20 Question Tuesday: Bill Rose


Bill Rose

By Bob Schaller//Correspondent

Bill Rose is hoping his Mission Viejo Nadadores put their best catch and kick forward in the upcoming Phillips 66 National Championships. He shares a few stories about that, and tells us what is on his mind now, in this week’s 20 Question Tuesday.


1 How does coaching change at this time of year?
As far as taper, it becomes a psychological game. It’s like the grain in the barn. I have to convince them that the crops they are going to sow are worth it, and things will come out the way they want them to come out.


2 What’s taper like?
I hate taper. I hate this whole (laughs) thing! When you taper someone, it’s like, you’re letting them go, letting go of control, and letting the rest take over


3 On the other side, it works, doesn’t it?
Yes, it usually works out. If they put the work in, they will probably be able to get something out of it. 


4 Is it the uncertainty that gets you?
It’s always the same question mark, “Will they be able to hand it psychologically?” I can’t get them into any better shape. They’ve done their work.


5 Does your mood change this time of the cycle?
I just got back from the Olympic Training Center. We kind of began the taper the last few days we were there. We just got back Saturday. 


6 So the fun already started before you got home?
I remember the first day we had it out with (laughs) a couple of people. All of the sudden they have the answer for what is right for them. I have to figure it out, “Hey, maybe you are right, or, “Hey, I think I am right” – that kind of thing. The first couple days are kind of weird, but once we get in the rest phase and start talking about what the result and future is, it becomes kind of fun.


7 So you let go?
I convince myself I can’t make them any better, and the message is, “Let’s have some fun.” It’s not a bad thing, just a stressful thing for me.


8 Fran Crippen – I can’t stop thinking about him around Nationals, and after the meet and everything recently. I bet he’s with you, isn’t he?
You will see on our T-shirts we have the entire back silhouetted with Fran, his whole silhouette on the back of our T-shirts. We still have the FC on our sleeves. We’re with him every day. He’ll never leave that part of my life. He made that kind of impression.


9 He was pretty unique, wasn’t he?
He was. He was great, and great to deal with. He was everybody’s man, and his own man. That was really something beautiful about him.


10 Even though he was new school, he was old school as a trainer, right?
He had his own ideas, and he and I would debate and go back and forth a lot. At the same time, he was not afraid of going after it.


11 How did you enter open water out front and on the cutting edge with so many stars?
It was a combination of a lot of things. My wife (Siga) has been put on the ballot for the Hall of Fame for the marathon (swimming). She has always had that in mind. 


12 So it took on a life of its own from there?
Bill: It did. Here’s a story I don’t know if I shared with you over the years. We started open water back in the mid-1990s in Fresno. They had a 5k right after (Nationals). We had a rough week, so I entered everyone on our team into it! I said, “Hey, our meet’s not over, whether you are a distance swimmer or sprinter, you’re entered! I didn’t have any trouble the last night – it’s a four-hour drive back, so the ride back (laughs) was great.


13 You keep logging these amazing years. Don’t you ever get older?
No, that’s the interesting part. When people asked, “How old are you? I really don’t want to tell them because it makes me realize I am that old! 


14 Isn’t that a great thing about coaching this sport?
On a daily basis I don’t deal with people my age, for the most part. I deal with teenagers, so I don’t have any time to think about how old I am (laughs) unless people ask me.


15 It’s not the years, but the miles, right?
I run the same schedule I have run my entire life. I get up early. Because of that, I am not a very good night (laughs) person! But the schedule I have has never really changed. Every year I may have new swimmers or ones I have been around, but with that in mind, my schedule has never changed.


16 You’ve adapted in so many ways. Do you still consider yourself old school?
I think when you really think about our sport, or anything else, coaches that work and understand the work ethic are going to be successful. So in 2014 success and what it takes to get there is no different from the work ethic in 1965. It’s a matter of putting your passion into your job, and figuring things out – and adapting of course as needed – moving forward.


17 So a lot changes, but things in some ways stay the same?
You may put it in different areas. But work is work. And rewards are rewards.


18 You mean so much to so many people, do you realize that?
You know, if I do, that’s really nice, and my wife tells me the same thing, “You have to realize these kind of things.” But I really don’t have time to realize it, or think about it. And half of that is what keeps me young. If I had to look at that, I would feel (laughs) older than I am.


19 So how is Coach Rose’s “Coaches taper” going – you doing all right?
No. It’s the best of times and (laughs) the worst of times for me. It’s the worst because as we talked about, I have stress because of not knowing the results. And even when the results come, that’s the other thing I have to work on. I have to look at really what happens that was a positive this year, and all the positive things that have happened this year regardless of any bad swims. I can’t get those out of my mind, so I want to do that and deal with that better.

20 And yet you have these amazing lives to shape, and all the people who come back to you and thank you – some did the last time we met, as you might recall?
That’s exactly right. I have said it to you before, what really gets me to the next level is the people who do come back. Do I realize that I have even made an impression? I guess so. And then I do realize that when they come back. The key is we work with very special people, and we are very fortunate.