Sunday, December 30, 2012

Final Links of the Day w/ Jocelyn Jay of 2012

The potential to be a great read -

9 foods that hinder athlete performance - 

Is too much protein a bad thing? - 

4 Life lessons by Jerry Seinfeld, Master Craftsmen - 

Saturday, December 29, 2012


My Twitter followers sent nominees for this imaginary award that I just made up and the top nominees were  Alexa Komarnycky of VAS (Missing the Olympic Team in 400IM and making it with her last chance in 800FR) and the sisterly combo of Heather & Brittany McLean for their celebration after Heather made the Olympic Team. Please vote to the left. The winner will (hopefully agree to) appear on #coachmikepodcast in the new year to be presented with the imaginary award that I just made up. Even though the award is not tangible*, it still is pretty cool to be named the best Canadian Swimming Moment of 2012 by other swimmers. Please vote on the left side of this screen. 

*Anyone wishing to donate $ to actually have a tangible award to give out every year, please contact me right away by twitter or through this blog.

Canadian Swimming - Looking Forward...

Swimming Canada plans on increasing its medal count in future World Championships and Olympic Games. With the retirement of Brent Hayden and the natural aging of Ryan Cochrane, new talent obviously has to move to the forefront. We need to look at the future of Canadian swimming and to the man who keeps his finger on the pulse of the future; National Junior Coach - Ken McKinnon. Other than obvious youth highlights Noemie Thomas and Kierra Smith, who else can Canada look to for international medal possibilities between now and 2016?

Ken did not have enough time (he was taking a couple of days off before Christmas and then was leaving for Australia for the Youth Olympic Festival) but did issue the following statement to me:

"I would like to answer your question from the following perspective."

National Development Teams Program Goal Statement
“To provide Canada’s identified swimmers and their coaches, the development opportunities to establish the will, attitude, and skills required to race to the podium at the Senior International level."

"The following athletes have been identified through many different National Development Teams Program activities over that past 2 seasons and have shown that they have the talent, character and resilience that support our Goal statement, and thus have the potential to develop into senior International medalists for Canada".

Brittany McLean E Swim
Chantal Vanlandeghem  Manta
Erika Selten-Reich Hodgson  GO
Mariya Chekanovych SFU/SFA
Sydney Pickrem CAT/Florida
Alexandra Aitchison, Phoenix
Lili Margitai, EKSC
Emily Overholt WVOSC
Brooklyn Snodgrass Cascade

Alec Page, Island Swimming
Chad Bobrosky, Cascade
Will Brothers, Island Swimming
Luke Reilly Vancouver Dolphins
James Dergousoff CHENA
Teddy Kalp NYAC
Evan White Oakville Aquatic Club
Ali Abdel-Khalik ESWIM
Jonathon Brown NCSA

*end of statement*

Obviously Brittany MacLean (2011 World Championships & 2012 Olympics), Alec Page (2012 Olympics) & Chantal Vanlangdeghem (2011 & 2012 World Championships) have already contributed to Canadian Senior National Teams. From a Canadian perspective, there are no real surprises to this list. Seltenreich-Hodgson has been steadily improving in both BR and IM and won several medals last spring on the Mare Nostrum tour. Several of these swimmers won medals at Junior Pan Pac this summer, while some are pretty new coming into international competition. 15 year old Teddy Kelp of North York, ON is swimming up a storm and consistently improving while still at a young age. 9 of the above swimmers will compete at Australia's Youth Olympic Festival in January and most are highlighted to make the Junior World Championships (or the World Championship Team) or Canada Games. 

I think it's always interesting to look at how far young talent will go. I think its difficult to gauge what the future will hold for Canadian Swimming. There are even more University aged swimmers that are in the US that are not on this list (Omar Arafa, Jeffery & Matthew Swanston, Matt Kwatyra, Brooklyn Snodgrass, Cynthia Pammett) who have all contributed to National Junior Teams in the past. There are also athletes that are fairly new to International Competition that are too new to evaluate a future on (Kyle Haas, Bryce Kwiecien-Delaney, Daniel Kuiack, Selin Ozturk, Olivia Anderson, etc).

Ken's Statement does 2 things for me:

1.) Remind me that Canada DOES have some very strong and talented athletes in the pipeline.

2.) Remind me that those athletes are not being ignored; Ken has a plan and is trying to nurture this young talent.

At the end of 2012, I'm happy to know that a new generation of fast swimming is coming up (and is being properly prepared) to take over from Hayden & Cochrane.

Friday, December 21, 2012

5 Sports Movies To Watch During Christmas Training

Jocelyn mentioned one of my favourite sports movies yesterday in her links (The Program) and I realized that many younger readers have probably never heard of it and several other great sports movies to watch as a team during your holiday break from school. Here is a rundown of 5 great sports flicks to watch during Christmas training.

 1.) The Program (1993) - different personalities exist and must mesh in order to make a team win. This movie is exciting and gritty but VERY dated (hair styles, fashion, etc). One of my favourites  for sure.
2.) Hoosiers (1986): I think that Bob Halloran of ESPN describes this movie best - "Probably the best constructed of all sports movies. We're introduced to a team, given a chance to learn to like them, and then we root for them like they're the favorite team we grew up with. No gimmicks. No obvious attempts to pull at our heartstrings. No love story. Just a great high school basketball game with the underdog coming out on top." -- Page 2 columnist Bob Halloran

3.) Pride (2007): Sleeper movie, real life story about a swim coach Jim Ellis, who creates a swim program for troubled youth in Philidelphia. It's not often that we get to see great swimming stories on the big screen. I hope that I'm still alive to see the Bolles Swim Team movie or the Michael Phelps Story one day.

4.) The Karate Kid (1984): Screw you, Will Smith, for making all of our youth think that Jayden Smith is the "Karate Kid"... Ralph Machio will always be the Karate Kid to me and this movie was a staple of my youth. Despite the rather silly plot holes, I still love this movie.

5.) Murderball (2005): I addressed Murderball before in my blog, but I still contest that you'll be hard pressed to find a greater sports documentary (possibly Hoop Dreams... thats for another day). In this film, USA squares off against Canada in the ultra violent game of wheelchair rugby which leads up to the 2004 Paralympics in Greece. I have embedded the entire film below. Please note that there is strong language and some adult themes (athletes recovering from near death and dealing with their feelings, etc). This one is better suited for a more mature crowd. Enjoy.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Links of the day with Jocelyn Jay

Links of the Day With +Jocelyn Jay

Q - by Vern Gambetta -

Bedtime snacking...

Hurt vs. Injured - 
"Are you hurt, or are you injured?" - a scene during the 1993 movie The Program, the coach of a fictional college football team struggling through a litany of moral dilemmas confronts one of his star players during a game. The star player is wincing in pain from a tackle he endured on the previous play that required him to be carried to the sideline. As the player grips his injured leg, the coach asks him in simple terms, "Are you injured or are you hurt?" The player offers only a quizzical look in response. The coach then states in a cool demeanor: "Well, if you're injured, I cannot let you go back in, but if you are hurt you can play." The player quickly responds that he is only hurt and runs back into the game on the next play, albeit with a labored gallop. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I'm A General Swimming Source Now...

After my Canada Cup write up on, a Jamaican reporter contacted me to speak more about Jamaican, Alia Atkinson, going into World Championships. While he wanted me to be a guest on the show, (I obviously couldn't be there in person) a Skype call was arranged, but due to technical difficulties, it had to be changed to a phone call. I have not been successful in embedding this video yet, but I'm working on it. You can view the video HERE. Although I am not an "expert" by any means, its still pretty cool to be considered one by the "international sports journalism" community.

PS. Alia won 2 silver medals at World Championships in 50BR and 100BR and was under the meet record for both less than a month after killing it at Canada Cup. Hopefully a lot of Canadian kids got her autograph in Etobicoke.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Links of the day with Jocelyn Jay

What we can learn from a freshman Heisman Trophy winner...

The Most Powerful 3-Letter Word a Parent or Teacher Can Use -

Why swimmers are smarter than you -

Friday, December 7, 2012

Links of the day with Jocelyn Jay

Sorry guys, Jocelyn sent this to me earlier in the week, I've just been slow posting it... better late than never I suppose...

Vitamin D for Swimmers - 

Excellence, not Perfection - 

Fruit vs fruit juice? 

Are you susceptible to swimmer's ear?  Here is something that might help... 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Use Your Resources

Yesterday I spent some time working with one of the younger groups in my club (I always try to work with each age group at least once/month) and did quite a bit of work and video feedback with turns. It was a lot of fun! Before the practice started, a 10 year old girl came onto the deck early to watch some of my older swimmers to backstroke turns and learn (I love the initiative!). I pulled out my phone and was able to show her some clips from the episode of "OFF THE DECK" (below) that was filmed about a year ago. This episode contains (what I believe to be) some of the best information on starts and turns that you could possibly want and its all free. One of my biggest disappointments with the "OFF THE DECK" video series is that very few people have viewed this free video, but they'll pay extra money to have this type of consultation done... or worse; continue to do the easiest things incorrectly. There are a lot of free resources I make available to the community including Twitter links, this blog, my podcast and the OFF THE DECK series; all in the hopes of making Ontario and Canadian swimming better. A reminder that you don't have to be wet in order to improve your swimming - just use your resources.