Sunday, May 27, 2012

Alex Tarics, 98

Alex Tarics, the world's oldest Olympic gold medalist at 98, has a hobby.

Most evenings, after his wife Elisabeth goes to bed, Tarics sits at the kitchen table in their Belvedere home and works on "unsolvable" mathematical equations. It's something he has done for fun since he sold his structural-engineering company in 1990.

Tarics has solved two or three of these unsolvable problems, attacking them from an engineering viewpoint rather than with standard mathematical methods.

"I am not a professional mathematician, I am a dilettante," Tarics says. "I am an engineer, so I can look at these problems differently and come to different conclusions. I do it for the love of the science."

Wisdom of a Champion

  •  "You have to have a dream, something you want to accomplish. And then you have to work at it very, very hard. Mainly, you have to have willpower, which outlasts many years of hard work and disappointments."
  •  "You cannot be a success unless you accept failures. If you think that when you lost something, it's all over and you give up, then you beat yourself. Don't let this happen."
  •  "The willpower is the most important thing, and anybody has willpower in an inexhaustible supply. It's just how much of it a person uses."

Thanks to Scott Ostler who writes for the San Francisco Chronicle for sharing this wonderful story. Click the link below to read more:

Scott has mastery when it comes to the use of language. His pieces range the entire gamut.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mary is Quite Extraordinary

This is crazy, but true. We just finished our high school season. On our club team we train swimmers who compete for 9 different high schools in the North Coast Section and the Central Coast Section of the CIF here in California. What a party!

And what an eye opener...every single year!

This year the honor for most impressive comment goes to Mary - her real name.
In her team's 400 Free Relay at the end of the NCS meet she cranked a 53.79 split. She has never been anywhere near sub 54 before. She got sucked up into a race and just "went for it". She was in a word "spectacular". She went where she had never been before, inspired by the relay situation.

We asked her, "Where did that come from?" Her response was, "I don't know, I just went for it, the team need me to go fast, so I did."

We said, "You don't train that way on a consistent basis Monday - Saturday, and yet you were able to pull that swim off. Awesome!"

We then asked her, "What if you trained that way Monday - Saturday? What do think would happen then? What might the possibilities be?"

We were inspired to be better coaches by her reply.

She said, "But what if I do train that way and it doesn't pay off?"

And there folks is the crux of the life lesson involved. As Ken - my coaching partner in crime - so eloquently put it, "The benefits of the process actually outweigh the benefits of the results."

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lessons from Mom

Every one of us has a Mom. Today is a special day for her recognition - whether she is with us or not (not in our case).

Yet the lessons we learn will remain forever. Here is what I can remember learning from Helen no particular order.

You will play and learn to read music. This began with the piano from 6-9 years old followed by the clarinet until 12. Then came Pony League football, but we still played music on Sunday afternoons and I was in the church choir until 18. I still play wicked air guitar and married Madeline 25 years ago...oh; I met her when she was singing in a band called Fat Chance when I owned a small rock joint in San Rafael, CA the 80's...fat chance I should be so fortunate!

You will always do your best in school. In doesn't matter if you get top marks or not; always do your best. That is why I changed my coaching technique in 1971; fortunately I had athletes who proved me wiser than my years.

Growing old is not for sissies. Mom ultimately died of renal failure but still smiled to the end. I will do the same.

She complained a lot as a younger person but when she hit her 70's she stopped; I mean she literally stopped; and she had a lot to complain about. Our conversations invariably had the questions; 1 - what are you doing for fun these days? And 2 - are you doing what you enjoy?

Finally, I can never remember her telling me to "be careful"...this when we jumped off the roof of the garage at 9 Holbrook Street in Palmer, MA into leaves holding the four corners of a sheet thinking the landing would be soft...she said, "You need a bigger pile of leaves."

What a woman...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Thank You Jack Bauerle

At the ASCA Clinic last September we somehow got a sheet of paper with this set on it from Jack Bauerle at Georgia. We ran across it last week when cleaning up some papers in our home office. Jack, thanks for is an awesome set and the concept is so straightforward that it can be the basis for countless others.

As Jack says in his description, "set is straight through and if repeated throughout the season is a great set to gauge progress on, or simply adjust the challenge level." He also notes that "you can adjust the intervals and do this kicking, pulling or strokes."

We set up a white board with four levels of step downs. There was, as promised from Jack, immediate engagement both physically and mentally. Also, it can be done as scy, lc, or scm. We did this short course yards. We went on the 40 seconds. Another thing we liked about this was that all swimmers went on the same interval and while some got a little more rest than others, they were all in the same group, as it were.

It is a nice way to grab a quick 2000. Here goes:

40 x 50 free on the .40
Round 1 hold pattern = 4 at .31, 3 at .30, 2 at .29, 1 at .28
Round 2 hold pattern = 4 at .30, 3 at .29, 2 at 28, 1 at .27
Round 3 hold pattern = 4 at .29, 3 at .28, 2 at, 27, 1 at 26
Round 4 hold pattern = 4 at 28, 3 at .27, 2 at .26, 1 at max speed

No rest between rounds...have at it. You will be pleased!