Saturday, March 27, 2010

Heading To Pan Pacific Trials

I'm pumped! On Monday I leave for Montreal to go coach at the Pan Pacific Trials/Spring Nationals. Nationals are always great meets and when they double as a Trials then the meet is even better.

The vibe at Nationals is always different from other meets and I think that's because it's one of very few meets where officials and coaches make sure that the focus in on individual performances and helping the best swimmers in the country swim at their best. Nationals has longer warm ups and just a lot more accessibility to the things that swimmers need for peak performance.

This will be my first Nationals experience as a coach, I would say as a non-swimmer but I did go to short course Nationals last year as an announcer for prelims. This time around I'll be the 5th coach for the UofT/TSC/Toronto Academy of Swimming group. The team has certainly grown in the last few years, 25+ athletes are going to this meet so I'll be there to make sure all the grunt work gets done. Early buses, late shuttles, warmdown monitoring, basic advice, simple stuff, but clearly a good time to learn a lot.

Hopefully I'll be able to get some pictures and have a few stories to tell from the week!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

USA Swimming Overviews A Good Start

This is the best analysis I can find where a scientist actually gives a breakdown of what constitutes a good start for a swimmer.

Russell Mark carries the title of "Biomechanics Coordinator" for USA Swimming and this video gives a short but impactful look at starts. There are plenty of swimmers who think they have a good start but this video truly goes over a start that is both fast and, more importantly, powerful.

Good stuff.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Straight Arm Recovery Freestyle

I'm going to embark on teaching this freestyle technique to my group, which has swimmers aged 14-17. At this point in time I sort of view this straight arm technique to be more of a technique to be utilized by female swimmers and certainly more sprint-oriented athletes.

However, I have a belief that I may be able to revolutionize the freestyles of a couple of my swimmers and actually the first swimmer that comes to mind is a young man named Andrei. Andrei does not have the best workout effort in the world but he does like to swim fast and has some natural speed and given how he currently swims freestyle I think this stroke could add some needed technique to help him maximize what he does bring to the table.

Beyond Andrei I have a few girls that are between 5'6"-5'9" that I think this stroke can help them get more out of their shorter arms. That said, I coach one young lady Zoe that is about 5'10" or almost 6' and I do not think at this point in time given her growth and her arm co-ordination that this stroke is the best thing for her at this time.

That said, I will try it with the entire group and modify this stroke into a drill and maybe push some of those, that find this stroke comes naturally, into this stroke to help develop average freestylers or even below average freestylers into something more....

This is perhaps the most intersting experiment that I have conducted in a stroke that I believe I know a lot about, but I'm open to experimentation to learn what this stroke can bring to the table to some athletes who might as otherwise be limited in their potential with a more convential high-elbow freestyle.