Training Katie Ledecky by Yuri Suguiyama, Curl-Burke Swim Club (2012)


Published


[introduction]

…who has truly bloomed where he was planted.   He is coaching in the same program that he grew up as an athlete.  CUBU in the Washington DC area part of Potomac Valley Swimming and Yuri spent six years with CUBU in the last two years as the head coach at Georgetown Prep.  His biggest claim to fame he told me is that he is a two-time Potomac Valley Swimming Age Group coach of the year.  I think he sells himself a little bit short with that, but last night he was recognized as Potomac Valley’s Age Group swimming coach of the year.  He also happened to be a finalist for the ASCA coach of the year, so that’s a unique double.  I am not sure there is any coach that’s ever had that – that double in the same – the same year.  If you watched Olympic Trials – if you watched the Olympic Games which I’m sure most of you did,  one of the most inspiring, exciting races for both those meets was the women’s 800-free in which Katie Ledecky dominated both the races at Trials and at the Olympic Games and at the Olympic Games won the gold medal, breaking the American record set by the greatest distance swimmer ever, Janet Evans, at least up until now and if you’re like me, I followed a lot of the Olympic finals on Twitter because I couldn’t get the NBC mobile feed to work very well and I can remember reading, I don’t know who was tweeting it at that point, but Ledecky out under the national age group 15, 16, 400 free records set by Janet Evans in the 800-free final and just amazing guts and effort by her and I’m really looking forward to hearing Yuri tell us how that development – developmental process with Katie went, so here is Yuri Suguiyama.

 

 

[Suguiyama begins]:

Thank you very much Mark.  That was a much more appropriate introduction than the one I received last night, so that was nice.  Thank you very much.  I’m here today to talk to you all about the training of Katie Ledecky and I’d be lying to say if I wasn’t a little bit nervous about that, but I feel like if there’s one topic I know the best about right now in my life, it’s training Katie; it’s what I’ve been doing for the past five years and it’s been a long road despite the fact that we’re both relatively young, but a lot of work has gone into it and I’m looking forward to sharing with you all how we got to that point.  Thank you very much to John and Guy and the rest of ASCA for inviting me to be here.  It’s just a real privilege to get up here and talk to you all.  Thank you for coming this morning and my hope, I think like anyone that gets up here and speaks is that you guys were able to take something home for your program that you can use, that just like Bob said last night that, somewhere in your program, there’s a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old or a 13-year-old and hopefully you can go back and be inspired to help them reach the heights that Katie did, and if not – if not what she did then at least their best because that’s what we’re all here for and I’m just well humbled to be up here and if there is proof that anybody can do it then it’s right here in me, so thank you all very much for being here and let’s get started.

 

I was gonna – I was gonna talk about just the progression and what she was like as a little girl and just our practice and our training and I’ll get into that because I think it’s really important that I go over that, but before that we’ve been here for four, five days and I just figured, you know what, I’ll just tell some stories about this past year and watch some video because I don’t know about you all, but I don’t get to watch a lot of swimming video and whenever I do, it gets me really fired up so I’ll talk a little bit and we’ll watch some race video and let’s – we’ll get rowdy and then get us fired up.  It was about this year – it was about this time a year ago that and before every season for the past couple of years, Katie and I have sat down and we’ve gone over just kind of some goals, and I’ll never forget we were sitting in a sandwich shop and yeah it was about a year ago and we were just talking about this year and you know with Katie well, you know when you go this and okay, here’s where we wanna be in December and okay Katie and we got to the end of the talking, I said, “okay, well what would be the ultimate goal for you this year coming up?”  She was like, “well, you know, what do you mean?”  I was like, “well it’s 2012, what would be the ultimate goal?”  And she kind of just like, “well, like make the Olympic team?”  She said it in this very kind of sheepish voice then I said, yeah, I said yeah.  Say it again.  She said make the Olympic team.  Then I said, is that a goal?  And she said yeah – yeah it is.  And I said fine, that’s the goal and I’ll just keep that between you and I.  I said, we will not talk about that with any other coaches or any of your teammates or even if your parents if you don’t want to, but that’s between you and I, and really that was probably the only time we ever really verbalized that.  After that, we just started talking about the process.  What do we need to do to get there?  And we would talk a little bit and we would mention that a little bit throughout the year, but it wasn’t so much.  Let’s make the Olympics, it was never, but we established that and that was the goal.  I thought she could do it.  She was coming off a really great summer.  Last summer, she won the high-point award at summer Juniors, outstanding for she had a really great meet.  She won the 400, the 800, and the 1500, and the summer before that, she had won the high-point award at the Northeastern Sectionals, recent swimming sectionals in Buffalo, New York.

 

So her progression has been really good and I thought, man, if this year coming up if we can just stay healthy, if I can just keep her healthy, raise her yardage a little bit, keep pressing, my gosh I think she’s got a shot, I think she can do it.  And so, we went through the fall, she was just great training.  She was excited.  She was doing great numbers.  It was her freshman year of high school.  She got the chance to go to the National Select Camp in Colorado Springs at the end of October and that was really her first exposure and my first exposure to Colorado Springs.  We were both really impressed, and I think she did a really great job of their training.  She was swimming really fast and I’ll never forget Peter Clark coming up to me and saying, “other girls stumble, she’s got a shot “and I’m thinking, it’s really cool that at least USA Swimming is recognizing that as well.  So she went to a local meet and she went 435, won the 500-freestyle and she went 929, I think in the 1000, she broke two national age group records and I was, wow, it’s really great.  Well, go a couple more weeks and we’re really pushing it and then right before – we were gonna go to Nationals.  We’re gonna go to Nationals this December, that was gonna be her first exposure to national level competition.

 

Up until that point, it has been juniors or sectionals and so that was the plan, and she got really, really sick, I mean like 10 pounds in a week sick and she was a shell of herself and so we really had to take a step back and I remember talking to her at the time and I just kind of said, you know Katie, okay.  That was a big bummer, but I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason and apparently you weren’t supposed to go to that meet, so let’s just get refocused here and let’s just move forward and see what we can do, and as a result of that, I don’t know what kind of effect that had, but in some ways, I think it almost – it saved her a little bit for the second half of that year and we were able to kind of keep – we’d kind of keep her in the back pocket and say, okay, well we got this great distance from her here, CUBU and we didn’t – we weren’t able to display really at the national scene in December so we’ll just have to wait, so as a result of that, I had to take her to the Missouri Grand Prix in February.  I wanted her to get the exposure of racing against some other national team athletes and a couple of them were there.  There were a lot of Canadian Olympians there.  They just had their trials, so it was a great experience if she got the final and on the last night, she won the 800.  She went – I think she went 830, just missed breaking.  She was 14 at that time and she just missed breaking the national age group record really good.

 

We went to the NCSA meet – club meet and we’ve kind of swam through that.  I didn’t rest her very much.  That was more just fun and she – I think she swam a better 400.  She was 408 and she ran out of gas a little bit on that last day.  I think she went 832, 834 maybe.  She still swam a good swim.  That was probably – it was her most even swim.  One of the things we had talked about all year was how even can you be and that really worked at the end there, but it was being even and so I was really excited about that.  So we go through the spring and she – again, she was just swimming lights out and her numbers in practice were really good and every once in a while, I would walk away from the pool deck and I’d be like, wow, Katie just pushed a 445 in practice, at the end of 8000, that’s pretty darn good and I would be thinking to myself, gosh, if she can just stay healthy, we can do this.  We can – she can really do this, and one thing about Katie this – is that she’s not a very verbal persona and she’s kind of – we have a relationship where – she kind of comes to me I think more at the end of practice or at the end of meets, and she’ll just kind of come up to me and she just – she kind of looks at me and it’s almost like she just needs to know that I’m there and that okay that was good, and so I would try and engage her more.  I would say, okay, what do you think?  How was that?  It was good like, Katie, you know you just went 1928 for a 2000 of a time, how was that?  It was pretty good.  You know, okay, so I was getting really frustrated with her.  I was, you know, you have to be able to communicate because we have to work together on this.

 

So, I think it was back in November or December, I said okay.  Here’s a journal, I bought her this black and white composition and I said, okay, every single day you have to write down your wellness on a scale of 1 to 10, your nutrition, how well you sleep, how well you slept the night before and something special you did that day; and so that really helped me throughout the year as well and it was a way that she and I – and what I would do is I would take that for a week and then I would write her a page of notes.  Hey, great job, you’re doing really well.  What’s going on with your kick outs?  Breaststroke, or is that legal right now?  What’s going on?  And but – at the same time, it would allow her to communicate to me in a different way and every once in a while, I would pick up a little nugget or she would put a quote in there or she would write down these splits of what Adlington had done in Europe or what, Allison Schmitt had done or Gillian Ryan domestically, and so that really let me know that we were on the right path.

 

We’re getting ready for Trials and about two weeks before Trials, I had all these thoughts in my head.  I wanted to tell her and – but I didn’t wanna bug her.  I didn’t wanna bug her the weeks before Trials so I just of kind of wanted to let her be, so we sat down about two weeks before Trials and I made a little bit of a chi-chi and I just went over everything that I felt like she needed to know and I talked about just the emotions behind Trials and anyone that’s ever been there or experienced it, man that is a meet unlike any other and there is a finality to that meet that I try to prepare her for, I tried to speak to her about it and I talked to her about what was gonna be the walkout and the lights and the music and a camera in your face and so we went over that because I was like, I don’t wanna be bugging her every other day with, oh, make sure you eat or oh bring your favorite power bar, so I just kind of let it be and again, she looks really good going into Trials and we got there two days before.  Some people like to get there really early, I realized that.  My feeling has always been it’s a long meet anyway.

 

I wanna let her sleep in her own bed for as much as I can.  The 800 listing was like the 6th or 7th day and that’s a long time and for those of you that were there, it just feels like Groundhog Day, right?  You’re just there, everyday is the same day.  We would sit back in the warmup – warm down pool and it’s like a casino, right?  You don’t know if it’s like 3 in the morning or 2 in the evening.  You’re just, wow, what time is it here, right?  So you’re just like totally out of it, so I just didn’t want her to be there for too long, so we go there for a day and it’s all good and the other thing that we did that I thought helped was we watched a video of the CenturyLink Center and it was – she and I would sit down.  We sat down two or three times and we just – I had it on my computer and I said, okay, here is a video tour of the CenturyLink Center, so she was able to visualize.  Okay, what’s it like to walk out on through?  Okay, this is the lower bowl, that’s where the warmup – warm down pool is and that really helped both of us because I hadn’t been there in 2008 and obviously neither had she.  She swims the prelims of the 400 on the second day and she is right beside Allison Schmitt.  She has a really good race.  I think she went 407, 408 in the morning.  Good swim.  She raced Allison to the very end and that was good and then she was qualified I believe second at night – second chase, okay, right.

 

I remember talking to – I remember talking to Anthony Nesty and Gregg Troy and I was like, what am I supposed to do in all the sessions like go and run back and forth around the center just to calm my nerves and so we got ready for finals that night and man, nothing we could have done I think could have prepared her for that evening.  For those of you who had athletes at finals, there is nothing like it, right?  You march up into a dark arena.  You know, Kanye West is bumping.  There is like fire going on.  It’s certainly not the local age group championship meet, so – and as a coach, gosh, it feels like you’re sending your – it’s like a gladiatorial contest, right?  They’re like in the lower bowl of the arena.  They walk up.  They do battle and then they come back down and Katie got third in the 400 and I’ll never forget I was standing up in the front row and after the first 50, I just went umm.  I just knew – I knew it was going to happen just because she forced pace too much on her first 50.  Her tempo was too much and Chloe made it – Allison had a great race, she went out.  Chloe made a great move on the third 100 that Katie wasn’t able to counter and she’s just scrambling throughout it.  At the 250-mark, I just went down to the lower bowl.  I kind of had to get myself ready and I wanted to make sure I was there for her and there are a lot of lasting images I’ll have from this summer that I’ll probably never forget and meeting her down there after her getting – after watching her get third and that look that we exchanged — I’ll never forget and that intense feeling of disappointment.  That was – that was probably – that will stay with me for the rest of my life and we both looked at each other like, what just happened there?  Like, what was that?  She got third.  You just missed making the Olympic team by one spot, and I think we were both disappointed for about an hour and a half, two hours and then just focusing on the positive.  Well, Katie okay, you got third, but gosh you just went two best times today.  You had your best time in the morning by 100 and a best time at night, great job.  Not many people are going best times and you just broke Janet Evans’ national record, like Janet Evans, Katie, like gosh she was a legend, great job, and she said yeah, that was really cool, okay, fine.

 

And then the next morning, she woke up and she had a big smile on her face at breakfast and I was like, okay, we’re going to be fine and we took a big picture with the medal.  It’s – those we got to saw – see the Olympic Trials medals.  It looked like something that you stick into a door to like open it up, right?  It’s this huge key, right?  So we get ready for – we get ready for the 200.  Well, I think she was qualified as 12th or 13th.  It’s a really good swim as well and semi-finals at night, great swim.  She makes a late charge in her last 50, boom, 9th.  Oh, not gonna be able to compete in the final.  You know missed it by one spot, I think a hundredth of a second and again it was like, okay, well you got third in that 400, you got 9th in the 200, what can you say to that?  But it was the best time – it was the best time, Katie, you’re just one of the best time and she got really excited because I – I was like, Katie you’re this fastest last 50 out of anybody.  Wow, that was really cool.  Oh yeah, it was really me, yeah.  And I think in some ways, I don’t wanna say it if she’d been in the final.  I think in the final, making top six, anything could have happened, but in some ways again, it was we have to move on.

 

Well – alright, well that just means that you get more rest for the 800 and then we just went in the 800 mode and she did a great job there.  She got ready to go and obviously she had a good prelim swimming.  She cranks the field at night with 8:19.  I thought she could break 8:20, the plan was to break and 8:20 and she went 8:19 and it just – and again, that was – it was her super special feeling so we go to – we go home for a couple of days and that some of the Olympic coaches mentioned that they thought that that was really good and it was.  I thought going home for three to four days was a great way for us to get centered and it was a great way for her to sleep in her own bed and get ready for that next step.  She went to the Olympic training camp and I can’t thank the staff there enough and you will see swimming enough.  They just did – did such a great job with the athletes and for someone who had never been exposed to that process before, I was really impressed and the great thing about it was that she had the chance to work with John, and I told her, I said during this whole process, the only thing I am jealous about is the fact that you get to work with John.  I said, that’s the only thing I’m jealous about and I thought he was a great fit for her and John couldn’t been more accommodating.

 

Asking me, well okay, what are you gonna do?  And I’m thinking, you just shot our bench and I was like, what do you mean John?  What am I gonna do?  What are you gonna do men?  Like you tell me, I’m not gonna tell you what to do, but John insisted upon it and I’m so glad he did and so what I did was everyday or about – I take it by week and I would email him and I’d say, here is the yardage for the day and here is the main set that what I thought the energy system and I said, I gave yardage for the day, main set, keep her in the short course pool every once in a while and make sure she swims IM every other day, and John was incredibly accommodating.  He did a great job with her and she started emailing me sets that she was doing and I was just thinking her numbers are really great.  I think John can attest that she just was swimming really, really well to the point where I’ve been told that Connor and Andrew were getting annoyed with her because she was starting to keep up with them and I think that they were probably thinking, gosh, why is this 15-year-old girl nipping at my heels and it’s just kind of the way she is.  They go to [Indiscernible] [0:17:38] and she has a great time there and then she goes to London and I met her over there.  I was there for four days, it was great and up until that, her numbers have been really good then we’re good, so she gets ready for prelims and I got a ticket, I got to go to prelims.  She is really fast.  Her tempo was like 1.2, a lot of legs.

 

I remember thinking that doesn’t look good and her first 550s climb, I think she was 25 30.5, 30.0 high, 31 low, 31 – that’s not so good.  She’s breathing a lot through her left side too.  She just wasn’t in rhythm, it didn’t look good, but she managed to qualify third.  I saw her afterward and I just said, “hey, great swim, that was really cool, you’re third, have fun tomorrow night, it was really neat, stop breathing so much to your left side, control your tempo on your first 50 and attack your third 50”, and John was there with me and he was, “yeah”, we were together on that.  I talked to her that day – we talked twice that day and I just said, “gosh, okay, you’re in lane 3 and Adlington is in lane 4, you’re gonna walk out, Adlington’s gonna walk out and that place is gonna go crazy, so I just said, I want you to take all that energy that you’re gonna feel and just send it right down in your lane.  So I was literally up in the nosebleeds and I’ve been telling everyone that it felt Katie versus Great Britain because when I walked in, like 80% of the t-shirts were like team Becky and I’m going, shit, she’s hell.  This is crazy, right.

 

So she walks out and Adlington walks out and of course the place just goes crazy and I see Katie take off for warm ups and she gets behind the blocks and she just starts looking down her lane and I said, go ahead good, that’s good first step.  Race starts, she goes out, 28-5, but it was little more relaxed and looked a little bit better, I’m thinking okay, that’s a little bit better, 28-5, but she was first to the wall, okay, okay.  And then second 50 30.5, lot of beater on the second 50, lot of freeze was first at the 100 and I’m thinking, okay, 30.5, okay.  What do you gonna do now Katie?  30.3, third 50 faster than her second 50 and I just remembered thinking – this is gonna be good, this is gonna be really special, and it was.  And with that, let’s watch just a little bit of the race video.  I figured that, I don’t know about you guys, but like I said, I really love watching the video; we don’t have to watch the whole thing, but just talking about a couple of things again.  It’s just – it’s Katie, she’s in attack mode.  She likes to attack things.  I’ll never have an issue getting her to go out, but its always just holding back just a little bit.  It’s – we trained a 1.4 tempo, okay first, okay Katie you better know what you’re doing, 28-3 I was wrong.  Okay.  But really good underwater shot there and again, I was just watching her just get into a great rhythm early on and I’ll talk about that a little bit later and that looked comfortable and I remember thinking to myself, okay, that’s a sustainable stroke, that’s something that she can do, and 159 to 200 but again, looking really good 404 at the 400.  I thought she was gonna go out at about 406, so she was out about almost 2 seconds faster, but it looked good and let me just fast forward here to the very end and we’ll hear Rowdy and I got a funny story about that.

 

 

I’ve slowly gone from a spectator to somebody, actually I was kind of involved in that.  I remember first watching it and going wow, who is that person?  I was sitting up in the nosebleeds and her family have been moved down really close to the pool and so as soon as she touched, I was like, gosh, I wanna get down there, I wanna take a picture of her in the medal stand and so I go running down there to try and get really close and there’s – I was trying to get down to this one section and there are these two huge guards there and I’m like, okay, I got to get in here dude, I just – my athlete just won the gold medal, I wanna take some photos.  And they literally got right to my face that in no uncertain terms would I ever go through those doors.  I just walked away and I found out that it was the British Secret Service because Kate and William were in that section, so I’m thinking, gosh, here’s this guy with tears in his eyes and a backpack running down the hallway – I’m surprised I wasn’t like taken out, right.  So I just go back up and I was just a fan for the rest of the session.

 

Well, like I said, I wanna talk a little bit just to give you guys some background about Katie and hopefully give you all some things that I think helped her achieve what she did and I’m using a little bit of a different presentation.  It’s a little swoopy, hopefully no one will get sick.  Just really good pictures, it’s a heavy medal, its really neat and I think that says it all, right.

 

Okay, so who is Katie Ledecky?  Well, she’s been a part of our program since she was 6 years old.  She started swimming because her older brother was swimming like many other kids and she wanted to join our Summer Swim Team.  From day one, she’s been 100% committed.  She never misses practice unless she’s incredibly sick.  I’ve worked with her for about five years now, I think she’s missed three or four practices in five years.  She’s very self driven and very goal oriented.  She writes down her times and she just, she has that fire inside of her that I’ve never had to question.  She’s very humble.  I think the biggest thing about her is that, Katie is a very unassuming person.  It’s really easy to cheer for her because she’s very humble and she hates to lose.  I think there’s a difference between that.  We always hear about the difference between liking to win and hating to lose, I think Katie falls in the spectrum of someone that really hates to lose.  I just think the idea of someone getting the better of her just doesn’t sit well with her and she’s a great teammate.  She’s incredibly supportive.

 

One of her questions after she won her gold medal to me was, how did the guys do back at senior champs?  Those guys can wait, don’t worry about it.  But that’s just her and she’s always thinking about the group and she was really excited to get back and start training with us, to get back into the program and I think there are four traits that you want to look for and I think that goes back to a little bit of talent identification and I don’t think that’s something that we talk enough about in our sport.  Over the past five years, I’ve coached everybody in my program.  I’ve coached my 9, 10s, my 11, 12s, my 13, 14s, you know everybody and it definitely makes for some long days and some nights, but one of the first things I realized when I got to my position, I had to kind of revitalize the site and it was that – you can be the most talented senior coach in the world, but if you don’t have a strong age-group program underneath you, then it doesn’t really mean anything and I wasn’t really happy with what I was seeing so I just said, okay, fine, I’m just gonna coach all these kids.  And I have and it worked and I really enjoyed it.  it allows me to keep in touch with the 12s and it allows them to know who I am and it allows me to have my thumb print.  I can’t do it for the rest of my career, but I’ve done it for a while now.  But I think there are four traits that you want to look for.

 

Those of you who are senior coaches, if you’re coming up and you gotta keep your eye on this age-group program, one is obviously work ethic or how hard are they working?  What kind of effort are they putting forth everyday?  The other is natural talent.  We see that you know, body type, feel for the water, race ability.  You have a kid in your program that you know that that last 25 that they just go into some kind of crazy mode, that’s a special kid and pull them out.  And then family support.  Katie’s family is incredibly supportive, they’re very bright, very smart, very involved people, but they’ve always let her and me kind of find our way and they’ve always let Katie lead the direction.  So she’s always had a great family support and if you have an athlete like that, make them swim distance.  Right?  At least teach them how to.  Teach them how to swim a really good 500 or really great 1000 or a good 400 IM or a good 1650.  The 100s, the 50s, I think 50s are in the 11-year-old level are good.  When they turn 12, those are going away in a year so let’s learn how to swim and get a good 100 and a good 200, but if you have a kid that likes to work, has a little bit of talent, and you notice that in practice, you give him a set of ten 100s or 20 100s, or 10-2s and if they can hold a steady pace, put them in the distance race and she what they do.  That’s what happened with Katie.  She was a really good 100 free styler, 100 butterflyer, good IMer, but we just noticed in practice that she has this ability to just hold.  She could just compete these paces.  She paces.  I said, well geez, we better put her in something.  In her first 500, she just swim lights out and then from there, we never really looked back.

 

Just a little bit of training, I’m a work-based program.  I fall more on the traditional side.  I believe in Rubik-free and an IM based program.  I work the energy systems and we also focus on race pace.  Its not just yards, I do believe in race pace.  In my mind, I typically start short.  We have about three 14 to 18 week cycles throughout the competitive year and those obviously changed.  It’s a little bit shorter and beginning a little bit longer in the middle, little bit, kind of medium at the end, and I just think of it as September until December, January to April, April to August, and in think a lot of people talk about their year plan and four-year plan and I just, I can’t.  I’m not smart enough to plan that far out.  I have to kind of you know, if you were to hold a gun to my head, I could probably come up with a four-year plan, but things change.  You never know what’s gonna happen so, I try and go year by year and I section it up and that’s really worked for me.

 

I use these terms, these are terms in my head.  I think everyone has a different term.  These work for me.  We usually train about five to six weeks of endurance base training, five to six weeks of threshold training, and then about two to three weeks of what I call power and pace, and then depending on where we are in the cycle, we go 10 to 14 of rest.  I will see in December, that’s usually more about five, in March it’s a little bit more like 10, and then by the end of the summer, that’s more 14, and I just kind of section that out.  Obviously, as we go through those three cycles throughout the year, the endurance phase might be seven weeks, then it might be five, then it might be four, and it changes as we go throughout the year, I just – it helps me keep things in my mind straight.

 

Kicking in tempo training is consistent throughout.  I’ve- I think like all of us consider kicking to be really important.  It’s one thing that I think Katie has really improved on the past couple of years.  It’s not easy, you have to stand on your kids but because there are benefits to it and the fastest swimmers in the world, I tell my kids all the time, “if you ever want to see who is winning a close race, look whose kicking the hardest at the end of the swim.”

 

I think her average weekly total this year was around 65, 60, 70k.  I think we touched 80, I think once during the holiday training, but – and I don’t really feel the need to go much more than that.  I think about how it breaks down per work a week, you know, on the upper end, we’ll go maybe 8000 yards of work out, 8000 meters, every once in a while we might go a little bit longer, but anything longer than that and I just – I started getting a little bit bored and I think the kids do too.  And progression is key.  I can’t stress that enough.

 

I think that one of the things that really worked over the past couple of years with Katie is that each year, we’ve been able to bump things up and added things.  You know, at 13, 14 years old, she was swimming really well.  Gosh, okay why don’t we just add another work out, and I was like, well, if you’re training eight times a week when you’re 12 or 13, what are you gonna be doing when you’re 21 or 20s?  Swim 14 times a week?  You know, it’s like getting a personal trainer, should be lifting well and its like, okay, if she’s doing all these exercises and she’s 15 years old, what she gonna be doing when she’s 20?  And I think that’s one thing I’ve always tried to keep in the back of my mind in working with Katie and coming up with a plan for and all my kids really is, “okay, its great that you’re fast when you’re 14 or 15 years old, but I want you to be fast when you’re 20.  I want you to be fast when you’re 21.  And like Dave Ferris was saying the other day, “hopefully, you’ll still be in the sport longer than that.”  So I consider that to be really important.

 

I would say about 75% of our focus this year was just preparing for the 800.  I knew that was her best shot at making the team, that’s what we worked on and I felt like, if I took care of that, we don’t have to worry about the 1500, I think that’s a totally different animal so it was just the 800 and then from then, I felt she could swim a really good 400 and a really good 200.  And I heard a really good saying recently and I think it was Jack Roach who was saying this and it kind of applies I think to the age group program.  Its “train to train, train to compete and train to win” and I think that the feat is really – its really kind of fitting the way Katie has progressed.  She is training to train.  She’s training to compete, and now we’re trying to teach her how to train to win.

 

The endurance phase is just an example of work we want to do.  I know people wanted to see some sets.  You know, we do a lot of descend stuff early on.  We do a lot of negative splitting, a lot of even splitting, so we might go a set of eleven 400 strap in 5 seconds each repeat and negative splitting those and descending.  And you might think, okay, that’s not the X + Y + Z that I saw the other day.  Gosh, you know, its pretty boring stuff.  I feel like that’s only boring if I make it boring, but if I’m engaged with the athlete, if I’m given them their splits, if I’m motivating them, if I’m cracking jokes, it doesn’t have to be boring.  You know, 407, 405, yeah that’s boring, but don’t make it boring.  I don’t think distance training or whatever training needs to be boring.  “Gosh, well okay, that was pretty good, I wonder what Adlington’s gonna do on this last one.”  Well your last 50 was 29.6, let’s see if you can come home in 29.4.  We do stuff like a thousand 900, 800, 700 and we’ll just be taking the splits as we go along trying to get faster.  One set I got from Jeff Cooper at Oakland Livewires was a 1, 2, 4, and 8, just holding phase throughout.  I think Katie has done a set like that and the last round should be like 58, 157, 356, and then go like 750 or 751.

 

One of the more impressive long courses, I thought she did in the spring: She went three 800’s long course.  We did like four 50’s of set up, three 100s at pace, and then an 800, we did that three times, and our last one was 8:44 and I thought that was really good.  Famous Janet Evans said, we’ve done that before.  The iron free combo work was crucial.  Her best 2000, I think that’s the most impressive swim she’s ever done and we did that from a dive.  She went a 4:49, her second 500 was a 4:55, her third 500 was a 4:53, and her last 500 was a 4:50.  That was – she’s out 9:44 back in 9:43 and that was pretty good.  And I always try and finish endurance work outs with techniques or tempo work.  I think that’s really the key and sometimes I’ll even put fins on.  I was talking, the 1.4 tempo is what Katie and I thought that that’s what gives her the best chance.  That’s the most rhythmical that she swims with, so we’ll do stuff at the end of practice when she fatigued and usually short, and it don’t go more than 25s or 50s where she’s going, she’s working on that tempo.  It’s – we always try and finish with something fast.  I think that’s key — finish with something fast in practice.

 

Threshold phase – we’ll just go like, you know, I like to race 250’s, I like to race 150’s.  We’ll go like ladder stuff.  We’ll go 100 easy, 200 fast, two 1s, two 2s, three 3s, four 2s, stuff like that.  Negative split work into something fast.  Shorter negative split work into fast.  I like doing that a lot with the kids.  I like making them have to change energy systems because, as we all know, a distance race is not a static thing, it’s changing.  You never know when you’re gonna have to take off or do something differently throughout the distance race and I think that’s really important.

 

We’ll go 15 100s long for average on 1:30.  That’s only 1500 meters, but if they do it really well, they’ll do a really good job on it.  And then we start cycles of 125s and I’ll give her like twelve 125s once a week or ten and I’ll make her hold 13 strokes in length and I think this year, I’ll probably make it down a little bit more and I just keep track of her time, and I think that one has really forced her to really kick off her walls and forces her to engage her kick and I think we all talked about stroke count, but if you can find a way to measure stroke count and if you can find a way to keep track of it and show kids progression, it just makes sense that if you’re going 12 125s on 130 at 13 strokes and going 114s one week and then you go 113s next week, and then you go 112s the next week, you’re getting – I think they’re getting better someway.  So we’ll go cycles of 12 and then cycles of 10s, cycles of 8s.  I think the best set she ever did, we did eight 125s like two weeks before trials on 140, so she was getting some rest and she was going 108s and 109s holding with 13 strokes and that was really good.

 

We do a lot of broken swims.  One of the best that she did, she did thousand of a time with 951 and then she went two 500s with 10 seconds in between and she went 945, and then she did four 250s with 5 seconds in between and she went 942 and I thought that was really good.

 

Then the power and pace phase, we just continued with 125s.  I think that’s really important.  We do a lot of broken swims, 200s and 400s and 50 is leading to 100s.  When you start getting into pace and I borrowed this idea from a couple of coaches, but it’s one thing to go 100s in to 50s, but if you start doing it for rounds, so you go four rounds of four 50s at pace and then three 100s, I think that’s very valuable because when they start getting into that third and fourth 50, let’s say you’re going 29s, 30, 29, 28, 27, well on those three 100s that are following up the 50s, I wanna see 27s because I think we all know that when you’re doing pace with your athlete, especially in distance races, okay, you’re going at 103s on those 100’s long course but you’re going out in 30 and coming back in a 33.  You’re not gonna be going 103s in your race, you’re probably gonna be going 106s.  So we always stress the second 50 of any repeat.  We always stress the second 50 of pace and I think that’s really important.  Here is a simple set – It’s just three rounds of four 100s, descend 1 to 4 at a thousand pace and then right in to a 200 all out and then a 200 cruise and I do that about four, five times throughout the season and keep track of how that goes and call it our power set because she’s going into a descend and then right into a great 200 and I think that – and she likes that and it’s giving us good feedback and it gives me a good feedback as a coach as to where she is.

 

The OT 12 – I call this the OT 12 800, that’s what I was calling it to Katie and the challenge of getting ready for Trials was the idea that we had two 800s to get – well, hopefully.  That was the hope, right?  You’re gonna swim two 800s two days in a row.  So, you’ve never done that before so what do we need to do to get ready for that?  I wanna prepare her for that and I think I saw that Peter Banks was doing this with Brooke Bennett about 10 years ago, but its just two 8s, two 4s, two 2s, and I’ll make her do it on a Friday night and then I’ll make her do it on a Saturday night.  I make her do it back to back days.  Two days right in a row.  And she always has to be better on the second day and that’s the goal, right.  You have one swim, you wanna be better on the second swim and then we just do over the first repeat.  You got 10 seconds rest and then you have to push the second repeat and that’s gotta be faster.  The biggest things that we worked on this year was second half speed, second half swimming.  How are you gonna come home.  In an 800 free, when you get to that 400 meter mark, all bets are off.  What’s gonna happen?  And so, I think we did that three times this year, the very first time she did it, she was not fast and the second time, she had a little bit of trouble with it.  The second time, she knew what was coming, she knew how to handle her energy.  The third time, I thought she did really well.  On the last one, she went 7:56 and then she pushed to 7:51.  Then a 3:50, 3:51 on the 400’s, and 1:56 and 1:51 on the two hundreds.  I thought that was really good with only 10 seconds rest.

 

And I think that physically important – at what, 16, it’s almost 2800 yards.  She only has to swim an 800.  It’s physically that important.  I don’t really know, but I think it was mentally really important and I think that was something that I was able to go to Katie when we were talking about getting ready for Trials and say, “gosh, you’ve done something like this.”  Two 800s in a row?  I mean, you did two of those and then two 4s and two 2s.  No problem.  You could totally do this.  So it was just – it was getting her ready.  It was planning.  It was coming up with a plan to get ready for that race scenario and if she would have had to do a semi-finals something like that, I probably would have had her do more.  Maybe I should have done that more with 200, but a morning swim, an evening swim, and then another evening swim.  Same set, do it three times in a row.

 

And then just finally talking about some stroke technique work, you know, people ask me about her gallop stroke.  It’s a gallop stroke and yeah, it’s a little bit of a gallop, she’s kind of got a hitch, but I think it works what’s best for her.  About a year and a half ago, she was swimming like most classic female distance swimmers.  It was two big kicks and bilateral breathing, but she was always bouncing up and down and really bouncy in the water and I just – I think you can swim better than that.  So the one that really inspired me was, I remember watching Michael swim the 200 free in world champs in 2007 in Melbourne and if you know anything about that race, he broke Ian Thorpe’s 200 free world record, and man, I just remember thinking, well, that’s the way free style should be swum.  You know, he had an unbelievable kick behind the knee entire way.  He was kicking off his walls and it was just an incredible race and so, we just watched that stroke a whole lot and I think one thing about Katie that she can do to get better is just improve her kick.  She kind of goes back and forth doing a 4 beat and a 6 beat kick.  I think she can hold 6 beat kick and that’s one thing that we’re gonna work on as we move forward.

 

Front catch is key.  She’s so clean up front.  She does a great job getting into her catch.  I think that’s her biggest strength and that’s one of the reasons why I kinda wonder who could swim that way.

 

Breathing pattern issues.  We’ve played around, she breathes primarily to her right side and I think that’s what allows her to really torque her body and get into that great rotation.  She really generates a lot of power from her hips, but I do like to have her breathe to the left side because I think it balances out her stroke.  When she only gets to breathe to her right side, she tends to drift on her – her left hand comes near her body, crosses over at midline and I don’t really like that, but at the same time, when she breathes to her left side, her feet stop and she’s got a pause there.  So that’s another area that I think that as she grows and matures, she’ll try and be – and maybe we just have her breathe only to the right side.  Maybe.

 

We use cords, tubing and parachutes.  I like using all those at the end of work out.  I put her up on a tube and I make her have a pull buoy and a snorkel and she just goes out and swims.  We’re working on catch, we’re working on feel.  We do parachutes as well.  The way I use – I don’t really use parachutes a lot for power or for swimming, I think I will as my population of swimmers gets older, but the way I’ve always thought is that with a parachute is that if you have a kid that has body line issues or is always wiggling, I kind of think of the parachute is – it’s like a – your swimmer is a little bit of a string, you grab that end of the string, and you pull it to straighten it out, and I think the parachute provides that and you can do some really good things with chutes.  Get them kicking a whole lot, get them just working on their pull, just keeping that body line.  For freestylers especially, when they drive into that breath, keeping that head really low, it’s another thing I think with Katie that we worked on, was keeping your head lower, hiding your breath, that’s one thing that Dave talked with Nathan about the other day.  It was hiding your breath.  Driving down really keeping that head nice and low.

 

In female distance swimming, I think that – I think we have to, we gotta force our girls to kick more when they’re racing distance.  I think that’s the next big thing.  Well not really the next big thing, but I think that’s the way girls can swim faster.  I mean, you watch the best guy distance swimmer that swim with the 6 beat kick, I think girls do it okay in competition.  I think they have to do it.  I think we can expect that of them.  I think that’s what’s gonna allow a couple of girls break 8:30 at Jr. Pan Packs, it was really exciting to watch them, we got a lot of great young distance swimmer, female and male, but I think that that’s one of the biggest things for any female distance swimmers – I know it’s something I’m gonna be working on with Katie.  Can you hold a 6 beat kick for the entire 800?  And I think the 800, I think it’s kind of a long sprint.  I don’t think the 800 is a distance race.  I think the 1500 is a little bit more distance for sure.  That’s definitely a different energy system but I don’t really consider, I think the 800 is still kind of a middle distance race.

 

Just some thoughts on competition with Katie, I always felt like short course was fun, but long course was key.  How good is she gonna be long course?  Okay, she’s ranked number 1 in short course in the season, that’s good, but she better be ranked long course.  Long course was key for us and she got really excited about that.  Always one swim at a time, one race at a time.  Best time, great.  Let’s move on.  Bad swim, move on.  And I think, starting that at an early age allowed her, when we got to our situation at Trials, I’d like to think it helped her and me to get past the disappointment of getting 9th in the 200.

 

I want the swimmers to be really self-sufficient at meets.  I think it’s really important that they know what they need to do to get their bodies ready.  I was very fortunate to spend a week with a great coaching staff in Hawaii last week and the Jr. Pan Pac team.  They were great and if you had an athlete there, you should be really proud, but working with those kids just really underscored to me how important it is that they know what they need to do.  Maybe not so much at a younger age but as they get older, they should know what they need to warm up.  A lot of those kids, I’d say 95% of those kids knew what they needed to do and we were just there to help them, give them some time, but they were incredibly self-sufficient and I was really impressed by that and they swam really fast.

 

Have goals but stress the process and I think that’s really key.  Katie has always had really great goals which she has always understood at a young age what it took to get there.  Okay, okay, great.  You wanna make Junior Nationals, that’s great, but here is what you have to do to get there and I think the other thing is don’t skip steps especially along the competitive ladder.  I think there’s something, if you have a young athlete that’s really fast and really talented, it’s okay to go to zones, it’s okay to sectionals if they’re young.  Last summer, I made the decision to take Katie to Junior Nationals instead of Nationals.  She wasn’t able to be on the National Junior Team as a result of that.  You have to swim at Nationals to be eligible for the National Junior Team, but I wanted her to put her in a position where she could win and stand on that podium and get used to doing that.  I think learning to win is important.  I think you have to practice just like you practice pace, you practice training, you have practice how – learning how to win and if you have an athlete that you feel like who’s gonna be a player, teach – it goes for everyone but man, teach them how to – give them that ability especially at a young age, to win and stand up on that podium and get that medal.  I thought that was really key and again, she didn’t get the chance to be on National Junior Team, but she had a great time.  We both had a great time.  Your deck demeanor influences performance.

 

When I was a young coach, I’m not that old, but when I was younger, I’d be so excited on the pool deck, I’d be pacing back and forth, oh my gosh, the kids taking care of themselves and just to think as I’ve watched some of the older coaches and as I got more comfortable with myself and been more confident, I think the way that we act on the pool deck has such a big impact on our kids.  It’s being calm, it’s being confident, it’s being strong for them.  I remember with Katie, at Trials it was just, we didn’t talk at all before the 400 and I looked back and my gosh, we were both so nervous, but before the 800, she had a big smile on her face, she was making fun of my middle name, we were hanging out just relaxed and I thought that was key.

 

And everyone asks me, what is her meet warm up?  What does she do?  It’s real simple, she just does an 800 swim, I tell her to mix up her strokes.  She goes a 600 pull, she usually breaks that up into four 150s or three 200s, kick a 400, four 100s kick, descend 1 to 4, then a 200 drill just whatever drill she wants to work on.  If there’s a small pool, we usually use that and get some tempo work just to get her up and get her moving.  Going to the wall as well.  Getting to 1.4 that I talked about and then just going in to some race pace.  And I don’t do a lot of 100’s with the 800.  I might do one.  We might do one, just negative split and we go 50’s after that.  I’m not someone that feels the need to cram 100s down her throat right before she swims.  I think, I just don’t think she needs that, maybe early in the season but certainly as we go along and we get ready for the bigger meets, I just don’t think she needs to swim a bunch of 100’s.

 

And I touched on a lot of this in the opening; just 2000 probably what worked and what didn’t.  Obviously, like I talked about our fall conversation, I thought that just really laid the ground work.  There was really great communication between her family and the school.  She missed a good amount of school this year, really good about making sure that the school knew where she was, balancing her academics and keeping that really important.  I thought they did a great job with that.  Again, October, she had a National Training Camp experience that was great.  The NCSA meet was really a team warming to be fun.  I thought the Missouri and Charlotte Grand Prix first big stage, you belong here.  That’s always been my message to Katie and I think we see that sometimes in our young athletes.  They get to these meets and they’re just thinking, oh my gosh, what’s going on.  The person over there is doing that or – and as coaches, we think that too, oh man, that guy did 450 only to two.  No, you belong here.  That was always my message to Katie.

 

Gosh you know, it doesn’t matter, okay, those people might be doing yoga over there, they might be doing Pilates, they might be going to a 1500 for time. Do your warm up, let’s just focus on what works for us and you belong here, and at every level of the way, that’s the biggest thing I try to stress to her and I think it helped.  Because I looked back in my own personal experience and I think about myself as a swimmer when I’m thinking about what I need to do for my athletes and I wish I would have believed that more when I was coming up and being a swimmer.  You belong here.  There’s a reason why you’re on this pool deck.  It’s not by accident.  Again, Olympic Trials, that was all about just managing her emotion, managing my emotion, training camp was really fun.  I think Katie – that was just fun time for her because all she had to do was eat, sleep, train, and hang out with such great people and again, I just – I though Teri McKeever did a great job with the Women’s Team and she and Gregg working together.  I took a lot away from Teri and the team building they did; I think they did a lot of things behind the scenes, everyone talks about that Call Me Maybe video and the chemistry.  Well, a lot of work went into that and I know that they would have meetings and they would talk about it, and they would have to share and that was really important to team building.  And that was another thing I took away from my experience last week in Hawaii with the Jr. Pan Pac team was, spending a lot of time working on building relationships and I think as coaches, I know when I get to a big meet, it’s all about, we have to be here and we have to do this, and why are they not warming down.  Take time to hang out with the kids.  Take time to talk to them.  I think we all know, based on our own experiences, that sometimes we don’t always remember what time we went in a certain race, but we remember a pretty funny story.  So take time when you go to meets like that.  Just building relationships and again, the Games were magic, had a great time there, and fortunately that worked out really well.

 

And this is the last point, just training for the 800, that worked this year.  That was the focus.  We talked about it.  We wanted to train for that 800 and the other thing was study the competition.  Last summer, she went 8:36 in the 800, but she went 4:14 to 4:22 and there’s an 8 second gap between her 400’s and I mean it was good swim, it was great swim, she won, it was cool, but I said, “okay kid, it was a really good swim, not a good time, but not a bad swim.”  What I did last, I remember in the fall, I made a sheet and I showed okay, “here were Adlington’s splits from last summer, she was the world champion” and then underneath her, I put Katie Ziegler’s splits and she was the highest American at World Champs and then underneath her, I put Gillian Ryan because she was the US National Champion last summer, and then underneath her, Katie. I said, “okay, here is you” and she was the only one that had more than a 4 or 5 second jump in her 400s and I just said, “you know if you want to get to this level, this is where you need to be” and we would pull up when Janet Evans went 816 with her 200s and I’ll write that down, I’ll give it to her.  That was one thing and when I made her keep that journal and when I would give her a page back, I would write down, “great job this week, keep it up, 203, 204, 205, 204, 203, whatever Janet came home in and it was just subtle reminders to say “work towards this” and she really fed off that and that really worked.

 

The path to success, and this is just a little philosophy, a little bit of a broader point.  Got a great quote from the legendary Australian coach Forbes Carlile and he says, “our aim is not to produce champions but to create an environment where champions are inevitable.”  I’ve always felt like for me, my biggest goal as a coach has always been to creat an environment where my kids can succeed.  I’ve never worried about how fast they were or if I was gonna get fast kids this year, or who was gonna be the next so and so, I was always worried about creating that environment because I was confident that if I can do that, then someone was gonna show up, someone was gonna develop.  I think if you sit around waiting for the next Michael to walk to your door, the next Katie – you’re probably gonna be really disappointed because those athletes don’t come along very often; but if you’re able to create an environment where someone like that is gonna want to be a part of it or they’re gonna want to come through that, then they’re gonna be great.  It kind of annoys me when I hear people say, “oh well, you know, anyone could have coached Michael to be fast,” no way, no way.  He came up in an environment of excellence that allowed him to be that swimmer that he was and I think – I like to think that Katie came up in an environment that allowed her to be an Olympian this year.

 

Club coaches – we can do this, really important.  I got off, I was at sectionals – you just have to be in the Olympics.  I flew – Katie won, I didn’t go to bed that night.  I flew to New Jersey the next day to try and get to Buffalo to go to sectionals.  I had to get a bunch of kids there.  I’m sitting at the Newark Airport and this is the day after Katie had just won, the night before and my flight was delayed like four, five hours and everyone around me was getting fired up and they’re yelling and it was just kind of funny because I was just sitting there with this goofy grin on my face like man, Katie just won a gold medal last night, but I get on the pool deck and Dave Ferris comes up to me from Long Island, he gets right in my face and he goes, “you better tell Frank now that us Club Coaches and age group swimming, we’re the backbone and we put four Olympians out there,” and I was like, yeah.  We can do this.  Don’t think that because you’re not part of a college or a center of excellence that you can’t have a great athlete and I thought, Bob said it perfectly last night.  I was sitting here four years ago and thinking of ways, what can I do to get to that point?  What can I do to help my athletes get to that point?  And we can build that environment, set that as a goal.  Our expectations as coaches are everything.

 

If you expect your kids to only make it to sectionals, they’re probably gonna make it to sectionals.  But if you expect them to be helped out our United States Swimming Team, they’re gonna be able to do that as well.  And I think that its just the idea that I’ll never forget a couple of years ago as well and I’ve been coming to ASCA Clinics for a couple of years and thank you so very much for everyone that’s ever come up here and spoken because it’s really helped me out a lot and if there’s something up here that you’re thinking to yourself, man, I’ve said that, thanks because I borrowed it and I’ve been using it, but I’ll never forget Schubert was – I think it was the keynote address Mark Schubert gave a couple of years ago and I’ll never forget, he was up there, he was talking about developing Bryan Goodell, he was giving the speech in his kind of gruff voice, I think it’s time people are really disgruntled over this whole center of excellence thing or where’s our money going towards any – he gets there and he goes, “you know now, I did this and you better man up,” I went whoa!  I remember I went home and I was like, I better man up!  I gotta do something now.

 

Seek knowledge, download talks, that’s been a common theme through all the talks this week, it just expands your toolbox, read, ask questions, shadow someone.  Everyone says, well, you have to go shadow a master coach.  I’m not one that just pick’s up all my things and sleeps on the couch so what I did, you know I just, I read a lot and I downloaded some ASCA talks.  You know ASCA has always talks available and I downloaded them and I put them on the middle of the day, I’m kind of a swim dork and one day, I downloaded a talk by Gregg Troy and it was about pushing your athletes in IM am training and I got real fired up and I wrote this set and I went to practice that night and I gave the kids the set and they’re all like whoa, I’ll never forget one of the boys came up to me afterwards and he was like, “where did that come from?”, and I was like, “you know, I was listening to this talk today by Gregg Troy, he’s gonna be our head Olympic coach, we have to do work,” and he kind of thought about it for a little bit and he was like, “man, I don’t who this Troy character is, but I like him very much.”  I’ve never told Gregg that story, but I think it’s a good story.

 

Have a plan.  I think if Bob and Michael have taught us anything, it’s to have a plan and believe in your plan.  Institute it, believe in it.  No bad days.  No bad days.  Try to not have any bad days, I know this for me, there’s nothing worse than walking away from the pool deck knowing that I could have done a better job, that was a crappy work out, I did not have energy today, and usually for me, that’s – I don’t know what it is but Monday mornings I have a hard time finding, putting my thinking cap on, but no bad days and expect that on the athletes as well and I’ll never forget borrowing this from Tom and I think Tom, I got the chance to train with him leading up to 2000 and I remember him, his phrase was kind of something special and it was the idea of doing something special everyday whether it was a huge set or great kick outs, or one fast repeat, but I try and tell my kids, “don’t leave the pool deck without doing something special that day”, and I think that goes for me.  I try and make sure that I’m giving them as much energy as I can so that I don’t walk away, like I said, I hate that feeling of walking away and knowing that “gosh, I could’ve done a better job.”

 

Focus on what you have instead of what you don’t and man, that’s a big point for me.  I struggle with this a lot.  I’m a renter, I think we trained at about seven different pools this past year.  I was tempted to take a photo of the back seat of my car because my pool won’t let me store any of my equipment there so, in the back of my 2007 Honda Accord, I’ve probably got 12 medicine balls, a big bucket of cords, a big bucket of parachutes, and man it is a pain in the ass hauling that back and forth everyday, but it’s what I have to do and its just what I have to do and I dropped it off just about every other day and I have to pick it up and hopefully, I can get some storage spaces here, but it’s what we have.  So, you do the best out of what you have.  I focus on what I have instead of worrying about what I don’t.

 

And finally, I think this is one thing that I have always really thought of – what does your program say about you as a coach?  And it’s just a little self reflection.  What do your athletes say about you?  Are they well behaved, are they wild, are they great racers, are they great technicians, are they good people, are they always getting in trouble on trips.  What does your program say about you?  I remember my early – you know when I was a little bit younger, I’d go to meets and I’d be like, “man, if I – I always felt like, gosh, if my kids don’t swim well, let’s leave the area.”  I kind of still feel that way a little bit.  I saw a great quote the other night and it was “Never think you’re great, but think you can be great,” and I don’t think I’m a great coach, I think I work hard and I’d like to believe that I can be great and that’s what I work towards.

 

And then finally, I just want to share two photos.  I talked about that image of seeing Katie after the 400, when she got third, man, that will stay with me for a long time, and then also this – the pride I had and I’m a crier and I was kind of crying after her win and in this, I just lost it.  When she started getting up on the medal stand and it just, I’ll never forget that and I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to help her get to a point where she could represent our country and help her swimming and win a gold medal, and that just means so much to me, I know it means a lot to her, but – and as important as this photo is and as important as that race I showed earlier, I think that for me, this photo is even more important and I took this one morning and it was she and I and the lifeguard and it was Wednesday morning, it was before the NCSA Junior National Meet, I was having her do more work and I was just sitting there and I was like, wow it’s a really cool photo, let me take a photo.  And it just epitomizes I think to me what she has been able to do these past five years when she’s just put the work, there’s no secret and Dave said this the other night, “success is not random, its planned,” and I think for me, I will always take so much pride and enjoy that moment when she got to stand up on that podium and listen to the National Anthem, but I think for me, just as important are those moments when it’s just she in the pool, working hard, putting in time.  There’s nothing glorious about this.  There’s nothing, but it’s the most important thing and I think that for me, this means just as much to me – the idea of just being in there and putting in the work when everyone else is in as opposed to standing on that medal stand.

 

I just want to say thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to be here today and I just want to say, everyone that’s ever contributed to ASCA or been willing to share their ideas or put something up online, thank you so much because I’ve used it and its really helped me and benefited my career and good luck this year and thank you very much.

 

 

 

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