The Use of a Team Approach to Swim Training by Richard Quick (2001)


Published


I have an advantage over you guys because when I go out recruiting for Stanford University I would say within the first 20 minutes that I’m visiting with a family I’m talking about the importance of team in this individual sport of swimming but ladies and gentleman you can do the same thing with your clubs but it doesn’t just happen, if the team is going to be important to your parents and to your athletes you got to be the catalyst for that kind of focus and it’s something that is talked about on a regular basis but it starts with this principal there is not one individual on my team I don’t care how good or how fast there wouldn’t be one parent on my team regardless of how much money or volunteer work that they do for the club that if they take all of the energy or too much energy from you as a coach or the athlete takes too much energy as a coach or the athlete as a team then it is worth having that person on the team.

 

It’s simply not worth it, and I don’t want you to give up on athletes and I don’t want you to give up on parents but sometimes you have to cut your loses.  I’ve done that a few times in my coaching career not many thankfully and one of the reasons I think that I haven’t is because when I first started coaching team was important to me, the team approach to this individual sport of swimming is important and the athletes that come to Stanford know that and the athletes that swam club teams and high school teams before that have known that and so have their parents.  So if I could, if this is important to you and obviously it is because you are in the room then talk about it on a regular basis, it ought to be a subject of every team meeting or board meeting that you have.  You know I don’t know of a more individual sport than golf, but you want to see golfers get excited watch the rider’s cup when it’s the U.S.A. vs. Europe, those guys are running around when they sink a putt and cheering and patting each other on the back it is incredible what team brings to the individual sport like golf, it is very exciting and I can’t help but believe that they don’t play better, how many times have you had athletes that performed unbelievable well on relays first before they become accomplished at doing that for themselves individually well my message to you is, could you ever get it across that the individual swim is like a relay because everybody on the team counts on you.  Now what cuts into teams sometimes, I’d like to say that especially in and I think that in club swimming it’s this way and I would say in women’s collegiate swimming it is this way, jealousy, petty jealousy get in the way.  You know what many swimmers who come to Stanford say, they are so glad to get on a team where everybody is supporting everybody, because at home they felt like people were jealous, I mean, you know a large percentage of swimmers that come to Stanford are very successful before they get there, and they say gosh it is so nice cause they felt this jealousy and so on at home, talk about that, you know I really believe that for your athletes to have a great experience as human beings in this kings sport of swimming that everybody shares in everybody else’s dreams and goals.

 

Now, somebody may be coming in here to looking for some kind of formula on this, I don’t know how to put that to you, but we talk about that kind of thing a lot is it specific, you know it is difficult on a team like ours one year at Stanford we had four girls in the finals at the 100 meter butterfly at the Olympic trials in that same year we had four people in the finals of the 200 individual medley in the Olympic trials, what does that mean to a team, what it means is that somebody from Stanford was going to keep somebody else from Stanford from making the Olympic team, that is what it meant, how do you get beyond that, the same thing is true with the Olympic team last summer.  Those athletes had been dreaming their whole life about an opportunity to win an Olympic Gold Medal and they are so close, they’re in the game, they are on the team, how can we have a team effort, well let me give you some things that worked with the Olympic team, number one is somehow become an underdog, somehow become an underdog, I don’t care if you’re the favorite, figure out how you can be an underdog as a team.  That brings people together it was actually a strategy of ours with the Olympic team and I had to tell the team, look I don’t believe that there is any other team out there that is better than us but when I’m talking to the press especially the Australian press we are the underdog, I can’t tell you how many times people ask me well, you know how many events are you going to win and I say I don’t know how many events we are going to win, but we are going to try to win them all, well your not going to win the 200 butterfly, oh yeah, I forgot we are not going to win the 200 butterfly, underdog, it’s O.K.  But, in, you know what it does, you have a little secret with your team that worked with us last year at Stanford in the NCAA Championship, we were fourth in the pack 10 championships.  We missed winning the NCAA’s by a point in a half with nine athletes, two divers and seven swimmers the teams that we are competing with for that title, had 14 and 15 swimmers in the meet, we had 7.  The team aspect of it kept it us looking forward to the NCAA’s.  I think with most people looking at us say, we exceed expectations, and well we exceeded everybody’s expectations except our own.  The motto we had with the Olympic team was improving.  Work together to improve, we had some unbelievable examples, Brooke Bennet and Diana Munz training together.  It was something else to watch, you know in their history, Diana Munz had won some races against Brooke, but they were working together for the common cause of the team effort, and then they were going to let it be that the best man on that day won.  You can’t achieve that without talking about it, communication you are the key to that communication.  Another motto we had was work together to get better, work together to get better, during practice sometimes we talk about racing against each other, you race with each other in practice to get better, I love the statement that Mike Bottom made in his talk this afternoon or morning, where he said you can sometimes win a race in practice without touching the wall first, boy is that true, are you taking the right stroke counts, were you doing a better job on your turns but you hadn’t learned it yet, were you requiring yourself a certain number of kicks off the wall underwater that today cost you the race of touching the wall first, that the learning of excellence.  Work together to get better, a separate motto, why don’t you put it up in your locker room or where the team comes together somehow and everybody on the team has to touch that sign when they come into practice, just a little reminder.

 

Another motto we have had over the years is make everybody on the team better because you are a member of the team and asks your team to include you as a member of his or her team.  You know one of the things that was so much fun about coaching Dara Torres, she thanked me after every practice for coaching her and being there, every single time without fail now that’s maybe the maturity of a 33 year old.  I think that you can teach that to your teens, how much better would you feel if it wasn’t we, but it was all.  I can never, I’ll never forget when I first came to Stanford and I it was my first team meeting and we were sitting in the grass outside at a practice football field that wasn’t being used and one of the kids on the Stanford team said what are we going to do different Richard to get better we have been at Texas a few years before and we have gotten by a few times and I said well, we are going to be a better team we are going to take care of each other, oh we do that, and I said no you don’t, you don’t do it you think you have but you don’t really take care of each other, do you see someone that is not so popular or who is kind of hard to deal with and bring them into the team or do you push them out.  Do you have groups of people that feel like they are more important then other groups of people on our team just because they score more points?  I can tell you we have a young lady on our team right now her name is Katie Blakemore, if everybody else on our team, we are doing a set, and everybody else is getting 15 seconds rest Katie is probably getting five, because she is slow, she is a wonderful human being however, and every time she touches the wall she is communicating with her team mates way to go, keep it up, your doing a great job, if I had 2, we like to have 24 people on our team, if I had 24 and they were all Olympians and we had 25 and one of them was Katie and everybody else was an Olympians, one of those Olympians would have to go if I was going to stay at 24, because of the value that   Katie Blakemore brings to the pool for everybody else, and I’m not sure she’ll ever swim in a major important competition.  That is talked about a lot, that example and others like it are talked about a lot on our team so that team is important.

 

One year I had to eliminate an athlete from our team, a great swimmer, a wonderful swimmer, but because of her attitudes and actions, not because of her performance, but because her attitudes and actions towards the team and the coaches I no longer allowed her to be a part of Stanford swimming and I’ll never forget having the team meeting and explaining this situation to the whole team and one of the girls on our team said are we all going to be held of this standard, and I said absolutely.  They wanted that, they want that ask of them and they’ll give it to you.

 

So really take care of each other, the responsibility for everybody on the team is that the team comes first, now let’s talk about individualism on a team, that is where you’ve got to be a great coach, because I agree with Mike Bottom this morning again, there is some people like a Gary Hall or an Anthony Irvin that dance to a different drummer, they are great athletes, I saw some work being done on those videos by those guys, but it was different then somebody who was training for the 1650 or the 400 individual medley, I know you guys have a problem with that because I even have it still on my team even though we talk a lot about the individual needs of individual people and you’ve really got to do that, because the first time that somebody on your team that is maybe on the distance oriented deal and the sprinters that is doing something that is less yardage not easier but less yardage maybe and that distance person calls the sprinter a whimp you’ve lost something in your team, you’ve lost it, because all of the sudden somebody is not valuing what another person needs, recognizing individual differences and individual need is an important part of building a team. You know I, you can’t talk about this too much recognizing those individual differences.  I would like to suggest that maybe how sometimes practice I’m just going to talk about a few things specifically that we do in training that maybe help address that a little bit, number one is and it can’t happen all the time because sometimes the 1650 swimmer needs a 3 hour workout and the sprinter needs an hour and a half and you can’t ask the sprinter to stay there an hour and half and wait for the distance swimmer to get out.  But, if there is a 20-minute lap, there why not ask them for 20 minutes to support their teammate who is still training.  Ask him to stay ask him to maybe do some drill work or something so that they can get out of the pool at the same time, there is a couple things that I try to do, number one I try to, in practice with everybody finishing at the same time as often as I can and it doesn’t work every time, but I want to get it close, where practice is over at the same time, and you know if I wanted a distance swimmer to do more, what I try to do is bring the distance swimmer a little bit earlier so that they can finish with everybody else, that seems to be a good team situation that way, it seems to really help, it is tough for that distance swimmer to be training you know for another 30 minutes to an hour and everybody else leaves, now sometimes it is required and it has happen and by the way that was fantastic at the Olympic game.

 

You know Amy Van Dyken or somebody like that would be getting out of the water and leaving but they would say something to Brooke and Diana who was still in there and by the way they said it to Megan Quann because she was in there a lot but maybe these are examples you can use with your team, but in the Olympic team I’ll tell you how they’ll recognize differences, we kind of had a deal where we were going to train together and I really think it helped the Olympic team a lot where we had a sprint group and a stroke group, and IM group and so on but like Vic and Renee Riggs talked about they had a meeting with me, they really thought it would help Kaitlain to do some of her training or a lot of her training with the men, now I can tell you right now for most of the women on the Olympic they would have liked to have train with the men, at that age they like each other, they would have liked to have train with them, but I don’t think it was the best for the whole squad to have tried to mix like that but because we communicated enough it was O.K. that Kaitlain trained with the men, you know we really had an effort to try to have everybody kind of work together like the breaststrokers work together but Megan’s coach Rick Brenner wanted Megan to do certain workouts, Megan Quann kind of worked out by herself, we gave her about a half a lane and we were there to help her whenever we could but she was doing her own workouts, because we explained the needs and the requirements everybody got into it and supported it so work on the communication, another thing I would say and this is just an idea is we have done some things like if we are going to do an interval of 130 I can have the sprinter going 12 50’s on 1:30’s and I can have a distance or middle distance swimmer this would be short course, I can have a distance or middle distance athlete going maybe something like a 50 on 130, 100 on 130 a 150 on 130 a very good swimmer doing that and go through that four times now everybody is on the same interval but they are doing the distances that they need I believe that is something that has helped us.  You know I talked a minute ago about the shared goals, somehow I would like to sell the athletes like Katie Blakemore who is that sell and I know that she feels very good about Misty’s win in the Olympics games you know very excited about any success that our best athletes have by the same token I expect Misty Hyman to support Katie Blakemore in her efforts to break 5 minutes for the first time in a 500 freestyle or make the pak 10 team that is her goal, be aware of each other’s goals that way.

 

Now let me tell you the thing that I think works absolutely the best, you know the name of the topic is training and everybody thinks up and down the pool and lap a lot of people do, but I really believe in training that I value the most is technique work and partnering up in groups of twos, threes or fours turning the pace clock off and having people help each other develop skills in their swimming because I believe the very best way for people to invest in each other, it is more than just a way to go, now I know that you guys as age group coaches, the first time that you try this it is going to be kayos I promise you.  How do you answer that, how do you figure that out, here is, first of all I would try to say how important it is, as soon as it turns into kayos then you start some kind of fairly difficult set and you run that set for a while and then you stop the set if you want to do it in the middle somewhere, would you like to go back to what the objective of this practice really was or do we just want to swim laps some more.  Get their attention.  But have them work together on their strokes and I want to tell you if you want to, we did this when I was at the Dad’s club years and years ago, in the first six Sunday’s of our season, our senior team ran a stroke clinic for the rest of the club, and on the first Sunday that we did that, it was freestyle for everybody, in the second Sunday it was backstroke, then breaststroke and then butterfly and then starts and turns, you talk about getting support for the senior program, the age group program, wow, everybody was fired up and they started supporting senior goals, even people that were just joining the program.  But, having your teams work together that way I think really a way to have them work on the training and I can’t tell you how well it works because they want to try and please each other and prove to each other that they know how to teach better than the other guy, they become a teacher and you have an assistant coach in the water and it makes a big difference as far as I’m concerned.

 

Another thing that I think was important is when we did those stroke clinics a lot of the times we would finish it with some kind of a relay competition where we mixed up the sexes and we mixed up the ages so it started right away building a team even though the kids never worked out together except on those Sundays, it built a team concept where everybody on the team the brand new six year old who was on the relay with maybe the best swimmer on the team they began to realize that their slowest swimmer was very valuable to them and how can I improve that slowest swimmer, you might even, and I just thought of this as I’m standing here, but you might do a little bit of stroke work somehow and then might have a contest among the groups of 2’s, 3’s or 4’s somehow that you measure the quality of the technique work that is done so that it become very real that the person who can get it the best and can help the person who is struggling with it the most.  You know I this subject means so much to me that, but it is, I’m just telling you that it’s a difficult subject for me to put into words because it is a communication thing on a daily basis with our club with our team at Stanford and I don’t know, I would really like to and I’ve only spoken here for about thirty minutes, I would really like to hear, to have some questions about things that we do about maybe lien to the team and then kind of have a discussion on this if it is O.K. with you guys, so any questions here on this subject, come on help me out.

 

O.K. Jimmy, that’s a great thing and thanks for that question at the end of almost every major practice that we have we stop and ask the athletes to share with us what they have done that is special in the practice, and at first when we first start this, people are a little bit embarrassed, especially girls are a little bit embarrassed to talk about something that they have done well, better than they have ever done before, whether it be a kick set, pull set, swimming a number of underwaters whatever it is but we ask for each athlete to share what they have done well in that practice to review it, just, your talking about just a few minutes at the end of a practice and not everybody has something everyday to share, but it doesn’t take long before they want to have something everyday to share, it can range from, I’ve got a certain stroke technique better than I ever have before, I got a certain stroke count done at a certain stroke rate better than I’ve ever done before, or I’ve, the best time I’ve ever done in practice or the best average I’ve ever I’ve ever done in practice and all those kinds of things, but just a short meeting after practice  I know one of the things I hope he doesn’t mind that I share it but I think one of the things that has really worked well for Skip, is in there locker rooms they have a dry eraser board and the guys write down the sets that they’ve done, if it is a best time set or a best average or a best time in practice and what it is, is a motivation one of the things that I do with our athletes is share excellence with, if I hear from one of you guys about something that one of your athletes is doing that is excellent, I don’t do that to intimidate our athletes, even though we might not have anybody remotely close to that I say it opens their eyes to the possibilities, it opens their eyes to the possibilities, you know what Michael has done to the200 butterfly opens the eyes to the possibilities for every young boy in this nation.  What Janet Evans did, at 95 pounds in 1988, 4:03 for 400 meters freestyle, I still can’t get over it, and it opens the possibilities.  Did that answer the question some?  You know it is never, you as a coach are going to overlook somebody that is why it is important to have that going on, and if you have that team really working, somebody else may say if a person is shy, the team may say hey Richard, Sally over here has done the best set she has ever done, if your team is really aware of each other and that is what you want to get.

 

(Question) You know I, very seldom for us anyway, that an athlete doesn’t get to swim their best event, once in a while that happens, but, Misty Heiman only got to swim one shade rested and without swimming the 200 backstroke before the 200 fly in her career at Stanford at the NCAA championship, because she swam the 200 backstroke before the 200 fly every time for the team, I think it helped her somewhere down the line and what I like to, very seldom do we have it where a person doesn’t get to swim their best event, because their best event is the one that they are going to score the most points in, now in a dual meet that is completely different.  In a championship meet it seems to workout that way but in a dual meet you know I talk a lot about people on our team over the years, in the past and right off the top I think of Janel Jorgensen who swam with us in the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s an Olympian on the 88 team, NCAA champion for us, she swam anything at anytime that we needed and I talk about Janelle a lot, everybody on our team hears about Janelle several times a year and you know I have had athletes and remember this coaches, I’ve had athletes say that one in particular say to me Gosh Richard I hope you talk about me sometime and we have one girl win a NCAA title in the 100 backstroke Jessica Tom and I’ll never forget her saying “well maybe now you’ll talk about me” but everybody knows about Janelle, there is a tradition at Stanford and you can develop this tradition on your team that the team comes first, there is a responsibility there and very, very often when you train for the event that is needed by the team, the best event gets better anyway.  An example of that when I was at the University of Texas I coached a girl by the name of Tracy McFarland, when Tracy in 1988 she won the Olympic Trials in the 100 and 200 meter breaststroke, the first major 200 meter breaststroke she ever won was the Olympic Trials, she didn’t win a NCAA 200 breaststroke, she never won in the national championships until the Olympic trial, but here is the story, and the answer to your question a little bit, we wanted three events out of Tracy in the NCAA championship in the first year we trained the individual medley like we do an awful lot of people, we trained individual medley but when we got to the conference meet where most of the times are achieved to go to the NCAA’s I timed her in the 50 freestyle and she didn’t score in the S.W. conference at the time, she didn’t score and she certainly didn’t qualify for the NCAA great breaststroker though she won the 100 breaststroke, didn’t win the 200 won the 100.  Second year we continued working on the individual medley we tried to qualify at the S.W. conference championship and she didn’t qualify, third year, qualified but did not score in the NCAA for the 200 individual medley, her senior year she is either second or third in the 200 IM, now Tracy McFarland cannot swim any other stroke but breaststroke, but in practice she raced the best butterflyers in our team when we were swimming butterfly, she raced the best backstrokers when we were swimming backstroke and she raced the best freestyles when we were swimming freestyle, backstroke that is Beck Mitchell, Andrea Hayes this is freestyle, Andrea Hayes she is in there trying to beat them and she can’t swim the strokes, what happened is her 200 breaststroke got better and better and so did her 100 by the way, 1:08.9 in 1988 and right at 2:30 or 2:29 plus in the 200 event.

 

Yes sir (question).  We area little luckier than that because at Stanford we start our team building and process and everything because we go to Colorado Springs the first two weeks before school starts so we don’t have anything to worry about, but I’ll tell you when it is really done, it is done when the hard work is going on when there are not meets coming up and when it is raining outside and it’s cold and your going to practice because your team is there and your working hard because your team needs you to work hard and your supporting each other.  You know if your like Katie Blakemore and I don’t care how hard you are hurting if you start into a practice and it is going bad for you and you’ll take your focus and give it to your team mates and try to give them energy an incredibly high percentage of the time your going to start swimming better yourself, it is hard to be encouraging somebody else and be talking positive to somebody else and not have some of it come back to you, maybe a person starts off by saying well, thanks, hang in there yourself and pretty soon you are hearing that hang in from around the pool come on you can pick it up your better than that, but I really believe it is done when nobody wants to be at practice maybe including the coach, but you are all there because the team is counting on you to be there, it comes in when it gets tough in a competition.  You know when that is in the NCAA’s I bet you that the NCAA coaches can tell you, it comes in the 800 free style relay if it is in the conference meet or if it is in the NCAA championship, it is the 800 freestyle relay nobody wants to swim the race, I can tell you that right now, you swam two days and your best swimmers have swam three or four races a day for two days and they are fighting their guts out and now we are swimming the 800 freestyle relay.  Four times 200 you know I believe it measures the character of a team.  So that comes up, it is something that is built all the time, it is a little fragile all the time so it needs to be, you need to be aware of it all the time, and as a coach, you know if you are upset with one person on your squad everybody on your team probably knows that you are upset with them, with that one person, going in sometime and talk to the whole team about the weakness or whatever it is that, that one person brings, don’t say their name just talk about the issue.  Don’t say their name, your team will help bring that person around.

 

Good question.  (Question) oh yeah I think men and women approach that role differently, but every time that I get a chance I try to give members of our team an opportunity to be leaders, whether they are freshman, juniors, seniors, sophomore, whatever it is, if they have a chance to be a leader, I give them that chance, I’ll give you an example, we went to the girls wanted to go to Hawaii last Christmas for training, I’ve never gone to Hawaii I’ve always gone to Colorado Springs, it is cheaper, the food is right there the altitude is there, there is nothing to do and I like it they hate it.  So you know right after I got back from the Olympics they came in and said we would really like to go to Hawaii, I didn’t want to go across the street much less to Hawaii or anyplace else, I was so tired, but Misty came back in and Misty is one of our team captains and she said Richard we really want to go to Hawaii, I said you do? O.K. you put the trip together, here are the requirements, we need this much pool time, we need this time long course, this much short course we need a weight room, we need a cheap hotel, if one person on this team can’t afford to go we can’t go, I’ll pay for the air fare I’ll raise money for the hotel, you guys pay for the meals and all of the sudden they all had a team project that they all got interested in and by the way they wanted it to work so badly and for me to want to go back so badly they worked their guts out in Hawaii and it worked out perfectly but they put the trip together and they invited me along.  Another thing that we did in Hawaii is we went to a, we’ve done some spinning in our program and we went to like Gold’s Gym or something like that for a spinning class, I hope you don’t mind this story, but there were three instructors that we had, I went to this place I said look I want to work out for an hour in this spinning class and this woman that looked like she’d been on steroids half of her life her eyes got big and she got excited and she said I’m in charge of the aerobic program here and I’ll get some instructors and we’ll get this going, well we had three instructors and they rotated each day, we were on for two day off for a day, on for two on for a day on for two, well the steroid lady we called her she loved the power side of it, so our legs are flying a lot of the time but they are grinding away a lot of the time too, and she has this, I’m positioning myself on a bike like I’ve never positioned myself on a bike before, we are squatting down between what we call, she called them butt diggers, Oh my god I was on fire, we are hanging off the back behind the seats sometimes riding the bike, it is just incredible what we were doing then the next person that came in we called her blue legs, I mean you couldn’t see her legs go around they were going so fast for an hour, I mean you couldn’t and then the next person that came in was a guy and he within about ten minutes he knew everybody’s name on our team and if he didn’t know your name he made up a name for you.  He would, he was kind of a mixture of both of those guys, he was yelling at me, come on Richard your feet aren’t even moving, of course the girls loved the fact that somebody was yelling at me to get my fee moving, but the point is we came, that experience raised our level on expectation on spinning on what could be accomplished on swimming, we came back to Stanford and of course those three guys couldn’t come with us so we, I put Shelly Ripple in charge of our spinning program, she did the tapes, she led us and I said I want you to be better than those three instructors Shelly and she was, she was. I think that leadership and the work involved and everything we couldn’t quite get by everybody in the 200 individual medley, but she did drop from 1:59 to 1:56 in the 200 individual medley, and I think that the leadership part of that and the team part of that made a huge difference.

 

Yes (question) as captains, well the number one thing usually captains are, sometimes, very often your best athlete on the team so I really believe that they can play a huge roll as leaders in the water and all that kind of thing, but, you got to be a little careful that they don’t use all their energy up trying to solve all the problems on the team and girls can do that, girls can, you know sometimes when they are captains of the team they want to be moms to everybody.  Pretty soon they are not swimming worth a darn because they are using up all of their energy.  So the thing that you have to sell athletes on is that if there is a problem, guys will confront guys, girls seldom will confront girls, they will talk about them behind their back a little bit, and we talk about that a lot if you have something to say and you can’t say it to the person say it to me as the coach, let me try to help you with it and let me try and help the other person with the problem or the other group, it could be groups, you know we’ve had, I mean these are just examples but we’ve had one time I was coaching a team and we had Christians and we had the Heathens and the Christian group was so strong that they didn’t want to have anything to do with the heathen group and I had to talk to the Christians and say and I’d like to think that I’m a Christian but I put myself in the heathen group as far as that group was concerned and said, we heathens, your not doing any good as a Christian over here and leaving us out, you got to come over here with us heathens and help us out, but one of the things, and it seemed to help a little bit with that situation.  Your question about guidelines is that try to solve the problems but don’t waste all your energies trying to do it, some things you cannot solve yourself, and we need expert help from the outside.  Encourage communication, you keep coming back to that but ladies and gentleman every single coach I’ve been around, I think the thing that separates them is their ability to inspire and communicate their athletes to their athletes and you have to take time to do that, and sometimes it doesn’t mean that you have to stop practice but you have to communicate, but encourage that communication.  I’m sorry I’m kind of yelling on that and I don’t mean to but I feel strongly about it.

 

Yes, Kim (question) Well I’ll tell you something, we had a pretty neat example of what a team is all about and I don’t think Richard Shoulberg is in the room but if he is, we had one of his swimmers Jessie Karr on our team and Jessie Karr and Katie Blakemore they went to the pak ten meet and Jessie Karr swam her heart and guts out she worked her guts out all year long, she took many of the steps that she needed to take to give herself a chance to qualify and score at the NCAA’s, but she did not qualify to go to the NCAA’s championships.  I’m going to tell you right now the reason Jessica thought that she won the 500 freestyle was because Katie, I mean Jessie Karr who was her training partner came into practice the Monday after the pak ten meet when she knew she didn’t make the team and trained with every bit of enthusiasm with Jessica for the next two and half weeks before we went to the NCAA’s.  I ask our athletes to come around and encourage the NCAA team and they do it in a lot of different ways, Kim, sometimes it is not things that I think of very well I’m not good at this stuff at all but we will come in and the locker room is all decorated by the people that aren’t going to the NCAA’s.

 

When we get ready to go to get on the bus to go to the airport everybody that is not going to the NCAA’s is there saying goodbye, have little gifts for the girls and that kind of stuff as they are getting on, it is a pretty neat deal, another thing that we do in team building that way, is at Christmastime we have secret Santa’s where they make up funny gifts for each other and they don’t know where it’s coming from and all that kind of stuff, but I don’t know if that answers your question but I can tell you that Jessie Karr gave us a chance to win the NCAA’s and she knows how I feel about her and her commitment to the team and Jessie Karr will always be somebody that is talked about in Stanford swimming tradition, because of her commitment to the team.

 

(Questions) Yes sir, well I talk about the different needs of the different groups and the different types of athletes and based on their backgrounds and a lot of different things, we communicate on that a lot on a regular basis because it can, when you are dead tired and your in there working and doing all the workouts and your dead tired you can be irritated by the fact that somebody is doing less and is getting out early and there is two people that have a responsibility for that, the person that is in there that is dead tired has a responsibility to understand that the person that is doing a little less time wise in some way is doing what they need to do to contribute to the team effort and to be honest with you on our team if somebody says something like well she’s a whimp or she’s a wussy for getting out I kick that person out of practice I get all over that person, because they are refusing to understand the differences in people in what is needed there and we talk about it enough that they understand why they are being kicked out I mean I don’t kick many people out of practice but that is the way to do it because we ask our sprinters to work very, very hard, but it would be wrong for them to work as long in some cases as the distance swimmers are working and it would be just as wrong on the distance side of the equation for them not to get enough to compromise toward mediocrity in the middle and if your athletes don’t understand that then I think your missing something in your program.  And, again, I think that is up to the coach.

 

Rick, (question) Rick we are usually broken into groups in our training, most of the time we are broken into groups, I would say of our nine workouts a week that two to three times a week I try to have one set in the practice where everybody is going on the same but may be going different distances, so we try and do that in you know trying to have everybody recognize the excellence that is going on in each group and it can be more creative than that I just made it a simple one, but, you can play with intervals and distances quite a bit.  You know one thing I saw, I thought this was a genius I really think he is a genius by the way, Bob Gallet of Arizona, but you know what he used to do, he would have everybody on the team going to the same practice with the same intervals, but he put in things that he dropped down on the lane lines and everybody turned it at a different distance down the pool but they finished each repeat together, but they had mid pool walls that they turned on, now they weren’t overly solid or anything, but that is how important the kind of team concept and you know what, how neat is it for that developing senior caliber swimmer to be finishing each repeat with Misty Hyman, pretty neat idea, now we haven’t done that but I tell you I think that’s a great idea, and then you get to turn on the wall when you can finally do the repeats and do them the full distance.

 

Yes sir (question) you know for me that is such an individual question and I don’t have a formula for it but I do think it is, to sell the idea of the team concept to the whole team to begin with so that everybody on the team, most of the people on the team is buying into the concept number one get that concept as an important basic foundation of your program secondly do some individual counseling with that person.  I was at a university once where there was a great, great, great swimmer on the team and I wasn’t the head coach, but the head coach spent an awful lot of time talking to that athlete during practices and everything else because he would be upset about this or whatever, he spent about as much time talking to this one athlete and that was an example of my opinion of one guy, the best swimmer on the team to be honest with you one of the very best swimmers in the world, costing that team their full potential, I would rather go to a meet and lose even if it is as painful as losing by a point and a half like we did this last year and have everybody tearing their heart out for the team effort, but to win a meet and not be a team and somehow that message has to get across to everybody on your team and maybe that is because I’ve had the unbelievable good fortune to have won a few of those meets but I can tell you it is not worth it the other way and it is wonderful regardless of what the score is regardless of what the score is if you are really a team you’ll remember that as a coach they’ll remember that as athletes their whole life, together we can accomplish more than we can individually.  I’ll tell you another idea I saw in the Swim America table is you know a good idea is shared by everybody multiplies you know that is part of our team concept also.

Any other questions? Pardon me? (Question) you have a good swimmer but you believe that they are not reaching their potential when should you suggest that they go to another team, it is funny I have a very good friend who my first year of coaching the girl could swim 75 meters now we didn’t swim 50’s much in the long course back in those days, she could swim 75 meters and she died all over the pool and she drove me nuts because I knew she was talented and she wouldn’t come to practice and she wouldn’t work hard when she was there and she was negative, I was new coach and she loved the previous coach absolutely loved him and she just couldn’t buy me and so at the end of the swimmer my first three months, she is the best swimmer on the team I said to her you really need to go to another problem, because you have enormous potential and it makes me sick everyday at practice to see you waste it, you need to select another team she begged me to give her another chance, and I said don’t miss any practice and work your guts out those are the only two requirements that I have, the girl the next year wins in our state championship, the 100/200/500/1650 freestyle and qualifies for the national championships in all those events and she couldn’t qualify in the 100 a few months before, my message there is if you have a person that is underachieving you need to challenge them but you need to be willing to let them go but you need to believe in them enough of what your giving them that they can reach their full potential with it, because if they are kind of a negative force because they are not reaching their full potential with you then they are hurting everybody else on your squad and you cannot allow that to happen and that takes courage as a coach and sometimes, you know, I’ll close with this one thing I’ve been coaching about three or four years and dick will remember this, but I was coaching three or four years at the club and there was a great swimmer on our squad her name was Keena Rothhammer, Keena Rothhammer had qualified for the national championships at 12 she finished in the national championships in four events when she was 14 and at the time I thought there was an opening for excellence and maybe to win and make the Olympic team and win the gold medal in the 800 freestyle, so after a national championships I called Keena in and I  told her that in a meeting and her mom hit the ceiling and said my daughter is a backstroker and you just like that distance freestyle and she is a backstroker so we are going leave and go to the Santa Clara Swim Club so they did Keena Rothhammer swam for George Hanes and she won the Olympic Gold medal in the 800 meter freestyle in 1972.  Now I thought I was going to die, I was a young coach and I thought my god I can’t coach the great athlete, I can coach the pretty good ones and I can coach the bad ones but I can’t coach the great athlete and I almost stopped and I remembered there was a lot of other kids, it took me a little while I’m not going to say I did it in a day but there were still kids that were coming to that pool everyday that wanted me to coach them and I’ve never forgotten that and I looked in their eyes and they wanted me to coach them and I got back to them, sometimes when you lose a great swimmer from your program I don’t know if this is encouraging or not but when you lose a great swimmer from your program it makes you better, you get determined to say I’m never going to lose a great swimmer again another thing that happened to me in my career I’ve been fired before as a coach I had a decision to make then too, was I going to get better or was I going to let that hurt me.  It made me better.  Thank you very much I enjoyed this.

 

 

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