Swim Freestyle with Perfect Head Position

Head position is very important when swimming freestyle. When the chin is tucked down and swimmer has perfect head position, the body is in line. Swimmer is able to keep their hips near the surface decreasing drag and maintaining momentum. It is very important to not lift your head during your stroke or turn. For flip turns, using the “T” at the body of the pool will eliminate the swimmer looking up for the wall. As you are about to turn, press your chest down in the water and keep your chin tucked through the turn.

For open water swimmers, keeping your head down will help you be more efficient. Here is a video from Dr. Gary Hall. Follow his subscription “The Race Club.”


Timed 3,000 yard swim: Nine weeks of Training

Nine weeks into the season, our training program is on the correct track. Our swimmers have been training hard in and out of the pool with great attendance.

One practice I use to track their results is a timed 3,000. The set is 10x300s with 30 seconds rest between each one. This is an all out set; marking their 100 yard threshold and training status.

This past Tuesday was the third timed 3,000 of the season. Our swimmers are averaging 4-7 seconds off per 100 yards. That is a two-four minute drop from the first time we swam this set on September 10, 2013.

I am a very pleased coach! But like every day, there is still so much work to be done.


Having fun while Swimming

I guess this blog post is more a reflection for me-as the coach. It’s very easy to get caught up in the hard training, and I always try to make sets that are “fun” but am I making practice fun? 

I just got back from a workshop in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The workshop was located at the Olympic Training Center and was meant for LSC’s with membership under 2500 swimmers. Now the point was to learn how to grow your LSC, but I took away from this workshop way more than a business plan. Seeing how 17 states had coaches and chairman in attendance, I thought it would be a great opportunity to pick their minds on more subjects then just growing an LSC. Yes, this topic is very important and especially for us in West Virginia- smallest LSC. But with all these great minds under one roof, why wouldn’t I try to find more ideas to keep kids motivated?

One thing I brought away from this workshop is making swimming fun. A very generic proposal, how is this done? I do make fun sets- or at least I think I do. But where is the fun? I guess the idea I got away from my meetings was a simple word we all hear that benefits all areas of our lives, Spontaneity. Making swimming fun with crazy ideas that don’t have to be planned. Yes, this still can be a hard workout, but the spontaneous part of the workout is a thrill to the swimmers. This is a great thing to keep in mind when writing workouts and monthly agendas. This concept will be lodged in my mind and i hope will benefit your swimmers as well. 

Grab the Water!

This past weekend, our competitive swim team had their annual home invitational to see how they are progressing through the first part of the season. The majority of our team got to show off their hard work and training and see huge drops from the previous season.

I was very pleased with our swimmers and the progress they have made in such a short time. Attendance and Attentiveness have been at an all time high, coach-ability is a strong suit for our kids which really makes my job easy. 🙂

One of the things I noticed consistently with our swimmers is holding on to the water. A concept that is hard to grasp seeing how its a liquid you’re trying to hold, but it something that cannot be overlook and is very important for staying on top of the water and overall speed.

Have you have ever felt like you are just “spinning your wheels?” This could be one of the reasons!! If you are not grabbing the water and holding onto it throughout your pull, then you are like tires stuck in mud, no traction!

Our swimmers are losing the water in their underwater pull. Hands are slipping, hitting a bad angle, or simply sliding through their fingers with an open hand. We are working on keeping our fingertips down and holding the water all the way through the pull.

The focus has to be every stroke! Keeping the hand strong throughout the pull and not letting the water change the angle of your hand.


Freestyle Flip Turns: Tips to Help you Build More Momentum

It’s always humorous to me when my senior age group swimmers ask, “Coach, can we spend some quality time on flip turns?” Really!? Not doing enough?!? 7,000 yard practices aren’t getting the job done!? Our competitive groups do between 3,000-7,000 depending on the group. This means our swimmers are getting around 80-240 flip turns/turns every practice. Why would we take out time when we are already doing so many. It’s all about the FOCUS.

However, sometimes it’s good to spend a little time on them. Maybe do some 50’s from the middle of the pool (Texas 50s) so that they can get 2 turns per 50. Here are some tips and drills that I find helpful for better turns.

Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion states: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Yes! this law does pertain to swimming, especially flip turns. Example: If a swimmer glides into the wall losing most of his/her momentum, the swimmer will push off the wall with that same momentum losing a lot of distance and speed. However, if a swimmer swims into the wall with the same pace never losing speed, the swimmer will push off the wall with that same speed and momentum.

A couple things to keep in mind when swimming into the wall. First, use the “T”! It’s painted on the bottom of every swim pool for a reason! Depth perception can be boggled when trying to determine how far away you are from the wall. Use the T! It is always the same distance from the wall!! Once you have learned to use the T, it will be easier to transition into your turn. Swimmers must keep their head down and press with their chest. Now, the swimmer is getting ready to tuck into a tight ball. It is really important to press down with your chest because that will lift your hips to the highest point before you tuck.

Now, the swimmer is about to make the turn. Here are a couple pointers that will help you keep your momentum. First, do not use your arms to make the turn. A common misconception is that your arms will help you make a faster turn. Not true! Arms should stay strait and go from your side to streamline in one motion. The swimmer is becoming a tight ball and turning with their core. Get the feet to the wall!

Once the feet hit the wall, get off the wall!! A lot of swimmers stay on the wall and turn, then push off. No!!! Act like that wall is hot lava (I use this statement everyday). Swimmers need to push off on their back getting proper depth. As they are pushing off on their back, with their hips, turn to the stomach. This video really shows the proper way to push off the wall!!

Hope you enjoyed! Comment or advice- Always trying to learn more!

World champion swimmer Ariana Kukors retires


Ariana Kukors, a world champion and world-record holder in the 200-meter individual medley, has retired from swimming at age 24.

Kukors actually announced it in July in a Q&A, but the news is making the rounds this week following a story in the Kent (Wash.) Reporter, Kukors’ hometown newspaper.

“I always kind of thought that 2012 would be my last year,” Kukors told the newspaper. “The (London) Olympics were the perfect icing on the cake. I’m very pleased and content with my career.”

Kukors starred at the 2009 World Championships, where she broke 2008 Olympic champion Stephanie Rice‘s world record in the 200 IM by more than a second in the semifinals. She went even lower in the final in Rome, setting the mark that still stands today — 2:06.15.

The Chinese teen sensation Ye Shiwen, who broke the world record in the 400 IM…

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New Age Group Swimmers: Breaststroke Kick Clicks!

When I was young, I absolutely loved breaststroke. It was my favorite race! I remember being in the newspaper at 8 years old for breaking some 30 odd year old record in the 25 yd breaststroke :). I miss racing that distance. The stroke came very natural to me. And it does for some swimmers. For some kids, showing them the stroke and how to move the legs is all they need, give them a couple laps to figure it out and they have it! That’s Great! But for most swimmers, breaststroke is a very hard stroke to figure out. It is the hardest stroke to figure out and it’s because of a couple reasons.

The biggest reason is breaststroke take rhythm! Yes, that’s right breaststroke is like a dance. A lot of swimmers try to rush their form throwing themselves off rhythm. It is hard for young swimmers to see that they are just making it harder for themselves.

Another big reason why breaststroke is so hard for new swimmers is the kick. The kick takes takes time to understand. For most swimmers, it can’t be learned in a short amount of time. And for coaches, it take PATIENCE. Some bad habits that are very common for young swimmers are scissor kick, wide fly kick, unsymmetrical kick, or maybe the kick is okay but they have wide knees during the recovery. Yes, they’re are a couple who just naturally figure the kick out, but most of the time they can work on getting knees closer. The kick takes time to develop, and being open-minded to little changes will go a long ways.

Teaching the breaststroke kick takes PATIENCE! Phew, it’s a lot of repetitive statements. I just have to work with them, they have to feel it out for themselves.

We are working on breaststroke all this week, and this is what we have been working on so far:

There are a couple different drills that are helping the kids. At first we had the kids swim with a noodle under their hips to help them keep good body position and learn the arms correctly. Teaching the kids the out sweep of the arms while keeping the head down. Teaching them not to pull back to far, keeping the elbows in front of their bodies. With the kick, we did a couple different drills. First we had them kick on their back with their hand under their bottom. This helps them with getting their heals to their but before they do the kick. We also had them kick with a board, and with a pull buoy in between their legs. Keeping their knees together while kicking is one of the hardest challenges!

Getting in the water with the kids helps the most!! We are having some of our older kids get in during their practice and helping them build the correct muscle memory. With kids, it’s all about Repetition! Repetition! Repetition!