Thursday's Swim Report - Catching a SWOLF & Other Swim Bits

Lane 1 - Inside The Games posts "USA Swimming names Unger as interim executive director. USA Swimming has named long-time employee Mike Unger as its interim executive director, succeeding Chuck Wielgus who died on Sunday (April 23) at the age of 67 after suffering complications from colon cancer. In his 24 years at USA Swimming, Unger has served as chief operating officer, assistant executive director, national events director, marketing director and national team coordinator."

Lane 2 - Matador Network posts (w/video) "Meet Rebecca Soni: Olympic gold medalist swimmer. Meet Rebecca Soni, an Olympic gold medalist swimmer, dog lover, outdoor enthusiast, and Subaru owner. As a child, her family was always into outdoor adventures like hiking and skiing, instilling a sense of importance in working hard, being outside, and staying active. These values were carried with great passion into her swimming career and the results every athlete dreams about: gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Embracing the challenge of what comes next, Rebecca now runs RISE Elite, a program that connects Olympians with young athletes from all over the world to offer mentorship and guidance along their paths to becoming their best selves."

Lane 3 - Straits Times posts "Olympic champ Joseph Schooling chats with Eden Hazard during Chelsea trip. Though he competes in the national red and white colours, Olympic gold-medallist Joseph Schooling is a Blue at heart."

Lane 4 - Razoo posts "Help Send Ugandan LGBTQ Swimmers to IGLA.  The Uganda Kuchus Aquatics Team (UKAT) are the only LGBTQ+ swim team in Uganda. We are raising funds to support five of these out, proud, brave swimmers to attend the annual IGLA International LGBTQ+ Aquatics Championships in Miami, May 26-29."

Lane 5 - Lincolnshire Live posts ""It's changed his life" - Olympic champion Adam Peaty gives away medal to boy, 10. A ten-year-old boy from Retford was awestruck after Team GB Olympic hero Adam Peaty handed him the medal he had won just minutes earlier at a major swimming competition. Olympic gold medallist Adam spotted Harry Brancham in the crowd at the British Swimming Championships in Sheffield after winning his breaststroke event - and gave him the prize to inspire him."

Lane 6 - Coach posts "What Is SWOLF And How Can It Make You A Better Swimmer? Add some stats to your swimming to become more efficient in the water."

Lane 7 - GoSwim posts ( "Turns - Plant Hand Push. Using the wall for leverage can help some swimmers develop a faster open turn."


Lane 8 - WPTV Palm Beach posts "YMCA and Drowning Prevention Coalition receive funding to offer 10,000 free swim lessons."

Go Swim - Turns - Cord Flip Turns

Creating a fast flip turn means submerging into the turn. Here's a quick trick that will help swimmers stay low and tight.

Why do it:
Tucking the head into the flip causes the body to flip faster. Keeping the feet low creates a tighter tuck. It all works together.

How to do it:
1 - Take a stretch cord and put it about 1-2 feet away from the wall.
2 - As the swimmers approach the wall, they'll need to make sure the head doesn't hit the cord on their way in.
3 - To keep the feet right, move the cord to about 8 inches away from the wall, and make sure the swimmer's feet don't touch the cord as they flip.

How to do it really well (the fine points):
This isn't really about WHERE you put the cord, and the cord is really irrelavant in this exercise. It's the thought that something is there that they have to "get under". Where you put it will be less important than giving them the thought process.

They WILL hit the cord when it's further away from the wall while focusing on tucking the head, but have them continue the turn and push off the wall... the cord will pop back up for the next swimmer.

Go Swim - Backstroke

If you think this swimmer's head position is a bit high, we thought so too. Click the link at the beginning of the video to watch how we worked with him to become more aware of that.

Helping young swimmers understand that backstroke requires RATE can be tricky. We don't want to always have them sprinting, but we can't slow them down so much that they can't race.

Why do it:
This already takes into consideration the swimmer already has a solid pull pattern, so don't rush this rushing.

How to do it:
1 - While many swimmers focus on slicing the hand into the water with no splash, too much of this can take away the attack the swimmer will need to swim fast.
2 - Start by having the swimmer MAKE CONTACT with the surface. Have them FEEL the hand hitting the surface. This can help maintain momentum of the recovering arm into the catch.
3 - To really get the hands moving, RIP the hands out at the back of the stroke. The instant the hand is finishing, GET IT OUT and into the recovery.

How to do it really well (the fine points):
Don't worry about being smooth, or having a clean entry, great backstroke takes rate, and maintaining that rate will take some attack at some point in the stroke.

Always remember, your body is rolling during the recovery and pull of backstroke, slowing for a clean entry can cause that roll to slow or pause. Make the transition from one side to the other SNAP with more rate.

Go Swim - Butterfly - Teaching a Better Catch - Step 5

Watch all 6-steps at our website -

One of the most important aspects of developing a great catch, it making sure the hands stay HIGH during the extension.

A quick test is to use kickboards in the process.

Have the swimmer place a kickboard under each hand. Do not grab the kickboard, but lay each hand on each board.

Start with Position 11 kick, floating the hands on top of the boards.

When the swimmer feels confident they can keep the hands remaining at the surface, have her gently push the boards off to the side.

When the boards are dropped, pay special attention that he swimmers hands do not fall into the water, but continue to stay very close to the surface, extending the body forward.

After the swimmer has mastered keeping the hands high after dropping the boards, have her move forward to Step 4, and allow the hands to drop into the catch.

Go Swim - Freestyle - Stable Head Snorkel

While visiting the Austin Swim Club and Coach Brendan Hansen, he had pointed out an athlete that was using the snorkel to help keep the head stable in freestyle.
Why do it:
The head leads the way, and it's a great indicator of how you're applying your energy in swimming.
How to do it:
1 - Put on the snorkel and swim freestyle.
2 - Focus on keeping the head as stable as possible.
How to do it really well (the fine points):
While looking from deck, at certain angles, it looks amazing. This swimmer is focusing as much as possible and doing a great job. However, when we look underwater, we see we still have a few things to work on.
Finding just the right rhythm, the right extension and rotation, the right hand placement, to make sure the head is absolutely stable and moving forward is a search that isn't all that simple. Too little power, head is stable but you're not connecting to the water as much. Too much extension, and you may introduce incorrect lines under. Trying to apply too much power, and you may be pushing DOWN into the water rather than sending everything forward.
Creating a great freestyle takes time, effort and a lot of thought. Using a snorkel can allow you to take a step back and focus on exactly what you're head is doing as you swim. Keep it stable.
This swimmer is on his way for sure!

Go Swim - All-Strokes - Wyoming Board Drop GoSwim

While at the University of Wyoming, we watched a kick set that incorporated resistance training and speed.

Why do it:
The change from over-resistance, to over speed, can awaken the senses and make the focus on the walls greater, all while building fitness.

How to do it:
1 - Put on fins and grab a board.
2 - On the first 25, hold the board underwater and sideways to create the most resistance possible.
3 - Just a bit over halfway down the lap, drop the board, increase the intensity of the kick, and sprint into the wall.
4 - Perform a FAST turn, and dolphin quickly back out to the board.
5 - Pick up the board and kick back for the next round.

How to do it really well (the fine points):
Once you drop the board, stop breathing. Keep the head in line to stabilize the body and stroke. This increased focus can also help the swimmer focus on the wall from a bit further out to make sure the turn is on stroke.

Try to find the perfect spot to drop the board so you don't go passed it on the way out to pick it up.

Go Swim - Starts - Flatten Your Back GoSwim

Swimmers, if you've heard your coach say "flatten your back on your start" and you didn't know what it meant... here's a quick illustration.

First, why do you want a flat back on your start? Too many swimmers start with a rounded back as they reach down to grab the blocks. This doesn't send the energy in the correct direction when you leave the blocks.

Andi Murez, great sprinter, is trying to make sure that she flattens her back so that she sends her energy forward as she leaves the blocks.

This will really give you an idea of what "take your mark means". With Andi in the ready position, when "take your mark" is said, she pulls down and tightens up the core to make sure that everything is going to be heading in the right direction.

Nothing is relaxed in the "take your mark" position. She goes from a relaxed ready position, to a tight, flat back "take your mark" position.

Notice that the head position does not change and directs Andi into the water.

So when your coach says "flatten your back for your start", get everything tight, and "flatten your back".

One final look at Andi Murez, as she prepares for Rio!

Go Swim - Butterfly - Lake Oswego Butterfly Progression

Watch over 50 more Freestyle Balance videos here -

Here's a exercise you can do to any practice, that will help your athletes learn balance.
Why do it:
A great freestyle is based on a solid body line. Sometimes swimmers MASK that line by using their arms and legs for support. This exercise can help focus on the core.
How to do it:
1 - Swim freestyle with your legs together and toes points.
2 - Don't kick.
How to do it really well (the fine points):
This works on a few things;
- In order to keep the legs up, there needs to be SOME velocity to keep things in line, so they can't go too slow.
- When the legs start to fall, the swimmer will need to tighten their core to keep the line rigid.
- When they've mastered keeping the legs in line, when they start to add the kick back in, the goal is that the kick is now more propulsive than supportive.