Friday, September 28, 2012

Answering Your Questions About Canadian Time Standards

#coachmikepodcast episode 28

With the release of Swimming Natation Canada's new National Standards yesterday and their support document, I speak with Swimming Natation Canada's High Performance Director, Ken Radford about the need for the changes and some of the finer points. This one is a little bit longer, but definitly worth the listen... a MUST HEAR for all coaches, age group swimmers and their parents. Good info and explanations for Easterns/Western Championships and Canadian Age Group Championships.
As always, you should check out my web series OFF THE DECK and follow me on Twitter(@coachmikeswim). Check out my archived past episodes as well.

My friends over at Swim Swam has also covered the changes to Canadian Standards. Their coverage can be found HERE.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Links of the Day with Jocelyn Jay

At the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Team's Celebration of Excellence, following the London 2012 Games, athletes teamed up again and rocked out to Canadian superstar Carly Rae Jepsen's hit song Call Me Maybe.

Motivation vs Commitment -

It's not what you have to say, it's how you say it.

This article contributed by Sean Baker of the Oakville Aquatic Club: Quite Sean: "It gives me alot to think about with my children but it makes alot of sense to me why Coaches have such an impact on the developmet of character in our swimmers." Why Kids Need to Fail to Succeed. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Its time to review some stuff...

Okay swimmers; I am constantly told that your generation learns better from a computer screen than by a person; here is me catering to that adage. Below, are some of last season's best episodes of my web series, OFF THE DECK, that can be found on the Swim Ontario website. The episodes below highlight some very important aspects of swimming that you should be incorporating into your swimming right now, as you are reforming habits and getting into shape. This info usually costs hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars and I bring it to you for FREE; all it costs is a little bit of your free time.

Parents; these videos should help your general understanding of the sport, why coaches are always telling your kid to do the same things (streamline, dryland, etc) and are pretty entertaining. By watching these, you should get a better understanding of the sport, as a whole, and not just what is happening between the 4 walls of your pool.


Dean Boles: Dean Boles of Swim Ontario invited Canadian National Team Bio-Mechanist, Alan Wrigley, was invited to Toronto during Canada Cup to analyze dives, starts and turns. HHBF's Kyle Haas was there and I bring the advice he received from Dr. Wrigley to you.

Off The Deck with Dean Boles from Swim Ontario on Vimeo.

Steve Topham: Swim Ontario's strength and conditioning consultant, Steve Topham, talks with Ontario's Canada Games Hopefuls regarding posture in and out of the water.

Off the Deck with Dean Boles and Steve Topham from Swim Ontario on Vimeo.

Steve Topham on Shoulder Health: Dean Boles interviews Steve Topham about shoulder health and swimming.

Dean Boles and Steve Topham on Shoulder Health from Swim Ontario on Vimeo.

University Swimming: Ken Fitzpatrick of Western University addresses the Swim Ontario Train to Compete Camp about staying in Canada for University. Some helpful info for swimmers about to make decisions and a compelling argument, nonetheless.

Off The Deck - A Compelling Argument about University Swimming from Swim Ontario on Vimeo.

Tara Van Beilen's Success: Many of you watched Tara's nail biting swim-off for 8th in an Olympic Final this summer, but how many of you know how much work went into getting her that far?

Off The Deck with Team Tera Van Beilen from Swim Ontario on Vimeo.

Friday, September 21, 2012

HHBF Top Performances

This is an update to a previous post with current ranking information.

I thought it would be fun to examine the top times in HHBF history, as of today, to start the season. As club records become harder and harder to break (not a bad thing at all!), I think it is a good time to measure depth; more specifically, are our current swimmers the fastest that this club has ever had? Check out the following events. Note the following:
i.) This info is pulled from the SNC database. All meets from last season should be uploaded - this is about as good of a snapshot as you're going to get. It'll get harder once we start competing and results start posting.
ii.) A name can only appear once. For example, Kyle Haas has gone 58.8 for 100BK 5 times, but only his best time of 57.81 appears, not all of the other times done. This is depth of athletes and their best times only.
iii.) Where do you stand? I challenge you to make the top 10 in 3 events before your career is over. Already have 3? See how many you can rack up and how high you can be. Competition is what makes this sport great, and what makes our club better!

Something that I notice right away is that HHBF swimmers never used to swim the "hard" events. 200FLY, 1500FR, 400IM are all very short lists. Our current coaching staff is one that will stay around for the long events and prepare swimmers for the "harder" events. No reason why that cannot be filled up this season.

This list is a good measuring stick of performance and depth. Since the database is automatically updated by SNC, bookmark this entry and check back every so often to see how our depth improves... more importantly, how YOU help our depth improve.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Welcome to the 2012-2013 Season

Welcome to the 2012-2013 season. Ontario Provincial Mentor Coach, Dean Boles, joins me today to wrap up Ontario's contribution to the Olympic Team, changes to the Toronto Training Centre (Now the National Swim Centre Ontario), the addition of Ben Titley as the Head Coach of said centre as well as the upcoming season.

Podcasts are now shorter due to popular demand and they're still FREE, so no excuse not to listen.

As always, you should check out my blog and follow me on Twitter(@coachmikeswim). Check out my archived past episodes as well.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

#coachmikepodcast episode 26

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Today my good friend, Dave Clarke, (ex OUA and CIS rival) is a Post Doctoral Research Associate at M.I.T and I'm a coach... ... clearly Dave won in the long run, but he is currently researching peak performance and figuring out how to avoid "over-training"... and his concept of over training is very interesting.
Podcasts are now shorter due to popular demand and they're still FREE, so no excuse not to listen.
As always, you should check out my blog and follow me on Twitter(@coachmikeswim). Check out my archived past episodes as well.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Links of the Day With Jocelyn Jay

She's Back, everyone...

A great resource for dryland... Coach Michelmore from DACA (a California based swim club) posts his dryland.  He also owns a crossfit studio.
Coach Dale Porter from the Bolles School (Arianna Kukors swim club) presented "Practice planning" at the conference.  He recommends all coaches keep a resource page that you can constantly visit for practices. under "Clinic Notes"

Nobody likes conflict.  It is an important part of being a team.  Believe it or not, it is positive!  A great article on "Feeling Comfortable with Conflict" -

How to decode slang kids use online -

A great blog...Paul Yetter & T2 Aquatics...

Murderball - a film by Henry Alex Rubin, Dana Adam Shapiro

Other than Sons Of Anarchy returning to TV tonight, it should be a quiet night (when it comes to things to watch), so please sit back, relax, and enjoy Murderball - in my top 3 of best documentary films ever made and top 5 best sports movies.

Update: while watching this, it occurred to me that the subject matter and language may not be appropriate for young children. View discretion is advised.   

Are You Prepared?

I've been thinking a lot lately on how to best word this post. This is simultaneously an obvious and not so obvious topic: preparation... not just preparation for school or the season but preparation to do something BIG? Because without that preparation, big things are extremely unlikely.

I read about a lot of people trying to swim across Lake Ontario this summer for various charity reasons (I honestly cannot think of another reason for someone to attempt it). 14 year old Annaleise Carr of the Norfolk Hammerheads, took part in a fundraising swim that raised $10,000 for a summer camp for children with cancer. I think what she did for the charity was fantastic, but what she did to quietly teach the concept preparation is just as good. Annaleise PREPARED for this attempt and sought out the help she needed to prepare. "She and her support team practised for months, swimming long distances every day, rehearsing night swims accompanied by Zodiac boats and kayaks, preparing for possible health problems such as cramps or vomiting," described an article from the Globe & Mail. I would add to this: and she's a club swimmer who has been swimming since she was 4!

I don't want to imply that swimming for 27 hours straight, through high swells and water traffic and the cold are easy for a club swimmer. Regardless how much someone prepares, nothing can prepare you better (in my humble opinion) than the aerobic capacity gains made by a swimmer between the ages of 12-15 (the earlier you start, the better). Science is very useful here... and so are some of the other test cases of the summer.

There were several other unsuccessful attempts over the summer (details aside), but none few of them had done the necessary prep work, in my opinion (I consider myself to be a bit of a "paid expert" in this field... my opinion should count). None of the unsuccessful attempts were made by recent club swimmers... looking at the successful ones: Rebekah Boscariol of Markham in 2011, Jade Scognamillo (now swimming with Wilfrid Laurier University) in 2009 and now Annaleise Carr of Norfolk (who broke Scognamillo's record to become the youngest to cross Lake Ontario) all have a club swimming base. I bring this up, not to make light of the attempts of the unprepared, but to point to them as poorly planned and dangerous (not "Heroic" as they have been called in some newspapers and community circles). 

The Cardiovascular gain of club swimmers (especially between the ages of 12-15) is very likely unmatched across any sport. Please don't get me wrong, the club swimmers who achieved this distance did it by working extremely hard in the crossing of the Lake, but also worked very hard for years to develop the physical capacity to do it, it wasn't all mental prep of "doin' it for the kids". Had they started training at 16 or 17, they would have not gotten the same physical capacity.

Remember when everyone "wow"ed in marvel when Nik Wallenda tight rope walked across Niagara Falls?  ...Well they shouldn't have; he's a professional who had been training his whole life to do just that. It's his job. He has gained a lot of skills most people don't have, all through consistent practice. 

I would, therefore, liken the attempts of what I would consider "casual swimmers" to cross Lake Ontario to an attempt by me to climb the outside of the CN Tower "for the kids". Why not? I like to climb things? I started climbing trees 3 years ago for fun. ANSWER: Its dangerous and irresponsible. I may have done some preparation that I thought was enough, but I am not the expert in climbing;  I have not PREPARED appropriately.

My point here is this: everyone wants to do something BIG. Everyone wants to achieve something hard. Few people are prepared to do it. There is a reason that there is only 1 Michael Phelps and that his record number of Olympic Medals wont be touched for a long time; its hard. Few people want to train as hard as he did and as much as he did (365 days/year - are you willing to give up Christmas morning to train..?). Similarly, there is a reason that everyone and their mothers have not swam across Lake Ontario. 

There is general preparation and there is appropriate preparation. General preparation would be swimming a little bit on your lunch hour or running on a tread mill for fitness. The appropriate preparation to cross a lake would be to train like an swimmer.

Even simpler than these examples: are you prepared to do the work to achieve what you want to achieve in the water this season? If you want to qualify, place or medal at Nationals, Easterns, Provincials or Regionals, are you preparing appropriately to do that by making it to the appropriate amount of practices, putting in the appropriate effort into the sets and pushing yourself beyond your comfort level? In other words: are you preparing appropriately? Because difficult things aren't achieved by accident, and being "fit" isn't going to help you much in a race against prepared swimmers.

Update: As I refuse to get specific on details of specific attempts, I will not get into email, Facebook or Twitter arguments about who was "prepared" or "un-prepared", as those details are not relevant to my point.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

2012 Paralympics

Paralympic Links: #London2012 #GoCanadaGo

I apologize for not being able to give this meet the coverage that it deserves, as I have been away on vacation before putting the final touches on my prep for the 2012-2013 season; but wow, what an incredible meet!

What I admire most about the Paralympics is that not only are these athletes dealing with the pressure and difficulty of athletic performance, but they have to deal with it on top of the added difficulties they may have in their daily lives. I really appreciate all of the work that these athletes, and Swim Canada do to bring these athletes to the world stage. 

Currently, Canada's Paralympic Team is putting up some very impressive results - shadowing the work done by our Olympic athletes, and making it look easy.

Summer Mortimer (S10) - Gold & World Record 100BK
                                             - Gold & World Record 50FR
                                             - Silver 200IM

Beniot Huot (S10) - Bronze 100BK
                                 - Gold & World Record 200IM

Nathan Stein (S10) - Silver 50FR

Brianna Nelson (S7) - Silver 50FLY
                                      - Silver 200IM

Valerie Grand'Maison (S13) - Silver 100FR
                                                   - Silver 50FR

As well as these medalists, Canada has seen some of the best swimming performances it has ever seen. 19 year old Amber Thomas of Drayton Valley, AB is one of these athletes as she broke one of the longest standing Canadian swimming records in the books on Monday in a fifth place finish in the women’s S11 100-metre breaststroke. Thomas, swam 1:36.21 to just break the previous national mark of 1:36.98 set by Yvette Weiker of B.C. in 1984.

With another few days left in the meet (and a few more medal hopes) it is a very exciting and inspirational meet to follow. Live results for the meet can be found HERE. The 2012 Paralympics are being televised, although there doesn't seem to be a consistent schedule so check your local listings for broadcasts.

Follow @swimontario on Twitter for live updates. Their Twitter "master" is also the Para-Swimming mavin in Ontario and has the inside track. 

Just a thought: It's interesting to me that China - a country that has a history of human rights violations, etc - is in first place at the Paralympics...

Also relevant: If you haven't seen it, check out Murderball - a fantastic film about the Canadian vs American wheelchair rugby teams going into the Athens Olympics. I cried like a baby! One of the best sports films ever made in my opinion.