Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer Newsletter June 2010


Summer Newsletter 2010

Parents and Swimmers here is some information that you will want to read as we get ready to start the summer schedule. Beginning Tuesday, June 1, the daily practice schedule will be as follows:

Summer Schedule

1. Mornings: Monday through Friday: 6:00 to 6:30 team stretching. 6:30 to 8:30 water. 8:45 to 9:30
dryland exercises*. (* please note that we will be dong dryland Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and
Friday, Thursdays we will have off as these will be our Power Days.)
2. Afternoons: Monday through Thursday: 4:15 to 6:15
3. Saturdays: Regular schedule-8:00 to 8:45 dryland, 9:00 to 11:00 water

Training and Meet Schedule

The long course season here in the states is very short. From Monday, May 31 until Sectional Championships there are just 44 days, and 51 days to the Utah Long Course State Championships, 57 days until Junior National Championships, and 62 days until the National Championships. It is VERY important for you to understand and realize that this is an incredibly short period of time. So every practice session is important to your preparation if you are going to achieve your goals. Please make sure that you are at practice sessions. For those of you restarting you need to understand that we are in the middle of a training phase. There will be no alterations made for you, but practices shall be adjusted for you. The majority of the team has done the preparation work already. You will get stroke technique instruction as part of every practice session for that is the philosophy here at HAST.

The summer meet schedule has been published and can be found online at the HAST website. Please remember that you are expected to attend the State Championships and B-C Finale. This is part of being on a team. We have two meets this month the first one coming up very soon is at Dimple Dell and then Cottonwood Heights later in June. As coaches we spend a lot of time planning the season, teaching and instructing, writing workouts and helping you have a great experience so that you can accomplish your goals. Often times it is through meets that we are able to evaluate ourselves and learn how we can get better and do things more efficiently so that continuous progress can be made.

Senior Team T-Shirts

To the left of this article you will find a copy of this summer’s Senior Team T-shirt. It is patterned after the story of Congressional Medal of Honor winner Robert Bush. Below is his Congressional Medal of Honor citation:

Rank and organization: Hospital Apprentice First Class, U.S. Naval Reserve, serving as Medical Corpsman with a rifle company, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Okinawa Jima, Ryukyu Islands, 2 May 1945. Entered service at: Washington. Born: 4 October 1926, Tacoma, Wash.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Medical Corpsman with a rifle company, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Jima, Ryukyu Islands, 2 May 1945. Fearlessly braving the fury of artillery, mortar, and machinegun fire from strongly entrenched hostile positions, Bush constantly and unhesitatingly moved from 1 casualty to another to attend the wounded falling under the enemy's murderous barrages. As the attack passed over a ridge top, Bush was advancing to administer blood plasma to a marine officer lying wounded on the skyline when the Japanese launched a savage counterattack. In this perilously exposed position, he resolutely maintained the flow of life-giving plasma. With the bottle held high in 1 hand, Bush drew his pistol with the other and fired into the enemy's ranks until his ammunition was expended. Quickly seizing a discarded carbine, he trained his fire on the Japanese charging pointblank over the hill, accounting for 6 of the enemy despite his own serious wounds and the loss of 1 eye suffered during his desperate battle in defense of the helpless man. With the hostile force finally routed, he calmly disregarded his own critical condition to complete his mission, valiantly refusing medical treatment for himself until his officer patient had been evacuated, and collapsing only after attempting to walk to the battle aid station. His daring initiative, great personal valor, and heroic spirit of self-sacrifice in service of others reflect great credit upon Bush and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
Here is another example of excellence, commitment and perseverance from the Congressional Medal of Honor lists that is similar to Robert Bush’s. Both of these great heroes fulfilled their duty, and performed well beyond anyone’s expectations under some tremendously adverse situations. This one is about George Wahlen who was from Ogden, Utah.
Rank and organization: Pharmacist's Mate Second Class, U.S. Navy, serving with 2d Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division. Place and date: Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands group, 3 March 1945. Entered service at: Utah. Born: 8 August 1924, Ogden, Utah.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 2d Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima in the Volcano group on 3 March 1945. Painfully wounded in the bitter action on 26 February, Wahlen remained on the battlefield, advancing well forward of the frontlines to aid a wounded marine and carrying him back to safety despite a terrific concentration of fire. Tireless in his ministrations, he consistently disregarded all danger to attend his fighting comrades as they fell under the devastating rain of shrapnel and bullets, and rendered prompt assistance to various elements of his combat group as required. When an adjacent platoon suffered heavy casualties, he defied the continuous pounding of heavy mortars and deadly fire of enemy rifles to care for the wounded, working rapidly in an area swept by constant fire and treating 14 casualties before returning to his own platoon. Wounded again on 2 March, he gallantly refused evacuation, moving out with his company the following day in a furious assault across 600 yards of open terrain and repeatedly rendering medical aid while exposed to the blasting fury of powerful Japanese guns. Stouthearted and indomitable, he persevered in his determined efforts as his unit waged fierce battle and, unable to walk after sustaining a third agonizing wound, resolutely crawled 50 yards to administer first aid to still another fallen fighter. By his dauntless fortitude and valor, Wahlen served as a constant inspiration and contributed vitally to the high morale of his company during critical phases of this strategically important engagement. His heroic spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of overwhelming enemy fire upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

The purpose of the t-shirt is to remind you that in all you do never “drop the bottle”. Whether in or out of the pool you will be faced with difficult and challenging situations. I doubt that anyone of us will have to face the type of situations that Robert Bush found himself in that day on Okinawa, yet we all have our own personal “Okinawas”. For some their personal “Okinawas” maybe struggling to get out of bed, or go to bed at the appropriate time, or stretching and dryland, or friends who want you to play late into the night rather than rest, or other more serious matters in life. Hopefully by now you have all set goals and you have committed yourself to do all that you can to “hold” on to your goals until you have achieved them. I hope that you can learn from Robert Bush’s example and under difficult situations stand fast and hold onto your goals, whether they are swimming, school, or life related and not let go until you have accomplished them. Like Robert Bush, I believe that you can do difficult things if you are willing to never “drop the bottle”.

I would like everyone to get this t-shirt. If you want one please sign your name and fill in your size and tear off the bottom of this sheet of paper and bring $8.00 made out to HAST Boosters. I would like all money turned in by Monday, June 7. Thanks.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Videos of Backstroke Drills

Below you'll find three cell phone video's of backstroke drills. The top two are the Vertical Ice 7-3-7 drill and the bottom is the "Boat" kick backstroke drill. These are two really good drills to help with various aspects of the backstroke.

Vertical Ice Backstroke Drill Round 2

Vertical Ice 2

Backstroke Drill Vertical Ice 7-3-7

Bakcstroke Drill-Vertical Ice 7-3-7 (7 kicks right-3 full strokes-7 kicks

Backstroke Kicking Drill

Boat Kick Backstroke Drill

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Backstroke Training

Backstroke Technique and Training Tips

For this report I am borrowing upon the experience of a good friend, Coach Dick Hannula of Tacoma Swim Club and Wilson High School as well as upon my own experience teaching the fundamentals of this stroke.

Most Important things to remember:

1. Head and Body position
2. Hip and Shoulder Rotation
3. Timing of arms/legs/rotation
4. Relaxation

Head and Body Position.

Backstroke, like freestyle is a "long axis" stroke. What coaches are looking for here is a head and body position where the head and body are aligned. You should think of your head being on top of a "metal rod" (Coach Dick Hannula)with the head still and the hips and shoulders will rotating side to side (tick-tock). Your head should lie fairly flat on the water. (see the following diagram)

You should think of the water as a very soft pillow. The eyes should be looking nearly 90 degrees upward with some adjustment allowed so that the eyes do not look at 90 degrees straight up. The head can be slightly tilt the chin so that it is a little toward the throat with the eyes then looking slightly down at a 75 to 80 degree angle. The single most important thing to remember is that the head needs to remain on top of the spine and does not move. The very best backstrokers will not move the head but will keep it, in what Coach Hannula calls a "neutral" position.

Hip and Shoulder Rotation

Look at the diagram above. If you look carefully you'll see the proper amount of rotation that is an efficient backstroke. Too much rotation is as bad as too little. Backstroke probably should be re-named Side-back-side stroke, but this is way too long a title to put into a meet program. As you swim backstroke your head should remain in the "neutral" position on top of the spine. You need to think of your spine as a solid rod with the the hips and shoulders rotating around the head and spine. Rotation in long axis strokes is very important as it makes the body more streamlined through the water. To rotate in backstroke you must enter the hand-little finger first above the shoulder. As your hand enters the water, you should continue to rotate at the shoulders and hips until you catch the water. You should try to feel the water on the palm of your hand and in your arm pit for the most effective stroke.

For a longer stroke you want to "pitch" the hand palm down after entry so that it catches the water early and fairly soon above the shoulders. When drilling, or swimming at this point you should try to feel the water on the palm of your hand and your arm pit. The stroke pattern is almost a direct line from above the head to an exit point at the hips. As your hand is anchored in the water with the rotation, the arm begins to bend at the elbow near the shoulder so you get the maximum angle from which to pull the body forward past the hand. The stroking arm will be at its' maximum bend as the body is pushed past the anchored hand (see the diagram above). The wrist should flex to let you continue pushing water toward the feet as the arm nears the exit point by the hip. Take a look at the next picture of Hayley McGregory and see where her right hand is in the backstroke pattern.

The hips and trunk (core) will have rotated to the other side as the hand exits the water thumb first with the hip rotation. During the recovery phase of the stroke the arm will recover in a straight, but relaxed motion. Former World Record holder John Neighbor called the backstroke recovery a "gun barrel" recovery. To get a good picture of the timing and recovery look at the two pictures below of Matt Grevers and Aaron Piersol as great examples of what these two aspects of the backstroke should look like.

Timing-arms,legs and rotation

Kicking is a very important aspect of backstroke. Your kick should begin with the push off on EVERY wall. You should start your kick with a dolphin kick in "torpedo" or streamlined position for the maximum distance possible-15ms. Your fly kick should be short and quick so as to build momentum into the break out. You can alter the amount of time you spend under water depending on the distance of the race and your conditioning level. The back flutter kick should be narrow with continuous speed. The back flutter kick should come from the hip with the ankles and feet being the final phase of the kick. The feet should come to the surface with your kick "boiling" the water behind you. In his book, Coaching Swimming Successfully, Coach Hannula describes this action like someone trying to kick off a sock or shoe. You should be able to do the back flutter kick on your side with the rotation of the backstroke. A well trained kick will provide you with proper head and body position that will decrease drag. An effective kick will help you build into and out of the walls, maintain proper body position, keep your rotation going and provide you power to go fast.


Like all of the strokes you must learn to relax on your back. Many times swimmers feel uncomfortable doing backstroke as they are not able to see where they are going. To over come these concerns you can learn to count strokes between flags and walls

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Random Thoughts

"FOUR MORE IN FOUR"-Status Update.

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

In an effort to do something that has never been done in Utah to my knowledge, I want to report on what we have been doing so far at HAST. I am very please with the progress of all our swimmers. They are working exceptionally hard and striving to learn all that they need to in order to improve their abilities. With the end of this week-Days 13 through 18, and the start of another I just wanted to give a report on the progress of the HAST swimmers in our "Quest" for "FOUR MORE IN FOUR". During the past week in our techniques sessions, we focused heavily on breastroke and the backstroke. Over the course of the last four weeks we have been taking five days each of fly, free, breast and now backstroke work. Our back work will conclude Tuesday, 4 May, 2010.

After Tuesday we will begin adding more endurance training. Another point of emphasis has been on the legs. The legs are so very important in long course as they can help build a race and bring it home. We have had some great leg workouts in and out of the pool. In our dryland sessions we have been building up to running 3 to 4 miles each session with bouts of random exercises between runs. Medicine ball, VASA and power rack work will also be added this week to help the swimmers really increase their strength, speed and endurance. It is going to be a fun week. As we enter a new week I want all of my HAST swimmers to read,then remember this quote from the Boxing's former great Heavyweight Muhammad Ali. He said:

"I hated every minute of training, but I said, "Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion."

WE, as a HAST team are going to really strive to work hard no matter what level you are currently at. If you do not have a state time then we are going to help provide you the skills and conditioning levels needed to help you achieve your goals. If you are qualified for Sectionals and beyond then we are going to provide you the skills and conditioning levels to get to the next level. We have two years until 2012 and the four year plan calls for us to really build through this summer to help you get the most out of your long course experience, while preparing every HAST team member to compete at the highest levels possible this season. I love the following quote from Thomas Edison about failure. This relates directly to what I just stated in that you will not fail unless you fail to prepare by participating fully in the program. Additionally people only fail if they give up or fail to learn something from their experiences so that they may go on and get better.

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that don't work."

I have been coaching now for nearly 32 years. Since my volunteer days with the old Meas Aquatics in Mesa, Arizona I have learned a lot and grown. I have seen many great things happen to swimmers who are committed and dedicated to their training. Every swimmer, from the very beginning level of swimmer up to the Olympic Trial qualifier has one thing in common. That is that if they want to improve and get better they must WORK. Lance Armstrong said it best when he stated,

"I've read that I flew up the hills and mountains of France. But you don't fly up a hill. You struggle slowly and painfully up a hill, and maybe, if you work very hard, you get to the top ahead of everybody else."

There is no substitute for work. Going places requires work. Learning and passing math class requires work. Having a beautiful garden requires work. Learning to swim requires work. Making it to Regions, State, Sectionals or to whatever level you want to be at requires you to work. I promise you that if you will work hard, be dedicated to your health, progress and goals you will reap great rewards. Coach Vince Lombardi of the World Champion Green Bay Packers reveals his feelings about winning championships after the months of hard work in and out of season. He states,

"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the battlefield of victory."

There are few things more satisfying than knowing you have paid the price and then seeing and feeling yourself achieve a difficult goal you have set for yourself. I hope that all my HAST swimmers will go forward and set realistic, yet challenging goals that will help you grow and progress towards the fulfillment of our team motto FOUR MORE IN FOUR. Go HAST!!!!!!