Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The following article is a compilation of thought and ideas gleaned from experiences and associations with many fine coaches over the course of my career.  I would like to thank Coach Dick Hannula for his influence in my career and life.  Most of the ideas contained in this article I have borrowed and learn from him.
Peak Performance to Transition Period Newsletter

Hidden Training

As we are 8 days out from the first individual events at Conference here are a few things I want to remind each of you about.  Hopefully, these things are not new ideas for you and so this will be a little reminder.  I call these things “hidden training”.  “Hidden Training” is those things that you must take care of and do.  No coach can do them for you, you must do them. The first aspects of hidden training I want to remind you about are the three R’s of Peak Performance.  The three R’s are Rest, Relaxation and Rehearsal. 

Rest.  As you have been gradually reducing the amount of your total yardage it is important that you get the appropriate amount rest so that your body can recover quickly and replenish its energy reserves. You should try to go to bed at an hour that will allow you to get a comfortable and restful nights sleep-preferably eight hours.  If you have time during the day find a quiet place and take a brief nap-“power nap”. I must caution you about excessive napping.  Taking a long nap can be detrimental to your normal nights rest so be careful.  Too much of a good thing can be bad.

Relaxation.  During the peak performance period you should begin to feel more energy.  This is both a good and bad thing.  For some it means more energy and thus more time to play. However, you should conserve your new found energy and do those things that are less strenuous, like read a book, play a board game, watch a DVD or go to a movie, attend the temple, instead of playing night games, basketball, tennis and so on.  Make time during the day to just sit back and relax.  Let your mind focus on your goals and what you want to achieve at Conference.  Just kick back and take life a little easier.

Rehearsal, the final “R”.  This means that you should take the time, perhaps during your relaxation to try and visualize how you want to swim your races.  I love the story of how Michael Phelps’s coach, Bob Bowman wrote down the splits Michael needed to do in the 400 IM in order to break the world record in Beijing.  Michael had the splits and he took the time to go over in his head BEFORE the race as to how he was going to do those splits.  We all know how it turned out.  He won the gold medal, breaking the world record and being right on every split and a little under one of them.  You too can do this.  Take some time to write down your goal splits and then close your eyes and go through your race seeing yourself do everything you must do in order to achieve your goals.  Rehearse and visualize your start, your first (and every) stroke, every turn, your kick and your finish.  See in yourself in your mind’s eye looking up at the scoreboard to see your time, and then your celebration at having hit your goal time.

Nutrition and hydration.  In this phase of the season it is very important that you maintain proper nutrition and fluid intake.  You need to make sure that the nutrients you take in are balanced and of a high quality.  If you have questions you can consult with the people in the Nutrition Center.  I would also recommend that you begin to carry some healthy snacks with you that can replace nutrients that you have lost during our practice sessions.  The sooner you can replace lost nutrients the better.  I would recommend chocolate milk after practice to go with some type of energy bar.  Your energy bar should have protein in it, as well as the carbohydrates.  Then when you get home eat a good meal that is balanced and will help you replenish and build energy stores.  Water is extremely important as it is at all times.  Make sure you are carrying a water bottle with you.  At the meet make sure you do these same things.  You want your body to always be ready to compete at the highest levels, and having the energy necessary is imperative to this preparation. 

As we get ready to compete your focus should be on doing everything just right.  As Bell stated in his quote above, “concentrate on the work at hand”.  This means that you need to put your energy into doing everything right.  No coach can focus for you; you have to be the one to place your focus on performing the right things all the time.  Many times competitors worry about winning and they fail to focus on the process.  The “process” is all those little things that become big things over the course of a race.  Things like head and body position, hip and shoulder rotation, early vertical forearm (in freestyle), building into each wall, knowing when to kick in the legs a little more, the turns with streamline and dolphin kick off walls, finishes-no breathing flags to walls.  These are all things that we have worked daily on over the course of the season and if you will focus on working the process you will be successful if that focus is maintained.  The process, when properly fulfilled will lead to achievement.  Stay focused on processes of the task which you undertake to perform and you be successful.

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”  Coach Vince Lombardi 

Warming up and Cooling down-for top performances

As we get ready to compete next week these two topics need to be addressed.  The “pre-competition” warm-up is necessary for the following six reasons:

            1. To increase blood flow and temperature in tissues and muscles.
            2.  To help nerve impulses traveling more rapidly through tissues and muscles
            3.  To improve the rate of muscle contraction and reaction time
            4.  To prepare the muscles and joints to function through their full range of motion
            5.  To decrease stiffness and assist with injury prevention
            6.  Finally a well performed and completed warm-up may serve to give the athlete
                 an increased sense of confidence prior to the first event.                    

It is very important to understand that the warm-up must be event specific and prepare you for competition.  If there is a long period of time from your primary warm-up to your first event you should get in and do a short warm-up prior to competing.  The best case scenario is that you have as little time as possible prior to your event.  You want to compete when your tissues and muscles are at their optimum in warmth and readiness.  If you are not able to go fairly soon to the blocks it is wise to stretch between the secondary warm-up and the event.  Stretching before, after and during your warm-up routines may also be helpful if you are not able to get an appropriate warm-up.

A huge question that is often asked is how much warm-up does a person need to be ready for competition?  Most research indicates that the amount of warm-up, and even loosen down which an individual needs may be based on several factors.  One of these factors is the events that they compete, yet another is the body size and age.  While at the 2008 Olympic Trials I observed Dara Torres and other “elite” level athletes and what they did for warm-up and loosen down.  Dara Torres and Michael Phelps were highly disciplined in their pre-event and post-event swims.  Both did a lot of easy swimming and drilling before and after their events.  Dara Torres also added a massage and some yoga stretching in the middle of her warm-up and loosen down routines.  Both of these great swimmers also would go back in the pool if they didn’t feel right, or they wanted to focus on some part of their recovery process.  I also observed that swimmers like Cullen Jones and other sprinters took a long time to get warm-up and loosen down. 

After each race you should also loosen down.  Loosening down after and between events should be active recovery.  The purpose of active recovery is to get the body to begin the “filtering process”.  The filtering process helps the body to “filter” out waste byproducts from the body.  You can also help your body recover quickly by stretching, like Dara Torres and Michael Phelps do.  The amount of time you spend in warming up and loosening down will be reflected by your performances.  A general rule is that if you are an older athlete you need more than a younger athlete.  If you are a distance swimmer you typically need a little less than an athlete who is a sprinter.  Distance athletes need to do some builds and pace work, whereas those who swim shorter events need to do some push-bursts and dive bursts.  All swimmers need to do stroke work during their warm-up and even the loosen down. 

Finally it is important to re-hydrate and re-fuel after the warm-up and your event and then during the loosen down.  You do not need to eat a three course meal, but some type of high quality energy bar, or carbohydrate with water is always the best way to help maintain your energy levels and to be ready for your next event.  If you want to compete at a high level in multiple events over the course of a two, three, four or five day meet you must hydrate, fuel, and warm-up and loosen down properly to give your body the best possible chance to swim at high levels when needed.  Good luck as we finish our preparation for Conference and get ready to swim fast.

“How you run the race - your planning, preparation, practice, and performance - counts for everything. Winning or losing is a by-product, and after effect, of that effort.”  John Wooden

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

 “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”
Zig Ziglar
The “Process”

The word process is listed in the dictionary as a noun, verb and sometimes an adjective.  The word itself is defined as:

            Proc-ess  1.  A systematic series of actions directed to some end: to devise a process                                              for homogenizing milk.
                             2. A continuous action, operation, or series of changes taking place in a definite                                    manner: the process of decay.

For the sake of our needs I want you to think of “process” as a noun.  So in this case I hope you will think of “the process” as a state or quality of action; a series of changes that take place in a definitive manner to achieve a given end result.  Consider the Apollo 13 accident on April 14, 1970.  Briefly, here is what happened to Apollo 13 and the three Astronauts, James A. Lovell, Commander, John L. Swigert, Jr., Command Module Pilot, Fred W. Haise, Jr., Lunar Module Pilot.

Approximately” 56 hours into the mission, at about 03:06 UT on 14 April 1970 (10:06 PM, April 13 EST), the power fans were turned on within the tank for the third "cryo-stir" of the mission, a procedure to stir the oxygen slush inside the tank which would tend to stratify. The exposed fan wires shorted and the teflon insulation caught fire in the pure oygen environment. This fire rapidly heated and increased the pressure of the oxygen inside the tank, and may have spread along the wires to the electrical conduit in the side of the tank, which weakened and ruptured under the pressure, causing the no. 2 oxygen tank to explode. This damaged the no. 1 tank and parts of the interior of the service module and blew off the bay no. 4 cover.”

If you remember the events as portrayed in the movie,  after this explosion on Apollo 13, the Odyssey was sent in to a wild ride that the three astronauts struggled to control in an effort to accomplish their mission of landing on the Moon and exploring the Fra Mauro highlands, surveying and sampling the Imbrium Basin.  Unfortunately for the three Astronauts their mission had to be altered as the explosion created a new set of circumstances.  The most important circumstance was to get the three men home safely without any loss of life.  The explosion created an entirely new focus for NASA and the three Astronauts.  The focus now became one of survival.

In an effort to get the Astronauts back to earth safely NASA engineers and the Astronauts had to work together to implement and follow the “process” in completing their new task.  On the ground NASA engineers were feverishly working on “processes” to bring the Odyssey under control so the Astronauts didn’t bounce off into space.  The NASA engineers were also working to provide the process by which life sustaining oxygen would continue to flow in the craft and CO2 would be reduced.  Still another process was to help the Astronauts have the needed electrical power to re-start the on board guidance computers, heating systems and activate the parachutes on re-entry to allow a safe landing in the Pacific. 

During an intense period of time the ground crews developed the processes that would get the Astronauts back home, while on the Odyssey the Astronauts were meticulously following, and implementing the processes so that they could return to earth. The Astronauts, using their training and skills followed every process as outlined by the NASA engineers so that they could return.  The end results were that the three men on board Apollo 13 did as directed and they returned safely home touching down in the Pacific several days after their initial take off. 

For you as swimmers the “processes” that you need to follow are all those things that will help you achieve your goals.  In freestyle the “process” would be:  1.  Head and body position, 2. Hip/Shoulder Rotation, 3.  Early vertical forearm (EVF), 4.  Breathing with the rotation, and 3.  Distance per stroke.  As for your races a sample “process” would be: 1.  1-4 above, 5.  Great start with tight streamline off of dive., 6.  Fast, tight tucked turns and streamlined push-offs with three fly kicks of all walls., 7.  Use of legs at the right time-“the build”., 8.  Breathing through your races-you need to be able to adjust this as the longer the race the more you need to breathe., 9.  No breathing on finishes-flags to wall., 10.  Building the tempo through your races and being stronger at the end-1-5-4-3-2 (avoid the spikes).  

It is hard to focus on these things all the time, BUT if you will use these things in practice sessions they will become easier in competition settings.  It takes effort and discipline on your part to do everything just right all the time.  Your body will always want to take the path of least resistance.  DO NOT LET IT! Instead of focusing on the pain of training or competing, focus on the process.  Remember the three Apollo 13 Astronauts in the movie?  In the movie Commander Jim Lovell asks his crew mates, “Gentlemen, what are your intentions?”  Then he pauses and responds, “I’d like to go home.”  The crew of Apollo 13 then went to work and focused not on their circumstances, but on the process of returning home.  They could have all rolled over and languished in self doubt and sorrow for their circumstances, but they didn’t.  They rolled up their sleeves and went to work doing what was necessary to achieve their goal.  You are in similar circumstances in training to swim fast.  It is hard and takes a great deal of focus on your part, but you CAN DO IT!  Let your actions reflect your desire to achieve your goals.  I believe that you CAN DO anything you want to do as long as the mind is willing to over ride pain to body by focusing on the “process”. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Random Thoughts on Finals, Workouts, Nutrition

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” John Wooden, Basketball Coach UCLA As you approach finals this next week I want to write some things down for you to consider as we approach the coming challenges and the last half of the college season. I hope that you’ll take the time to read and think about the things which I am going to share with you. Each item in the following paragraphs has reference to Coach Wooden’s quote at the top of the page. You must take care of the “little things” so that you will be able to make “big things happen”. “It isn’t what you do, but how you do it.” John Wooden When I was a ninth grade swimmer at my high school in California there was a young man by the name of John Knight. I looked up to John, not because he was taller than I was but because of what he did. John was probably the shortest swimmer we had on our team, barely 5 foot 5 inches. In addition to his lack of physical size, he was also born with a birth defect. John had to wear a medical alert bracelet because his heart was entirely on his left side-it was completely out of position because he had a severe concave chest. However what John had was a huge desire to be successful in every aspect of his life-including swimming. John never thought of himself as being at an disadvantage. He looked at himself as having an advantage because he believed he could do anything as long as he was focused and did everything the right way. At our high school our coaches organized and hosted an annual college type invitational. We swam 200s in all the strokes, the 400 IM (my event) and the 800 Freestyle. John was a 200/500 freestyler and so he was our top seed in the 800 Freestyle at the meet. At our Invitational in John’s Senior year, he was up against a swimmer by the name of Paul Gollenberg who was a product of the Santa Clara Swim Club, coached by our National Team coach at the time George Haines. John did not back down or cave in to the presence of the taller and more fit looking Gollenberg. Instead John rose to the challenge and pushed Gollenberg for all he was worth. John didn’t win the race, as he was just touched out at the final. From the time that John stepped up on the block he believed he was going to win the race. His attitude was if you are going to beat me then you must hurt more then I will. What I remember from this race was that John did everything he could do to beat the bigger Gollenberg. John built each 100 and reached down inside to find the heart to stay literally stroke for stroke. At the conclusion of the race, everyone in attendance at the meet gave John and Gollenberg a standing ovation for their performances. When they received their medals Paul Gollenberg had John stand with him on the top stair of the podium. It was a great example to a young swimmer of two rival competitors who had a tough race and yet had the sportsmanship to recognize each other. Additionally I learned that no matter your size or individually challenges you can be successful if you will do the little things right all the time. “In order to get meaningful results from training and competition it is imperative to focus on what matters. It is how you do what you do when you do it that counts.” Vern Gambetta Practice Sessions During finals, as at other times it is important that you are in the water getting ready to swim fast and compete at the highest levels possible. Everything we do in the water is designed to help prepare you to achieve your personal goals and those of the team. In every swim, set and practice session there are some critical things that you must do: 1. Always use proper head and body position, hip/shoulder rotation and distance per stroke (Early vertical forearm-EVA),and tempo in your training swims and races 2. Streamline off every wall beyond flags-using three fly kicks 3. No breathing flags to wall on finishes 4. Using and building legs in pace and longer swims 5. Building into walls on turns-fast in=fast out. 6. Developing a “mind set” that you can and will get better as you fully embrace the sets in each practice session Time Management Prior to, and during finals you need to study and prepare for your final exams. This means you need to manage your time so you can be rested and ready for your tests, but also so you can get in your practice sessions. You need to remember that what matters most, MUST matter most. Make sure you are getting the right amounts of rest, nutrition and fluids. Please take care of your time and manage it well so you can be ready to perform in the classroom and the pool at the highest possible levels. Winter weather and Nutrition I am sure that everyone has heard the trite saying, “garbage in = garbage out”. This saying applies to everyone’s diet. If all anyone takes in is “garbage” or “junk” foods then you will only get “junk” out in your performances. With the colder weather of winter finally arriving it is important that you take care of your bodies. This means that you must get proper nutrition, sleep and hydration. Add to this proper stretching and core work. You will also need to make sure that you wear a good quality sunscreen. These items take on added importance if you are teaching swim lessons and life guarding right after morning practice. I have attached for you three very important articles from US Swimming. Please take the time to read these and hold on to them for reference in the future. Nutrition, hydration and sleep are three very important elements in the “hidden training” categories that we as coaches are not able to manage as this is something that only you, the swimmer and your parents can take care. Please make sure that you are eating, sleeping and drinking the right amounts of fluid to sustain activity, growth and health. This is the only way that you will be able to get the most out of your summer participation and competitions. Below is an article found at www.usaswimming.org in Nutrition Tracker. It is very good and contains some important information. Nutritional Cheat Sheet PART ii BY MIKE MEJIA, M.S., C.S.C.S//Special Correspondent Provided that you've adhered to the guidelines we published in last week's article, there are a couple of steps you can take the day of the meet to help make sure that you perform at your best. Eat Breakfast Start out with a proper breakfast. This does not entail grabbing a bagel with cream cheese and eating it in the car with a large orange juice on the way there. The bagel, especially if it's made with white flour can really jack up your blood sugar levels. Granted, the fat in the cream cheese will blunt this affect somewhat, but add in the OJ and you'll be all fired up for warm-ups and likely crash shortly thereafter. The best-case scenario is to sit down and eat some slow cooked oatmeal (prepared the night before) with fruit, or some eggs and whole grain toast, or whole grain cereal with skim, or low fat milk. If it's an early meet and you must eat on the run, at least make it a whole grain bagel with peanut butter, as the these two foods together make up what is known as a complete protein by providing your body with all the essential amino acids it needs. Trade in the OJ for a lower sugar sports drink and you're good to go. Some more foods to stay away from include bacon, sausage, croissants, doughnuts and sugary breakfast cereals. As far as what you should have in your bag for snacking, I think the best way to address this is with a list of what you should bring, vs. what you should not bring. What to Bring: 1. At least 32 oz. of water to drink during and after the meet. 2. No more than 16-20 oz. of sports drinks that meet the above criteria. 3. Energy bars: Try to stick with bars that have less than 10 grams of fat, and less than 35% of their calories from sugar (the lower the better). To calculate this: multiply the number of grams of sugar by 4 and then divide that number into the total calories. Some recommended brands include: Kashi TLC Bars, and Odwalla Bars. 4. Whole grain pretzels, crackers and cereals. 5. Nuts, seeds and dried fruit (in limited quantity due to the relatively high sugar content). 6. Lower Sugar Fruits: Strawberries, Apples, Cantaloupe, Blueberries, Raspberries and peaches. What not to bring, or bring less of: 1. Chips of any type. Most are loaded with fat and calories. 2. Goldfish, Cheese Nips, or any other types of crackers made with white, enriched flower. 3. White Bagels and Breads. 4. High Sugar Fruits: Bananas, Raisins, Pineapple and Grapes. 5. High Sugar Energy Bars: Many types of Power Bars fall into this category. 6. Fruit Juices of any type: Too high in sugar and don't clear the gut as rapidly as sports drinks, possibly leading to stomach cramping. 7. Soda. This one's an absolute no-no! (Remember Coach Brooks has asked us to avoid soda) 8. Cookies, candy, gummy bears, or anything else along those lines.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

2012 National Time Standards

Swimmers, sorry that the columns are messed up. I was in a hurry to get this on the blog and didn't take the time to try and fix it. Our National Team Director has issued a challenge to us and that is to raise the bar so to speak. It is time to realize and BELIEVE that you can do anything if you are willing to pay the price. The first set of standards are for Nationals and the second are for Junior Nationals. If you look carefully you'll notice that the standards for Nationals/US Open are the Olympic Trials cuts for 2012. Also please note that all the times for Nationals/US Open have to be in long course standards-no more short course standards for Nationals. This is going to be a great challenge and opportunity. Lets go HAST!

2012 U.S. Open Time Standards

Women US Open 12 Men
12 Open- LCM 12 Open- LCM
26.39 50 Fr 23.49
57.19 100 Fr 51.49
2:03.19 200 Fr 1:52.89
4:19.39 400 Fr 3:59.99
8:50.49 800 Fr 8:18.59
16:56.59 1500 Fr 15:53.59
1:03.99 100 Bk 57.59
2:17.99 200 Bk 2:04.99
1:12.19 100 Br 1:04.69
2:35.99 200 Br 2:20.79
1:01.99 100 Fl 55.29
2:16.49 200 Fl 2:03.99
2:19.49 200 IM 2:06.59
4:55.89 400 IM 4:30.49
3:52.69 4x100 Fr 3:29.29
8:22.19 4x200 Fr 7:42.79
4:18.29 4x100 Med 3:50.09
Qualifation period: 1st of Jan 2010 to entry close

Bonus Event Times

Girls US Open 12 Boys
12 Open- LCM 18& Under Bonus 12 Open- LCM
26.99 50 Fr 24.29
58.59 100 Fr 53.09
2:06.19 200 Fr 1:55.89
4:24.09 400 Fr 4:07.09
9:03.49 800 Fr 8:35.59
17:20.49 1500 Fr 16:15.49
1:05.69 100 Bk 1:00.09
2:20.99 200 Bk 2:09.59
1:14.29 100 Br 1:07.79
2:39.99 200 Br 2:27.59
1:03.59 100 Fl 57.39
2:19.69 200 Fl 2:08.39
2:23.09 200 IM 2:11.39
5:02.09 400 IM 4:38.99
Qualifation period: 1st of Jan 2010 to entry close

Junior National Time Standards for 2012. Once again sorry for the appearance. The first time in the row is the short course cut and the second is the long course cut.

Girls Juniors 12 Boys
12-jun scy 12-jun lcm 12-jun lcm 12-jun scy
23.09 26.89 50 Fr 24.29 20.69
50.29 58.19 100 Fr 52.59 44.99
1:48.59 2:05.49 200 Fr 1:55.49 1:39.49
4:51.09 4:23.79 400/500 Fr 4:05.19 4:30.19
10:02.79 9:03.49 800/1000 Fr 8:27.89 9:15.19
16:42.49 17:20.49 1500/1650 Fr 16:14.29 15:44.29
55.09 1:04.99 100 Bk 59.39 50.29
1:58.89 2:19.49 200 Bk 2:08.19 1:49.19
1:03.49 1:13.89 100 Br 1:06.69 56.39
2:16.69 2:39.49 200 Br 2:24.49 2:02.39
54.59 1:02.99 100 Fl 57.09 49.59
2:00.19 2:18.19 200 Fl 2:06.29 1:49.09
2:01.79 2:22.19 200 IM 2:09.49 1:50.09
4:16.79 4:59.69 400 IM 4:35.49 3:54.79
3:56.49 4x100 Fr 3:34.89
8:32.79 4x200 Fr 7:47.69
4:23.69 4x100 Med 3:56.99
Qualifation period: 1st of Jan 2010 to entry close

Bonus Events Standards

Girls Juniors 12 Boys
12-jun scy 12-jun lcm Bonus 12-jun lcm 12-jun scy
23.79 27.49 50 Fr 24.79 21.39
51.39 58.89 100 Fr 53.49 45.99
1:50.59 2:06.89 200 Fr 1:57.69 1:41.29
4:55.19 4:26.29 400/500 Fr 4:07.89 4:33.09
10:11.19 9:09.89 800/1000 Fr 8:32.49 9:25.39
16:54.99 17:38.69 1500/1650 Fr 16:36.39 15:56.29
56.69 1:06.19 100 Bk 1:00.29 51.09
2:01.89 2:22.09 200 Bk 2:10.89 1:50.89
1:04.49 1:14.89 100 Br 1:07.69 57.19
2:20.09 2:41.69 200 Br 2:26.29 2:04.09
56.29 1:04.19 100 Fl 58.29 50.49
2:03.39 2:20.49 200 Fl 2:08.49 1:51.09
2:05.19 2:23.59 200 IM 2:11.29 1:51.89
4:24.49 5:02.89 400 IM 4:39.69 3:58.99
Qualifation period: 1st of Jan 2010 to entry close

Monday, September 5, 2011

Determination and Commitment

Swimmers here is a story from the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico. This is a great story about John Steven Akhwari and his determination to not just compete but to finish the race that his country sent his to finish. Akhwari was entered in the Olympic Marathon and had trained long and hard for his event. He went to Mexico with great pride for his country, and with the determination to represent his country in the highest possible manner. Almost right at the start he faced some incredible challenges that should have stopped him, and certainly no one would have faulted him for dropping out of the race. Yet his personal commitment to to his personal goals and country, he put the pain of the fall and the race behind him and he preserved to complete what he went to the Olympics to do-compete in and complete the Olympic marathon. Read and enjoy this little excerpt from the Mexico City Olympic Games.

Mexico, 1968

Out of the cold darkness he came. John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania entered at the far end of the stadium, pain hobbling his every step, his leg bloody and bandaged. The winner of the marathon had been declared over an hour earlier. Only a few spectators remained. But the lone runner pressed on.

As he crossed the finish line, the small crowd roared out its appreciation. Afterward, a reporter asked the runner why he had not retired from the race, since he had no chance of winning. He seemed confused by the question. Finally, he answered:

"My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me to finish."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Nutrition Corner

The following article was copied from www.usaswimming,org and it is a great article about nutrition for the the growing athlete. It is imperative that each of you not take any short cuts in your nutritional needs. A short cut here could cause some potential problems down the road.

By Jill Castle, Registered Dietitian & Child Nutrition Expert

Calories provide the energy your young swimmer needs for everyday activity, swim performance and growth.

With hints of calorie intakes in excess of 10,000 calories per day, Michael Phelps blew the competition away in 2008 and blew our minds with his over-the-top calorie consumption. And it produced the nagging question in parents’ minds, “How much does my young swimmer need to eat?”

Children aged 9–13 years need about 1,500-2,400 calories each day, depending on age and gender, to support the demands of normal growth and development. Add the energy burn of a regular two-hour swim practice, and the energy needs can skyrocket to the tune of 2,700 – 3,600 calories or more per day.


Martinez and colleagues (Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 2011) recently found that young, amateur swimmers on semiprofessional teams (year-round club teams) had low energy consumption compared to what they needed. They also found these young swimmers were overdoing protein and missing the mark on other important vitamins and minerals.

What happens if kids don’t get the calories they need? Fatigue, impaired focus and concentration, low physical performance and perhaps a delay in physical development (lag in muscle building, slowed height growth and/or delay in adult development) may occur when calorie intake is less than needed over time.

As parents, it‘s our job to make sure that kids get the energy they need, and from the proper food sources. Avoid the mistake of delivering high calorie, nutrient-poor foods from the fast food drive-through. Not only are they excessive in fat, salt and sugar and under-deliver important nutrients like iron, calcium and B vitamins, they set the tone for future food cravings and selections that won’t support good health when swimming is over.

Sound complicated? It’s not.

Here are some ways to assure your growing child gets the right amount and type of calories he needs as an active swimmer:

  • Stock your kitchen with good quality nutrition: whole foods in their natural state, such as low fat dairy products, lean meats and other protein sources, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats. These are the foods that should be a part of every healthy, growing child’s diet.
  • Make sure your child gets three nutritious meals a day. No skipping! A meal should include at least 3-4 of these foods: a protein source, dairy, fruit, vegetable, healthy fats and/or a whole grain food source.
  • Aim for two snacks each day that include a protein source. Meats, beans and bean dips, nuts and nut butters, cheeses, yogurt, milk or milk substitutes, and protein-rich whole grains such as quinoa are great sources of protein for the swimmer. Unsweetened cereal and milk; yogurt, fresh fruit and nuts; whole-wheat toast and peanut butter are all examples of a healthy protein-rich snack for your school-age athlete.
  • Timing is everything. Kids perform best in all aspects of life when they eat regularly. Try to provide a meal or snack every 3-4 hours, and avoid sending your swimmer to practice on an empty stomach.

With a little bit of planning, it’s easy to assure your young swimmer gets enough nutrition to cover all his needs. The benefits of that are worth it, keeping your swimmer healthy, growing and energized for performing in the pool.

From the US Government's USDA website "ChooseMYPlate.gov the following tips are recommended:

10 tips for healthy meals


Nutrition Education Series

A healthy meal starts with more vegetables and fruits and smaller portions of protein and grains. Think about how you can adjust the portions on your plate to get more of what you need without too many calories. And don’t forget dairy—make it the beverage with your meal or add fat-free or low-fat dairy products to your plate.

1make half your plate veggies and fruits Vegetables and fruits are full of nutrients and may help to promote good health. Choose red, orange, and dark-

green vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.

2add lean protein Choose protein foods, such as lean beef and pork, or chicken,

turkey, beans, or tofu. Twice a week, make seafood the protein on your plate.

3include whole grains
Aim to make at least half your grains whole grains. Look for the words “100% whole grain” or “100% whole

wheat” on the food label. Whole grains provide more nutrients, like fiber, than refined grains.

4 don’t forget the dairy
Pair your meal with a cup of fat-free or low-fat milk.

They provide the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat
and calories. Don’t drink milk? Try soymilk
(soy beverage) as your beverage or include
fat-free or low-fat yogurt in your meal.

5avoid extra fat
Using heavy gravies or sauces will add fat and calories to otherwise healthy choices. For example,

steamed broccoli is great, but avoid topping it with cheese sauce. Try other options, like a sprinkling of low-fat parmesan cheese or a squeeze of lemon.

6take your time
Savor your food. Eat slowly, enjoy the taste and textures, and pay attention to how you feel. Be mindful. Eating

very quickly may cause you to eat too much.

7 use a smaller plate
Use a smaller plate at meals to help with portion control.

That way you can finish your entire plate and feel satisfied without overeating.

8take control of your food
Eat at home more often so you know exactly what you are eating. If you eat out, check and compare the

nutrition information. Choose healthier options such as baked instead of fried.


try new foods

Keep it interesting by picking out new foods you’ve never tried before, like

mango, lentils, or kale. You may find a new favorite! Trade fun and tasty recipes with friends or find them online.

10satisfy your sweet tooth in a

healthy way
Indulge in a naturally sweet dessert dish—fruit!

Serve a fresh fruit cocktail or a fruit parfait made with yogurt. For a hot dessert, bake apples and top with cinnamon.

DG TipSheet No. 7

June 201

In order for you to sustain both growth and a high level of physical activity you must get the right amounts of sleep, fluids and nutrition. If you are short changing any one of these then don't expect to perform at a high level when it is needed the most. Your body isn't much different than an automobile that you depend on to get you to work, school or play. If you short change the care of your car, or put the wrong gas in it, or fail to rotate the tires, keep the fluids filled and the engine in tune then the car will eventually break down and require some major repair work. Keep your body growing and performing at high levels in all you do-school, classroom and pool by taking care of yourself through nutrition, hydration and rest.