Two Things to Take Away from the Olympics by Eddie Reese, University of Texas/Longhorn Aquatics (2012)


[introduction, by Chuck Warner]

Eddie Reese has talked so many times that it’s hard to know what to say that’s different or what to say that you might not know.  It was 1975, approximately, that he gave his first major talk ever at the ASCA World Clinic in New Orleans; and he was scared.  Over his coaching years, it hasn’t always been as simple as it might seem today.  He started out as a club coach in New Mexico for a year-or-so after college—it didn’t work out.  He was an assistant coach at the University of Florida where he did a lot of the work for the program and they had some good success.  And then he became the head coach at Auburn University where he had some tremendous success with swimmers that had never done much of anything.  I will get a time or two wrong here, but I am in the ballpark.  A 50.5 backstroker, on the medley really, that went 50.2; a 1:01 breaststroker that went 56.50;  a 52.3 butterflier that went 48.9;  and Gary Schatz that anchored the relay and 42.9, I think it was 47.7 out of high school.  The Auburn program just lit-up his career as something very special, and recognized him as an up-and-coming terrific swimming coach.  But nothing had ever happened in the summer.  The swimmers went off to swim for his brother Randy in Florida. He didn’t do much coaching in the summer.   He went off to the University of Texas.  Similar kind of quick rise to national success, but initially not-great swimming in the summer—not great long course swimming.


But over the years, he has gotten better and better and better and better and better.  He is a tremendous thinker; an analyzer of his program.  Even this winter, after the NCAA Championships, he had some of his swimmers back in the water a week-or-so later, time-trialing, to try to figure out what he could have done better for that season.  There was a time when I used to wonder—as I am sure some of you did that have been around a while—what would ever happen to our profession when George Haines, Peter Daland, Doc Counsilman, Don Gambril—some people like that—retired.  This is what happens.


In 2004-2008, head men’s Olympic coach for the United States;  Olympic coach for the last one, two, three, four, five, six Olympic Games: Coach Eddie Reese.



[Reese begins]

I lost my bet.  I bet there wouldn’t be many people here at 8:30 in the morning in Las Vegas.  But now the first 20 minutes of my talk has to be taken-up with correcting all of Chuck’s times that he didn’t remember correctly.  And I won’t do that.


My main goal when I started swimming: I never wanted to be an Olympic coach.  In fact, the first time I was selected, I turned it down, to go on vacation with my family.  I never talk about winning the NCAAs; all I want my swimmers to do is get faster—a lot faster.  And I am 10% of that equation; they are 90% of that equation.  So they have got to trust me, I have got to trust them.


But I wanted to talk a little bit about the Olympics.  I did enjoy it as much as you did.  Teri McKeever and Gregg Troy did a great job.  [McKeever was the USA’s Head Women’s Coach, Troy the Head Men’s Coach, for the 2012 Olympics.]  Everybody says: well, what was different about this team?  We tried to… well, it’s… maybe it’s more mature.  Maybe they are realizing that the Olympic Games come along only every four years, and [in] the next four years it might not be your turn to go.  And maybe the money plays a part.  But, actually, at that time, it is the leadership, and the USA does swimming-team unity better than anybody.  And Teri and Gregg did a super job on that, and definitely aided by [National Team Director] Frank Busch.  We had an ambassador program, that we hated.  But you saw the results on all the interviews;  not just swimming, but also track and field—who in the past have not interviewed well.  That ambassador program was very simply: “Hey, it’s not about you.  There are people at home that follow everything you do and care about what you do.”  And Frank made us live up to that.  So it was a great Olympics.


My biggest disappointment?  My biggest disappointment was when they did the second take for “Call Me Maybe”

, because I had Bob Bowman lined up, Frank Busch and I, and we were going to take Missy’s [Franklin] and Kathleen’s [Hersey] and Natalie’s [Coughlin] place.  And so after watching it, I am thankful that my disappointment stayed that way.


I would like to cover a little about the cheating.  Everybody thinks it is good that he [Cameron van de Burgh] admitted that it happens, and it is, in a way, because now FINA will have to do something about it.  Basically the only way you get FINA to do anything is to embarrass them.  If you remember [Kosuke] Kitajima in 2004: came off the wall and did a good imitation of Flipper.  And everybody in the stands saw it and did an “ooooh”.  At that time, if you can think of 12,000 ‘oooohs’… because they knew what that meant.  So what did FINA do?  They now allowed that.  But we have had fly kick on the entry into the water, instead of breaststroke kick, in college since before 2000.  So we have had it;  you can’t see it, you can’t call it.  And the sad part is that the people that do this don’t look at it as cheating; they think they are smarter than everybody else—and they are not.


Well, we will get something done about it.  I know you want to hear my solution.  I am for not having officials anywhere around.  I don’t believe they are going to buy the underwater camera.  My solution is: make breaststroke 15 meters, you must be up.  During that time, you must take a pull-out and a breaststroke kick; and you can do anything else you want. 15 meters cuts-down a lot on the effectiveness of… because breaststroke doesn’t have an underwater limit.  So they could stretch-it-out.  If FINA makes a rule that you can use… you can’t use any more than 18 fly kicks off each wall.  All right, so, that will definitely wake you up.


Aerobic Background

All right, there are two things I think that are really important that comes out of every Olympic Games, and I am here to talk about them again.  The first thing: everybody on that Olympic team has an aerobic background.  All the research says you must get an aerobic background before the end of puberty.  We don’t know when that is;  I don’t know when that is.  But that is common-place in everybody on the Olympic team—and I only know the boys best.  I recruited Ryan Lochte and Davis Tarwater when they were graduating from high school, and they were in a National Championship meet at our pool in Austin.  They both broke 8:15 in the 800m freestyle.  And you know who those guys are—I know you do.  Brendan Hansen’s first National cut: 400 IM.  Ian Crocker at age 15, or 16, went 1:49 200m freestyle, in a brief [suit].  And Ian had been under sixteen minutes in the mile; he had been 4:30 in the 500; he had done 25×200 butterflies.  I am not sure that’s necessary, but he had done that stuff.  Every January 1, he did a 100x100s, on an interval.  As boring as it sounds—and it is boring to watch—something like that has got to be done so that you can prepare the athlete to be the best they can when they can be the best.


Anthony Ervin, first cuts he made, junior year in high school, 200 free, 100 back.  A guy named Tom Jager, he was a great 50 man in ‘88-’92; first cut he made was 200 back, second one was a mile.  This is a guy who just wanted to swim the 50.  I had a guy named Nate Dusing from Cincinnati who made two Olympic teams—in the 100 free on a relay and on the 800 free relay.  As a sophomore in high school Nate made the 800 and 1500.  As a senior in high school, first in the nation in the 100 fly and the 100 back, third in both freestyles.  I had a guy a long time ago named Kris Kirchner who came out of Cleveland, and Kris was a 400 man until his senior year in high school.  He made the ‘80 Olympic team—didn’t go anywhere, but he made it—and he won the NCAAs in the 50 freestyle.


So what does all that mean?  How do you get aerobic training?  If you were my team, I would retire now—that’s supposed to be funny; come on, I know it’s early and I was sounding serious.  But if you were my team, and you were all 14 and under, everybody would need something different in aerobic training.  You can’t do that in a club program, you can’t do it in my program; you can’t individualize things.  But if you get new swimmers or swimmers that have never swum… where aerobic for them is just whatever [the] workout is.  If you take a better 13- or 14-year-old, and they have got to swimming at 160 to 180 heart rate.  If they have been in this program in couple of years where the previous year they had to go 16×100 freestyles, yards, on 1:20; now they have got to do 20 of them on 1:15, and hold a certain time.  Because you must get to 160 in the heart rate, and if you are going above 180 you are going too far.  And so we are not going to all have heart monitors, so we are going to have to teach them to count it.  It is easy to get here, little bit harder here, some of ‘em can get it right here.  But it is absolutely necessary for them to be… it doesn’t matter if you are 12-week program or 24-week program, there must be some aerobic in there.


When I get people… and I get a lot of people with no aerobic background.  I get guys that have swum 5 days a week, 5000 a day.  Doesn’t matter, it is not anybody’s fault, could be environment, could be opportunity, could be many things.  It takes less to get their aerobic up than it does to rest of my team.  But when you are working with somebody before puberty… it’s kind of like having clay, or let’s take bread dough—because I know nothing about baking.  But you can take bread dough and make it in any shape you want to make it.  And then when you bake it, it holds that shape; you can’t change it much.  So, before puberty the athlete is still growing and their system is flexible; you can make them more efficient, make the vessels larger, there are just so many things that we can do at that age.  And it has got to be done.


We were talking the other day in the Steering Committee meeting, and they were talking about swimmers going to college.  And there were a couple of statements made that are right a lot of the time.  And then Dick Shoulberg spoke-up, and he said:  “You have got to remember that every one of these kids came from a club program.”  And you can do more to prepare that base—the broader the base, the higher the triangle.  You can do more to prepare that base at a young age.  There is a club that for a long time, ages 12-to-15 or 16, they were 800 to the mile and 400 IMers.  They had college swimmers come out, that went to colleges, every year;  they had Olympians, they had Olympic Trials swimmers.  They just kept bringing them out, because they did the right thing for them at a younger age.  And there are always people that can go fast with little or no work, but we want to keep them improving.  The broader the base the more they can improve.  It is a….


I think probably the most important thing is how you treat people every day.  For a while there, we were not keeping males in the sport;  you can keep people coming back, all you have to do is say something nice to them.  Because that doesn’t happen [in] any other place that they are competing in sports and probably not at home.  If it does happen at home, you know what parents are: we are insignificant others.  We can tell them the honest truth:  you look great, you are a great student; doesn’t matter.  Somebody off the street says, ‘hey, you look really good,’: it’s all they think about for three days.  We are insignificant others; and occasionally I think we become that way as coaches.  But it doesn’t matter: bore ‘em with… find some good things.  My first year at Auburn, we only had 25 swimmers.  And I went in there and I made it a point to say five good things to everybody, every day.  It’s hard to do.  Some of ‘em you have to say ‘nice bathing suit’, because they weren’t doing very well.  And you don’t want to do it in an empty fashion, and you can’t leave out constructive criticism.  Because if you don’t… if everybody does everything right in their mind all the time, there is no reason to change.  So I really believe the way you treat people is the most important thing.  And the aerobic base is the next important thing.


You know, we got into kicking… we have done a lot of kicking in the last 6 or 8 years—everybody has.  We picked up the kick; it has definitely helped us.  But honest, from what I have seen, your best aerobic gains come from swimming: kicking and pulling at the same time.  We are a product of what we do.


I recruited a swimmer that is a breaststroker and probably swam breaststroke 3-days-a-week in his program, and he pounded at the yardage and everything else.  But if you are a breaststroker you need to swim breaststroke.  I know it is much easier to get to 160-180 heart rate—or whatever that aerobic gain area is—it is much easier in freestyle, because you can keep your hands and legs moving at the right or at a fast-enough pace longer than you can other strokes.  So what do you do?  You trick them.  You go… let’s go 3×100 freestyles; we will do those on 1:20, you have got a hold x—depends on who it is.  He has got a hold 1:05, she has got to hold 58, he has got to hold 53s; because it is different for everyone.  And they need to know that.  And they do those, but they are breaststrokers.  So then you bring them back and they go 8x50s breaststroke after that.  Heart rates is already up, you want them to hold a good stroke and a decent stroke rate—you don’t want them gliding too long.


And I do this every year.  And with my milers who have been in the program, I have got to do it longer each year for them to get better.  I have got a guy that is going 14:32 for 1650, 100s on a minute are they any good for him?  No.  He can do 50 on a minute, and will not go 180 in a heart rate.  Or if he does it will be the last 10.  I am a firm believer that short-course training for the mile, particularly in college—especially the good guys—they have got to go 200s.  So he’s going to go 30x200s on 2 minutes—please don’t tell him I said that.


There are different ways to do this aerobic.  We started… we have been in the water a couple of days and been out of the water a long time, a lot of my guys.  We start… we did a 15-minute swim.  At the Olympics I talked to the guy that coached the winner of the mile;  I talked to 6 or 8 people that are really good at it.  And none of them agreed with me;  so I am not sure whether I am right or wrong, but I do believe that long swims are important particularly in young ages.  But what we did, we went for a 15-minute swim.  My guys that I knew we are in better shape, more gifted toward long distance, they had to go 30 meters at a certain rate.  The last 20 meters they breathed every third.  Just trying to control the breathing; that is an easy way to get the heart rate up and keep it up.  And they did that for 15 minutes.  My sprinters, they went fast for 20 meters, and then they breathed every three.  “Fast” is a relative term this time of the year: it wasn’t as fast as I wanted, but it was faster than they wanted.  Which meant about, we were long course, so it was about 35 for about 50 meters, if they had run it out, which wasn’t fast at all.  But I believe in working-in to everything.  If you work-into things, you allow the body to adjust along the way.  You can jump-in and go 7,000: they will get tired, their performance drops off and I just rather keep them going up.  So I can get them up to where… we go 2 ½ hours Tuesday and Thursday afternoons with the distance men, and 2 ½ on Saturday.  And we are going yards we go 11,000-12,000 in those times:  I just can’t jump into that—they are not ready for that.  So I have got to be careful about that.  You do too.


Underwater Butterfly Kick

Second most important thing—actually it would the third, we just did the second.  Butterfly kick, underwater.  I see a lot of meets; go to the Olympics, your freestylers are good fly kickers.  Your backstrokers are real-good fly kickers.  That one breaststroker was a real-good fly kicker—I just had to throw that in there.


We are product of what we do.  Most everybody on your teams, if you were to make a deal with them: for every freestyle, backstroke or butterfly, they kick three times off every wall.  Everybody in here would move-up, every swimmer that does that, in 6 weeks to 10 weeks will move-up to another level in the fly kick.  There are some that won’t be as good as Ryan Lochte or Michael Phelps or Ian Crocker;  there will be some that… they are going to be as good as their mom—which is not very good.  It is kind of like: if you don’t do it, you can’t do it.


The thing that scares me about fly kick is that you need to learn to hold your breath.  We don’t work on that very much in the water.  We do some in ways by… we swim 75 butterfly—and do repeat 100s—last 25 underwater, no breath.  Or backstroke.  We do that.  As we get better, first 25 underwater, next two 50s above the water, last two 25 underwater.  They have got to go fast; some of them got to break 53 on that.  Some of them have got to go under 55.  But we are a product of what we do—I am going to say that enough, I think.


So one way to do that is 3 kicks.  As they get better… 3 kicks will move him from here to here.  Now, their body started here.  The three kicks was this kind of stimulus for them, all right.  Their body moved-up to here: those three kicks won’t work the same way.  You have got to find a way, to increase that.  5 is a good number.  We do a lot of stuff: tying surgical tubing across a 25 yard pool, got to kick out under it both ways.  25 like that is easy; 50 like that is harder; 75 is much harder; 100 is harder.  Because it is always easier to just drop under and push off, as opposed to do a turn and push off.  So there is another way you can make it fun, but you have got to get some rest after they have held their breath like that.


I listened to Bill Sweetenham talk and you are going to… I think he is here to speak too.  Maybe the best swimming mind, and mouth, I have ever heard—he is really good.  He said they do a set where they go 12x100m freestyles, and they don’t breathe during that set.  And I thought I was good because I have got two guys that can swim 100 meters without breathing—fairly fast.  We do 100s on 2½ or 3 minutes, where they get one breath a lap.  And the slowest guys on those repeats are the breaststrokers;  they are going freestyle.  They are holding 49s.  We know we are better when we don’t breathe; you just got to time that right. 


I had a guy in ‘88 get second behind Matt Biondi in the 100m freestyle, and swim on the free relay and anchored the medley; he breathed every-four.  Because his breathing… he had a bad coach, couldn’t fix his breathing—that was me.  So he breathed every four.  I had a guy this year that breathed a pattern 2-4:  in other words, you breathe twice in a row, then you skip a breath.  It’s different for everyone.  There are a lot of people in the 100 free that breathe every stroke.  Once you get beyond the 100 free, you had better be breathing.


For real young kids, I taught my oldest grandson to fly kick.  And I worked on it, and he kind of looked like a fish that had been hit by the snout of a dolphin that was coming back to pick him up and eat him—because he wasn’t moving.  I took him over and let him watch some good fly kickers—he is 4 years old—he had it.  He got it right away.  And all we did to work on it—work is probably the wrong word—all we did to play on, was play tag.  When anybody else would come over, we would play tag.  The only way he could get away, or to catch somebody, was fly kick—we did it without fins and with fins.  We are product of what we do.  If you think its good to do, and I am telling you, fly kick is an absolute necessity.  And we are nowhere as good as we need to be or can be.


Natalie Coughlin, years ago swimming on a club team, had a shoulder problem, and all she could do was fly kick.  You know what her goal was?  To make the butterfly and backstroke cuts for U.S. Nationals, fly kicking.  Now we are not going to have those kind of goals, but we can have goals.  We can say we are going to go 200 fly kick, come-up and breathe when you want, and we are going to set a standard out there and try to improve it.  You could have team goals for that.  If you ever go to North Baltimore, at least last time I was there, they have got all the aerobic sets on the wall of the best guys they have ever had, that have done them.  And Michael Phelps is right at the top;  on 16x100s, I don’t remember times or intervals, then 11 and 12 doing 200s.


I gave a talk, years ago, in Orlando and it was all: what you should do for 10 & Unders, 11+12s, 13+14s; it had to do with the training and the strength.  And a guy came up to me afterward, and said: “We do that. I coached a good 11+12s, second line 13+14s, and we train like that.”  He said, “I’ve got 80-some-odd swimmers; everybody on my team can swim 2,000 freestyle in under 1:30 per 100.”  They have got all their 10x100s backstroke and 10x or 12x100s of the strokes up there.  At that time he had like three girls at 1:01 for 100-yard backstroke—this would be remised to guess 15 years ago, 18 years ago.  And he had 11+12 boys that were in the low 2:20s 200-yard breaststroke that could all swim 1000 freestyles.  And back-then we weren’t talking about fly kick, and we need to talk about it.  We need to get something done. 


I go to a lot of high school state championships; and usually the guys that are winning are fly kicking, nobody else.  I go to Juniors and the guys that are doing well are fly kicking, and nobody else.  They need to be fly kicking.  Granted when you get to a meet and you have got someone that is not very good at fly kick, I don’t let my guys do it.  College swimmers see the good guys fly kick and they think they should fly kick.  I got some guys that shouldn’t ever fly kick in public.  You know, they get good momentum off the wall, because we work on streamlining and depth-of-push-off—all that kind of stuff.  And they get about three fly kicks and they are still: they are just a target for a big shark.  They are moving target, but not moving forward.  If you can’t go 25 fly kick from a dive under 11 [seconds], you should not be doing it in the race—but that’s because of their speed.


I had a guy named Neil Walker who was one of the first big guys that had a real good fly kick, 6’4” and he could fly kick.  Back long time ago, led-off the 200 Medley Relay, backstroke, in a brief: 20.70.  And he hit like that and broke his finger down on his hand. Had he touched right he would have been 20.45—touched with the other hand.  But he was a 50 man also.  First year, he swam the 50, sophomore went 19.7; and he took 5 fly kicks off the start, 3 off the turn.  Next year he went 19.0, and he took 2 off the start and 1 off the turn;  because he was moving too fast.  In a 50 freestyle… fly kick can compete with most distances.  But in a 50 freestyle it is unusual when somebody can fly kick—especially if they are 19-low—faster than that.  But Neil used to push-off under 10 seconds for fly kick.  But he had a coach from Verona, Wisconsin that made him work on it.


Now what do you have to give up to do that?  If you just add it in to your repeats, you don’t have to give up anything to do it.  If you do kicking, the thing I like best, and helps our team second best, is we come off the wall 10 fly kicks underwater, streamline, pull our hands here and fly kick here.  It is nothing like the streamline position; it gives you have more freedom of movement, works the stomach more, works the thighs more.  So that’s why I do it.  And we do that for repeat 100s; we started it a number of years ago.  When we first started the average for the team was 1:15 or 1:16 per 100.  And we had some breaststrokers in there that couldn’t move very well.  But then this past year, 1:03.  To have people go 56s like that, is easy—but you have got to work on it.  We do 8x100s like that, and we will do it… if it’s good to do, you don’t do it once a month; you do it two or three times a week.  And I said that was the second best thing.


But don’t skip any of the steps.  Start them out kicking off each wall three times, five times—depending on how good they are.  This is with surgical tubing; actually we have got a pulley system that allows them to go 25 yards.  If you don’t have a pulley system, get some surgical tubing; and the new tubing out is the kind that if it breaks, it won’t leave marks on you.  So we take them over to the diving well 3-times-a-week, 16×50 fly kick against a certain weight—it is different for each person.  They fly kick over, then they come back as fast as they can, no breath.  If you want to vary it: put more weight on, use fins—I am not talking about 12&Unders.


There are steps to go through; if you leave out a step, you just flatten out.  Just like if you leave out aerobic—to have someone be the greatest 50 man ever at age 14—then he is not in the finals of the Olympic Trials at age 18—and we want him there.  Because we don’t know what he could do, maybe he could win it.  And we bought some of those belts that—I hate to do this—you know, the swimmer gets down at that end and you pull them.  I am no good at that.  I did not grow up milking cows—that’s what it reminds me of.  But I love it.  And one of the hardest things I ever saw anybody do, I had him do it.  We pulled them coming one way, then had another one and ran that down to that end when they got down there, pulled it going the other way.  Because when you are swimming with that, I call that over-speed:  you are going faster than you can go in a race.  That’s nervous system.  All we talk about is anaerobic, aerobic; we never talk about nervous system.  I know nothing about it, but I know it is important.  So we do over-speed.


And what I have done to combat… so I don’t have to pull the surgical tubing and we can get more people going at the same time is… you know, all those belts come with, all those tubings come with a belt on the end.  We put a belt on the other end.  So we have got two swimmers, same side of the pool next to each other, connected by a 15-yard piece of equipment.  One guy swims out until he almost stops, [as] hard as he can go.  The other guy, when he gets out to there, follows him and he goes fast; he is being pulled, the other guy still has got to pull against resistance.  Goes over to the other side, first guy stops; second guy turns, comes back.  And this guy does the same thing to the first guy.  50s are good to do, 200s are just… see I am one of these guys, I don’t believe you have your swimmers do something…  it is not good for them if they don’t bleed from the face.  And 200s were just tremendous heart rates, fatigue, all those good things.  You can’t do this all the time.  But we got into that a little bit.  I was afraid to do a lot of it last year, because I did not know how it would affect our Olympic Trial effort; because I am afraid to try new things from September through the Olympic Trials.  Because they are just theories, and I don’t want to take any chances. 


But did I make that clear?  They play games with each other.  If the first guy is going out, feels like he has been held-up too long, and the other guy is coming back… because it is hard to swim tethered.  In fact it’s real hard, because you are trying to pull water and move water.  And usually when you pull, where you put your hand in, it comes out in front of that because you pull yourself over the water or through the water.  So it’s very difficult. 


It is like breaststroke kick on the wall—don’t do that with younger swimmers.  We don’t ever start with a buoy in, but it’s about three times as hard as kicking on a board.  I did that in the ‘60s.  I had a young man that had to work in the summer, he was a lifeguard.  He had two 15-minute breaks during the day.  He kicked 600 breaststroke kicks on the wall during each break, at better than one-a-second.  Now he worked up to that.  He came back the next year and won the 200 breaststroke in our conference meet, which… he hadn’t even made the finals the year before.  Of course now you can take a Brendan Hansen and do that, and if he didn’t swim, he would be slower; because he is further along than that other swimmer was.


Fly kick, aerobic; you guys do that, I am going to look a lot better than I am—and that’s important.  Remember this:  you know, there is… and I will answer some questions after this.  There is saying that when you die you can’t take it with you, whatever it is.  But there is a better saying out there: that when you die the thing you take with you, is that what you have given others.  And I really like that, and we are in this best position to do that.  Always put your swimmers ahead of what you want or where you want to be.  That will take care of you better than anything you can do personally.


Thank you very much and I will take any questions.


(Chuck, could you help me with this. Chuck is going to be my interpreter, I only have one ear that works; it just stopped.  So I don’t hear as well—at least I tell my wife that, ‘what was that?’)  No questions?  That’s good.  Swimming is simple—it is difficult.  The lessons it teaches are great.  Chuck has a question.


All right the question is if you haven’t had the season you want to have, whether it is with one person or a group of people, what do you look at?  There are about 20 things, and I am one of those people: I don’t see all 20.  I just get the resultant of the sum of all those 20, whether he had have been to all the practices, what do I hear about him outside of the practice.  But it is a learning opportunity.  If my swimmers don’t swim well, first place I look is here: what could I have done better.  And I do take the blame.  Whether it’s: they were out partying too much…. Look I have got the power, and you keep it if you don’t use it.  But I have got to get that done, I have got to get that across.  I at least have the power to talk to them and they have to listen.  Always evaluate what you are doing.  And I try to make each year harder.


There are four ways to get better:  [#1] technique.  Most of us know what good know technique looks like;  most of us don’t do it.  We have a camp in the summer.  11+12s have good technique; 13s-and-up it starts going away.  And the 11+12s are coming back, and they are 13&Up—they used to have good strokes.  Technique work is like yard-work or housework:  if you don’t do it, it just gets worse and takes more effort.  So technique is one [way to get better].


[#2] Bigger and stronger.  Most of your swimmers do that just through physical maturation.  Any dryland you do for them is going to be good, real good—because strength is the name of the game.  What do we test for at the big meets?  Steroids, growth hormone, testosterone.  What do they do?  Make you stronger, cheaply.  So… age groupers: that’s taken care of, because they are getting 4-8% stronger every year.  Where that falls down is when they take-off growth and their hands start hanging below the knees, so they have longer levers which are a plus when you get the strength to use them.  When you don’t have the strength, they are not a plus.  It interferes with technique.  I say most 10&Unders are not strong enough to do the stroke right.  That’s why we have got to work with the kick with that group; get the kick strong enough to propel them and then get the stroke right.


The other one is… the third one is that they [#3] work harder, all right.  I don’t ever count on that, but they usually do.  And the other one is:  [#4] I ask for more—so I work them harder.   It is not hard; it is not hard.


My main goal, as I said before: I want them to go a lot faster.  And you know as well as I do, somebody can get 30th in the 100m free this past summer, be 3 seconds faster; and they are smiling and shaking their fist like they have won the race.  Going faster is where it’s at.


Thank you very much.


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