2018 – Edition 2

Q & A

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

If you have questions – ask!  If you have input – share!

Ideas for sharing:

Anything that you do in your program – doesn’t have to be grandiose – the practical things make the biggest difference.

Any question you’ve asked a colleague and didn’t find the answer.  Maybe someone has the answer.

Any question you’ve asked a colleague and DID find the answer.  Maybe someone has the same question.

I would really like to share any athlete’s favorite sets or full practices.  Anything they see as valuable to their preparation or just have fun doing.  Let them share.


Rules:   The NF rule book is available for download at www.nfhs.org/ebooks  code: SWRB18.


Tip of the Week

In the first newsletter last year (1701) I reviewed the more common pieces of equipment that many programs use and discussed their pros and cons.  This week I would like to share a few pieces of safety equipment.  You may be familiar with one of these as it’s been out a while now, however the second one is brilliant and unfortunately not available until near the end of our season.

The first is the “Safelane.”  It’s a very simple protective tube that you attach from one lane line to the next at the gutter edge that protects the swimmers if they crash the wall.  It’s relatively unobtrusive allowing the swimmers to swim in and out of walls.  Set up involves adding water and air to the tube, it requires little maintenance and is easy to store when not in use.  The cost can be prohibitive if covering all lanes at both ends.  At $139 per unit, a four lane pool would cost $1100 to protect each wall.  However, if you have some high risk athletes and you’re limited on tappers perhaps one unit with a tapper at the other end could make practices safer and more efficient.  www.safelaneswimming.com

This second piece of safety equipment is something perhaps we’ve all thought about and finally someone took the initiative to create it!  Safety Swim Caps!  Hammerhead Swim Cap designers have positioned a protective honeycomb form at the top of the swim cap that drastically reduces the impact pressure of any head-on collision.  Since the swimmer is wearing the cap the protection goes where ever they go. Thus, collisions with other swimmers anywhere during the length of a swim, or the end wall have reduced effect.  The price is $34 per cap which is pricey compared to a regular cap, however, when considering the safety aspect it’s not bad.  They offer bulk discounts, but the biggest con is pre-sale orders won’t be filled until sometime in April.  I’ve written to the company to see if I could get a demo cap in exchange for promoting it with all of you, however, received no response.  I like the product too much to hold off sharing it until they send me one.  I’ll update you if I do get my hands on one.  Check this product out at their website.  www.hammerheadswimcaps.com


Stroke Drill(s) of the WeekStreamline!

It’s so simple, yet so important.  Once a swimmer can get air exchange the next most important thing to teach them is streamlining.

“Free speed” is what I call it, here is how I describe it;  “Get your body into a long and tight position as quickly as possible as you leave the wall.  Hold that position until you feel yourself slowing down.”

Here is how I teach it:  Planks are a great way to teach streamlining.  The swimmer starts in a lying position on his/her back.  Legs should be straight and together with toes pointed.  Arms are extended overhead with elbows straight, hands stacked one upon the other with fingers aligned.  From this position they stretch themselves as though they are attempting to lengthen both their arms and legs simultaneously while trying to push their ears up the side of their head with their shoulders.

Progress to having them bridge from heels to shoulders maintaining the stretch.

The next phase is to roll them over on their stomachs – assume the same body position as described earlier and then extend their lower back slightly lifting the shoulders and arms off the floor.  Repeat this position several times with a few seconds rest between stretches.

In the water have them push off the wall from a side (“Ready”) position and quickly assume the streamline position and glide for distance.  Challenge them to get off the wall quickly, maintaining a good streamline and measure accuracy by how far off the black line they wander as they move off the wall.

This is a great drill to fill any down time between sets or at the end of warm-up.  It’s also a skill they have the opportunity to improve every time they leave the wall.


Dryland Exercise of the Week – Flexibility –Stretching Dos and Don’ts

Our Drill of the Week could double as the Dryland Exercise of the Week.  Stretching is an important part of any exercise regimen.  The type of stretching exercise you do, how you do them and when you do them are the important elements of their effectiveness.  Dynamic (active) stretching before you move (exercise) and static (stationary) stretching after (when you stop) exercise is a good rule of thumb to follow.  Here is a link with great pictures of dos and don’ts of stretching for swimming.  www.usmsswimmer.com/201001/swimmer_stretching.pdf


Nutrition – Sound Advice

I’m sure whether they’re eating at school, or at home your swimmers make choices each meal.  The difficult part is getting them to make the right choice.  If weight gain (or loss) is a concern you have for one, or more of your athletes consider having them keep a diary of their meals.  It’s a great way to monitor their diets and you may find they have some fundamental challenges that are difficult to overcome.   Providing them a list of several days’ worth of healthy meal choices is one way to get them eating better.

Here’s a sample of balanced meals for an active child. 

Breakfast:  low-fat yogurt with some granola and a banana, or whole-grain cereal and low-fat milk with sliced strawberries.

Lunch:  bean burritos with low-fat cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes or a turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread and fruit.

Dinner:  grilled chicken breasts with steamed rice and vegetables, or pasta with red sauce and lean ground beef, along with a salad.

Snacks:  pretzels, raisins, crackers, string cheese, vegetables, or fruit.



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

Modify this workout (distances, cycles, etc.), to meet the needs and abilities of your swimmers.  Taking time to teach each drill is important.  This workout assumes knowledge of the drills included and fits the season plan I outlined in the first newsletter.

Conditioning/Stroke Development Phase

WU      50 Sw – 50 K – 50 Dr (x2)  (drill stroke of emphasis of the day) Suggestion: Free K-6’s R/L Arm K-6’s

Streamline drill – 6 -6’s (from ready position streamline a minimum of 6 yards 6 times while holding perfect positon) .  Swimmers may walk or swim back in an adjacent lane to keep the flow one way.

Kick/Swim – 25 K/25 Sw, 50 K/50 Sw, 75 K/75 Sw, 100 K/100 Sw  ri = :10/per 25

Dr Free – 4 x  (Side K – K-6’s –  R/L Arm K-6’s – Sw)

Sw Fr (progressive overload)   50 – 100 – 150 – 200….  Continue to increase distance – 20 min.

Combo Drill (wet and dry) Begin with five (5) block push-ups (feet on deck, hands on edge of starting block),  dive start (wall or block), streamline kick to mid pool fast, jumping bobs to end wall, press-out to front support (hands on deck, elbows straight, feet off bottom) on side of pool – hold for 10 count, exit pool, do five (5) 4- Ct squat thrust (burpee), high knee steps back to starting point.  Repeat for 10 minutes.

WD         Sw 200 +/-                                                                                                            Appr. 2000 yds


Last Lap  

I can’t encourage you enough to share your thoughts and ideas with other coaches within the conference.  Some coaches feel giving away their “secrets” give their opponents an advantage.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The more you share, the more you gain.  I’ve found it an art to steal as many ideas from other coaches as possible.  To be honest, they actually offer it up and I doubt I’ve ever used it the same way they did.  It’s very difficult to take what another coach does and just retrofit it into your own program.  I’ve always modified what I’ve heard or read to fit my plan.  And rarely, do I implement something new once the season begins, so in most cases anything you share won’t be used until next season.  By modifying ideas they become unique to your needs.  Sharing allows your idea to spawn into something another coach can modify to meet their style of coaching.

Perhaps you don’t have time to sit down and write out a lengthy explanation of what you’re doing.  Share, or, ask questions of a colleague at practice, or a meet.  If you observe a particular swimmer performing something exceptional, ask their coach what they’re doing with them to promote that skill.  When a question or idea comes to mind write it down on the heat sheet, or scrap paper and take a picture of it, then text it to me.

Email me at youthletics@columbus.rr.com, or text me at 740-816-1368.

Each edition of this newsletter along with last year’s series will be posted to the new NCASB website.   If you want to add any staff members to this email list, please, let me know.


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

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