Pools and the art and science of coaching

Whitten, Phillip

issue of Swimming Technique contains a potpourri of delights or the practicing swim coach.

In this, our second annual “facility construction issue,” Mike Stott (“This Old House”) looks at three storied aquatic facilities Cincinnati’s Keating Natatorium, Louisville’s Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center and Stanford’s DeGuerre Pools-that currently are undergoing renovation. All three are major swim centers that are upgrading their sites to remain among the premier aquatic facilities in the U.S.

Stott also profiles the stunning Coral Gables Aquatic Complex that often finds itself hosting foreign national teams as well as American college teams that fly south during winter vacation. For each facility, Stott provides the specs-architect, designer, contractor, square footage, cost, funding information and so on.

In his “Off the Blocks” column, coach and author Cecil Colwin provides an historical perspective on the crawl stroke in “Wine, Biscuits and Overarm Strokes.” Long before Australians or Europeans were swimming the crawl stroke, Native Americans in North America were using versions of the stroke.

Using contemporaneous reports, Colwin recounts the swimming exploits of two Ojibbeway Indians, Wenish-ka-wea-bee (The Flying Gull) and Sah-ma (Tobacco), who in April 1844 wowed a London crowd with their crawl stroke skills. All in all, it was “totally un-European.”

Bill Sweetenham, Australia’s National Youth Coach, and Wayne Goldsmith, the sports science coordinator for Australian Swimming, proffer two articles focused on maximizing what you can learn at meets. In “Seize the Opportunity,” the duo argue that you can get the most out of swim meets by using them to fine-tune your training program and achieve your performance goals.

Sweetenham and Goldsmith explain how meets present opportunities for coaches to assess the effectiveness of their training programs. They offer several “quick tips” for coaches to use at swim meets-everything from relations with parents at meets (none), to having swimmers establish routines before competing, to using both strong and weak performances as learning experiences.

Following up in “Meet Strategies,” Sweetenham and Goldsmith list 25 different ways for coaches to think about swim meets and use those different meet strategies to achieve goals they’ve set. Each strategy is coupled with a specific coaching goal.

The final two articles deal with the science and art of coaching. In “Why Use Lactate Testing?,” Clive Rushton explains how testing the amount of lactic acid your swimmers produce at different speeds can be a valuable training tool for bringing them to peak performance.

Ron Johnson, a successful coach at every level for the past 30 years, focuses more on the art of swimming in our “TECH Tips” article, “Feeling It.”

The elusive ability to “feel the water”-to change the direction of one’s hand at just the right moment, at just the right angle and at exactly the right rhythm-is the key to becoming a great swimmer, Johnson believes. Some people are blessed with this natural ability, but if your swimmers do not have this gift, despair not, says Johnson. It can be learned. Johnson provides drills that can teach swimmers with only modest “feel” to be aquatic artists of the first magnitude. C

Copyright Sports Publications, Inc. Oct-Dec 1998

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.

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