New today! Swim-a-Thon Dashboard - Your gateway to SAT event management!
The brand new online event registration platform, Swim-a-Thon Dashboard has launched effective Monday, August 17!
National Select Camp Assistant Coach Application Available
The 2015 National Select Camp Assistant Coach application is now live on usaswimming.org. The camp will be held Oct. 23-26, 2014 at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center.
Registration Open for Women's Leadership Summit
Registration is now open for the Women’s Leadership Summit being held September 27-28, 2015 at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown in Kansas City, MO.
Safe Sport Launches Online Anti-Bullying Training
USA Swimming and its Safe Sport program are committed to fostering a fun, healthy, and safe environment for all of its members.
The Chuck Wielgus Blog: #CoachesAre Mentors
Coaches play several roles in the lives of their athletes, involving responsibilities far beyond the pool deck.
Bowman & Bennett: Shallow Water Blackout
Bob Bowman, together with Cathy Bennett, discusses the very serious topic of Shallow Water Blackout.
Loss of Consciousness in Breath-Holding Swimmers
Although the phenomenon now commonly called “shallow water blackout” or “hyperventilation-induced hypoxia” has been known since the early 1960’s, swimmers today still fall victim to it.
Tips for Effectively Coaching an Athlete with Auditory Processing Disorder and/or Attention Deficit Disorder
Although there are a few athletes that probably really choose not to listen, there are probably more athletes that have a hard time listening because of an underlying disorder. Two disorders will be addressed in this article: APD – Auditory Processing Disorder and ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder.
USA Swimming Issues Guidelines for Concussion Management
USA Swimming has developed a Consensus Statement on Concussion Management with guidelines around the identification and management of concussions at the club and LSC level, as well as during competitions.
Women in Coaching: Laura Hineman
Kansas City Blazers Head Administrative Coach Laura Hineman found her passion for swimming at a young age. After years of SCUBA and swim lessons, Hineman joined the swim team. While she admits her swimming career certainly had its ups and downs, Hineman says she was always happy in the water, which kept her swimming through college and even today as a coach.
Dryland: The Benefits of Yoga for Swimmers
In March I wrote an article about incorporating certain types of dryland training to improve fitness and athleticism. After that article was posted, I received a lot of feedback and questions from both athletes and coaches. The most common of these questions was, “What about yoga?”
Top Tips to Boost Iron Intake and Absorption
Swimmers need adequate iron for performance. Here are the top tips for getting enough iron in your diet along with tips to help maximize the absorption of iron.
The Door is Open in Indy
The door is open for some new athletes to challenge for a World Championship berth and you can bet that somebody unexpected will be going to Spain at the end of July.
Get Your Head in the Game
Even minor mistakes when it comes to head position can throw off a swimmer’s body line significantly. Over the past few months I have started to take notice of how many athletes have poor head position, and how much this can affect their body line.
Blood in the Water
In this forum I have had the opportunity to write about the USA Swimming National Team blood chemistry program. This past April, the impact of the blood chemistry program was presented to the coaches in attendance at the National Team Coaches Seminar in Colorado Springs.
Butterfly Technique and Race Trends
This free web presentation gives an easily understood and detailed analysis of how butterfly is swum properly and effectively. Using video and pictures for demonstration, the foundation for the best stroke for most swimmers is established.
Top Tips for Feeding Teen Swimmers
USASwimming.org nutrition contributor, Jill Castle, recently published “Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters from High Chair to High School,” and I asked her to offer her top tips for feeding teen swimmers. Many of our readers are looking for sound nutrition advice with practical tips for families of active swimmers and this book is the go-to source.
Following Routine: Should I Do a Wake-Up Swim?
With the summer championship meets just around the corner, a lot of athletes and coaches are working to finalize the details of their race-day plans. While there is something to be said about the calm and confidence that can be gained through following a routine, the ability to be flexible and adapt to situations is something that gives elite athletes an edge.
Concentration: The Master Skill of Mental Toughness
Your training and health being equal, what you concentrate on at meets is the main cause of your best and worst swims. When you struggle with going faster in practice than races, faster in your off-events than your best ones or being unable to break through and get a certain time, faulty concentration is usually the main cause.
VO2 Max Training
The usefulness of VO2 Max training has been a topic for a few years in the endurance sports world. At the elite athlete level, it is nearly impossible to train an improvement in VO2 Max, and it takes about 10 minutes of training for an athlete to achieve VO2 Max. VO2 Max is also extremely difficult to test in the swimming population.
The 10K Race is not a Marathon
Also known as the marathon event, the 10K open water race is perceived as a long, steady-paced swim. The 2012 London Olympic race proved that it is anything but. In fact, successful pool swimming can make open water success very attainable.
Where We Are: A Grand Prix Times Comparison
At last weekend’s Mesa Grand Prix, I had a number of conversations with various people about how the meet “felt like” the beginning of the ramp up to World Championship Trials. For a number of reasons – strong international field, new location and facility, summer-like conditions, big crowds – Mesa seemed to mark a change in approach and intensity.
Lessons Learned from National Junior Team Camp
Colorado Springs played host to the National Junior Team Camp last Thursday through Saturday, and there was no shortage of lessons to be learned. The two that stood out most to me were the importance of peer coaching and creating the right culture.
Swimmers' Lungs are not Like Other Humans'
Conventional wisdom says that lung capacity cannot be increased. There are mechanisms for athletes to increase how efficiently they use the oxygen they inspire, but increasing the actual capacity of the lungs is considered to be a dodgy proposition. But, wait a minute!
Backstroke Hand Entries
In backstroke, it’s widely known the hands should enter pinky-finger first and above the shoulder or just outside of the shoulder. Yet one of the most common and recognizable flaws are hand entries that are too narrow and/or with the back of the hand. Why is that?
Percentage of World Record: An Evaluative Tool
Here at the National Team one of the methods we are starting to use to evaluate past performances and compare them with our current developmental athletes is to look at times as a percentage of the world record. Check out our charts to see how our Olympic medalists have compared to the current world records in their medal events at each age during their progression.
Performance Comparisons: Trials vs. Olympics
As a follow up to my previous article on Olympic Trials Progressions, I did some research into how our team went on to perform at the Olympics. We collected information from 56 total swims (52 individual swims plus 4 relay leadoffs) and tracked the best Olympic performance compared to each athlete’s lifetime best and their fastest performance at Trials.
Women’s Freestyle Tempos
Last week, we looked at men’s freestyle tempos and highlighted important points about tempo. This week, we look at women’s freestyle tempos from the top 8 performers at 2012 US Olympic Trials.
Men's Freestyle Stroke Tempos
Tempo is an involved topic, but for mature senior athletes and their coaches, having at least an awareness of tempo can be valuable. Some coaches use tempo as a regular training measure, and these numbers show what the best in the country are racing at. Here the tempos for the top 8 male performers at 2012 US Olympic Trials.
2012 Olympic Trials Progressions
In the weeks and months that follow an Olympic Games, we spend a lot of time looking at who made the team and how they got there. One of the things I have been looking at recently is the progressions these athletes follow during Olympic Trials.
Avoiding Overtraining Syndrome and Benefitting from Overreaching
The best way for coaches to avoid their athletes experiencing Overtraining Syndrome is to recognize when they have begun to overreach. In reality, few athletes are ever over-trained, but all athletes experience overreaching.
A Demographic Shift: Ages of U.S. Olympic Swimmers
Recently, I have written two articles about the path our 2012 Olympic athletes and medalists took to London. This article is going to continue to expand upon that research and look at the progression of our Olympic rosters as a whole over the last few Olympic cycles, in particular the age of our Olympic qualifying athletes.
Goal Setting and the New Year: Be SMART
It’s that time of year again… a new beginning. The time when we all commit to New Year’s Resolutions. If you are like most Americans, you will make it your goal to do something, or not do something, for the next year. But how many of us actually keep these resolutions?
National Team Blood Chemistry Testing Program
The USA Swimming National Team participates in a blood chemistry program to help the athletes gain insight into their bodies’ response to training. The program has also led to discoveries about their nutrition and their health in general. Here are some of the tests they run.
Six-Beat Kicking a Distance Race
It’s pretty clear that the trend in distance races is to six-beat kick the whole race. The evidence is strong. The current trend of six-beat kicking can translate down to a good 400 and 200. In other words, SPEED, which is absolutely essential to a competitive 800 and 1500 now.
The Pathway to an Olympic Medal
Last month I wrote about the developmental tracks taken by our 2012 Olympic Team in terms of their participation in previous USA Swimming camps and competitions. This month I am going to discuss similar research that we have done on our medalists and the progression by which they came to their success in London.
1500 Freestyle: How the Best Swims It
The London Olympics saw eight different world records broken, including the men’s 1500m freestyle, in which Sun Yang dropped his own world record by more than three seconds. Only three men have swum a sub-14:40 race in a textile suit, and Sun Yang has done it three times. So how does he do it and what does is mean?
Breaststroke: Learn to Tempo Up
Breaststrokers need to be able to change gears to find speed at the end of a race. That ability is driven by your technique and emphasis on driving the body, arms, and hands forward; minimal emphasis on pulling a lot of water back.
2012 Olympic Team - How Did They Get Here?
We at the National Team Division are turning the page on a successful London Olympics and are beginning to look forward to 2016. As such, rather than the usual discussion of something technical you can do in the water, this article is going to focus on the path by which our 2012 Olympic athletes came to qualify for and compete at the games.
Turns: Foot Placement on the Wall
Turns are a bit like stroke techniques and snowflakes, no two are exactly alike. However, from observing some of our top athletes, here are a few general technical thoughts.
Strength: The Best Barbell Exercise?
With proper instruction and supervision, ground-based barbell exercises can provide explosive and athletic movements that target nearly the entire musculature of the body. If an athlete could only pick one barbell exercise, perhaps the best choice may be the Hang Power Clean.
Dolphin Kick: Training Tips for Improvement
We are frequently asked for dolphin kick training tips and ideas to improve under waters. We have found that the keys to a strong dolphin kick are core and leg strength, ankle flexibility, and executing quick, snappy kicks that finish all the way through the toes. Based on these keys, we recommend using both vertical kicking and a monofin to improve dolphin kicking.