Make Dryland As Purposeful As Your Pool Workout

Both in the pool and out there is a tendency for athletes to 'just do what they've always done', or engage in an activity because they read about it as the latest fad or 'athletic move.' But I urge swimmers to take a step back and truly gauge how their work on land is benefiting (or even hindering) their in-pool work.

Just as you wouldn't want to waste time and effort in wet activities that don't ultimately promote more efficient, better-techniqued swimming, you don't want to engage in dryland activities just because it's what you think you should be doing because other athletes are doing it.

Take the latest World Record holder, Ippei Watanabe from Japan, for example. I recently had the chance to talk to his Japanese coach, Keisuke Okuno, about what the 19-year-old is doing out of the water to benefit his IN-water technique. Coach and athlete decided to focus on lower body work, such as squats, deadlifts & TRX moves that directly correlate to Watanabe's kicking action in the water. You can read specifics here.

Watanabe didn't just say, "I need to kick better so I'm going to lift lots and lots of weights and hope for the best." Instead, he and his coach developed an intricate plan that incorporates actions and moves that directly translate to what the swimmer wants to accomplish in the water.

Think about what you as a swimmer want to accomplish in the water. Then work with your team, your coach and/or a trainer on what dryland activites you can incorporate safely into your routine to directly support and complement those goals.

Posted on January 31, 2017 .

2017 Masters Motivational Times

Let's get motivated! The site has published 'motivational times' for 2017, which serve just as a potential target for each of us to keep in mind when training day in and day out. Take a look at the various times listed for each event, per age group and be sure to review the formulation on the final page so you know which notation means what.

Even if you don't anticipate competing, it's nice to have some feeling for where you're at during test sets or broken swims.




Posted on January 22, 2017 .

Hip-Driving In Backstroke

Photo courtesy of @rettarace

Photo courtesy of @rettarace

A common backstroke flaw is the tendency to swim too flatly, with little to no rotation in one's body. This affects two primary components of the backstroke. First, with too minimal of hip rotation, you cannot acquire the proper angle of your catch and your pull won't be nearly as strong as if you had positioned your body properly to maximize water movement. Less rotation equals a less powerful pull.

Secondly, rotation in backstroke (and freestyle, for that matter) produces a coupling effect. Gary Hall, Sr. of The Race Club gave an excellent description of this effect in a piece on his website (seen below). I personally think of it as a bullet spinning out of its barrel when a gun is fired. The energy your body produces via rotation of the hip bone (almost out of the water) is coupled with the propulsive force of your pull, thus creating a stronger pulling force.

The next time you swim backstroke, truly take the time to exaggerate rotation back and forth and feel how much more of a handle you can get on the water as opposed to a flat 'catch'. 

COUPLING – WHAT IS IT (as seen on

The second reason we rotate our bodies is a little harder to understand, but it is just as important as the first. I call this second phenomenon coupling. The act of rotating our bodies from one side to the other has zero direct propulsive effect on our motion down the pool. Yet when this motion, which creates energy of its own, is coupled with the propulsive force generated by our pulling arm/hand, the two forces occurring together result in a stronger pulling force than if we were simply pulling alone, without the rotation. One can consider the relationship of these two motionssynergistic.

Posted on January 11, 2017 .

What's Your Swimming Mission Statement?

Super excited to kick-off 2017 properly and begin updating my site more often! Hopefully you'll all visit frequently for tips, workouts and general swimming opinions that will help you immerse yourself even more in the sport we all love.

For 2017, my challenge to each of you is to create a 'Swimming Mission Statement.' This can be akin to a business' mission statement, but focused on swimming, where you include your purpose, what you're about, what you want to achieve, etc. It can be practice-focused, meet-focused, technique focused, mindset-focused, etc., but should hover around 3-4 sentences so you are to-the-point and concise.

Please share your Mission Statement! We'd love to hear how you will attack 2017 in the pool.

Posted on January 3, 2017 .

Another 4 Workouts - Quality Speed

Workout #1 - Halloween Special
**NOTE: this is a little more fun with a group, but you can still perform by yourself. Bring a deck of cards to pool, or shuffle/'deal out your workout' ahead of time.

w/u: 200 swim
        200 as 2 x [25 scull/25 non-free/50 free]
        6 x 50 ZOMBIE KICKING w/ FINS
                     - 50 kick on back with arms straight up in the air/shoulder width apart. KICK LIKE HELL!

PS: 12 x 25 @ :30/:35
- IM ORDER; focus on technique and FINISHES



The “WHAT”
- DEMON DIAMONDS - 25 sprint Kick
- BLOODY HEARTS - 50 Pull (descend)
- MURDERING CLUBS - 75 Stroke/IM (No Free), with middle 25 FAST
- SHARPEN SPADES - 100 Free, middle 50 FAST
**All with :10sR

- JACKs - 12
- QUEENS - 15
- KINGS - 20
- ACE - 1

 - 4 x 100 Free + 8 x 25 kick + 6 x 75 Non-Free + 6 x 50 Pull

*Shuffle cards and swim as much yardage as desired

Workout #2
w/u: 10 minutes choice

PS: 12 x 75 w/ FINS @ :10sR as 25 freestyle - 25 BIG FISH DOLPHIN KICK on your side - 25 freestyle

MS: AT LEAST 3 ROUNDS OF THE FOLLOWING, with either 50 EZ or 2:00 rest in between each round:
Swim as many 50's (either choice or freestyle) as you can with interval decreasing by :05s every time. Here are the send-offs when starting on the top:
Interval - Send-off
1:15 - :00
1:10 - :15
1:05 - :25
1:00 - :30
:55 - :30
:50 - :25
:45 - :15
:40 - :00
:35 - :40
:30 - :15
:25 - :45, must make it back by :10

c/d: 100 EZ

Workout #3
500 freestyle w/ FINS, bilaterally breathing entire way
200 breaststroke kick

PS: 300 IMO as 50 drill + 25 FAST swim of each stroke
       300 IMO as 50 kick + 25 FAST swim of each stroke

MS: 8 x 200 freestyle or mix of strokes @ 3:15/3:30/3:45
- within each 200, 50 EZ/50 FAST/50 EZ/50 FAST

c/d: 100 EZ

Workout #4

w/u: 500 choice

PS: 10 x 50 as 25 fist/25 build free @ :50/:55/1:00

2 Rounds of the following:

     5 minutes Kick - FINS OPTIONAL (moderate; every 3rd length is ALL OUT)

     5 x 100 free OR IM @ 1:30/1:35/1:40

     8 x 25  free (start from tread; do NOT push off wall) @ :30/:35


c/d: 200 EZ

Posted on November 1, 2016 .

4 Workouts To Help You Get Better

Workout #1
w/u - 500 freestyle w/ FINS

PS: 16 x 50 @ :15sR as follows
- 12 1/2y FAST FLY, remainder EZ free
- 25y FAST FLY, remainder EZ free
- 37y FAST FLY, remainder EZ free
- 50y FAST FLY, reaminder EZ free
**Repeat this cycle of 4 for backstroke, then breaststroke, then sprint freestyle to equal 16 total 50s

MS: 8x200 w/ FINS @ :15-:20sR as follows
- 2 freestyle
- 2 freestyle kick
- 2 freestyle
- 2 freestyle kick
**For ALL 8, make the MIDDLE 100 FAST!!!!!

c/d: 200 EZ
*If more yardage desired, add more rounds of the PS or add more 200s, but only if you're able to maintain FAST for middle 100.

Workout #2
w/u: 12 minutes choice

16 x 25 @ :35
- BURST off the wall into fast breakout/first few strokes, then EZ remainder of way

16 x 25 @ :35
- 3 x 25 freestyle drill, then 1 x 25 SPRINT FREESTYLE; repeat 4x

MS: 10 x 100 @ 1:45/1:50/1:55
- For all, swim 75 smooth freestyle, then rest at wall for :05s, then SPRINT choice to finish the 100
**Perform an EZ 100 scull after 5th 100

c/d: 200 EZ

Workout #3
w/u: 200 freestyle NO WALLS/200 kick on side with FINS/200 FRIM

PS: 12 x 75 at 1:15/1:20/1:25
- 25 freestyle/25 FAST Stroke choice/25 freestyle

MS: 500 LOCO swim
-continuous 500 freestyle as 25 FAST/25 EZ, 50 FAST/50 EZ, 75 FAST/75 EZ, 100 FAST/100 EZ

500 LOCO KICK (fins optional)
- same pattern as swim

4 x 50 STROKE - Descend 1-4 @ :50/:55/1:00

c/d: 100 scull

Workout #4
wu: 300 IM as 25 kick/25 drill/25 swim of each stroke
      300 freestyle as 25 kick/25 drill/25 swim free

PS: 10 x 50 kicking w/ FINS @ 1:00
- USE BOARD on this. Kick several beats, then forcefully dive underwater with your board and continue kicking underwater. Aim for 2 dives per 25 of each 50.

MS: Descending Pull
9 x 100 pull - 3 @ 1:40/1:45/1:50
                    3 @ 1:35/1:40/1:45
                    3 @ 1:30/1:35/1:40

9 x 50 pull - 3 @ :55/1:00/1:05
                   3 @ :50/:55/1:00
                   3 @ :45/:50/:55

9 x 25 SWIM! - 3 @ :30/:35/:40
                       3 @ :25/:30/:35
                       3 @ :20/:25/:30

c/d: 200 EZ

Posted on October 18, 2016 .

Breaststroke Onward!

Hi, everyone! Thank you for being such an awesome team!  Not too much in the form of updates today, but we continue on with our stroke work to kick-off this Fall/Winter season. We've done a good job of sharpening up our freestyle attributes and worked on backstroke technique, while this week and next we tackle the breaststroke.

As I mentioned in practice, even if you have no intention of ever swimming/competing in the breaststroke, it's always refreshing to use other muscles in other ways than you're used to in your 'comfortable' strokes. Also, whenever I swim a different stroke I inevitably learn something about the way that I'm connecting with the water that I can then apply to my 'favorite' strokes. So, if you're not a breaststroker, just bear with us the next 2 weeks, but actively try to get the most out of it.

On Tuesday, we worked on the breaststroke kick. The kick is unlike the other 3 strokes in that there is NO flutter or dolphin action. The first step, which we practiced, is bringing your heels to your bum. At that point, the feet flex out and snap around into a streamlined glide with pointed toes behind you. Sounds simpler than when it's actually done, but, in essence, that's what we practiced. Key things to keep in mind with a powerful breaststroke kick -

- keep your knees AT MOST at hip width.
- initiate the kick with your heels up to your bum, NOT by bending your knees outward.
- frequent ankle flexibility/stretching exercises can help in the way of being able to bend your feet outwardly more comfortably and effectively.
- Keep your hips high in the water (ride high). You want the effect of swimming downhill, NOT uphill.
- finish your kick! Snap your feet together, don't just lazy-dazy let them float together at the end of the kick.

Tomorrow we'll introduce the arm motion of the breaststroke. Until then, my friends. :)

Posted on September 14, 2016 .