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 .

2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials

I was blessed enough to attend the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, Nebraska last week. The entire event was so overwhemingly inspiring, I am still settling back into reality. Not only did the big guns such as Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, and Katie Ledecky perform well, but the most eye-opening celebrations came in the form of the random heat 1 swimmer who knocked out a best time.

Seeing someone far from the top of the pack celebrate and be happy with their own success, meeting their own goal is so motivating for me. As I always say as a coach, swimming is You vs. You. Each individual, even at the elite level, has goals specific to his/her abilities and commitment. Even if we are nowhere near the Olympic Trials level, we can still apply the goal-setting and celebrative attitude to our everyday lives.

Swims of the meet for me included Ryan Held's 100m freestyle, Tom Shields' 200 fly, and Cullen Jones 50 freestyle. Cullen didn't make the team, but he threw down more than respectable sub-22's to get him through to the final.

Posted on July 9, 2016 .

15 Workouts To Try, Courtesy of YourSwimBook

YourSwimBook creator Olivier Poirier-Leroy posted some great workouts on his site recently. He describes the 15 unique workouts as applicable for sprinters, distance swimmers, butterfliers, IMers...essentially any competitive swimmer who is looking for some variety.

You can find his post here

Take a look and pick one out to try before your next pool adventure.

Posted on June 15, 2016 .


I read this question on social media this week and it is a good one. To me, the question is asking, if one is simply at a practice in body, going through the motions and following directions; Or, is the person engaged IN practice....actively taking part, applying instruction, pushing himself with every effort.

Next time you get in the water, ask yourself what you are doing TODAY to make yourself better TOMORROW? Are you simply AT PRACTICE or IN PRACTICE?

Coach Retta

Posted on May 31, 2016 .


Congratulations to Mark Gutowski, who nailed his swims at the 2016 USMS Spring Nationals Meet in Greensboro. A personal best 100 freestyle time kicked off his competition, which continued with solid performances in the 50 fly, 50 free and 100 fly. 

Congratulations, Mark!


Posted on May 3, 2016 .

Where are NKSM Workouts?

For any regular reader who is searching for our NKSM workouts, please remember that they are all now contained within the forums of 


A new set of 4 workouts are published by noon every Tuesday and all are high-intensity focused with a sprint & power base.

Feel free to leave feedback here or on the forum. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Coach Retta

10 Ways to Reduce Frontal Drag (from The Race Club)

As readers of this site know, I'm a big fan of The Race Club out of Islamorada, Florida. The group is run by Gary Hall, Sr., an Olympic medalist, doctor, and swimming expert. Every time I read through something they record, write or share, I inevitably learn something new about our ever-changing sport.

Their latest article recounts the 10 ways to reduce frontal drag, which is one of the swimmer's worst enemies.  My favorite part about the 10 ways they describe is that they are ALL DOABLE. Nowhere does it specify you need to have a 6'8" frame, or otherworldly wingspan or crazy equipment. The tips, which include common swim-isms like 'streamlining' and 'pulling with a high elbow' are things that are completely possible for all ranges of swimmers.

Take a read and see where you can improve: The Race Club's 10 Ways to Reduce Frontal Drag