By 1972, there was new young talented distant swimmer on the American scene; sixteen year old Rick DeMont. DeMont had a long fluid stroke that defied the customary distant strokes that we might see around the world and a steady kick – often thought of as Six beat kick, but actually a Four beat cross over kick. DeMont’s training program, if you could see it up here, was a result of the creation of Don Schwartz’s frustration of years of sending swimmers to the National’s, with what he would call lead arms; just exhausted.

So, he created what he called the cycle program of alternating easy days with hard days. The easy days might be eight thousand yards, the hard days would be fourteen to sixteen thousand yards. Covering over the course of a week about seventy seven thousand yards. On the Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday hard sessions, Schwartz would think of anything he could that was hard as possible. One of the things we would see involved here is the element of speed. DeMont was the first one that started to popularize to the idea of swimming a 3000 under thirty minutes.

It started with doing hundreds on intervals instead of just on a set amount of reps. By the 1972 Olympic Trials, Rick DeMont was the new world record holder at 15:52 at the 1500. The 1972 Olympic Games, Rick DeMont won the 400 free style, but it was later discovered the American medical team had missed an asthma medication called ephedrine on his medical form. As he sat in the ready room ten minutes before the finals of the 1500 free style, he still expected that he was going to be able to swim. But, the announcement came as the race was delayed, that the FINA bureau had decided that he would not be permitted to swim the finals, and later his gold medal for the 400 was recalled.

As the swimmers went to the blocks, the Olympic favorite from Australia mounted the block in lane four and Brad Cooper in lane six, in lane 5, twenty five year old Mike Burton. At the Olympic trials in 1972, Burton had failed to make the finals in the 400 freestyle, failed to make the finals in the 200 butterfly, and on the next to last day had slipped into the final heat of the 1500 by finishing seventh. On the last day of the 1500 finals, he got third, and made the Olympic team. When Mike Burton stepped to the block in lane 5, few people thought of him as the fastest 1500 swimmer in the world. But, few others thought of him as anything than the toughest. Burton sped out to his customary lead, in his 700 meters left to go behind. By 1100 Windeatt had again moved past Burton. But, Burton surged back again. By the time he closed in on the last 200 meters, he had a commanding lead. Won the Olympic Gold Medal in 15:52, broke Rick DeMont’s world record.

During the thunderous ovation from the Munich crowd, as Burton exited the pool, the first person was an emotional – and a gracious, Rick DeMont. Both Burton’s performance and DeMont’s response were America’s swimming at its best. In 1973, DeMont came back with a vengeance, to once again show that he was the fastest distance swimmer in the world. But, in Australia there was a five foot eleven, a hundred and thirty pounds string bean, who went to swim, live and train with Laurie Lawrence, a young coach., named Steven Holland. Although Holland could only go 4:06 in the 400, by the Australian Nationals that summer he had gone 15:37 in the mile. Laurie Lawrence and Steven Holland were working at unprecedented volume of work. With the goal of each session in two hours to get in ten thousand meters.

If they had to go two fifteen – two thirty, they did it, whatever it took to get ten thousand meters in. A hundred thousand meters a week, but again, there was a very strong speed element. For anybody that can see this, you’ll see Tuesday afternoons – descending four – 400’s, 4:16, 4:12, 4:09, 4:08, with Laurie writing the note that this is great, he is coming down to world record pace: 1:02’s on the last 400. They would do hundreds frequently on short rests, with a goal to be able to go fifteen 100’s on 1:10 at world record pace; 1:02’s. Eventually to work towards going fifteen 100’s on 1:05 and going minutes. One other thing I want to point out, Thursday morning, you’ll notice if you can see this, no practice. Laurie was a very, very demanding coach. But, this log, like a lot of things we don’t see in swimming, came right out of his log book that he gave me. Thursday morning there is no practice. This is the intuition of the coach at work, of deciding that Steven had done enough and there was no more productive work that could be done the next morning. Giving him the morning off.

By 1973 Holland had won the 1500 at the World Championships, the first World Championships and, American swimming was declining in its world rankings. We had gone from men operating at 60% of the top twenty five world ranked swimmers down to 46% by the end of the year 1973. There was talk in the swimming world and around the world; was US swimming on decline? Was America too much into a distance craze, too much into volume work? At the Western States Coaches Clinic in California, Coach Daland and Coach Haines are quoted as having said, “That American coaches need to be careful about the volumes they’re going to, or we’re going to ruin all the sprinters”. How times have changed.

In 1972 there was a young coach, driving from Ohio trailing his hot rod Mustang behind his car. Who drove down Interstate 5 in California, stopped to look over the fence of the pool and program that he had always admired: the Santa Clara Swim Club. His name was Mark Schubert. In 1972 there was a young coach who took over for the legend Don Gambril, at the Long Beach Swim Club. He was thirty one year old Dick Jochums and there was a coach in New York who had been three years into this program called Bernal’s Gators, where they train in a four lane, twenty five yard pool at Fordham University. There were other coaches like Bill Rose, same age thirty – thirty one coaching in northern 229 California, they refueled American swimming with a distance emphasis again. Well, the rules of 1996, seemed to make it prohibitive to do what’s right for a swimmer in the long run, by being compelled to meet short term needs. In 1976 the rules were nearly the opposite. There was no free style at the Olympics, there was no 400 freestyle relay for men, there was no 200 IM, distance swimming made sense.

By the summer of 1975 American men’s distance swimming had followed the lead wing of Tim Shaw and migrated to a place of world dominance that had never been seen before, and will likely never be seen again. Of the top ten ranked swimmers in the world in the 400 freestyle, everyone was from the United States. The highlighted swimmers in yellow give you an idea of what the competition was like in California, because they were all California trained swimmers. In the 1500 eight of the top ten swimmers in the world were Americans and again, five of the top ten were from California. We were not only fast we were young. In the 1500 of those eight we had five who had yet to go to college. In the 400 free style, of the ten we had four that had yet to go to college. In the fall of 1975 the focus of what it was like to compete and train in America occurred when I sat in the back of the room at the Western States Coaches Clinic, in California. Coach Bill Rose walked to the podium in the front of the room, his assignment was to talk on the Deanza Swim Club. The six hundred swimmer program and how he arranged it. He walked to the podium and he said, before I talk about my main talk I want to tell you about our swim-a-thon last week. Mike Bruner who’s home from Stanford this year, training with us for the Olympics did extra. He proceeded to go through the ten thousand yard swim that Bruner did, doubling the typical swim-a-thon at five thousand with the bet that he could hold every hundred under a minute average. Well, when Brunner finished he had averaged under a minute for every hundred. I can tell you from looking at this that he was 9:40 on his last thousand. Coaches sat through the room in dead silence listening to yet another challenge in American swimming training. Joe Bernal, in New York, heard of the story and searched through his log book after calling Rose to confirm that it was true.

He found that there were times when Bobby Hackett had gone twenty or thirty 100’s under a minute in training. So, he thought about it, and went to Bobby the next day and said look let’s do this. This is what Bruner did, but let’s do it our way. Let’s see how many 100’s we can go on a minute. We’ll tell the team we’re going thirty, so nobody gets disappointed and Bob if you can go more keep on going. By the time Bobby got to his eightieth 100 on a minute, his team was lining the sides …sides of his lane like a gauntlet for success. Cheering madly as Hackett sped through 100 after 100 after 100 where he was now averaging 55. Bobby Hackett finished one hundred 100’s on a minute that day. And, was so excited he couldn’t wait to go back to practice the next day. Tim Shaw was truly a target for American swimmers. This is Casey Converse’s log book from May of 1976 and Casey’s best time in the 1500 was 15:49 Here he is in practice about a month before the Olympic trials, going 16:28 for the first 1500 in training; and, 15:47 in the second. His best time ever. He writes at the bottom I hope Tim Shaw’s spy was watching work out tonight. Send a little chill up his spine. Like to show you the results of what happened between 1972 and 1976. I’m going to talk over little parts of it because our time constraints are such today, that I want to give you as much information as possible. But, this may be the greatest swimming race in history. If we get it to start. I guess you do know swimming history. Little boy in lane eight, named Salnikov. Now this is the only 1500 or 1650 that Bobby Hackett ever negative split in his life. All the buildup was he was going to be the rabbit, Goodell was going to lay back and chase him back at the end and the Americans maybe were going to play around to try and beat Hollin.

Hackett had another plan, he was going to make believe he was going out fast, just like normal and then he was going to start to cruise to see if he could come back and win the race. Because, in his mind he felt like he could beat Hartloff, he felt like no one else was going to beat him for the Bronze medal. He thought, what do I have to loose, if I’m going to have a chance to beat Hollin I’ve got to do something different. Now, that’s Hackett on the near side of us, Paul Hartloff over kicking and going out much too fast for him on the top side. Brian is down in lane six going from top to bottom. Steven Holland in lane three going from top to bottom. Holland also had a different strategy. Ordinarily he was the guy that would go out and just grind away. But, he and his coach Bill Sweetenham had decided that they would lay back a little bit, and see if he could finish better. In fact Holland went out much easier than what he had planned and much slower than what he had planned. It hurt him towards the end. The kinds of things that I want to tell you about as the race is setting up, is that when I started into this I wrote three different stories; the story of Tim Shaw’s life, Brian Goodell’s life, and Bobby Hackett’s life. Then I went back and looked at what are the common traits to each of these guys within their character. I’d always gone on the premise that the foundation stones of being a great swimmer were talent, opportunity, and hard work. I found I was wrong. Yes talent. Yes opportunity. But, before people work hard they’re competitive.

These guys were fiercely competitive kids. Tim Shaw at eight years old loved to play with his older brothers. Bobby Hackett always played with is older brothers, played with their friends. Brian as a little kid loved to race the older kids in the summer club meets. If the coach asked him to swim up a few age groups that was wonderful for him. When Brian was playing football and he was eleven years old and the coach went around to psyche up his players, he looked in Brian’s eyes and kept on walking. He said that guy wants to win as badly as anybody, and I don’t need to do anything more with him. One of the other things that’s unique to these guys compared to today, I think, is that as I created a pyramid of character up at the top I put personal responsibilities on the next to last rung. I think it’s absent today. A lot of parents so involved with their kids swimming that kids never have a chance to be responsible for themselves. It was Brian’s idea that he was going to spend extra time on turns after Tim Shaw beat him on turns, and after he saw Steven Hollin working on turns. It was Brian’s idea after he got beat by Rick DeMont on the last fifty of a 1500 at Mission Viejo Invitational, that he was going to develop a finishing kick. It was Brian’s idea the finishing kick was going to be the trick to beating Tim Shaw. It was Tim Shaw’s idea to go under water and look up and watch Rick DeMont at the world championship training camp at 1973, and that he spends every warm up and every warm down trying to swim like Rick DeMont. It was Bobby Hackett that when he was eight years old and the coach would leave the pool deck after assigning the swimmers some work, that would be the only swimmer when the coach came back that would still be swimming back and forth – working on his skills.

Hackett right now is feeling no pain. This by the way is probably the last 1500 shown in prime time, just about in its entirety, in America on television. As you can see, these guys were not perfect. You watch Steven Holland turn, you’ll know he wasn’t perfect. But, they take two breaks in the race here. One to go to commercial, and you’ll see the tape speed up. The second that is to do a story on Steven Holland, who apparently they presume was going to win this race. OK Mark Spitz is saying they’re ahead of world record pace, but not ahead of Bobby Hackett’s pace when we look at trials. OK, this is jumping ahead now, they went to commercial, came back and it’s coming into the six hundred. Brian right about here is getting conscious and by that I mean he was so afraid going into the race because Brian Goodell had never won a major swimming race in his life, until the Olympic trials.

All of a sudden he found himself as the American Hope to win the gold medal at the Olympic Games. He was so nervous before the race, he could hardly walk. Now, we jump ahead again. Holland is first out into the lead. Hackett’s strategy was, I’ll let him get the lead, but I’m going to make him work to do it. You can see Steven Holland floated like a cork and turned like one. Since I won’t have time to tell you later, I’ll tell you now. Every one of these guys broke the 800 world record on the last 800 of this race. I think Coach Carlile is feeling embarrassed right now. <chuckle> Now, Brian when he was at 1100 was seriously considering the merits of the bronze medal. But, as he thought back to all his years of training, he’d always envisioned himself at the top of the Olympic podium. Two hundred meters to go. Hackett’s yelling at himself to go… he knows he has more left. But, he’s just yelling inside himself. A hundred and fifty meters to go, where’s Brian. Brian’s got a song that goes through his mind. As I said obviously the greatest race in swimming history. Turns now, they’re even for the 1500. 57 Low for Brian on his last hundred, he went three fifty six on his last 400, Best time before the trials eight fifty six. Will let this go just a little more, to show you the replay of the finish which will tell you how patriotic Bobby Hackett’s effort was. He cared as much about winning the silver medal for his country and beating Steven Hollin, then he did anything else. That’s Brian looking up for Mark Shubert. And, that’s what it would be like to have your swimmer looking’ at you. Now, this is what I said would show you how patriotic Bobby Hackett was, watch his finish and who he’s really after and he’s still very patriotic today. So, how do we get that. I want to go through this real quickly. Time is going to be of the essence this morning. I’m going to go fairly rapid fire. The fall, in chronological order: in 1972 Title IX, all thought great for swimming in general, because what it did for women eventually would be what would take away from men’s scholarship money by most athletic departments.

In 1974 Junior Olympic System of Regions changed to a National Junior National System, of providing a rung of the ladder that was lower then Seniors. We seem to be slowly reverting back to history; and that’s a good thing. Talent moving away from distance events. Well you are looking ahead and making the 1980 Olympic team and you knew your competition was sixteen year old Bobby Hackett, sixteen year old – seventeen year Brian Goodell, as well as Bruner, as well as Casey Converse who is seventeen; where would you think your best chance lies? It certainly wasn’t in distance swimming. For Brian he had team mates of his own that were far ahead of his level of development that abandoned the 1500 and went to other events. What I’ll call the SEC influence. Eddie’s probably in here this morning and I’m talking about you. Many coaches in the Southeastern Conference are having great success at the Olympic trials, as well as in their own collegian swimming. I think strength … mindless strength began to take over many American programs hoping for a magic pill that was going to be the detriment of distant swimming. Two spots for each event, instead of three. As you know after 1976 we were penalized for our performance by FINA and the Olympic Committee removing the third swimmer that we could have for each event. So the percentage of athletes that could be swimming the 50, the 100, the short relays was much greater than the chance somebody might take to be one of the two people to make the 1500.

The 1980 Olympic boycott – huge. Took the wind out of our sails, happened in November it was announced in November of 1979 and immediately people like Brian went into depression. Although they hadn’t prepared like they had for ’76. They were fully prepared to rally that last year and to train hard to get ready for the Moscow Games. Club coaches gradually moving to a more secure college coaching. Happened all over the place. From California alone, Bill Rose, Dick Jochum’s more time in college. John Urbanchek, Mark Schubert all moving away from Club swimming. As well as Joe Bernal spending more time on college swimming instead of Club. The summer season began to shorten. In the 1970’s… the early 1970’s, the summer Nationals was typically August 25th to August 28th. So, if you were a high school swimmer you could get out of school and you had a good four weeks to train very hard and then had six weeks to sharpen for the Nationals. But, when we added Pan Pacs we added Goodwill Games, the first World Championships was ’73. We keep adding competitions and we keep taking away training. Especially detrimental to high school kids who can’t call train as much until they are out of school. Then scholarships, about 1982, from what Coach Daland tells me, dropping from eighteen to eleven. Less opportunities for distance swimmers to be supported to go on to college swimming. One of the things that may not be thought about to much that I think is very significant is the 1982 – the CIF or the California High School Championships moved from March to May. Creating another swim season to get ready for their High School Championships. In 1985, or there about, sports science or gain without pain and a lack of discriminating coach. Science is great – but the Coach has to filter the science to have it apply to their program in the way that it’s going to be effective. Many of us tried to find ways to gain and ignoring the fact that pain was a part of the process. 1989 – NCAA short relays were instituted. Now a lot of us think 231 of one of the down falls being the NCAA short relays. But, they happened way beyond the time that we started to get bad. They’re certainly a factor. But, one of many factors. Cultural changes kicking in. Hard thing to understand – hard thing for me to explain. In a nutshell. We can think of it this way, between 1860 and 1960 in America we moved from an economy based on agriculture to one based on industry. We basically moved from large families that were there for farming to building roads, building rail roads, building bridges over that hundred years. But, it took us only twenty years from the middle 1960’s to the middle 1980’s to be a culture dominated by information. The process, the distribution of information. And, families tended to get smaller again. Smaller because Mom and Dad are both working. Smaller because the investment of money is so great in raising children these days. And, consequently the focus or the pressure on kids to matter within their small family started to heighten. And, anybody who coaches Club swimming knows what that’s like. Mom and Dad, like all of us, what to ensure certainty of outcome as much as we can in our lives. It’s a fundamental quality of human nature. People that can ensure certainty of outcome or heighten it, tend to get paid the most money. Corporate heads, CEO’s that can ensure the success of the company.

Coaches, Rick Pitino, who has a better chance than most to ensure the success of the Boston Celtics. In the same way parents are looking for that sure success for their kids. Sure enough if they don’t see it quickly from you and your program, they’re going to go find it somewhere else or in some other sport or some other activity. Times certainly have changed. The small family is also diminished competition. Steven Holland, family of five – or five boys… five children in his family, Tim Shaw, four children in his family. Bobby Hackett three, Brian Goodell two. The less likelihood that you’re going to have competitive kids that are going to be growing up competing with their older siblings. Well, George started by saying that I coached at a lot of different places, but the place that I coached the most is California. And, I have a lot of friends there that I think are great coaches. There’s a lot of great facilities in California for great programs. I’m looking for something it’s not there. We’ll see if we can find it. But, I have a graph if I can find it to show you the percentage of world ranked swimmers from the United States and world ranked swimmers from California in the 1500. If this actually appears in the screen… which it… didn’t go there…. To the detriment to this microphone. You can see this is from the period of 1970 to the present time of what’s happened with the blue line of world ranked men swimming in the 1500. Compared to the red line of what’s happened in California. This is hard for me to say, and it’s going to be harder for some people to hear, but in my mind over the last twenty years – ten years California’s been a microcosm of everything that’s wrong with American swimming. Swim meets that last way to long. Clubs that are often controlled by parents. A High School System that has a Championship in May that with the current state of culture of people wanting to have success at every turn. And wanting to make sure they’re keeping up with the Jones’s of dividing the season into not just a winter season, but a spring season for High School and then a summer season as well. In Southern California there use to be when I coached there something called the North South Dual Meets that was very prestigious to be a part of the Southern Team. And, we all quali fied at something called the Q meet. Well the …. The Northern California’s logically abandoned that Dual meet, because it was for whatever reason. But, Southern California still has their Q meet, and it’s still a taper and shave meet for most kids and most programs. I know there are exceptions to the things I’m saying, but generally speaking in California…. In Southern California there is a fall season for the Q meet, there’s a spring season for Juniors and Seniors, there’s another spring.. or winter season for Junior and Seniors, a spring season for High School and then a summer season. There’s not time to train. Especially for distance swimmers. Where are we now. Briefly.

Well, I had to call Australia to find out how many swimmers they swim. Which was very surprising to me because I would think we would want to know what our competition was like. But, after researching in the United States I couldn’t find any answers. Ninety –eight thousand registered swimmers with an average team size of about ninety-six kids per team. In America, two hundred and eleven thousand registered swimmers. With an average team size of about seventy-six kids per team. Smaller teams in America, many doubles the number of swimmers. In Australia they talk about the Australian Institute of Sport. I picked Australia partly because they are obviously our most non-drug competitive rival. And, especially in men’s distant swimming. Australian’s to the sport, I read, they put $800,000 into athletic or athlete support. This is aside from staff and so forth. When America, if you take one college swimming program ….to make or between us and the rest of the world. And, just taking the top thirty programs or so, we’re talking about twenty-one million dollars or so, that we’re putting into swimming in America. Of course, the difference is in America it’s just to participate, in other places it’s to be good. Age group…. I went back and looked at some statistics of age group swimming. In this particular graph is in the hand out afterwards. It’s something for you to look at. But, let me just say a couple things briefly, cause I know most of you can’t see it anyway. What I did was compare 1972 and 1975 age group top ten rank, and then I went from ’75 to ’83, and then I went from ’83 to ’94. I carefully selected those years on the bases of that’s the Swimming Worlds I had in my house to do it with. <chuckle> There’s three things I made note of here. From 1972 to 1973 we went from a tenth place national age group time in the 400 in the fifteen to eighteen – or at the time fifteen to seventeen boys; from 4:11 to 4:03.4, an average of 2 point 1 seconds per hundred. Between 1975 and 1983 we got faster at the rate in the next eight years of point 9 seconds per hundred. By the time we got to 1994 we were up point 4 seconds per hundred. If you compare 1983 to 1994 we’re getting slower at the rate of point 4 seconds per hundred. In the 200 free style in 1975 in the fifteen – eighteen boys top time 1:50.3, the world record.

Thank goodness for Ian Crocker, showing that young boys can swim fast and compete with the big guys. In the eleven and twelve’s, in the 400 free style at this time, between 1983 and 1994 we’re getting slower for tenth place at a rate of one second per hundred. In ’83 our tenth place guy was 4:31.7 for eleven and twelve’s, it’s now 4:35.6 or was in ’94. But, in the 200 we’re still getting faster at three tenths of a second per hundred. So, the short of it is what we all know, the longer things – both in age group and in older kids, are getting worse and the shorter things are getting better. The final point, no male distance inspiration, I think is really missing today. We had the Mark Spitz era, basically. I don’t call the Mark Spitz era the era from ’66 or so, when he got good to ’72. But, it was the avalanche of support and enthusiasm that was involved in swimming after Spitz won seven gold medals in ’72. That’s where Brian Goodell’s dream came from. That’s where Michael Gross’s dream came from. Many kids excited about being a swimmer because of the notoriety of Spitz. So, what do we do. As, Albert Einstein once said, solution should be as simple as possible but no simpler. These aren’t simple solutions. But, I’ve got them categorized into four different areas. The first – encourage talented athletes to be distant swimmers by increasing the rewards. And, I’m going to have to go rapid fire through this because of our time. But, they’re like this. One – of fer competitive experiences that fit into the life of a family of the 1990’s. Who in the world wants to be a part of a sport where you spend three days a swim meet for four – six – eight hours a day? It’s crazy. We need dual meets, we need quad meets, we need alternatives, tri meets. Someway to keep pounding kids period in the sport, whether they’re distant swimmers or not. Two – sell young kids and their families on the many opportunities unique to distant swimming today. And, there are many. Inherent physiological advantages that you can always come down to events later on.

But, you can’t… you can’t go up. US National teams that are dying for people to make it that are just mediocre compared to the old days. To spite what we here many colleges that have scholarships that want to support kids that are distant swimmers and can have a great experience in college. What better way to learn a character skill necessary to be great in business, great in school, great in family, great in life. Then to have the work ethic and diligence to be a distance swimmer. Three – carefully move to a franchise or licensing system of clubs that will increase the stability of coaching a club. To allow coaches to get kids to do a little bit more work, to encourage parents to have more patience for it to work. College coaches could help now and some of them are, with great models of clubs run out of their facility that is coach controlled. Four – travel rewards for developing distant swimmers. Bobby Hackett and I were driving back from New York when I spent a weekend with him, when I went to first meet him and interview him for this book. He said to me, “Chuck all of this stuff about having rewards for people when they make US National Teams, or when they’re good enough to compete at the Olympics, or what have you. It’s too late. Give the money to kids that are twelve years old. Give it to their coach, and let them go to work.” Well, out of that thought I came up with this little chart, that makes a lot of sense to me, which would mean that at thirteen years old… whether …thirteen year old boy on the left – eleven year old girls on the right. Once you started to show some promise as a distance swimmer, 1500 – I wrote 17:20 for guys, 1650 – seventeen minutes. That you would get a thousand dollars that your coach or you could use to travel to meets for travel and so forth and to compete. Then as the years went by the stakes would go up and the times would go down. If we could set this up in the right way to avoid the NCAA rules, it might be a way to counter balance the lack of scholarship money at certain schools for distant swimming. Five – loosen the senior and junior time standards for the 1650 and 1500. In 1973 or’74 the 1650 time standard for Nationals was 16:15. Slower than it is for juniors today. The 1500 was 16:50 or there about. What better way to encourage young kids to want to pursue distance events then providing them the most accessible rung of the ladder for both juniors and seniors to be at a lower level that they can go after. If we have to stay there a little longer for the heats to go by us – fine. But, they’re going in the direction that we would like more people to go. If we.. if they had the time standards in those days, Brian, Tim and Bobby would be one to two years away from breaking world records, at the time that they qualified for Nationals.

We’re just asking too much for a young kid. If we want thirteen – fourteen year old boys, or eleven and twelve year old girls to make juniors that’s another way to do it, or seniors for that matter. Second point – improve prioritization of work versus competition. We need to have a later Summer Nationals. And, if it means controlling things that we control in a better way by doing what we have to with Pan Pacs and other means that we have control .. of what we need to either keep them later or find alternatives. Wasn’t it a great alternative this summer the Goodwill Games as a dual meet set up. 1974, probably the greatest swimming meet in the history in the United States was a dual meet between the United States and the DDR. With the DDR vaunted woman and their men’s score combined against America. There was about fifteen thousand people that watched that meet over two days, inspiring kids, including Brian Goodell and Casey Converse that sat in the stands. We need to give our kids time to train. We eliminate three weeks every summer, and if you’re a hard training kid that goes a hundred thousand meters a week. We’re talking about three hundred thousand meters a summer, one point two million meters per…per. ..per quadrennial Which is missing from what Brian and Bobby and Tim did in those days. Six – help California. US Swimming has got to help California. Someone’s got to go in and the California people need to do it the most. I know there’s pluses and minuses to all things, but I think a move to put the High School Championships back to March, and some sanity to the Q meet in Southern California would go a long way to get started. Third area – training. Something we’re probably the most interesting in.. or most interested in. Number one make distance swimming important in our programs and be certain that it’s perceived as such. Mark Schubert had the animal lane. Just for the guys, the greatest honor was to get into that lane, you didn’t feel like the animals should be called animals. Joe Bernal had a special invitation only practice on Sunday morning, which was a warm up and 1650 race. You worked to earn the right to come race the mile on Sunday. Dick Jochum’s gave a philosophy to his swimmers that incorporated the idea of being a reader, being a champion everlasting. That maintained a part of the process of being involved in the sport of swimming. 233 Second point – time worked properly. How is it possible that this happens, and this is remarkable. Tim Shaw, 1972, 4:13 – 16:38, three years later 3:53 – 15:20. How is it possible, Brian Goodell two years before the Olympics 4:02 in the 400, goes to 3:51. 15:57 in the 1500 – first time he had ever scored at Nationals. Two years later 15:02. How is it possible that Bobby Hackett from ’72 to ’76 went 18:12 – 16:24 – 16:16 – 15:32 and then 15:03. And, it wasn’t just those three guys. Paul Hartloff, the year before the Olympics 4:02 and 15:47, the next year 3:59 and 15:13. Casey Converse 16:22 in ’74, 15:49 in ’75, 15:15 in 1976. Incredible improvements. One of the things that needs to happen is we need to time work properly.

This is an approximate progression of Tim, Brian, and Bobby and what they did leading up to 1972 and then what hap pened at that point. If your kids…. If you look ahead four or five years you got eleven or twelve boys, going five – six thousand yards a day, six days a week; they are doing what Tim did, they are doing what Brian did, they are doing what Bobby did. As far as what I can tell, they are doing what Graham Hackett did. But, then they got to a point where they took off and, they went for something. They didn’t think about swimming as an eight or ten year process from there. They thought about if four years, here we go, twelve times a week. Four – I’m sorry.. three – consider progressing in training to eleven and twelve times per week. If you’re going to train the next American record holder at 1500 meters on less than twelve sessions per week, you’re going to make history. Burton trained week twelve, DeMont trained twelve,… or at least recent history, Shaw trained twelve, Hackett trained twelve, …. we’re at thirteen leading up to Montreal. Brian trained twelve, or thirteen or fourteen leading up to Montreal. I think there’s something that happens when you don’t have forty eight hours between the last session of a week and the first of the next. In my experience, kids have gotten aerobically opened up and start to make great break through’s. If nothing else, if you just consider six weeks in the winter, six weeks in the summer and try and it and see what you think. Or go with two in a row that are going to be full twelve training or doubles on Saturday or Sunday morning sessions, to narrow down that amount of time and break they have between one week and the next. Then have a week that you compete and have a week that they don’t train in the afternoon. And, see what you think. Five – balance art with information. Thomas Huxley once said, to paraphrase him, if there is a tragedy of a single scientific fact destroying a theory based on experience – something that often gets in the way of the coach feeling their way intuitively through the process. There were great programs for Coach Jochums and Schubert and Bernal and Rose to model themselves after the 1970’s, but they created their own. They took things from people and they created their own. Need to go back to number four… sharpen the work load for the 1500, not the 15,000 at the end of the season. I think this is really important that we talk about doing more work, some people are doing more work. Unless you are very aerobically oriented and want to run a program like that, 90% of the other people I feel sure, are going to get better as they have some time to sharpen coming down to their major race. There was an article the other day about a guy trying to swim the Atlantic Ocean, and he was taking a rest in the Azores. That’s distance swimming.

We’re talking about American speed distant swimming, fifteen minutes. Bernal, ten weeks before the Olympic trials in 1976 took Hackett from hundred ten thousand meters down to eighty-five thousand. Then with six weeks out, went down to about fifty thousand. Now, they had trained for all winter through everything. They trained for six months to get to that point. But, there was a honing process. And, then four weeks later on the second shade he got faster still. Tim, low mileage hi-intensity program. Jochums would talk about a six week taper, where they had three or four weeks of gradually doing faster stuff, slowly dropping some mileage and then with two weeks to go, they dropped a lot. Brian, standard three weeks, but when he went to college he would always swim better… almost always swim better at short course Nationals, two – three weeks after he swam at the NCAA Championship. Going to six – over the period of our coaches careers, whether we know it or not, we move from cheerleader to consultants. When you hear people say that yeah I’d like to get up and get excited at practice but, I got to pay attention to the training, I’ve got to pay attention to the computer. Something is wrong. Especially in the early years. Laurie Lawrence in 1973 was so enthusiastic and so excited at his dry land sessions, he slammed his watch to the floor, broke it into a thousand pieces – threw his team out of practice and ran the eight miles home. The next morning he real ized he left his car at the pool. <chuckling> He got up at 4:30 to run the eight miles back for morning practice. That’s enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is like falling in love. Where all the blemishes, all the problems disappear. All we see are the charms and the virtues of the object of our affection. Enthusiasm is what takes the kids eyes off the bottom of the pool and the black line and puts them at the Olympic podium. Enthusiasm is like an avalanche that over comes and engulfs all things. A well thought out, well planned program fueled with enthusiasm is required to be a great distant swimmer. Seven – speed and pain. Absent today in many programs. Race pace was a very important part of the programs that Brian, Bobby, Tim swam in.

And, they went daily in their approach to try to break the pain barrier. Tim Shaw told me, as we got towards the end of the book, that he found himself saying this to some of his swimmers the other day. And, it seemed to me that it is precisely the way Tim trained and what Tim thought about. He said, each and every day you know that somewhere in that evenings main set, he – pain personified – will be waiting for. Look him right in the eyes and don’t back down. Do not be fooled by the look on his face that he has your number, it’s a façade. He’s a paper tiger. Blow right through him. You’ll find that with in a hundred and fifty to three hundred yards you’ve driven through to the other side for that day. And, will finish your set with a great second wind and an awesome feeling found in that unique setting. He’ll be waiting for you tomorrow. You’ll have to call his bluff again. But, it gets easier and easier every day, as long as it’s in succession. Eventually it will become a habit, a way of life to where it’s so second nature that you don’t think about it at school, or driving to work out, or on the kick set. That is when you will be a champion, when you have conquered yourself to that degree. Fourth area – increase our competitive environment. Help young kids engage in competitive situations. Little kids, bombardier, dodge ball, things that will get them… encourage them to compete and not always measuring themselves in swimming. Important in little ten and under programs that kids aren’t as naturally competitive today. Two – manipulating the swimmers on our team to increase competition. They don’t always have to circle swimming, they don’t always have to be spread apart. But, try to find ways to get them together to compete. Three – enhance the training environment for high school boys. One of my favorites. I love being a college coach, ‘cause now I can say all the things I’ve always said, but not seem self-serving as a Club coach. American swimming has gone from Club centered in the ‘70’s to college centered today. Although there’s an argument to say that swimmers should be a part of the college program in the summer for continuity, there’s many other arguments that are different. The summer program is the focus of the Club coach, if it’s a good program. There is nothing like the enthusiasm, the hop and the step of the Club coach who is so excited about that one swimmer that might have a chance to make the World Championship – Goodwill, Pan Pacs, or Olympic team, and rallies the entire Club to raise more money and do more things to help elite athletes. One of the things that’s happened in America, is kids have gone off to college and stayed there all year long. When I look back at the early ‘70’s I find one summer camp run by a college coach: Doc Councilman. Today when you look in Swimming World, you see thirty-five or more advertised. Who’s going to have the energy to coach a distant swimmer in the summer. Someone who has spent two-three-four hours a day with their camp? Or someone who is thrilled to have one or two good kids home. One of the things that has happened in American swimming in my mind is young coaches have bequeathed the possibility of somebody becoming great in their program to those who have already been so fortunate to have some before.

If you’ve been coaching five or ten years, if you know science, if you’re organized, if you’ll fuel your program with enthusiasm you’ve got a chance to compete with anybody in the world. But, you’ve got to protect your environment and if you feel like it’s important for kids to be home in the summer to compete in training with your kids; then you need to make your case to the college coach. If they care about the athlete and they care about American swimming, they’ll listen. One of the first elements of Mission Viejo’s success were college swimmers in the summer time. Four – college coaches assisting competitive opportunities with their team and their facility. Even if nobody comes home, just try and integrate some people in the summer. There are some wonderful examples of the college kids training with the local club. Even if it’s a couple days a week to allow those young boys, as well as girls, to have the experience training with fast people. Girls can often have good guys to train with as they grow up, but if you’re a guy and you get good when you’re in eleven – twelfth grade, there’s no one left to train with in most cases. And, that’s why the college people are so important in my mind. Five – weekend of excellence. Another way to do it, would be to get together with other clubs. Train together once in a while. Put one or .. one or two or three clubs together, or to extrapolate that even more, to create a weekend of excellence, where all of American swimming goes to different sites to train for a couple of days. And, all the world class people are commanded to go with the junior people on up. So, that people have the experience of knowing what it’s like to train at a level of Tom Doland trains. One weekend of that is going to keep a lot of young kids fueled for the next eleven months – three weeks – and five days, to go back at it again. Six – computer competition. If worse comes to worse and all else fails, we need to share sets and use the computer age to our advantage. Which could happen by distributing back and forth different sets that might be important to swimming a fast 1500. And, this is to me the yardstick. Fifteen one hundreds on 1:05, foot touch, go in minutes. If you’re a boy or a man and you can do that – you can go under fifteen minutes. Brian Godell and Bobby Hackett did this two weeks out – Olympic training camp, went 1:01.2’s. I extrapolate this down to start with thirteen year olds. So, that you might have a weekend of excellence or a camp with another group, or with another club. Have it.. published. How many of the thirteen year olds made this? How many of the fourteen year olds made this? Who is on the way to doing these kinds of things? Obviously lots of individual differences are going to occur over time, but I thought it was a place to start. Conclusions – talked a lot about the physical state of American swimming and our capacity to be good in distant swimming. But, I just want to say a couple of words about our emotional abilities to succeed. The summer Nationals I counted thirty-three teams… or three hundred and thirty three teams on the roster. Nearly a hundred more than there were in Conquered twenty two years ago. A hundred and forty nine coaches with one athlete. Everybody wants their time in the sun. Everybody wants their piece of the pie. Everybody wants to do something significant. There is a myth in ancient European history – often times of a dragon stand ing at the front of a cave; a fire breathing, big monster dragon. The dragon stands in front of the cave that includes golden riches and a beautiful maiden. And, in order for the Knight to get to the riches and get to the maiden, he’s got to slay the dragon. They wouldn’t let me put the sword on the plane to show you that this morning. In mythology the dragon symbolizes the ego. The ego that stands between someone getting all that their potential is and all that they are capable of getting. To me this is the last hurdle if we do all the other things that American swimming coaches need to get over for us to be good again. Isn’t it true sometimes that it’s our ego that wants our kids to prepare for multiple events, to help our relays and score more points. Instead of being good or great in one long event. Isn’t it sometimes true that it’s our own ego that wants our kids prepared for lots of competitions, so that we can look good often. Unlike Bobby Hackett and Joe Bernal who in 1975 trained completely through the World trials in the spring. That catapulted Hackett to Olympic success the next year. Isn’t it often true that it’s our own ego that wants the kids to stay in the summer. Or our own ego that keeps us from calling the other Club coach to talk 235 about sets that would be competitive, or to get together to share training. But, isn’t it also true, that one of the subtle reasons that we all got into this because… was because America was good. ‘Cause we were the best. This was a part of being one of the coaches of the greatest sports team in the history of the planet, if you measure it by Olympic medals. The only fair measurement that there is. I always thought we were one team. My first feeling of that I think came in 1974 when I walked into the hotel meeting room in Santa Anna for a coaches clinic and saw George Haines in real life for the first time. When he walked to the back of the room to set his projector for his talk, my heart was beating so hard I could hardly turn to look at him. He represented the greatest swimming club …probably the greatest swimming organization in the history of the world – The Santa Claire Swim Club Story. When he showed the video… the movie, which was the Santa Claire Swim Club Story, the narrator was Bing Crosby. The greatest singer in the world, I couldn’t believe it. This was American swimming: Donna DeVarona, Mark Spitz, Don Schollander, this was being great. But, how could we possibly think of ourselves as being great if we stink at the events that take the most time, take the most work, take the most patience. In my mind if we can move talent towards distant swimming. If we can re-think of priorities of training over competition. If we can consider training eleven – twelve times a week, with a speed element. And, if we can check our egos to create competitive environments for our athletes. We can be great again. It isn’t easy. But, I’ve always felt that the greatest honor in this country is not being a National team coach – coaching a National Champion, or even being an Olympic coach. The greatest honor in American swimming is to be an American swimming coach. And, that means coaching with you to have the best team in the world. I’d like to finish with some pictures and some words from Tony Chance. And, when they’re done, if you choose to applaud, please know that you are also applauding Tim Shaw, Brian Goodell, and Bobby Hackett. Who have contributed immense amount of time to bring this information to you today. Thanks for coming this morning.

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