Thursday, January 26, 2012

Links of the Day:

- I came across this document on line yesterday and I really like the wording of the roles of parents, coaches and athletes at swim meets. Its a good read.

- Todd Schmitz interview on The Morning Swim Show. I had the pleasure of chatting with Todd about a variety of topics from being a young coach, to club structure and politics, to nightmare stories. He also appears on my latest podcast. He's a great guy. This is a good interview:

- Exclusive video from the Austin Grand Prix: Michael Phelps winning 100Fly. Notice the timing of the breathing from all of the top 8 (Elite, Platinum and Regional development swimmers spent a lot of time on this lately).

- I have been asked about nutrition a lot since I returned from Texas. Here is a list of some good starting articles to read:
High Performance Nutrition For Swimmers
What Should My Swimmers Eat Before Their Next Meet?
Nutrition Between Prelims and Finals
Child and Teen Swimmer Nutrition
Dr. Greg Well's Take on Nutrition

- Top 10 doping scandals... I'm a little embarrassed that swimming has 2 on the top 10.

- Incase you haven't heard: Provincials have moved to Ottawa.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Q and A

Q. If "B" times are regionals then what are the A times?

A. Regional times used to be "C" standards and were changed a few years ago (up graded to "B" standards). Outside of the Central Region, they are pretty insignificant (other regions, nationally, inter-nationally). The standards were developed around the provincial standards and worked backwards, basically as goal setting and identifying proximity to provincial level performances. An A standard quite simply mean that you're closer to a provincial performance, although, some meets (AGI in June, for example) will use these standards as entry times for their invitational meet.

Changes are coming to the provincial structure for next season which will kind of turn this on its head. More on that to come...

Q. If I finished 4th in preliminaries and 6th at finals, what was my final placing?

A. Final results come from FINALS so your placing there is your final placing. If you placed 6th at night, you finish 6th regardless if you went faster or placed better in the morning. However, times in the morning are still official... so if you had a best time in the morning, it still counts... just not towards your placing at that meet.

Q. Why didn't the Oakville Meet appear on our meet schedule? What happened to Ontario Cup and the AB Meet?

Our coaching staff is small and we're stretched fairly thin when meets come up. Sending me to Ontario Cup with a select number of athletes, sending Shannan to Brantford with her groups, leaves Chris in Etobicoke running a double ended meet all day on his own... obviously not ideal. Oakville offered a great environment for competitive racing (there were very few Blue Fin blow out races) and allowed for many of our athletes to gain valuable experience at Finals so they're not completely overwhelmed by the experience when they make it at Central Regions, Provincials, Easterns, Nationals, or even Divisions. There seemed to be some confusion and concern over this decision, but, as I planned, it worked out GREAT! We had more regional qualifiers added, a few more qualifiers for other meets, a ton of PBs and EVERYONE who showed up at finals had more fun than I can put into words. This was the best decision, by far; rather than splitting up the club and being severely under manned. Trust me; I know what I'm doing ;)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm Back

Recently returned from my trip to Austin, TX with the Swim Ontario High Performance Team. My report from the trip (and newest podcast with interviews from the trip) can be found HERE.

This article was sent to me from Andrew Craven (Head Coach of LAC). It was originally published in the American Swim Coaches Association newsletter, but since the question has come up countless times in the past 7 years, I figured this would be a good read.

Attention to all who have read the Central Region SC Championships meet package: The Meet package qualification times appear incorrect, as they are inconsistent with the entry file and the agreement with the Central Region coaches made in September of 2010. As per the agreement, qualifications for Central Region Championships are a "B" standard. It appears that the package was recycled from an earlier version and the standards not changed. I have expressed my confusion and concerns to the region. Any further concerns from parents should be voiced to the Central Region Board.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Christmas Training 2011-2012

For most families, Christmas is time off and relaxation. For swimming families (and coaches families) its one of the busiest times of the year... In fact, any time there is no school, typically its a busy time because coaches can flood the swimmers schedule with training time. Ideally, its nice to get away during this time frame to some place warm and leave your regular life behind. Since I do not feel that we're quite there yet, I decided to try to keep it as interesting at home as possible. Similar to last year, I was able to get the Elite group out of GHIP and travel to a few other teams across Ontario (Brantford, Brock & ROW) to expose them to different training partners, different coaches and some long course meters. The changes this year included Elite, Platinum and Regional Development adding a bit of Yoga inspired flexibility and core training. Gold, Silver and Bronze were lucky enough to experience some dryland training/team building with Swim Ontario's Steve Topham as well as a guest speaking and skills session with former National team member (and great coach) Kristy Lyon.

Christmas Training has been really successful for most! Speaking about Regional Development, Platinum and Elite, specifically, I think that this season's domestic training was hugely successful and will prove to have been effective for those who made good use of it. Major success of note: attendance was up about 100%. Last season we would average about 17 people showing up for workouts. On Monday January 3rd, we had 35. It doesn't get much better than that for attendance. The swimmers that were able to participate, were run through some gruelling workouts which served to better a lot of habits and demanded focus and attention to the tasks. I believe that we have a lot of better swimmers as a result of the past 4 weeks of training. One thing that drastically needs improvement is season long attendance. Some swimmers were really struggling to complete the sets because they're attendance previous to the mini-camp was lower than it should have been and they were not in the shape that they were expected to be in. Even those swimmers. however, got major gains from attending and are now far superior than they were only weeks ago.

Gold Silver and Bronze all got to work with Steve Topham (Swim Ontario's strength and conditioning consultant) and had lots of fun doing it! Watching the session was a lot of fun for me as well. Not only is Steve extremely knowledgeable of human strength and kinetics, he is also masterful at bringing together kids for team building. Those athletes had a ton of fun there. We were also able to procure Kristie Lyon (former head coach of the Sarnia Rapids Swim Club) to work with these groups on dives turns and strokes. Elite, Regional Development and Platinum got to work with a former team mate of mine, Sara Havekes, doing some Yoga inspired strength and flexibility training.

The objective was to make sure that we were training effectively as well as having fun. Had we been away on a training camp, we would not have just done 1 or 2 practices per day: we would have had a day planned out. I wanted to make this as much like a training camp as possible; when you're away at a camp, the day doesn't stop at a couple of practices. I wanted to help the team do as many activities as possible to assist in team bonding and betterment in our key areas (a surprising 16 people showed up to toboggan and have fun in -20 degree weather). I am pleased with what we were able to put together and am sure that we're going to see some great things for 2012.

Sunday, January 1, 2012