Friday, December 30, 2011

MIssy Franklin on The Morning Swim Show

For some reason, the embed code isn't working here... so see the LINK to Missy Franklin on The Morning Swim Show. She touches on the topic of swimming for Canada for anyone interested.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Stuff from the internet...

Blue Fins in the News: article HERE

New Episode of coachmikepodcast:

Pics of the Fundementals Camp held at Canada Cup (Featuring some Blue Fins): HERE

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Links of the day...

See a Legend in Person: Mark Tewksbury will speak in Toronto for the Toronto Board of Trade. If you've ever heard Mark speak, you'd know that he is fully worth the cost to see him. I encourage anyone who is serious about swimming to go. Details Here.

HHBF Getting attention from Olympians: I congratulated our record breakers from Saturday morning on Facebook and was met with some encouragement from 2008 Olympians Lindsay Seemann, and Joe Bartoch. Always nice to see important people paying attention to HHBF. Details Here.

Watch some video: I'm a little disappointed that this video has only garnered 125 views in the past 10 days (and most of them are from outside of Canada). This is FREE GOLD for all swimmers and coaches and it has fewer hits than conversation pieces with athletes and coaches. I'm telling you, check this out and thank me when you or your athletes get faster! Its FREE and all you have to do is watch it... what more do we have to do to get this message across??

Listen to some audio: This is a clip of audio from my interview with Randy Bennett I did some time ago and I think its particularly relevant for my groups going into Christmas training. Randy talks about the will to win vs. everyone else's. I think its a great message and something for my athletes to remember when they think they've done enough...

Blue Fins in the news: Story in Tuesday's Independent Free Press

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Records Are Made To Be Broken

Exciting morning at the 2nd Annual HHBF Record Breaker. I started this last year as an attempt to "clean up the record board"; meaning that we never swim 25s and 100IM so the record board was heavy with old default records (sorry Chris). The plan was to take down as many of those as possibe. Last season, it was relitivaly easy because they were old records. This season, it was a bit tougher; but the Blue Fins still found a way to break 10 more club records.

Congratulations to the following record breakers:

Britney Dortona Girls 11-12 25FLY
Mitchell Brearley Boys 13-14 25FLY
Matthew Fox boys 13-14 25BK (Chris Henderson's old record)
Kyle Haas Boys 15&0 25BK
Emma Fender Girls 11-12 25BR
Aaron Brautigam Boys 15&O 25BR
Matthew Fox Boys 13-14 25FR (Chris Henderson's old record)
Emma Fender Girls 11-12 100IM
Matthew Fox Boys 13-14 100IM (Chris Henderson's old record)
Kyle Haas Boys 15&O 100IM

**Sorry to pick on you so much, Chris!

I was really happy to see so many people taking the opportunity to RACE and swim fast! I think that many Blue Fins had fun and I think its a great opportunity to stand up and race hard in the shortest races possible.

I have put quite an emphasis on club records in the past 2 seasons, but what I am working on right now will expand that focus and help celebrate depth and acheievment. Currently, I am trying to compile the top 10 fastest perfromances in HHBF history for all age groups and all events (boys and girls) which will give us an idea of how deep we are complared to previous years. Clearly our records are better, but are we deep enough to have the top 10 performers in 200FR for boys and girls in HHBF history on our current roster? Check out the prelim work linked in the previous sentence and see where we are...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Episode of "Off the Deck"

I LOVE Jenna Lambert, so please check out the most recent episode of OFF THE DECK where she talks about her national team experience. Some of you may remember her from an earlier episode of coachmikepodcast.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Great Weekend for the Blue Fins

This past weekend, the Blue Fins competed in the 23rd Annual Roy Jacobson Invitational in Vaughn and at the 2011 Paul Bergen Invitational in Portland, OR. There were 8 club records set this weekend, overall:

Emma Fender: girls 11-12 50BR (38.99) and 50FLY (33.42)
Kyle Haas: boys 15 & O 50FR (23.98), 100FR (52.34), 50BK (25.84), 100BK (55.43), 200BK (2:03.04), 200IM (2:09.35)

The meet started with some very solid 400FR and 400IM swims on Saturday afternoon. A few provincial prerequisites were obtained and a lot of personal bests were obtained. Saturday and Sunday were no different; Blue Fins taking off time everywhere. Of note, I think special recognition is deserved from these swims:

- Bronte McMaster 200BK: took off almost 17 seconds for 2:40... and did it by sticking to the plan (which wasn't an easy one).
- Brooklyn Shelley 200BR: Brooklyn obtained the Central Region standard in this event, again, by sticking to the plan. 5 second PB.
- Jason Reid 200BR: first ever Central Region standard (17 second PB too). Jason was on fire this weekend and VERY focused on what he wanted to do. Good example for everyone! Congrats!
- Shannon Jickling 50FR: got her 13 year old regional time in this event. Well done!
- Heather Bradshaw 200BK: WOW!! Again, sticking to the race plan pays off... I'm sensing a real theme here.
- Loren O'Brien Egesborg 200FR, 400FR, 200BK, 400FR: Loren had a great weekend, mostly by sticking to race plans, but also her training this season has been exceptional.
- Keri-Lyn Copland 100FR: first PB in this event since last January. She was able to really get herself going.
- Aaron Brautigam 100BR: HUGE PB in this event. Way ahead of where we were last season in terms of speed.
- Mitchell Krafczek 100BR: No idea where this came from, but its a significant time and quite a pleasant surprise.
- Jenna Galea, EVERYTHING: What a great start to the season for this youngster! Fantastic racing this weekend!
- Darian Zuraw, Kate Erdely, Simone Fong, Daniel Stott, Michael Jickling: Great showing from all of our 10&U kids, especially in 50FR! Huge drops!
- Quinn Jagard, 400IM: Quinn got the prereq in this event after working so hard for it. Very proud of him!
- Carter DeForest 200FR, 100FR: Great weekend for Carter! Lots of PBs and a few extra regional qualifications.
- Paige Olmstead: broke 1:10 for 100FR and a 13 year old regional time!
- Alexander Plaskoski everything: great weekend for this youngster! Look for great things from him in the new year.
- Quinn West 100FLY: First time under 2:00.
- EVERYONE 100FR: this used to be a good measuring stick for where we were as a club and we used to get really excited when we had people under 1:20 (2-3 years ago). Now there are so many under 1:15, I can't even count...

I was very pleased to see lots of best times from Blue Fins: Sam Ceci, Trevor Burwell, AJ Tarczy, Simon Olsen, Everett White, Avery Jans, Justin Lochert, Krista Lochert, Jordan Horruzey, Mitchell Brearley, Victoria Plaskoska, Nicole Waddick, Emillie Knighton, Philipe Escobar, Zach Henderson, Shannon Kent, Quinn Koehler, Katherine Peel, Megan Brosseau, Loren Monhemius, Jordon Stott, Mackenzie Murphay, Dana Payne, Angie Wallace, Erika Charbonneau, Livy Olson, Britney Dortona, Tatyana Austrie, Isaac West, Eric Siegfriedt, Bjoern-Ole Schrader, Aysia Leckie, Chris Zanewycz, Anthony Hartsink, Emily Maldrum, Rachel Ironside, Ted Mosoi, Matt Fox, Ashton Sicard and many others. My apologies if I did not mention your name; there are just too many Blue Fins competing at this level for me to remember while I'm typing (which is a wonderful thing!).

One of the things that I noticed and realize that we need to work over the next 5-6 weeks (speaking of everyone, but my groups specifically) is toughness. A lot of swimmers were just allowing themselves to lose speed by allowing their arms to slow down, then not understanding why they lost speed... then looking at me like I was crazy when I suggested that they needed to keep their arm speed up ("..what are you, nuts..? Thats hard...!). An interesting reminder for some that these abilities are trained at practice... not in a race for the first time. This same aspect showed up during BR, FLY and BK races throughout the weekend. Walls were mistimed in all 3 of these strokes, especially backstroke (where there really is no excuse, given that the flags are there to help you). The reason for this is likely that people are not swimming fast in practice. They're not used to the number of strokes they take then they're travelling fast because they do not practice it enough. We can't continually try to figure these things out in races.

I move that (for the next 5-6 weeks, at least) we stop calling our practices "workouts". We are clearly getting the "work" done; what we're not doing is practicing the small skills well enough. These are the small skills that make the difference between doing pretty good and doing great. For the next 5-6 weeks, we'll be going to "practice" to practice these things, not "workout" to workout.

UPDATE: as of right now, we have 24 qualifiers for Central Regions (2 over qualified) and it's only December. Nice job, folks!


Meanwhile, in Portland, OR, HHBF's Kyle Haas had 2 4th place finishes (50BK and 100BK) where he broke the HHBF record in both and was the youngest person in the A final in both events. He was also 8th in 200BK (HHBF CR) and made the B final in 100FR, 50FR and 200IM. He also assisted Team Ontario to bronze medals in both the 4x100FR Relay and the 4x100 Medley Relay (he split a scorching fast 50.88 on the FR relay, going 3rd... you could argue that was the difference maker). This was a great experience for Kyle and he represented Ontario and HHBF very well. He will return to the pool tomorrow, please join me in congratulating him for a job well done!

Friday, December 9, 2011

2011 Paul Bergen Jr International - 12/9/2011 to 12/11/2011

As I mentioned briefly last week, HHBF's Kyle Haas was added to this roster and is currently swimming pretty well. As of now, Kyle is going into the A final for 100BK in 4th place with a prelims time of 56.31 (only 0.01 seconds off of his best from Canada Cup).

Live Results can be found HERE
Some interviews from swimmers at the meet can be found HERE
The Team Ontario roster and team info can be found HERE

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

#coachmikepodcast episode 11

If you listen to only 1 episode, listen to this one!!! Great interview with legendary swim coach, Paul Bergen where we talk about age group swimming in North America, the future and the history behind the sport. Also, Sean Baker of the Oakville Aquatic Club checks in to talk about another legendary coach, Brian Bond and his current health concerns. This is a great episode!
Don't forget to follow me on twitter (@coachmikeswim)

UPDATE: Podbean seems to be working again which means that iTunes will pick it up again tonight. Sorry for the inconvenience. I am removing it from the temporary dropbox link.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Off the Deck - with Dean Boles and Allan Wrigley

I'm pretty proud of this episode because I feel that we've been able to capture and deliver so much important information to EVERYONE; swimmers who were not eligible for the camp; coaches who could not make it to the camp; anyone with a general interest in swimming mechanics. Please watch (especially HHBF swimmers) you'll be better and smarter for it.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


I want to take this opportunity to say Happy Birthday to my Father-in-law, Dave Vince. He's a great guy and deserves all the happiness he has! Sorry I can't be there with you today.

On a non-family member birthday note: I guess that I can announce now that Kyle Haas has been added to the Ontario Tour Team headed to the Bergen Invitational in Portland, Oregon. Kyle will leave on Wednesday December 7th for competition with Ontario's best against swimmers from Mexico, France, Germany and the USA. Lets all extend our congratulations to Kyle on his selection and wish him luck. He will return on Monday December 12th with all the details.

Also, Congrats and good luck to Richard Hortness, who made the final in the mens 100FR at US Nationals earlier today with a PB of 50.00 seconds. Good luck tonight, Rich!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Anti-Doping: Educate yourself

Doping is a serious issue in amateur and professional sports. It is very important to educate yourself on the processes and consequences. I feel it important to provide links to the necessary information.

WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) website
2011 Prohibited Substance List
Therapeutic Use Exemptions: Athletes, like all others, may have illnesses or conditions that require them to take particular medications.
Doping Quiz: Test your knowledge and understanding. This is actually kind of fun!
Education and Awareness page
FINA's Anti-Doping statistics

I think that these videos explain things better than I can, so I'll let them do that talking. I spent some time on the topic with the Elite group (the only group that this will likely affect at this point) but feel that its good to provide this information to everyone, so that you can go through it at your own pace, on your own time. It is everyone's responsibility to take this seriously.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Links to check out...

1.) US Nationals in Atlanta, GA start today and there are a whole host of Canadians going down including Tobias Oriwol, Brittany MacLean, Joe Bartoch, Annamay Pierce, Martha McCabe and others. Watch the webcast LIVE HERE. There is going to be some great racing!

2.) IMPORTANT: Gord Bassett Invitational session change. Please check the HHBF Website to make sure that you have all the current information.

3.) New episode of coachmikepodcast up on the podbean server and will be on iTunes at 9pm tonight. Pretty good interview with Kevin Anderson (new head coach of Mississauga Aquatic Club).

4.) If you haven't already, check out the newest episode of "Off the Deck" on the Swim Ontario page. New episode coming very soon.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Canada Cup days 2 & 3

What an exhausting weekend! Sorry I was unable to post here regularly, but those of you who follow me on twitter (@coachmikeswim) were able to get live updates as the weekend went on. I can do that from my phone and don't have to be in front of a keyboard so its a lot more convenient.

Saturday was a busy blur as Kyle made the B final in 100BK with a best time and club record of 56.30 sc, which officially beats my best sc time :(. He entered the B final at 13th and came out 11th with a lc time slightly slower than his best from the summer, but still a fantastic race for this early in the season (aside from slipping on the start and playing catch up for the first 30m). A special thanks to everyone who came down to support us on Saturday night, including: Michael Jans, Avery Jans, Bronte McMaster, Brooklyn Shelley, Asyia Leckie, Quinn Jaggard, Britney Dortona, Loren O'Brien-Egesborg, Keri-Lyn Copeland and more (Saturday was such a blur, sorry if I forgot to mention your name). Kyle also swam 200IM that morning and beat the club record, but backed off in order to have a decent 50FR. 50FR ended up being less than ideal but a solid morning swim.

Sunday held on 50bk for HHBF and Kyle swam very well in the morning. Well enough, in fact, to place 6th and make the A final in 6th place. 26.16 in the morning (sc) is very solid swim. One of the things that I really wanted for him this weekend was finals experience and experience in the A final. I'm very glad that it worked out. Mentally, it is very nerve racking to spend time in the ready room and march out to the lanes with so many big names. Kyle's race was only slightly slower than his time in the summer but he was still able to move up to 5th place, even after a very deep start. I am very proud of what he was able to accomplish this weekend. He represented HHBF very well and so did the people that came down to watch and lend their support. Carter DeForest and Katherine Peel came down on Sunday night to watch (and so did my wife and kids) so I was able to send some athletes up to the stands to give some autographs. Hopefully they enjoyed that.

Tobias Oriwol's 200FR win is below.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Some Fast Swimmin' @ Canada Cup

Some great racing tonight. My favourite to watch was the show down in 200BK between Matthew Swanston and Tobias Oriwol (below). Check it out! ...And come down to watch in person!

Canada Cup Day 1

100FR and 200BK today. Since Kyle is not really rested for this meet, we're working on putting up solid performances in the morning in the hopes of making a couple of finals this weekend. This morning was a good start. He hadn't been under 53 seconds in 100FR since last February, so 52.78 is quite good for a morning swim. That netted him 53rd place. 200BK was also very solid (especially the under water kick and splitting). Kyle ended up in 23rd place (which is quite good for a not #1 race) and was only .08 seconds off of his best time a couple of weeks ago @ Swim International in Brantford (final time today of 2:03.36). An excellent morning swim and the top 16 and under finish in the event. It is very easy to go into a meet where you're the top dog and focus on swimming well in the final. Its totally different to come to a meet like this and swim fast in the morning. This is the aspect we're working on this weekend, as he will need to to make it into the final. Today was excellent in that regard.

I'm going to head back to watch finals and warm-up Kyle in the LC pool. Should be some excellent racing this weekend based on what we've seen so far. Live results can be found HERE.
Warm-up for finals on the weekend is 4pm for a 6pm start. I encourage everyone to come down to watch some world class racing. Hope to see you there.

UPDATE: Live webcast available HERE if you are not able to make it down to Etobicoke.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

coachmikepodcast episode 9

I'm back this week with 1996 Canadian Olympian, Casey Barrett, talking about his blog site Also spend some time with 2012 Canadian Olympic Team Hopeful and class act, Hassan Abdel Khalik. Check it!
Follow me on Twitter @coachmikeswim and check out my blog whenever you get a chance! Check it out on iTunes or listen live below.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Breaststroke - Separation Drill

Platinum and Elite Swimmers will want to look at this drill in advance of Thursday morning's Breaststroke Extravaganza workout. Watch it a couple of times so that you're familiar with it before we give it a shot Thursday morning.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Fast and the Furious

I remember seeing this video countless times when I was a young swimmer in the late 80s/early 90s and I have looked for it everywhere... but few people I knew had copies. I recently came across a copy on Youtube. If you have 50min, check this out. Its SUCH a good video!

Friday, November 18, 2011

New Webisode of "Off The Deck" w/ Tobias Oriwol

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Things to see on the internet...

For those of you unaware of the Pro Swim League, its an exciting new initiative by USA Swimming (I have no idea why they chose to do this for the first time in an Olympic year.?) which debuts tonight in Michigan. Since Wednesday night TV sucks*, be sure to tune in at 8pm to see some exciting racing from some of the worlds best. The WEST team includes friends of HHBF (and Canadian Olympians), Joe Bartoch and Richard Hortness of LAC. Webcast begins at 8pm, check out the website.

Meanwhile HHBF's own, Kyle Haas is listed amongst some of Canada's best athletes for 25 fly kick underwater. Check out Dean Boles of Swim Ontario and his new challenge.

*Yes, I watch Survivor, Modern Family and Happy Endings religiously... but its not as good as fast racing!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Swim International 2011

This weekend also marked Brantford's annual Swim International meet. Brantford has struggled with air quality for a few years. Although this was better than previous years, I'm still feeling it today (Tuesday).... and I'd do it again. I LOVE that pool! So fast! Sacrificing a couple days of health is worth it.

A few exciting things about the weekend.

Top Stories:

1.) PARENT SAVES DROWNING BOY: During 13-14 200fly, a boy came off the wall, choked on water, panicked and was in legitamite trouble. None of the lifeguards saw this happen and none were available to help so a random parent dived into the water to save the boy. Perhaps more amazing than the event itself is that, with so many races being video taped no one got the actual event on video and uploaded it to youtube or contacted the media. What an incredible turn of events! Hats off to you, brave and selfless spectator!

2.) BROKEN RECORDS: 2 more club records this weekend by Kyle Haas - 100BK (56.57) and 200BK (2:03.28, which is also a Swim International meet record). Matt Fox and Kyle Haas both won all backstroke events for 14 year old boys (Matt Fox's 1:01.38 100BK and 2:14.46 200BK are very competitive Nationally) and 15-16 boys. A lot of best times and top 8 places in other events. Well swum by everyone!

3.) NEW BABY: Congratulations to Chris Henderson and his wife, Mallory, on the birth of their first child, Sophie. We're all very happy for the arrival of this beautiful 7lb alarm clock. In all seriousness, congratulations guys! I couldn't be happier for you!

As far as the weekend went, HHBF represented itself well with lots of individual races, PBs, top 8 finishes and relay top 8, finishes. It was pretty evident to me that, at a meet of this calibre, were up against athletes that aren't afraid to get up and race, something that our club is still learning to master (many admitted that the atmosphere was freaking them out a little). 2 more things that I also noticed were the amount of time that it took for many of our athletes to change direction in their turns was much longer than other teams (ie: flip time) and the drop off in splits from first half to second half also seemed much higher on our team compared to others. These are things that I intend to focus on intensely before our next tests in December.

Our athletes swam well (Sam Burwell and Clancy Harris first time under 1:10 for 100FR was a great example of this) and we continued our spirit and team support through the meet. I've gotta say; so far, I'm very impressed with HHBF swimming. The key now is to continue to get faster through attention to detail; Lets make sure this happens.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Off The Deck - new webisode

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Milton Dash for Cash Weekend

What a fantastic weekend in Milton! It has been a long 6 week preparation period for meet season and we focused on doing a couple of things better than anyone else coming into our competitions:

1.) Be better under water than the other teams.
2.) Cheer louder than the other teams.
3.) Have more fun than the other teams doing 1.) and 2.)

I've got great examples of each point, but I won't belabour the topic.

1.) EVERYONE was fantastic working on kicking and streamlining underwater this past weekend. This is certainly what we wanted to achieve with all the work we put in for about 6 weeks (drills, sets, video analysis, better feedback, etc) and in many cases it lead to significant best times. Avery Jans is a great example here in her 800FR. Avery took off almost 2 min and was able to make it to about 6 or 7 metres off of every wall (about 3m further than the girl from Milton that she was racing). As a result, Avery ended up taking about 70 less strokes than her competitor in the race. Her competitor was swimming a little quicker, but Avery was moving faster and easier under water fro each wall. In the end, Avery had more energy left, won her heat and dropped a ton of time. Sticking to the plan pays off!

2.) During Sunday's medal presentations, not only was HHBF the only team involved and cheering, but we were making a statement to the other teams; we are proud of and support those who wear the fin. I felt overwhelming pride to be part of the team this weekend and I'm sure athletes and parents felt the same way (and there were likely some envious people on other teams too).

3.) Lots of smiles and happiness all around from parents and athletes. Very successful weekend in this regard.

Across the weekend, we saw 4 club records (Kyle Haas - 50BR; Emma Fender - 50BR and 100BR, Matt Fox - 400IM & 50BK), a few new regional times (Paige Olmstead, Shannon Jickling, Aleks Plackoski) and too many people within arms grasp to mention. HHBF won the meet, followed closely by Milton. Regardless of the results, Chris, Shannan and myself were unbelievably proud of this team and feel that we got off to the great start we were hoping for.

I was surprised, however, by how many parents were taken in by the new facility. Yes, new facilities are nice, but we're still producing some very good athletes with what we have. Does it contain water? Yes. Is it regulation length? You bet! Add Jaclyn in charge of town aquatics, a renewed desire to win and some team cohesion, we're going to continue to do great regardless what facility we're training out of. I encourage all of you to listen to the upcoming episode 8 of coachmikepodcast where I speak to Nancy Sweetnham about becoming one of the worlds best out of a small program and 6lane/25m pool; she has many relevant things to say.

A few more notes:

- Next weekend is Swim International in Brantford for the Elite and Platinum groups where we hope to keep the momentum going with great swims and equally good team support.
- As a result of SI in Brantford, Friday night's Elite and Platinum workout is cancelled. Swimmers not swimming in Brantford can join the Friday morning groups.
- Keep tuning in to my podcast. I have some OUTSTANDING guests coming up. A lot of downloads outside of Georgetown too; its great, but don't let other teams benefit from this more than we do!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Message to HHBF Elite and Platinum Parents

Attention all Elite and Platinum Group Swimmers and Parents,

Due to repairs at the GHIP, we will be truncating our usual workout on Friday night. Start time for November 4th, 2011 will be at 5pm and practice will be finished at 6:30pm. No other group practices will be interrupted on this day.

The pool should be fully functional next week (although we may still be waiting for starting blocks). The town has apologized multiple times for the inconvenience and appreciates HHBF's patience and understanding in this matter. I, personally, would rather this type of thing get done now and limit us for a week rather than sidelining us for longer later in the season. I thank the town for handling this quickly and efficiently. Please contact me with any questions or concerns.


Mike Thompson
Head Coach

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

coachmikepodcast episode 7

Anyone who missed Tobias Oriwol's speech to the Blue Fins last Wednesday night (or wants to hear it again) can hear it on my podcast as well as some stuff from Dean Boles on the training camp going on out west. Check it out! Also available on iTunes and on podbean.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

HHBF Awards Banquet 2011

On Wednesday October 26th, 2011, HHBF held its annual achievement awards (achievement from the previous season). Club Records were celebrated (over 80 broken in 2010-2011 season) as well as qualifiers, top 8 finishers and medalists from the Regional, Provincial and National level were celebrated. Perhaps the most exciting moment of the night was the appearance of our Guest of Honour, 2008 Olympian, Tobias Oriwol (pictured above with Blue Fins, Livy Olson and Loren Monhemius).

Tobias's career spanned about 20 years and experienced many highs and lows. In his address to the Blue Fins, he detailed many of these things (his retirement and his reason to come back to swimming), but perhaps his most poignant message was about the importance of good team mates and being a good team mate. Toby was very generous with his time, very polite and extremely professional. An excellent speaker; I would highly recommend him for functions if you can get him (he is a very busy guy)!

We have over 90 people attend the banquet this year (Only HHBF's second annual event) which is significantly larger than last season. Not only was there a higher turnout, but HHBF was awarding more swimmers than we thought possible when we first organized the event 2 seasons ago. I must say I am extremely proud of my Team both as a member and as a coach. We have come a long way and will continue to evolve and progress. Wednesday night was a celebration of how much our swimmers achieved last season, but it was also proof positive that the Blue Fins have a bright future ahead.

I think Tobias said it best: "...While not everyone may get an Award tonight, it is important to remember that no one wins an award by themselves and we should remember the team mates that made it all possible."

Monday, October 24, 2011

HHBF Blue and White Meet

Saturday October 22nd marked the unofficial kick off of meet season for the Intro, Intro Comp, Bronze, Silver and Gold groups with our annual HHBF Blue and White Meet. My initial observations was how much better this meet runs now than it did 3 or 4 years ago! I believe this is for a few reasons:

- Chris Henderson and Shannan Andrews have prepared the athletes very well! Fewer and fewer of them find this meet (for some of the intro groups, this is their first meet experience) overwhelming. Chris and Shannan are also very enthusiastic and energetic people and these athletes feed upon that. The junior coaches were doing their jobs very well! I'm pretty sure that everyone had a great time as a result.

- Our athletes from the Regional Development, Elite and Platinum groups were there volunteering their time which made the day run much smoother. Nothing helps more than having volunteers who know how meets run.

- Parent volunteers were outstanding! We had no shortage of help at all Saturday morning.

- The older athletes were very helpful with the younger athletes. I can't put into words how proud it makes me to see older athletes like Emilie Knighton helping with the younger kids just because she wants to be a good team mate. Athletes like that make a huge difference in the development of this club!

- There was a lot of pretty quick swimming from these younger athletes! I can't wait to kick off the official meet season.

Thank you everyone for all of your help on Saturday, we could not have run such a great meet without you. Historically I do not involve myself directly with the Blue or White team, but instead spent time floating around, fixing problems and putting out fires. This season, things ran so well, it freed me up to closely watch a lot of the races and I must say, I'm very happy with what I see coming up the pipeline for HHBF.

UPDATE: Thank you, Rob Copeland, for the pictures
Scary Update: That was my 200th post. My how time flies!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thank you

A quick thank you to everyone who reads and listens to my stuff. My blog is quickly approaching 30,000 visitors (at the time of writing this post) and my podcast was shut down by Podbean yesterday because there were simply too many streams and downloads of my podcasts. Podbean demanded because of the popularity of the podcast, I would have to upgrade to paid service or risk being shut down after a certain band width capacity. Thanks to a very generous donation from Coach Dave Ling of the Toronto Swim Club yesterday, I was able to upgrade and continue to provide uninterrupted service until I figure out how to fund this operation.

The response to what I have been doing is overwhelming and all I can say is thank you for appreciating what I am doing. I think that the sharing of as much information as possible is the only real way that we're going to make Ontario and Canada better.

Thank you, everyone!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

coachmikepodcast episode 5 is up and ready for download!

In episode 5, I talk to Team Canada Para-swimmer, Jenna Lambert, about her selection to the Pan Am Games Team and the coming Olympic year. I also touch base with Glenn Mills of GoSwim about his very successful business, new coaching tools and story lines for this season in the world of swimming. Check it out on iTunes or on Podbean or stream it from the player below. You're not going to want to miss this one!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Wait... What..??

Months after Michael Phelps' success at the 2008 Olympics in China, 505 Games announced plans to release a swimming video game based around Michael Phelps. The game was released on Tuesday and I've noticed 2 things so far:

1.) Many people commented on my Facebook and Twitter feeds when I posted the topic that they didn't even know that there was a Michael Phelps video game. So maybe they didn't advertise enough in Canada? How is it selling in the states?
2.) Not ONE media outlet has even been remotely skeptical of this idea. Everyone thinks its fantastic. Really!!??

In the interest of full disclosure; I do not own an Xbox 360 (the game platform) or the Connect system (the controller required) or the game itself so this review is based solely on the concept. But I HAVE to ask, was this an attempt by a 505 Games executive to capitalize on an athlete that is now not quite as unbeatable as he was 3 years ago? Does that guy still work there? Is he still thinking this is a great idea..? Yes, its a cool idea and looks like it may be fun to play for about 15min, and good for Michael, who likely made several millions of dollars to use his likeness in the game. But were gamers really sitting in front of their gaming systems this year and saying: "Dude, this game is missing the elements of pretend swimming and erroneous physical activity"..? I think not. I think this is a very niche, gimmicky video game and suspect that you will be able to pick up a previously owned copy on store shelves by Monday so save your money.

Yes, I love Michael Phelps and swimming and video games, but I also like children, loud music and beer. Some things are better when they're not combined. My humble opinion of the CONCEPT: Michael Phelps, Swimming and Gaming don't look like the peanut butter and chocolate combination they were hoping it would be. If anyone at Microsoft or 505 Games wants to send me a system and the game to change my mind, I'll listen. Contact me through the blog. In the mean time, the trailer and Michael's guest spot on Jimmy Fallon can be found below.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Episode 4 of coachmikepodcast now up.

Available for free download from iTunes (Search "coachmikepodcast") or from As always, you can stream from the player above if downloading isn't your thing. This week some good interviews with 2008 Canadian Olympians Paul Midgley (coach) and Richard Hortness (swimmer). Gotta share what I learn: Check it out!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Train to Compete Camp October 2011

From October 7th-9th, swimmers from all over Ontario were invited to participate in the Swim Ontario Train To Compete Camp at the University of Western Ontario. Swimmers were selected by highest combined FINA point score between the best 2 200m events and 400IM. Swimmers who were selected are as follows:

Females 1998: Jenna Malone, UCSC, Nicole Bullock, OAK, Alexis Bragman, TSC
Females 1997: Melanie McDonald, ESWIM, Rachel Hansen, GGST, Esraa Abdel-Khalik, ESWIM
Females 1996: Samantha Stratford, GMAC Riley Konrad, GMAC, Madison Pulfer, NKB
Males 1997: Alexander Jin, NYAC, Tyler Tong-McDermott, CCAC, Zach Shalovsky, NEW
Males 1996: Evan White, OAK, Oliver Straszynski, TSC, Teddy Kalp, NYAC
Males 1995: Tristan Cote, ESWIM, Kyle Haas, HHBF, Alexander Hamilton, NYAC

The purpose of the weekend was to push these swimmers to challenge themselves (against their peers) to learn to swim smarter and swim better under stress. The initiative of these camps was to identify Ontario swimming talent and to nurture that talent for the future.

The swimmers arrived on Friday October 7th for lunch, a quick briefing and then a 3 hour water workout. The briefing laid out the expectations of the weekend (Including the meaning of "World Class Swimming"). The workout involved some test sets that would be used later in the weekend. Dean Boles ran the camp. His briefing after warmup can be seen below.

The swimmers were challenged with a descending 50s set and some fast kicking; the results of which would be used on Saturday and Sunday during the main sets. Dean had challenged the young athletes to display something at a world class level. Swim Ontario had printed up some "gold" caps for boys that could kick 25m under water in under 12.50 seconds and girls that could do the same in 13.50 seconds. All athletes got a chance to try that out and practice it before the end of practice and debrief. You can listen to Dean's debrief from the first day's water session HERE.

The water session was followed up by an extensive outdoor team building session which included a high ropes course as well as some other team work games. The swimmers seemed to really enjoy this and I feel that, even though most of the swimmers already knew each other, these games allowed for some better cohesiveness throughout the group. Each of the swimmers learned something different about themselves and the "vertical playground" really brought out the athleticism in some individuals (HHBF's own, Kyle Haas, was exceptionally strong in this event).

The next day, the swimmers were challenged in several sets including a set of 20x100@1:40, where they had to even split each 100, hold their stroke count the same and hold a time that was derived from a set the day before. They also had 9x100kick @ 2:10 where every 3rd 100 was fast. The fast 100s were then added up and made into a 300kick time which would be challenged again on Sunday. The athletes also got their chance to swim a 25 kick under water to try to obtain one of Swim Ontario's "golden caps". Only 2 swimmers made the cut on Dean's "world class" times: Newmarket's Zach Shalovsky and HHBF's Kyle Haas. Dean also did a quick dive clinic with the swimmers, the video of which can be found below. Dean's debrief of the second water workout can be found HERE.

Day 2 finished with a 3 hour dryland session lead by Steve Topham. The athletes were challenged with functional exercises, movements and stretches. While it didn't look like much, Steve made these kids sweat! In the process they learned many new things about how their muscles and joints work as well as a few new things to get themselves activated before practices and meets.

On Sunday morning, many of the athletes were exhausted. Dean commenced his briefing (which can be found below). Many of the athletes felt that this was the hardest of the 3 water sessions, as it contained 400sets, a fast 50kick for time, a 300kick for time and a broken 200IM (amongst other sets). That did not stop many of them from attacking the day with enthusiasm and toughness.

The thing I noticed as a coach and observer (this having been my 5th consecutive T2C Camp and 2nd consecutive with Kyle Haas and many other of the same swimmers from previous camps) was how much faster the athletes were training but also how much better they had become at splitting, kicking off the walls and many other technical aspects of swimming. I was pretty impressed by the speed of some of the kicking as well as many of the 400s done early in the practice. HHBF's Kyle Haas was fastest in the 50FR kick by quite a bit (time of 31.47 seconds) and 3rd overall in the 300kick for time. Some remarkable improvement from the field. The camp wrap up can be found HERE.

I took as much info as I could from this camp as possible to share with others. As I often say, its great for a few coaches to get the information, but the technology exists to share it with everyone and the goal should be to better the landscape by sharing it all with everyone. It is my hope that swimmers and coaches will view, read and listen to this info and share it with others. The more people that can share in the info given by these camps, the better off Ontario swimming will be going forward, which is a very positive thing. For more information, please check the Swim Ontario site in the coming days and check for my newest podcast, available FREE for download from iTunes (and on Wednesday October 12th.

Workouts now available to see: FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY

*PLEASE NOTE: these workouts are designed for the TRAIN TO COMPETE athletes (Defined as 13-18 aged swimmers who are competing at a National level). The content should not be used for other LTAD ability levels, but the concepts and focuses can be used for any level.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Darn it! Swim Ontario was faster than I was to post this interview that I did with John Vadeika earlier today at the Swim Ontario office in Toronto. For more details and commentary about this interview, stay tuned for next week's podcast which will be available for download and streaming on Wednesday October 12th.

Off The Deck - Interview with Swim Ontario Executive Director from Swim Ontario on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

coachmikepodcast Episode 3 is up!! Download Please!

Check out episode 3 of coachmikepodcast above or visit to download. As always, it will be up and available for free download on iTunes tomorrow (likely around 7pm.... I don't know when Apple updates their feeds... I don't get it).
On Episode 3: 2008 Canadian Olympian, Lindsay Seemann checks in to talk about her career, facing adversity and 2012 NCAAs & Olympic Trials. Rebekah Boscariol swims across Lake Ontario to raise money for Sick Kid's Hospital and Dave Ling (Coach of TSC) calls in to talk a bit about social media.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Good morning, Halton Hills!

This morning was a pretty good test for the Elite, Platinum and Regional Development groups. An important aspect of swimming that I stress is being able to function properly under stress (that is to swim technically well when you're body is tired and doesn't want to). Up until this point, the main point was fixing strokes and spending a LOT of time on FUNCTION with limited work towards stress. This morning, we added a little stress.

Last night, the Elite and Platinum groups worked on goal setting with an important message; its easy to get excited about your goals when its nice outside and its exciting. Its not so easy when its cold and dark outside and there is a lot of work to do. Its much easier to stay in bed at those times.

This morning was cold and dark. The practice was basically long distance swimming... long enough to create the fatigue I desired in order to test everyone's ability to FUNCTION under STRESS (far from the exciting, goal oriented atmosphere, but still very necessary). While this morning's focus was not speed, I feel that those who put the effort into the right things got some great benefit from what we were doing. Athletes are going to be sore today and probably tomorrow, but lets not forget that it comes with the territory. We cannot break new ground without pushing ourselves.

The struggle for the next few weeks will be making sure that we are doing the right things in the water while we're tired and sore to make sure that we can get better, faster, stronger and swim properly. While no one does anything alone, we should remember that everything can be done with the help of your team mates; not by staying home to rest. We need to make everyone around us better and you can't do that if you're not there.

Lets get better today!

"We don't have to be superstars or win championships... All we have to do is learn to rise to every occasion, give our best effort, and make those around us better as we do it." ~ John Wooden

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

coachmikepodcast episode 2 is up!! Download, please!

Happy to announce that episode 2 is up for download and can be streamed from the player below.... but come on, download it... be a pal! Available Free on iTunes; just search coachmikepodcast or visit ... and you can always link to it from the left hand side of this page.

Incidentally, I was approached by a few coaches and club presidents at the Swim Ontario AGM and Conference this past weekend to tell me how much my interviews with Sean Baker and Randy Bennett helped their executive committees understand how to be more supportive. One president said that he had played it for his executive. If you haven't heard those, click on their names above to listen. I hope that my work can be helpful to many of you: thats what I'm after.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Announcing the Launch of coachmikepodcast on iTunes

I am pleased to announce the launch of my new podcast named (rather uncreatively) coachmikepodcast which is now available free for download on iTunes**. Check it out; it will be your source for news in the Swimming world and interviews with sports personalities alike, all from a coach's perspective. Episode 1 is up and episode 2 is in the works, hopefully posted before the weekend. If you do not have iTunes, it can also be downloaded from, or you can download it from the left side of this page. For those of you who liked streaming it from my blog, I will also embed a player to allow you to continue to listen that way. Please support this endevour as I am doing it to help promote HHBF and continue to supply our swimmers and parents (amongst others in the Swimming community) with valuable information.

** search "coachmikepodcast" in your iTunes search bar. You should be able to find it under podcasts. Also, please take the time to review it after.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Exclusive Interview with Garrett Weber-Gale

Garrett Weber-Gale is arguably the biggest name that I have interviewed for my audience. Pictured above (left side, Michael Phelps is on the right), Garrett is a perennial member of the USA 4x100FR relay and is a double gold medalist in the 2008 Olympics, helping the USA to wins in the 4x100FR and 4x100MR. He was the first ever American under 48 seconds in the 100FR and is still relevant on the world stage, helping the USA to a bronze medal in the 4x100FR at FINA World Championships in China this summer.

It is not often that Canadians get to hear advice from an Olympic gold medalist (its been a while since Canada has had one) and Garrett has a lot of refreshing, truthful things about sport, nutrition, ups and downs as well as keeping it fun. CLICK HERE to listen to (and hopefully enjoy) my interview with Garrett Weber-Gale. Check out his links below.

Garrett's Website:
Athletic Foodie:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

HHBF Team Building Day @ UCC (Norval)

This morning, members of the Regional Development, Platinum and Elite groups drove out to Norval to do a little team building. The day began like any other - we let swimmers lay on a blanket, then tossed them several feet into the air (no joke). Some parents even took part. It was a lot of fun.
After that, we did a series of warm-up games (see video below) and then all participated in games which involved communication, strategizing and team work. The games were a lot of fun and everyone seemed to get into it, which was rewarding.

The day wrapped up with a game of "Stones" which is like "Capture the Flag" (for those of you familiar) but involved much more team involvement. The day was about having fun, breaking down barriers and getting to know your team mates above everything else and I think that we acheievd that with flying colors; it was a roaring success!
Special thanks to Bill Elgie who made this day possible and who was spectacular with our team, both in leading and organizing. Bill, on behalf of HHBF, I say "Waahhhhh"!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Welcome Back!

Be sure to check out my Welcome Back message to all Blue Fins.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Who Am I..?

Great viral video below. Just watch it!

Lets Start It Off Right!

For those of you searching for inspiration for this coming season, check out the video below. Video is of Matt Fox's first National Championship win in 100BK and Kyle Haas's bronze medal performance can be found at the 4:20 mark of the video. Its exciting that all this happened but also very exciting that we can all watch it again and again. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Just a Few Minutes with an Olympic Hopeful

I was joined via Skype (still trying to work out my audio on Skype and phone calls, btw) by Matthew Swanston of the Newmarket Stingrays and Stanford Swimming this evening. I had a limited amount of time with him before he had to get back to the pool to resume his training, but I was able to get some pretty important information from him regarding World University Games, the Olympics in 2012 and his swimming career path. Have a listen to a star in the making. This is a short one and wont take up much time, but is still a compelling listen.