Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Plug for Process

This sounds like a broken record in many ways but still is worth stating; trust the process and the results will come to you. There are so many examples of this in life. One of the great benefits of sports, particularly our sport of swimming, is that often when you least expect it, success pops up right in front of your eyes.
Swimming is especially blessed since it rewards individual effort with success. Ours is a team sport, make no mistake. The right culture on a team allows all who wish to reap rewards a chance to do that. But as an individual it is YOU who decide if you want to move forward; it is YOU who decides to plug ahead despite adversity; it is YOU who chooses the “harder” path even when others seem to have it “easier” than you do.
Today at the pool we were doing this drill…you all know it well…or some version of it. We call it the 3 second drill. While wearing a snorkel (so you have perfect body position while breathing) you leave your hands extended, one behind you and one in the catch position for 3 seconds. This gives you the opportunity to make certain you have completely finished with the trailing hand while having the leading hand in the correct position – in front of your shoulder with fingertips lower than wrist which is lower than your elbow.
Mia, a younger swimmer and thus certainly not the fastest swimmer in the pool, was doing this very precisely. We had all our kids – 50+ of them – watch as Mia swam a 25 demonstrating proper fingertip position. They loved it and she was beaming. We made the comment that Mia just became a faster swimmer because she is now a better swimmer.
Process = Results - as Steve Bultman, Texas A&M Women’s Coach says - you cannot predict when but the work does pay off.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Buzzer Beater

The other day TK observed this about the proverbial buzzer beater; “If the person or team who needs the buzzer beater spent a little extra time/effort earlier in the game then perhaps the last minute shot to tie or win wouldn’t be necessary.” Who says those of us who are a little older cannot learn from those who are younger?
In basketball (pro season just opened and Kevin Durant missed a game winning buzzer beater at the end of game one – Warriors open their season at 0 and 1) the phrase was coined long ago since those games typically end with a real “buzzer” sounding.
In football we have the last minute field goal attempt as time expires; or a “Hail Mary” pass into the end zone. In baseball it is the “walk off” RBI or homer; in hockey it is pulling the goalie putting six offensive players on the ice leaving your goal exposed; in soccer it is perhaps the penalty kicks…the list goes on in every sport.
In swimming it is the “last chance” meet; the time trial between heats and finals; the swim off; or “Coach, can I lead off the relay?”
As TK observed, if the swimmer had put forth more effort earlier in the season then just maybe the last ditch attempt to get that cut would not be necessary. Perhaps a good phrase in workout might be, “OK, let’s all make this next repeat (which of course wouldn’t be the last one in the set!) today’s “buzzer beater”.
Whadda ya think?

Sunday, October 15, 2017


The word "community" derives from the Old French comunet√©, which comes from the Latin communitas "community", "public spirit" (from Latin communis, "shared in common").[4]
Human communities may share intentbeliefresourcespreferencesneeds, and risks in common, affecting the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness

In the United States swimming world we have large and small communities. From the larger USA Swimming organization to the smaller local LSC to the even smaller local swim club we all take some measure of solace knowing we are linked together through a common purpose.
Often we get overly absorbed in our self-importance. This is natural and understandable given the pursuit of achievement our activity engenders: best times, “cuts”, making finals, touching the pad first, being recruited, getting accepted, committing to the college of our (and their) choice. The list is endless, or at least seemingly so most times.
However, often lost in the fray is the humanness of the community in which we reside. Now and then we are acutely reminded that the most important aspect of community is indeed the human connection.
This last week here in Northern California we have received a jolt of reality; swimming is not actually the most important item in our life – let alone how fast we swim. The communities of Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Napa, Calistoga – the list is nearly endless – burned to the ground: Literally.
So many of our swim community have been affected. Loved ones have been lost. Homes and business burned to the ground. It is an ongoing tragedy.
We have not had swim practice for a week. Tough for us but not really. The pools will reopen and the air will be breathable again, sooner than later.
Those who have had their lives turned upside down by the fires are changed forever. We have responded as a larger swim community to those in need. Our hope is that the giving – and the receiving – will remind us that the community is once again – and always – more important than any one of us.
Tough life lesson.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Mom is Making Eggs

A mom is making eggs for her teenage boy for breakfast. As he walks in, “Mom, don’t burn them. Careful! Careful! Don’t mess up, don’t let them burn. You are going to mess up. Be careful! Be careful!”
Finally the Mom snaps. “I know what to do. I’ve cooked eggs before!”
“I know Mom. I was just trying to show you what it’s like when I’m playing soccer”.
We overheard at a meet this weekend a Mom saying, “She added a second” using a tone that you might have thought belonged in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the hurricanes.
And the beat goes on…

Sunday, October 1, 2017

3 Sets

Here are 3 main sets we have done. Our warmups are usually about 1000 yards or so then some sort of warmup set before what is usually a main set. Sometimes there are multiple rounds of the main set. These are ideas you can riff off of to your heart’s content J
Mill Valley Mile – we did 1 round of this short course in the afternoon last summer after long course in the morning
2x25/.25 fast then 2x25/.45 smooth
4x25/.25 fast then 2x25/.45 smooth
6x25/.25 fast then 2x25/.45 smooth
8x25/.25 fast then 2x25/.45 smooth
10x25/.25 fast then 2x25/.45 smooth
8x25/.25 fast then 2x25/.45 smooth
6x25/.25 fast then 2x25/.45 smooth
4x25/.25 fast then 2x25/.45 smooth
2x25/.25 fast…1650 total…a Ken speed set; lots of group energy on this one

IM Round Robin – we did 4 rounds of this last summer in our long course pool which is 40 meters; each round is 20 laps or 800 meters; the interval is 45 seconds per lap
1 lap fly then 4 laps free
2 laps fly to back then 3 laps free
3 laps fly – back – breast then 2 laps free
4 laps IM then 1 lap free…took one hour to do 3200 meters…awesome set from Ken

500 freestylers rule the world – done this fall for our 200/500 group
500/6:30 negative split
300/4 each 100 gets faster
2x100/1:15 progressive (many of you say descend)
2x50/.35 one fast; one faster
300/4 As Above
2x100/1:15 As Above
2x50/.35 As Above
2x100/1:15 As Above
2x50/.35 As Above…2000 yards in @ 27 minutes; we did 3 rounds with a minute rest between rounds…Don prefers things that have descending intervals while swimming faster as you get deeper into the set
Got a favorite set that worked? Share it with us and we’ll push it out for the rest of our sport’s community to benefit from your experience.