1705 Swim Coaches Newsletter


Conference Meet Information: Friday April 28, 2017

3:30p –   Teams arrive – Worthington Pool – 400 W Dublin-Granville Rd Worthington Oh 43085

4:00p – Warm-ups – lanes will be assigned after entries are processed.

4:15p – Coaches – Officials meeting – Worthington Pool

5:00p – Start time (timeline will be created once entries are in)

Swimming will take approx. 4 hours (depending on number of swimmers)

Dinner for swimmers will be delivered to the Worthington Pool – Eat at your discretion

Coaches/Volunteers Hospitality food – Hospitality Room


Sat April 29, 2017 Schedule of events for Swim Coaches

7:00 a.m. Breakfast – TBA

Swim Coaches meeting  – 9:00a

Business Meeting, Awards presentation & Social – TBA


Q & A

Thanks to coaches Barbara French and Paul Ehresman for this week’s questions.

Coach Ehresman: “Things are so chaotic after school in MO with different clubs and activities and forensics occurring at the same time as swim practice that we have not done any dry land workouts at all this year.  In the last few years, though, we used a balance beam out in a stairwell to put kids through a repetitious aerobic workout a la the Harvard Step Test for set periods of time while their teammates swam long distance in the pool….  Brought heartbeats up to a good level on dry land while giving long distance swimmers a chance to actually do their events in our crowded pool.”

Director:   Thanks for this response which actually touches on my two previous questions (dryland and practice efficiency), and, goes a little deeper into the challenges that we all most likely face.

No doubt students have compromises and schedule conflicts they face to be able to participate in a variety of activities.  This justifies being more efficient and creative in our daily workouts to provide a fun and challenging experience that swimmers may find more inviting than other activities.  Your balance beam idea is a great way to increase their HRs.  Bringing it on deck or having aerobic step platforms available is another way to use a station approach to training which keeps the athletes HR up between sets without the crowded lane space.   Jump ropes or just doing simple calisthenics like jumping jacks on deck works very well.

Coach French:  Q. 1) I have a swimmer who lifts his head during the freestyle.  We have tried several things to break the habit.  What are some strategies or drills to help him?

Director:  There are several reasons why swimmers lift their head and seemingly refuse to correct it.  The most common reason is they feel they need to lift their head high enough to assure a good breath of air.   A close second is the need to see where they are going?  If your swimmer is totally blind this may not be the case, however, those with partial sight may be just attempting to safely move up and down the pool.   When bad habits are tied to the most basic survival skills of breathing and mobility they are not easy to break.  Swimming circles in a practice situation is not always comforting especially if they’ve run into someone in the past.

My first bit of advice is to do wall breathing drills – have them hold the wall with one hand with their feet on the bottom.  They’ll bend over and place their face in the water in a proper “neutral” position, then exhale and rotate their head opposite of the hand on the wall keeping the same side ear in the water while inhaling.  Have them repeat this until it’s very comfortable and then switch sides.  Next step is to have them hold the wall with both hands and perform a freestyle arm stroke that begins and ends with the hand on the wall.  Each time the hand passes under the body the head is turned to get a breath.  Make sure they exhale before turning the head to inhale and they keep the opposite side ear in the water.  Repeat on both sides and then with alternating arms.  The next step is to get them horizontal using a pull buoy to support their lower body and a kickboard extended with both arms.  Have them do the same one arm drill using a light kick.  Each time of course getting a breath keeping the opposite side ear in the water.

Coach French:  Q.2)Do others use snorkels in practice?  What are some things that helps?  What “bad” habits does it encourage?

Director:  Hopefully we’ll get some feedback on the amount of snorkel use.  Anyone that has the budget to purchase snorkels for their swimmers or have them purchase them will have a multifaceted tool for stroke improvement.  I’m not aware of any “bad” habits snorkel use encourages; others may have different insight.  My swimmers use snorkels almost every day.  Snorkels are used for two basic reasons – greater efficiency in the breathing mechanism – and head position correction.  Breathing through the long narrow tube requires more energy during the inhalation/exhalation process.  Thus the breathing muscles become stronger and the air exchange process more efficient.  Being able to keep the head in a stable position allows the swimmer to concentrate on proper stroke mechanics without moving the head and upper body during the breathing process within each stroke.  The snorkel pipe acts as a visual indicator (waving flag), for the coach as to whether the head is remaining still during each phase of the stroke.


Here’s a question from the Swimming Director?  (Last question for the season).

Q – Are there any special or unique ways that you prepare your swimmers for the conference meet that differ from other meets?  Please, share your experiences with others in the spirit of “rising all the boats!”

A – Submit your input by email to Jim at youthletics@columbus.rr.com.  I’ll post all results from this question in the next newsletter.

Please contribute to the Q & A and direct any suggestions or comments to Coach Jim at youthletics@columbus.rr.com


Tip of the Week – Test Sets

Test sets are a good way to mark progress throughout the season.  If your particular program is relatively short, test sets might just take the form of a warm-up and a consistent swim that marks the conditioning improvements.  For example; 1 x 400 moderate swim alternating Free and non-Free.  Then, 1 x 400 Free as fast as possible.  You should make sure it’s near the beginning of the workout and the same day of the week each week for consistency.  Test sets can be adjusted for the time available and modified in a number of ways; the key is consistency.

Weekly Workout (Abbreviations are listed at bottom of this page)

Modify each workout (distances, cycles, etc.), to meet the needs and abilities of your swimmers.  Taking time to teach each drill is important.  These workouts assume knowledge of drills.

This would be considered a “taper” workout.  One that you may do the last few days of the season in prep for the conference meet.  You can see the total yardage is considerably less and there are several recovery sets intertwined within the workout.

WU      (100 Sw Free – 100 Dr #1) x 3

K 1 x 200 choice kick w/ 3rd 50 bld to fast

Sw 100 mod – recovery

P1 1 x 200 choice w/ even 25’s speed Scull

Sw 2 x 3 x 50 C 1:00 ri, 2:00 ri, 3:00ri

Each set = 1) mod bld, 2) fast, 3) very fast and broken at 25 for :10

Sw 100 mod – recovery

Sw 4-6 x 25 C 1:00+ emphasis is fast start and great finish (swim or walk back to starting end)

(500 swimmer do 5 x 100 w/ :30 ri, desc 1-3 and hold 4 & 5 as close to goal pace)

Sw 100 mod – recovery

Turn or other technique work (200+/-)

Sw 100+ Warm down – recovery                                                     1800yds


Stroke drill(s) of the week – Reaction Drills

Hear is a fun way to train your swimmers to react to the starting sound (beep, whistle, etc.).  Spread them around the deck with plenty of room between swimmers.  You act as the Starter giving them the command, “Take your mark.”  They assume a modified starting position bending at the waist and knees with hands on the deck near their feet.  When you whistle or sound the beep, they clap their hands as quickly as possible.  Repeat this as many times as you want.  If they clap early they’re eliminated as though they false started.  Keep going until you have a winner!  Take this drill to the starting block and repeat.  Just prior to the one where you want them to dive in change the sound!  As in all start drills make sure the movement is one way away from the block for safety.

Here is a fantastic resource for teaching all the basics from USA Swimming. http://www.usaswimming.org/_Rainbow/Documents/eb0df286-b6e1-45ee-91e3-5216f393541b/Teaching%20the%20Strokes%20to%20Developmental%20Swimmers.pdf


Dryland exercise of the week – Elite jumps

“Elite Jumps” are one of the most difficult exercise to do properly.   If you have a swimmer that can do these well you’ve identified a special athlete.  Elite jumps begin with a two foot take-off pulling the knees up to the chest and landing back on both feet in balance.  While in flight (with knees raised to chest) the athlete claps their hands in front of and below their knees.  Once they can do this successfully you want them to chain as many together as possible.  Doing upwards to 4- 6 in row without rest.  It’s been said that if you can do 3 sets of 30 non-stop, with 30 seconds rest between sets you ARE an Elite Athlete.  Good luck!

Nutrition – Easily digestible and familiar

By now you’ve probably planned your weekend’s meals.  Understandably you’re at the mercy of the host school and limits that budget and transportation logistics create.  However, a few things to consider.  First, with the conference meet being the most important meet of the season don’t’ expect or require a major change in the swimmer’s diet.  This is not the time to encourage them to eat unfamiliar or “local” favorites if they’re not comfortable with it.  Eating a little less, but of familiar foods is a better combination than having them consume an unknown.  My rule of thumb for swim meets is nothing leafy and nothing greasy!  Both are difficult to digest and have a longer stomach emptying time.  Keep it simple with the diet these next few days and the body will take care of itself!



Throughout the season as practices become more advanced these abbreviations will help you understand the workouts a little better:

Codes –

best avg – best effort over entire set,  Bk – Backstroke, Br – Breaststroke, build – increase speed over designated distance, C –cycle,  Catch-up  – overlapping stroke, dol – dolphin kick, DPK -Distance per kick, DPS -Distance per stroke, Dr –Drill, Fl- Butterfly,     fltr – flutter kick, Fr-Freestyle, K –Kick, K-6’s –(K 6 times on alternate sides),  R/L K-6’s (K 6 times for each arm pull remaining on same side for designated distance), P1- Pull w/ pullbouy, P2 – Pull w/ pullbouy and paddles, ri – rest interval,  R/L – right/left, RP Race Pace, Sc – Sculling,  Sw- Swim, LT- lactate tolerance, WU/WD warm-up/warm-down.


Jim Peterfish is the Swimming Director of the NCASB and member of USA Swimming National Disability Committee. Please contribute to the Q & A and direct any suggestions or comments to Coach Jim at youthletics@columbus.rr.com

About Jim Peterfish

NCASB Swim Director Former PE Teacher, Swim Coach and AD at OSSB
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