Sunday, February 19, 2017

What Competitive Swimming Means

It is college conference time and many former NBA swimmers are in action across the land. What follows is from Miguel after we gave him shout outs for his epic 1:47 200 back race. And it reinforces the point we speak to all the time here in our local swim community: swimming belongs to the swimmers…period. Our local summer league teams often (not always) say “You (NBA) are stealing our swimmers” when they decide they want more than the summer league has to offer. When a swimmer outgrows the existing environment and seeks a more challenging one, our attitude is “Awesome, go for it!” Miguel doesn’t “belong” to NBA…rather he is held in good stead by us until he is ready to move to his next vista point. Nobody owns a swimmer…Curt Flood saw to that.
Thanks Miguel for being such a valuable contributor to the North Bay history book!
“Thanks guys! Really amazing journey and I owe tons of it to the each of you, mean Mike, nice Mike and the whole North Bay community. I've been dreaming of that exact swim I did last night since high school. I still remember when you (Ken) told me I could go a 1:47 and I thought you were crazy. Thanks for believing in me. As for everything else, the lessons I learned on NBA regarding leadership, culture, teamwork and just being a well-rounded person are priceless and knowledge I'll carry with me for my whole life. The team (Fordham) exceeded all expectations, finished 4th (if it were swimming only, we would've smoked the 3rd place team). We broke 12 school records (all 5 relays, 7 individual). I was a part of 2 relays and the 2back record obviously. I've never been a part of a greater team atmosphere as I was last night. Swimming is so cool. Thanks for everything!”

Sunday, February 12, 2017


“If you don’t have the time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
~John Wooden

Ken found this quote the other day and it dovetails nicely into a current thread of conversation with our team. Most swimmers have goals and many even have a time frame of when they want to accomplish the goal(s).

Often the missing component is the plan of action. With some help from your coach and honest introspection (painful as that may be) you can determine where you are today visa vie the trajectory toward successful completion of your goal. Once you adopt your plan of action – doing what you are currently not doing to get what you want – the critical final component is “the when”.

Keeping it simple here…let’s say your freestyle tempo is 1.7+ when you swim a 200. When you swim a great 100 free it is 1.25…how can you swim a great 200 with a 1.7 tempo? The answer for 99.9% of the swimmers on the planet is you cannot. You will need to drop that tempo to 1.3 or even perhaps 1.4.

How do you do that? There are several ways that come to mind…let go of the water…increase your kick speed making sure your kicks are smaller thus quicker…and toughen up a bunch. 1.7 tempo doesn’t hurt as much as 1.3 so if you want to avoid the pain stay at 1.7 and quit complaining about your 200 speed. We coaches don’t want to hear about your frustrations.

We’d rather hear you declare “the when” as in WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT? Then quit your belly aching and just do it…or as Bob Bowman says, “It’s ok with you if I change your goal card, right?”

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Suit

When it comes to swimming fast in a meet – also known as racing – there seems to us to be 4 factors: rest (taper), tech suit, shave and mindset.
We would rank them in this order of importance: mindset, rest, and techsuit/shave.
We went to an early season conference meet last weekend that had trials and finals with most swimmers having a solid shot at a second swim (3heats, 10 lanes). One of our guys, a junior in high school named Max opened our eyes a bit and his even wider we think…to be determined.
His career best 400IM is 4:14. In prelims he went a 4:30 and put a suit on for finals and went 4:20. We asked him if the suit was really worth 10 seconds. In his 200 back with a career best of 1:56 he went 2:06 prelims and suited 1:59 in finals. Again we asked, was the suit really worth 7 seconds.
Both times he answered probably not, with a rueful smile. So the coaching question is this: how do we get the swimmers to have a “suited” mindset without the suit?
And when we figure that one out we will have a waiting list for our team!