Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Challenge Accepted!

I have been challenged by a few individuals recently based on a comment I made in last weeks post: namely the quote "HHBF has produced some of the best swimmers in the history of Canadian Swimming." Some feel that this is an over statement. To that, I offer the following evidence...

Kyle Haas:
100FR - 52.38 (26th fastest time EVER for a 15 year old in Canada. 6th Fastest time EVER in Ontario).
100BK - 58.02 (34th fastest time EVER for a 15 year old in Canada. 11th Fastest time EVER in Ontario).
50BK - 27.16 (18th fastest time ever for a 15 year old in Canada. 8th fastest time EVER in Ontario).

Matt Fox:
200BK (LC) 2:23.21 (45th fastest time EVER for a 13 year old in Canada. Top 20 fastest time EVER in Ontario).
100BK (LC) 1:06.42 (48th fastest time EVER fir a 13 year old in Canada. 25th fastest time EVER in Ontario).

KeriLyn Copeland:
800FR - 9:55.44 (top 300 time ever in Canada for 12 year old girl. 70th fastest time EVER in Ontario).
200FR - 2:15.26 (top 150 time ever in Canada for a 12 Year old girl. 43rd fastest time EVER in Ontario).

Tasha Truscott (former member):
100FLY (LC) 1:01.12 (3rd fastest time in Canada EVER for a 14 year old girl. Fastest ever in Ontario. Former National Record. Current Ontario Record.)
200FLY (LC) 2:18.86 (6th fastest time in Canada EVER for a 14 year old girl. 3rd fastest time ever in Ontario).
Both these swims were done as a Blue Fin. The National records were HHBF records broken in 2010.

This is just a small sampling of what this club has done since 2008. SINCE 2008!!!!! There aren't very many teams that can boast significant performances like these. Lets get excited about this! Lets get more top 100 performances! Lets continue to move forward.

I had a conversation with my old coach, Alan Swanston, recently. He reminded me of something he used to tell my old group when I swam for him: "Its okay to be good. Don't be afraid to be better". I think that is a good thing to remember going into more meets in the LC season. I won my challenge... now my challenge to you all: MORE TOP PERFORMANCES.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I'm kind of techie... but I still make mistakes.

Alright Elite group. Thursday was the second time that I screwed up the Dr. Greg Wells presentation by video. I should always trust my gut that my ipod will find away to restart a video by moving the video gear. As promised, here is the video, with a bonus video (this time with actual footage of Greg Wells) with his entire goal setting talk. The Elite group knows what they are watching this for. I invite anyone else to take a look, as both of these talks are a gold mine of information for anyone (even parents and non-athletes) in goal setting.

Dr. Wells was the host of the Gemini-Award winning “Superbodies” segments for Canada’s national Olympic broadcast and the on-camera sport science and sport medicine analyst for the CTV Broadcast Consortium, ABC News and ABC’s 20/20 during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Dr. Wells’ on-camera analysis will be a part of CTV’s 2012 Olympic broadcast in London. Dr. Wells is also a regular contributor to CTV’s Canada AM, and has appeared on TSN’s Off the Record.

Trust me, this info is worth a lot more than you'll pay for it. Enjoy.

This is the video that has stalled out on us a lot of times. The Elite group has seen up to 26min.

Goal Setting Seminar from Greg Wells PhD on Vimeo.

Here is a little bonus video...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Division I Team Championships, 2011

From Friday April 15th to Sunday April 17th, 40 swimmers from the Halton Hills Blue Fins competed against some of the best and deepest teams in Ontario. We got to this level from months and months of smart training. Despite having less pool time (and length of pool) than other top teams in the Region, Province and Country, HHBF has produced some of the best swimmers in the history of Canadian Swimming. We have come a long way as a team.

At the beginning of this season, I began preparing swimmers for what a challenging task this was going to be. Many of the top 8 times were significantly faster than the provincial standard. National team members, Tobias Oriwol, Warren Barnes, Andrew Ford, Colin Russell, Sinead Russell, Erica Stellenrich-Hodgeson and Tara Van Bielen would all be competing. Teams take this meet VERY seriously and we were going to engage them all in competition. We needed to come prepared and I took the task of preparation very seriously.

Sadly, the meet did not go as we planned. I was disappointed with the result, but not for the reasons that one might think. Generally, I was very disappointed with over half of the team for their attitudes, comments and punctuality. I cannot fault swimmers who gave 100% and put the effort forth (which was almost half of the team - I wish not to ignore that). I was upset with athletes who were routinely late, did not follow standard meet protocol (warmup, pre-race strategy, etc), missing our meetings and making generally negative statements about their own and others races. I see nothing wrong with pointing out my disappointment with these things; I see it as a fundamental part of my job.

I am not upset that we're moving out of the division. I would have been happy with wherever we placed if all 40 members of that team did the absolute best that they could. I simply do not feel that they all did and that is where my disappointment lies. We win and lose as a team, and as such I do not feel that it is out of line to address these issues as a team.

Next season HHBF will return to Division II. I do not think that this was necessarily a bad thing for us; Sometimes getting knocked backwards gives us a better perspective as to where you really were and what needs to get done to arrive where you thought you were. Ultimately, life will go on; The sun will continue to rise, dogs will still hate cats and taxes are still due at the end of April. There was some invaluable experience gained at this championship which will be used to help HHBF forge further ahead. If we fail: Watch Out! We'll come back twice as strong. Its not how many times you get knocked down; its how many times you get up.

Perhaps lost in the mix were some swimmers who did do as much as they could, swam outstandingly and cheered their hearts out. I would like to acknowledge those athletes and say to them, the following: Please don't stop doing what you do, you are this clubs most important resource.

Clearly, I improperly prepared some of these individuals for a team event. I am not sure exactly what went wrong in the preparation, but I am moving forward in the hopes of correcting these errors. We must get our team back to this level armed with the experience and thicker skin that this meet has given us. Things did not go our way this time... or maybe it did, in the long run. Regardless, we need to get past it and get back to what we do best: rapid improvement.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Incredible Blue Fins

Good luck to all HHBF swimmers representing our team at the Division 1 Ontario Team Championships in Sudbury, ON. To my knowlege there is only 1 other team that has moved from Division 3 all the way to Division 1 in 2 seasons. This is the same team that did those other amazing things. We worked hard to get it done; We deserve to be there.

Now lets show 'em all why!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A couple of thoughts...

First, congrats to all Blue Fins who competed in the Etobicoke Pentathlon today. Looks like we faired pretty well with some very decent times, placings and improvments. Good representation, guys; well done!

Thanks to everyone for supporting Big Daddy's Bandstand today @ the McGibbon. Your support of our local radio station (and the Food Bank) is much appreciated! Keep listening and visiting the blog @ d-moos.com. Great job Russ and Joanne!

Just caught this new video on line. Song is great! Check it out: Waves by JK Mantis.

Also, apparently, people cannot find me on Twitter by my email address so look for Coachmikehhbf. I am a little short of the billion followers I expected.

Swim Ontario Train to Compete Camp Wrap Up

From April 8th-10th, 18 swimmers from Ontario (list of names below) were invited to participate in a training camp held at The University of Western Ontario. These camps are held twice/season and allow a combined total of 6 athletes/birth year to learn more about their skills and training.

Females 1997
Megan Vuong, MSSAC
Rachel Hansen, GGST
Megan Carlson, TBT
Females 1996
Paige Hall, COBRA
Madison Pulfer, NKB
Bavi Basra, COBRA
Females 1995
Rachael Geiger, NKB
Adriane Lui, CCAC
Kelly Hotta, SLSC
Males 1996
Oliver Straszynski, TSC
Teddy Kalp, NYAC
Youn Ho Choi, NYAC
Males 1995
Gamal Assaad, OAK
Jake Silverthorn, NEW
Kyle Haas, HHBF
Males 1994
Donovan Taylor, FFAST
David Riley, TSC
Cameron Kingston, NEW

The camp started in a rather interesting way. After introductions, the athletes were asked to write a memorable set on a whiteboard at the front of the class room. After every athlete had gone, each was asked to explain the set, if they liked the set, why they liked it (if they did) and what it was designed for. A very interesting exercise.

We then hit the water for a 3 hour practice where we heavily worked on kick, turns and walls. Most specifically, use of the last wall in a race. Dean's message on this was clear, not enough Ontario (or Canadian swimmers) put enough emphasis on this part of their races. More people need to capitolize on that opportunity. The swimmers then did a challenging swim & kick sets (50s) working on speed control and toughness on the second half. Results were recorded and used later. The water workout was followed with a team building/mental skills session and some sleep.

The next morning emphasis stayed with "using the last wall", but this time doing it under stress. The athletes were asked to take their 6th fastest 50 from Friday (recorded info), multiply it by 2 and average that time for 20x100, while maintaining 3 kicks off of each wall and even splitting. The task sounded simple, but with limited rest (pace time of 1:40 --> many of these athletes had to hold between 1:02 and 1:04) it was going to be hard. It was quite remarkable to see how soon the athletes times began to drop and how many of them had difficulty maintaining 3 kicks off of each wall (even though many of them said that they practices 4 or 5 kicks off the wall in their own practices). Dean's message really struck a chord with the athletes; bringing value to a simple set (20x100 @ 1:40) made it excruciatingly painful... but insurmountably valuable.

That set was followed by a quick warmdown and then 9x100 kick @ 2:10. Every 3rd 100 had to be FAST. This is a very hard thing to do after blasting your legs for 2km the set before, but all of these athletes proved to be tough a good kickers. The results of this set were also recorded and to be used later.

After warming down, the athletes had lunch and went up to the gym for 4 hours of dryland with Steve Topham (Bio-Mechanist for the Canadian Sport Center: U of T). Steve's workouts are very unorthodox but are functional: by this, I mean that he teaches athletes to to warm up, workout and stretch in a way that applies to them and their sport. Many of the exercises seem light and effortless... until you do them a few times. Many of the athletes had very sore legs on Sunday as a result of this dryland. Much of it is hard to describe in video because you really need to see all 40min of the set to understand what is going on. I did get footage of the mini-circuit that he had the athletes doing (below). I have had the pleasure of seeing Steve work many times and each time if different; however, I always leave saying to myself "that was brilliant!".

Please bare in mind that this circuit was about 3 hours into the workout: many of these athletes look like they're not trying, but remember that they swam for 3 hours and had been working out for 3 hours... they're exhausted!

Sunday was our last session and it involved a lot more talk and drill work than the other 2 days (it also involved a 300kick for time and 4x50 in IM order all out on 1'). The swimmers spent a lot of time on IM turns today. I was able to get a lot of video today so I'll let that speak for itself:

Here, the athletes are working on FLY/BK and BR/FR turn drills.

Dean then took the athletes through some BK/BR turns. He used a drill where a kickboard was placed over the edge of the pool. The athletes then were supposed to keep their eyes fixated on the kickboard in order to obtain a good head position, and in turn (no pun intended) the propper body position:

Dean's talk with these athletes about IM strategy was truely invaluable. Thank you very much, Dean, for allowing me to video tape this:

Dean's Camp wrap up and debreif was pretty good as well. I apologize for the video quality, as I was not planning on taping this one. I found the points being made so good that I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

I found this camp compelling. I was lucky enough to be at the previous 2 and had learned a lot each time. It was great to be there with an athlete. It was great for that athlete to be able to see how he stacked up against his competition. Thank you so much, Dean Boles, Kelly Steves and Swim Ontario for putting it together and by adding so much value to it (Thanks, Dean, for allowing me to capture a lot on video, it really helps my do blogs quickly when I can let you speak for yourself).

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Update from Train to Compete Camp in London, ON

Hi All, just wanted to check in from London. So far lots of hard work! Since Friday, we've done 2 x 3 hour water workouts, a team building/mental skills workshop and a 4 hour dryland session. Tomorrow morning we'll wrap things up with another 3 hour water workout and debrief.

Some very hard training going on here! Its great to see some of the fastest athletes in the province train with and against each other. I have taken a lot away from this and Kyle likely has too. I will give more details after the camp has wrapped up and I'm not doing this from my phone.

Kyle Haas, Donovan Tayler, Brandon Kingston, Gamal Assaad and Jake Silverthorn get through 20x100FR @ 1:40 holding PB + 10" (between 1:02 and 1:04). This was a TOUGH set!

Steve Topham's dryland training routines are unorthodox but very tough and functional.

Steve Topham addresses the group after 4 hours of dryland training this afternoon.
Yes, that is Kyle Haas on the floor exhausted after 4 hours of dryland training.
He worked very hard!

Good luck to those at the Pentathlon tomorrow! We'll see you all Monday.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

D-Moos Productions presents "Big Daddy's Band Stand"

D-Moos has been very generous with HHBF over the past 12 months. Hopefully many of you have been tuning in to catch their updates on our team and other community events (and great music). I think we should support them in their fundraiser this week. I'll be there on Sunday, please come out and join me.

“D-Moos Productions” presents “Big Daddy’s Bandstand” THIS Sunday April 10 at
the McGibbon Hotel. Live entertainment, featuring the Drug Store Cowboyz, Flash Teeter & the Men From Mars and Endless Summer one of the top “Beach
Boys” cover bands are all performing between 1pm and 5pm. Advance tickets are available now, and are only $10.00. Great music, terrific prizes, raffles and good friends – what more could anyone want for a Sunday afternoon?

So come on out and support your community radio station and please bring a donation for the Georgetown Bread Basket Food Bank. Check out d-moos.com for more details or search the event on Facebook (I don't know how to link that into this blog yet... I'll get there).

Tickets are $15 at the door. Hope to see you there.

The Little Red Hen

I used to hear this story as a child, but the older I get, the more significance it seems to have... Even if you don't find it relevant to your life, read it to a child, its a great story.

The Little Red Hen
Once upon a time there was a little red hen who lived in a big farm-yard.
She had three fluffy yellow chicks.
One morning as they were busily scratching about the yard, looking for something to eat, the little red hen found a grain of wheat.

"Look!" she said.
"See what I have found. Who will help me to plant this grain of wheat?"

"Not I," said the duck. "I must go down to the pond for a swim."
"Not I," said the cat. "I have some visitors coming in a few minutes."

"Very well, I will then", said the little red hen, and she did.

After a while some weeds appeared among the stalks of wheat.
One day the little red hen asked:
"Who will help me to weed this wheat?"

"Not I," said the duck. "That sort of work doesn't agree with me."
"Not I", said the cat. "I would not be able to tell the weeds from the wheat".

"Very well, I will then", said the little red hen, and she did.

After a while the wheat began to ripen:
"What fine wheat we have," said the cat and the duck.
"Yes, indeed, it is time to reap the wheat," said the little red hen. "Who will help me to reap this wheat?"

"Not I", said the cat.
"Not I", said the duck.

"Very well, then I will", said the little red hen.

She cut the heads off the grain very carefully and put them in a bag.

Then she called to the cat and the duck and she asked, "Now, who will take this wheat to the mill to be ground into flour?"
"Not I", said the duck.
"Not I", said the cat.

"Very well, then", said the little red hen, "I will take it myself".

So the little red hen trudged off to the mill, and in a few hours she was back with a sack of fine flour.

"Now, who is going to make this flour into bread?" asked the little red hen.

"Not I", said the duck.
"Not I", said the cat.

"I will, then," said the little red hen, and she did.

Soon the loaf was ready for the oven.

"Now, who is going to bake this bread?" asked the little red hen.

"Not I", said the cat.
"Not I", said the duck.

"Very well, then", said the little red hen. "I will do it".

So the loaf of bread was baked and it was baked, and it was beautiful, golden and crusty. The little red hen put it on the kitchen table, and the cat and the duck came into the house and looked at it longingly.

"Well now, who is going to eat this loaf of bread?" asked the little red hen.

"I will", said the duck quickly.
"I will", said the cat stepping close.

"Oh, no, you won't", said the little red hen. "I am going to eat it myself".

Then she called her little chicks together, and they ate the whole loaf of bread. Not a crumb was left for the duck and the cat.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Congratulations to Andrew Ford

Congrats to all Canadians who will be representing Canada at the World Championships in China this summer. None of the selections made me quite as happy as Andrew Ford. I had the pleasure of spending time with Andrew and his coach, Don Burton, in Indianapolis at the beginning of March and was very impressed with Andrew's Focus, determination and contrasting sense of humor. I was very happy to see that he will be representing Canada (and Ontario) this summer. Congrats, Andrew!

Monday, April 4, 2011


Okay, I'm quite depressed at how few Twitter followers I have (especially since Matt Kwatyra threw down the gauntlet on followers). Check me out and follow me. You can use my email address to find me: coachmike@cogeco.ca. I expect a billion followers by the end of the week...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

What are FINA Points?

The question has come up quite a bit lately (likely because I referenced them in my post about HHBF recognition) about FINA points and what they are. Actually the most common question about them I have answered in March was "How can I get some FINA points?".

FINA Points are accumulated for EVERY event as long as the event was done in a sanctioned meet (although they are technically attached to time, not to a sanction).

The FINA Point Scoring allows comparisons of results among different events. The FINA Point Scoring assigns point values to swimming performances, more points for world class performances typically 1000 or more and fewer points for slower performances (Canadian Senior National Times typically hover around 700pts).

Point values are assigned every year. The charts have one set of points for Short Course and another for Long Course. The scoring is named by the year after which the base times were defined, e.g. "FINA Point Scoring 2009".

The points are calculated using a cubic curve. With the swim time (T) and the base time (B) in seconds the points (P) are calcualated with the following formula:

P = 1000 * ( B / T )3

The exact formula is used to calculate points from times. Then all point values are rounded to the next integer number using normal rounding (932.499… -> 932, 932.50… -> 933).

If the needed time (T) for a certain number of points (P) should be calculated, the exact formula is used to calculate a first estimation. Then the time should be reduced by one hundredth of a second as long as the reverse calculation with the time still results in the original number of points.

Base times for 1000 points
The base times are define for all common individual events and relays, separated for men / women and long course / short course.

The base times are recalculated every year, based on the average of the top ten of the All Time World Rankings. For short course (SCM) the base times are defined with the cut of date of June 30th. For long course (LCM) the base times are defined at the end of the year (December 31st).
For "FINA Point Scoring 2009" this means for example: Short course times until "30 Jun 2009", long course times until "31 Dec 2009".

The base times are published on the FINA website within one month after the end of the relevant period.

There are several ways to check you FINA scores:
- SWIMDB.ca has a good automatic calculator you can play with: http://www.swimdb.ca/time_stds/

- Swimming.ca's swimming database can provide you with all of the detail you need:
Simply find yourself. Then on your page, on the left hand side of the screen, choose the FINA points you are after based on year.

A lot of camps choose based on the combination of points from several events. For fun, figure out what your combined total is for any 2 200 events and 400IM added together.