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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
World University Games: The First Step to Rio
This summer most of the focus in the swimming world will be on the World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, and rightly so. However, in terms of our road to the 2016 Olympics and beyond, it is important not to overlook the other major international competition this summer, the World University Games in Kazan, Russia.
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.
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.
Kids and Caffeine Don't Mix
You should think twice before offering a child an energy-enhanced product. Are they already in the habit of drinking a cup of coffee before or after they compete? Probably not. According to a 2011 report in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, energy drinks are “never suitable for children or teenagers.” Additionally, what is considered a caffeine boost for adults may be excessive for teenagers, and possibly cause high blood pressure, seizures or anxiety. (Senelick, 2011)
National Team Blood Chemisty 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.
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?
Understanding and Overcoming Resistance
Water resistance affects a swimmer in different ways. One way is through the impact of water with a swimmer and the subsequent flow of water around the body. This is called “form resistance.” Another way is through water turbulence and waves that are created by moving water. This is called “wave resistance”. A third way is through water sticking to a swimmer's suit or skin and creating “friction resistance”. These three resistance components all have a negative effect on swimming performance and should be reduced whenever possible.
Accomplishing Long Term Goals
Why do some individuals accomplish more than others? Dr. Angela Duckworth of the University of Pennsylvania Psychology Department and colleagues identified a personality trait found among high achievers across several different domains. The term given to the personality trait – grit.
Equipment: Underwater camera recommendation
Underwater video is such a valuable tool to understanding what is really going on with a swimmer’s technique. There are many good options available, and this is just the workflow that National Team High Performance Staff uses for its convenience and effectiveness.
Hypoxic Training: Misunderstood Application
Most swimmers are familiar with hypoxic sets, or breath-control training. Popular sets usually require athletes to limit their breathing. The risks associated with limiting oxygen use to humans is obvious; however, do advocates of hypoxic training understand what benefits can and cannot be derived from such training?
Turns: Back to Breast Turns
Have you attempted to do a back to breast turn that ends in failure? Follow these five simple steps to learn how to improve your IM transition.
Strength: Maintain Strength at the End of the Season
The strength gained by athletes throughout the course of the season in the weight room can be maintained during the rest phase of their season plan with a fairly basic prescription; however, it is very easy to undertrain or even completely change the nature of an athlete’s strength training when resting for end of season competitions.
Nutrition: Good News and a Word of Caution about the Supplement Industry
Recently NSF International released a smartphone application which allows athletes to search for a supplement and find out if it is “safe and fit for use.” It is possible in the future a similar application will allow athletes to order directly from a certified lot number. This is a huge and important step for athletes and supplement manufacturers as well.
Improve Your Fitness, Improve Your Performance
Anyone who has never used or heard the excuse, “I’m a swimmer, so I’m awkward on land,” has never been part of competitive swimming. However, in recent years, many of these same coaches and athletes have started to incorporate more dryland aimed at improving overall fitness and athleticism.
Freestyle: 1500 Pacing and Training
The best 1500 swimmers display an impressive combination of speed and steady endurance. They show speed at both ends of the race while being remarkably consistent in the middle 1200m. Racing this way would obviously require a training strategy that prepares an athlete for speed, pace, and then speed again. Training pace alone would not be enough to race with the best 1500m swimmers.
High Volume & Injury and Illness
Recently there has been more conversation than normal regarding the culpability of high yardage or high volume training programs and their contribution to athlete’s injuries and illnesses. The debaters seem to have aligned themselves into traditional camps: High Volume vs. Less Volume. Maybe there is another way of addressing the issue.
Dryland: Looking for a Good Exercise? Try the Burpee
Coaches and athletes are always looking for an exercise to round out their dry-land programs. The burpee, when performed correctly and with proper instruction, is not only a challenging and effective body-weight exercise, but it can be manipulated to be easier or harder depending on the skill of an athlete. Additionally, the burpee is also an ideal warm-up exercise for the entire body.
Praise the talent or the effort?
In 1998, a study was performed where children were given questions from an IQ test. After the initial test, the children were either praised for how smart they were, or how hard they worked. As the problems grew harder the children praised for their intelligence fell apart, but those praised for their effort maintained their confidence and improved over time. Does this research have any application in sports?
Health: Staying Healthy at the End of the Season
Taper is the time of year for which all athletes wait. Unfortunately, athletes heading into the taper period are extremely susceptible to illnesses and infections. The good news is, once an athlete knows why they are more susceptible, there are some really easy steps they can take to fight back.
Nutrition: 3 Things You Need to Know About Dietary Supplements
USA Swimming does not endorse the use of dietary supplements and encourages athletes to first practice proper nutrition through a complete and balanced diet. Yet there are still many pressures for athletes to take a supplement. Here are three things you need to know.
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.
Nutrition: Recovery Nutrition during Hard Training
Christmas training has been a tradition for club teams and colleges across America ever since there has been a break between December 26th and January 2nd. Whether your team is travelling or staying home, athletes will be challenged to eat enough calories to stay fueled for longer training sessions and additional practices.
Freestyle: Women’s 50 free Tempo & Cycle Count
When comparing the 10 fastest Women’s 50 free that we had in our video library from 2010 and 2011, the times ranged from 24.14 to 24.65. The average tempo ranged from .93 – 1.05 with the cycle count being between 19 and 23.5.