Sunday, May 29, 2011

Josh Morgan

As the National Football League figures out how to divvy up their mutual billions of dollars the players are figuring out how to stay in shape, work on plays and otherwise fill their unaccustomed free time in a meaningful way. This has led the media to figure out how to find meaningful stories when the normal pre-season drivel is unavailable.

And for those of us who find the sporting section of the dwindling daily newspaper boasting an occasional nugget or two it is a time of continual fascination. When the “norm” no longer works we are often treated to a real glimpse of an athlete’s perspective on their life. If you think about it, a high level athlete has only a few years of prime time available. So what runs through their mind is of interest to us.

The San Francisco 49er’s wide receiver Josh Morgan was casting some lines at a reporter the other day after an “informal” workout of fellow players. “We accomplish a lot”, he said. “As long as you’re working out with your teammates, you can always get better.”

Then the nugget…

“The best thing to do is stay ready. A coach told me one time: You stay ready, you never have to get ready.”

Sunday, May 22, 2011

2:17.99 vs. 2:17.87 = .12

So what exactly does 12 one hundredths of a second mean anyway? Today, to Madison, it meant the difference between the qualifying time for US Junior Nationals, a trip to Palo Alto, CA this August to race against the fastest 18 and unders in the country and her new best time. Splits for her swim – the 200 yard breaststroke - were 31.5 – 35.1 – 35.0 – 36.2. This is her first trip as an individual qualifier to the summer Junior Nationals meet. Trust us when we say, it is a very big deal. To qualify for an individual event at this prestigious meet is an indication that a swimmer has reached a very high level in the scheme of things in US Swimming.

Her fastest time in the 100 breast is currently 1:04.4. We told her that we believed if she was out in a 1:06 mid on the way to her 200 she could indeed make her qualifying cut. She did exactly that. She did fade a little on the last 50. This was her 5th day of very competitive racing in 9 days. She was running near the end of her tank. Yet she mastered her swim with the skill we see in veterans.

This swim is a testimonial to Madison, her diligent work in pursuit of her goals and her unending belief that the best is yet to come. And of course as is often the case, she is not yet done. She goes to college in the fall, making her coach and new team very happy. As she said shortly after her breakthrough swim, “I think I am going to be swimming this event a lot next year.”

All those 5 AM workouts, those heavy lifting sessions in the weight room, the endless search for perfection in stroke technique, the ups and downs of a season and the balancing of school and sport all are easily worth it when you shave off an all-important 12 one hundredths of a second. Ask any swimmer, they will tell you it is so. So, to Madison and all the swimmers who have had breakout swims this year, we say congratulations!

You are the reason we coach…and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Power of a Well Timed Surge

Watching the Kentucky Derby last weekend we were again impressed with the power of a well-timed surge. If you will click on the link below and watch the race unfold you will see that the eventual winner, Animal Kingdom, is not anywhere near the front until it counts. And what pushes him past the other horses – racers – are not one but two well-timed surges of power. It is almost as if he were shifting gears.

The first occurs as he runs past the “S” in 300 yards. The 2nd as he hits the 0 in 100 yards. Watch carefully and you can see it. It is almost tangible.

If you race at anything, think what would happen if you could develop that ability. There are several ways to get it. They all involve your ability to change speeds on the fly. Swimmers get it by being able to call upon more kick power to keep or even increase their tempo late in a race.

Simple swims, or sets of repeats where that is the only thing being worked on is a good place to start. Negative split swims are another. We even do swims of varying lengths of time – 3 to 10 minutes – where a predetermined amount of distance or time is done at a “surge” speed.

Play with this concept. It will give you another race tactic plus it gives you a real feeling of empowerment when you can pull it off. Let us know what you think.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


In his book “The Soul Would Have No Rainbow If The Eyes Had No Tears” Guy A. Zona writes that, “Proverbs often serve as a means of instruction in the rules of conduct and ethical behavior expected by all members of a society; what makes them an effective tool is that they are based on a keen observation of human nature and behavior rather than an idealized and unrealistic standard.”

While on a recent long weekend in Santa Fe, New Mexico, we stopped in the rather ordinary “Visitor’s Center Bookshop” only to discover this – in our opinion – rather extraordinary collection of Native American Proverbs. Several hit a particular resonance with us. Happy Sunday to you on Mother’s Day 2011.

Talk to your children while they are eating; what you say will stay even after you are gone – (Nez Perce)

The more you ask how far you have to go, the longer your journey seems – (Seneca)

Everything the Power does, it does in a circle – (Lakota)

Those who have one foot in the canoe and one foot in the boat are going to fall into the river – (Tuscarora)

Even when we lay down, we lay down on our own path of life – (Pawnee)

It is less of a problem to be poor than to be dishonest – (Anishinabe)

A rocky vineyard does not need a prayer but a pickax – (Navajo)

You already possess everything necessary to become great – (Crow)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Simple Little Set

Here’s a fun easy set to take for a spin sometime soon. You can do it swimming, pulling or kicking. You can mix and match strokes anyway that you want. You can vary the intervals forever.

We did this with our team on Friday – Masters did it swimming, kids did it kicking using .30 per lap as the interval. Let us know what you think and have a great week at and in the pool!
  • 1x50

  • 1x100

  • 1x50

  • 1x25

  • 1x50

  • 1x25

Do three rounds of this (or multiples of 3 rounds – knock yourself out!)

1st round the 50’s are recovery, blast the 100 and the 2x25

2nd round blast the 50’s using the 100 and the 25’s as recovery

3rd round do one of each distance fast and the rest of the swims are recovery. On this round you only have one 100 but no matter how you choose the 25 and 50 combo they will be back to back – unless you choose the 1st or 2nd 50 in which case you will be back to back on the 100.