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HYDROSPHERE TEC HN OLOGY
S P E E D D RY FA B R I C AT I O N
V E N O M
SUPERSONIC FLEX BONDING
JUNE 2 017 FEATURES 018
THE LEADERSHIP OF CHUCK WIELGUS
by Michael J. Stott
by Chuck Warner
LEAVING A LASTING LEGACY by David Rieder Frank Busch has spent six years as national team director for USA Swimming, but that stint will be over at the end of August, after being in charge of his fourth World Championships. As he leaves, he could not be more pleased with the infrastructure he’s leaving behind.
ISHOF EXHIBITS: THE AUDACITY OF ANNETTE KELLERMAN—HOW SHE BECAME THE MOST FAMOUS SWIMMER IN THE WORLD by Chuck Warner
ART OF THE TURN by Michael J. Stott
SPECIAL SETS: RESISTED/ASSISTED TRAINING WITH CORDS AND OTHER ACCESSORIES by Michael J. Stott
Q&A WITH COACH RON AITKEN by Michael J. Stott
HOW THEY TRAIN ERICA SULLIVAN & BRENNAN GRAVLEY by Michael J. Stott
by Annie Grevers In February, Swimming World highlighted women in swimming who busted through barriers. This month, we’re celebrating their male counterparts who stretched the bounds of the sport.
NUTRITION: AROUND THE TABLE WITH KELSI WORRELL
COACHING SWIMMING TECHNIQUE MISCONCEPTIONS: BILATERAL BREATHING by Rod Havriluk
DRYSIDE TRAINING: TRX SUMMER SHAPE-UP by J.R. Rosania
GOLDMINDS: IT’S OK TO BE NERVOUS by Wayne Goldsmith Master the nervousness of the moment—never allow the nervousness of the moment to master you.
CELEBRATING A LIVING LEGEND by Annie Grevers Indiana University is preparing a 90th birthday celebration later this month for Hobie Billingsley, one of the world’s most influential figures in diving. Known for his passion for the sport and profound belief in his divers, the Hall of Fame coach recently took time to speak with Swimming World Magazine. Here’s his extraordinary story.
MOMENTOUS MALE MILESTONES
by Annie Grevers and Tasija Korosas
LESSONS WITH THE LEGENDS: DON TALBOT
UP & COMERS by Taylor Brien
A VOICE FOR THE SPORT
ON THE COVER Our generation is spoiled to have had Michael Phelps, The Greatest Olympian of All Time, grace us with his explosive performances, Olympiad after Olympiad. But Phelps had many predecessors who parted the chlorinated waters for the phenoms of the future. Swimming World shines the spotlight on just a few of swimming’s history-altering characters. (See feature, pages 26-31.) Photos (from left to right, top to bottom): Pieter van den Hoogenband (photo by Bill Collins), Grant Hackett (Darren England), Matt Biondi (Budd Symes), Mark Spitz (Ron Moor of The Daily Mail), Alexander Popov (Bill Collins), Michael Phelps (Griffin Scott), Rick DeMont (Keystone Press) and Johnny Weissmuller (International Swimming Hall of Fame).
SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE (ISSN 0039-7431). Note: permission to reprint articles or excerpts from contents is prohibited without permission from the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for errors in advertisements. Microfilm copies: available from University Microfilms, 313 N. First St., Ann Arbor, MI 48103. Swimming World Magazine is listed in the Physical Education Index. Printed in the U.S.A. © Sports Publications International June 2017.
SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE / June 2017
A VOICE for the SPORT
CHUCK WIELGUS ALWAYS PUT OTHERS FIRST BY BRENT T. RUTEMILLER
SWIMMING WORLD P U B L I S H I N G, C I RC U LAT I O N A N D ACCO U N T I N G
I remember walking one night in Phoenix, Ariz. and seeing a 15-foot saguaro cactus in the distance. It was a dark night, but the cactus was fully illuminated. As I approached it, I could see no direct spotlight shining on this grand tree of the desert. The cactus was brilliantly lit, yet I could not see the source of light. I studied it to find that at the base of the cactus were a series of metal reflectors surrounding its circumference. Small spotlights shined directly on each reflector, and no spotlight was shining directly on the cactus. “That’s it!” I shouted to myself. That is what good leadership is all about: having everyone around you shine first. The leader is just a reflection of all that is around you. If you surround yourself with good people and allow them to get 100 percent of the light, that light will eventually reflect on you. Everyone grows. If 20 people reflect just 10 percent of their light, the leader ends up with 200 percent of the reflective light. But if a leader gets 100 percent of direct light, there is nothing more to be gained, and those all around will certainly die in the shadow. Think about it. Chuck Wielgus rarely took credit for the achievements at USA Swimming. He would always deflect the light to his staff, saying, they did all the work, and they deserved all the credit. He empowered everyone around him. Each person could grow in his or her own light. In the end, that leadership style reflected on Wielgus to the point that he was illuminated one thousand percent. In this issue, you will read about Chuck Wielgus after his recent passing. Much has been written about his achievements as the long-time executive director for USA Swimming. But in this issue, Chuck Warner
writes about the man and his values as the definitive elements of his being. The qualities of great leadership are often learned through trial and error, and observation. Leadership comes with great faith, humility and responsibility. Over the years, I have observed the qualities of great leaders, including Chuck Wielgus, to find the following things in common: • Most great leaders are basically cheerful and often keep the corners of their mouth turned up. • They are rarely the first to take credit for an achievement. • They are the first to take the blame when something fails. • They don’t expect others to fight their battles. • They keep skid chains on their tongue. • They never let an opportunity go by without saying a kind or encouraging word to or about somebody. • They are careful of another’s feelings. • They let their virtues speak for themselves. • They discourage gossip. • They are never too anxious about getting their just dues. • Most importantly, they preserve an open mind on all debatable questions. Chuck Wielgus was all of these, and we are all better because of his leadership style. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the USA Swimming staff and community.
Brent T. Rutemiller Publisher of Swimming World Magazine “If you want to win, first help someone else win!”
www.SwimmingWorldMagazine.com Publisher, CEO - Brent T. Rutemiller BrentR@SwimmingWorld.com Circulation/Operations Manager - Taylor Brien TaylorB@SwimmingWorld.com Advertising Production Coordinator Advertising@SwimmingWorld.com
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I N T E R N AT I O N A L CO R R E S PO N D E N T S Africa: Chaker Belhadj (TUN) Australia: Wayne Goldsmith, Ian Hanson Europe: Norbert Agh (HUN), Camilo Cametti (ITA), Oene Rusticus (NED), Rokur Jakupsstovu (FAR) Japan: Hideki Mochizuki Middle East: Baruch “Buky” Chass, Ph.D. (ISR) South Africa: Neville Smith (RSA) South America: Jorge Aguado (ARG)
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SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE / June 2017
1 TRX SQUATS While holding the TRX handles and facing the straps, perform a squat movement.
2 TRX STREAMLINE FREESTYLE STROKE Face away from the TRX straps and lean forward to a 45-degree angle. Starting from a streamline position, pull one arm through as if swimming freestyle. Alternate arms.
3 TRX KNEE TUCKS Start in a push-up position with your feet in the TRX handles. Pull the knees forward toward your elbows. Repeat.
4 TRX PUSH-UP Facing away from the TRX straps—and at a 90-degree-or-less angle—perform a standard push-up.
THE TRX SUMMER SHAPE-UP...
AND FASTER SWIMMING SET
BY J.R. ROSANIA PHOTOS BY EMMI BRYTOWSKI DEMONSTRATED BY NORIKO INADA
Well, it’s that time of year. The weather warms up, and the beaches get busy. Everybody wants to lose a few pounds and become more lean. We swimmers want to swim faster. So how do we accomplish this? Let’s take a look at the workout program I’ve put together that will strengthen and tighten up our legs, glutes, stomach and chest...and we might even swim faster this summer! Each exercise should be done for 10 to 15 reps and for two to three sets. Use weight that is easy at first, then slowly add 10 percent more weight each week for the next five weeks. Never use so much weight that you are unable to complete eight to 10 reps. And as always, discontinue the exercises one to two weeks from any major swim competition. Work hard now...and keep the benefits this summer—at the beach and in the pool! MEET THE TRAINER J.R. Rosania, B.S., exercise science, is one of the nation’s top performance enhancement coaches. He is the owner and CEO of Healthplex, LLC, in Phoenix. Check out Rosania’s website at www.jrhealthplex.net. MEET THE ATHLETE Noriko Inada, 38, swam for Japan at the 1992, 2000 and 2004 Olympics. She now swims Masters for Phoenix Swim Club, and owns Masters world records in the women’s 25-29, 30-34 and 35-39 age groups.
NOTICE All swimming and dryland training instruction should be performed under the supervision of a qualified coach or instructor, and in circumstances that ensure the safety of the participants.
June 2017 / SWIMMINGWORLDMAGAZINE.COM
SWIMMING TECHNIQUE MISCONCEPTIONS: BY ROD HAVRILUK Many people believe that it is worth copying the technique of the fastest swimmers. In reality, even the fastest swimmers have technique limitations, but they offset them with strength and conditioning. The purpose of this series of articles is to address scientifically the technique misconceptions and related skilllearning strategies that have become “conventional wisdom,” and to present more effective options.
BILATERAL BREATHING ISSUES
While there can be benefits from bilateral breathing, there is no guarantee that it will make torso rotation symmetrical or breathing more effective. Swimmers generally rotate more to the breathing side than the non-breathing side. Two studies reported that swimmers rotate about 10 degrees more to the breathing side (Castro, et al., 2003; Psycharakis & McCabe, 2011). One study (Seifert, 2008) even found a potential negative impact on arm coordination—as measured by the IdC (Index of Coordination)—when breathing bilaterally. (As explained in previous issues of Swimming World, a positive IdC is con-
sistent with the fastest swimming, and a negative IdC indicates a technique limitation.) Although the bilateral breathers had a relatively balanced IdC, they had a negative IdC on both sides (as shown in Fig. 1, below). The unilateral breathers (who breathed on one side) had an imbalance in their IdC, but at least had a positive IdC on one side. One other issue is that bilateral breathing requires at least three strokes between breaths. A swimmer may be deprived of oxygen by breathing every three strokes instead of every two strokes. In a rush to get to the third stroke to breathe, a swimmer may reduce torso rotation on some strokes.
BILATERAL BREATHING BENEFITS
This month’s article addresses the misconception that bilateral breathing (i.e., breathing on both the left and right sides) makes a freestyle stroke symmetrical. Symmetry in torso rotation is promoted to facilitate breathing. However, a far more effective means of achieving symmetry is by practicing non-breathing strokes and synchronizing a downward angle on the arm entry with downward torso rotation on the same side of the body. Bilateral breathing is conventional wisdom promoted as a way to “develop a smoother, more symmetrical swim stroke by naturally encouraging proper body rotation on both sides” (Kiefer, 2017). One source claims, “It’s the natural way to keep your stroke technique symmetrical” and that it is “particularly good for developing good body roll to both sides since you need to rotate well to breathe” (Swimsmooth, 2017).
SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE / June 2017
Fig. 1 FIG. 1 > (ABOVE) This graph shows an imbalance in IdC for unilateral breathers. The bilateral breathers have a relatively balanced, but negative IdC for both sides.
FIG. 2 > (BELOW) For an optimal non-breathing head position, the swimmer feels the water level at the hairline and sees ahead at a 45-degree angle.
There are potential benefits to bilateral breathing, including symmetry in torso rotation. Unfortunately, none of these benefits are guaranteed. Other potential benefits include: • Bilaterally balanced muscular development (and muscular soreness) • Bilaterally balanced arm force generation • Improved body awareness from an expanded field of view • Improved view of competitors on both sides
A STRATEGY TO ACHIEVE A SYMMETRICAL TORSO ROTATION THAT FACILITATES BREATHING
Symmetry in torso rotation is best achieved with a non-breathing head position, as opposed to breathing bilaterally. As shown in Fig. 2 (left), there are two cues to optimize the non-breathing head position:
FIG. 3 > (LEFT) As the model completes the arm entry with a downward angle, she also rotates her torso downward on the same side of the body.
• Feel the water level at the hairline • See ahead at a 45-degree angle Maintaining a non-breathing head position can be difficult in a normal team training session due to the need for oxygen. However, most workouts include sets that are not particularly demanding, and a swimmer can substantially limit breathing. Another option is for solo practice using short distance swims at a slow stroke rate with adequate rest between swims. Once a swimmer sets the non-breathing head position, he/she can synchronize a downward angle on the arm entry with the downward torso rotation on the same side of the body, as shown in Fig. 3 (left). With an effective downward angle of the arm, it is also very natural to rotate the torso downward. If a swimmer maintains his/her head motionless in the non-breathing position, it will be easier to control and evaluate symmetry in torso rotation. If the swimmer rotates the torso 45 degrees when not breathing, then only a small amount of head rotation is necessary to breathe (45 degrees). To breathe, a swimmer can best control head rotation by rotating until he/she sees the top of the surface of the water. At this point, one goggle will remain submerged, as shown in Fig. 4, (below, left image). Even with adequate torso rotation, swimmers still often rotate their head too much—so that both goggles are above the surface (below, right image). FIG. 4 > (BELOW) The swimmer on the left has an effective minimal head rotation so that only one goggle is above the surface. Note that only a small portion of her mouth is visible. The swimmer on the right is rotating his head too much so that both goggles are above the surface. The yellow lines indicate the surface of the water.
Dr. Rod Havriluk is a sports scientist and consultant who specializes in swimming technique instruction and analysis. His new ebook—“Approaching Perfect Freestyle + Science”—is available at the STR website: www.swimmingtechnology.com. You can contact Rod at firstname.lastname@example.org. All scientific documentation relating to this article, including scientific principles, studies and research papers, can be provided upon demand.
to learn more about the references for this article.
SUMMARY Conventional wisdom explains that bilateral breathing develops symmetrical torso rotation. Symmetry, in turn, is promoted to facilitate breathing. There is, however, no guarantee that bilateral breathing will produce symmetry or improve breathing. And there is evidence that bilateral breathing can negatively impact arm coordination. A far more effective way to achieve symmetry is by using non-breathing strokes rather than bilateral breathing. A swimmer can then synchronize a downward angle on the arm entry with downward torso rotation on the same side. The motionless nonbreathing head position will make it easier for a swimmer to control and evaluate symmetrical torso rotation. The optimal non-breathing head position will also facilitate breathing.
June 2017 / SWIMMINGWORLDMAGAZINE.COM
LESSONS with the
SWIMMING WORLD CONTINUES A SERIES IN WHICH TOP COACHES SHARE SOME OF THE SECRETS OF THEIR SUCCESS. BY MICHAEL J. STOTT
DON TALBOT Don Talbot (in 1981 when he was AIS Executive Director)
on Talbot still loves swimming and lives to win. Acknowledged as a great aquatic mind, he has taken his passion across the globe as coach, motivator, technician, author (“Swimming to Win for All Ages”) and consultant, producing champions for more than 45 years. For Talbot, the winning began early. As an age grouper, he won the New South Wales backstroke championship for under-14-yearolds, and broke that state’s age group record for the 150 meter individual medley. As a coach, he was highly successful, fiercely loyal and a supportive disciplinarian who brooked no umbrage. At age 23, he began coaching Aussie youngsters John and Ilsa Konrads, who between them set 37 world records. At the 1960 Rome Olympics, John won gold in the 1500 meter freestyle and bronze in the 400 and 4x200 free relay, while Ilsa secured an Olympic silver medal in the 4x100 free relay. In the later 1960s and 1970s, Talbot turned out other Olympic gold medalists and Commonwealth Games champions by the bushel, including Ian O’Brien, Bob Windle, Kevin Berry, Beverley Whitfield and Gail Neall. Born Down Under, Talbot became an inveterate traveler, coaching national teams for Australia (1964-72) and leaving for Canada (1972-78 and 1983-88) when Aussie sport funding was insufficient. While in Canada, he was also executive director of Canadian Swimming and was twice named Canadian Coach of the Year. In the United States, he also coached Tracy Caulkins at Nashville Aquatic Club for a couple of years after Coach Paul Bergen became the women’s coach at the University of Texas. As the inaugural director of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in 1981, Talbot ultimately secured funding from the Australian government for high-performance sports programs, the development of world-class training facilities and support services for Australian athletes and coaches. In 1989, he became Australia’s national head coach, introducing cameras and computers to analyze every stroke, touch and turn. His leadership resulted in an excellent showing at the 2000 Sydney Olympics (five gold, nine silver, four bronze medals) and an even better performance at the 2001 World Championships in which the Aussies won the swimming gold medal tally. He then retired following that Fukuoka meet. Oft decorated, Talbot was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1979 and was made Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1981 and Officer of the Order of Australia in 2007. In 1990 he was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, received an Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and a Centenary Medal in 2001.
DON TALBOT IN HIS OWN WORDS (AS TOLD TO BILL SWEETENHAM):
[PHOTO BY AUSTRALIAN SPORTS COMMISSION] 12
SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE / June 2017
Many coaches prefer to be judged by performance and not necessarily by winning. Regardless of the competitive standard, I am only interested in winning for my athletes and my team. Coaching is a dynamic profession, and winning is driven by dynamic coaches who have an all-inclusive focus on the facts and protocols that support this concept. Swimming has given me a lifetime of rewarding experiences, and I have continually sought ways to broaden my perspective and make myself a better coach. I have continued to learn, knowing that even the slightest education can have a massive impact on improvement and performance. I consistently get more out of observing a workout and a great coach than talking or listening to coaches at conferences or lectures.
— continued on 14
FREEDOM TO MOVE. COMFORT TO PERFORM. 100% POLYESTER.
V-BACK ONE-PIECE GENESIS
LEGENDS — continued from 12
Late in my coaching career, I completed my master’s degree, but found this to be less effective than I had hoped. I wanted more and more about more and more, and I found the master’s to be more and more about less and less! In most cases, that educational path was not relative to winning. However, my master’s did give me reason to be accepted more openly by academia and theoretical administrators. I have always looked outside conventional thinking to achieve a winning point of difference, looking to marry my coaching philosophies with my personality. I have seen many coaches adopt concepts that did not fit their system or method, which only led to degrees of failure. I embraced self-criticism, always asking, “What can I do better?” and “How do I improve at a rate faster than opposing coaches?” To win, I believe you must self-assess. This process is conditional on personal improvement as a coach. The big question is: “How much work should and can each individual handle to achieve optimal performance?” This is the real dynamic of the ever-changing world of coaching. How well you do this—and in what manner—determines the outcome for the team, individual and coach. The framework of what you can do is often limited by the time you have. Prioritizing and constant review are never-ending. There are no building phases, as this process should be continuous, rather, consigned to a period of time. When preparing to win without compromise, a coach needs to look at all aspects of performance and rely on his knowledge to make competitive adjustments. That ability is a part of a coach’s ongoing maturation that allows him to both manipulate and alter the thinking required to win and meet the changing goalposts of world standards.
My advice to coaches is that you have to love the sport first, last and always. You must have the ability to listen to criticism and embrace it where it makes a positive difference. I find that the intent of a coach is far more important than the design of any practice. You must be passionate and believe in your system. If a coach loves the sport as I did, he will have a great feel for it and, therefore, a greater chance of winning. Sports science for me is only an advantage in competition if it applies and has a direct result on a winning performance—be it for the team or the individual. A knowledge of sports science can help a coach be innovative, but it is not a bible. As a coach, I have had my own system and model that suited my personality. I applied it with 100 percent conviction. Physiology is crucial, but in today’s world of the internet, it is easy to keep abreast of swim and sports coaching that did not exist 10 years ago. Drugs in sport? I deplore them and am always saddened when I hear or witness such instances on the world stage. That said, drugs appear to be reflective of today’s standards. I have always communicated as best I can with younger coaches as another way to learn. From that, I interpret what I see and try to have technology fit the system. While I listen and observe everything that is available, I do not necessarily use it. In the end, it all comes down to the dynamics and attitude of the coach—and how he or she transfers it to the athletes. Some coaches are satisfied with less than winning, but this is not for me. Doing OK is not good enough. Michael J. Stott is an ASCA Level 5 coach whose Collegiate School (Richmond, Va.) teams have won nine state high school championships. He has been named a 2017 recipient of NISCA’s Outstanding Service Award.
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SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE / June 2017
ART OF THE TURN
This is the second of a multi-part series on “trained behaviors” in swimming, a concept advanced by Nation’s Capital Swim Club coach Bruce Gemmell, who defines these actions as ones that can be executed under pressure and in unusual circumstances. This month’s article focuses on turns.
er than land on top,” says DeSorbo. “We do a lot of work trying to keep our feet/ legs low in the water during the turn. Getting the heels to touch rear ends helps keep turns small, low and tight. “We concentrate on push-offs after the turn a ton—both in the weight room and the water, where we stress a tight streamline. We’ll do swims/sets focusing on strong, explosive pusoffs with no kicking until the feet reach the flags, followed by six dolphin kicks before breaking out.” N O R T H C A R O L I N A S TAT E NC State head coach Braden Holloway adds, “We work on turns Says North Carolina State every day. It begins in assistant coach Todd DeSorbo: Todd DeSorbo, the weight room, work“There isn’t really anything NC State ing on explosive movethat I do with Ryan Held spements. We have turn cifically that we don’t do with work throughout all everyone. He just does a good sets and workouts. In job of thinking in practice and a 3,000-yard workout, having good practice habits.” that could be up to 117 The habits for sprinters esturns. pecially include low, fast, tight “For example, we flips. start in warm-up. We “Several years ago, Don can go 600 as follows: Easterling (former NC State • Loosen, doing the coach) suggested using a long, first 100 with underwared lifeguard buoy and have ter technique turns; swimmers flip into it so that the • 100 with fast flips heels push the buoy away rath[PHOTO PROVIDED BY NORTH CAROLINA STATE]
At any high-level meet, terrific turns are in abundance. At this spring’s men’s NCAA Division I Championships, University of Tennessee coach Matt Kredich was especially taken with North Carolina State’s Ryan Held’s freestyle turns. Kredich labeled them as “outstanding,” which may account for Held’s blistering relay splits and respective second- and thirdplace finishes in the 50 and 100 yard freestyles (18.60, 41.21).
(just the flips are fast); • 100 complete fast flips putting your hands on the top of the deck to prevent deceleration; • 100 with fast flips and MAX DPS push-offs with no kicks—trying for max distance; • 100 blast, flags to wall to fast flip plus putting hands on the deck and pressing body out; • 100 blast, flags into fast flip plus putting hands on deck and pressing body out of water completely to standing position as fast as possible. “Another way is to start or finish normal sets with flips. We could go eight rounds of a 100 swim plus a 50 kick with a board. Start the 100 with arms stretched out and feet out behind on the wall, and then flip to begin the 100. The 50 kick ends with a pull into a fast flip, focusing on accelerating the feet around.” Wolfpack swimmers also do no-wall turns. Swimmers may float and do fast flips in place or build speed to a fast flip in place. “In shallow water, we often have them float-blast four to five strokes, flip all the way around to where they can stand up and press down with their feet to the bottom and jump high in the air. If swimmers are
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[PHOTO PROVIDED BY NORTH CAROLINA STATE]
ART OF THE TURN — continued from 15
“We work on turns every day. It begins in the weight room, working on explosive movements. We have turn work throughout all sets and workouts. In a 3,000-yard workout, that could be up to 117 turns.” —Braden Holloway (far left) North Carolina State head coach
R O C K Y- T O P T U R N S “One thing we all agree on,” says Tennessee’s Kredich, “is that repetition is key. A turn done once per length is not a lot of repetition. Usually, there is not a cost in doing a poor turn in practice, and 16
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[PHOTO BY PETER H. BICK]
thinking to flip all the way around to stand up fast, it keeps their acceleration up and their rotation small,” says Holloway. Russell Mark, USA Swimming’s national team high-performance manager, has metrics on many aquatic elements. In timing turns, he says USA Swimming “always measured hand-to-foot touches and didn’t include feet contact time on the wall. For handto-foot, we used 0.65 to 0.75 as fast, 0.75 to 0.85 as OK and 0.85plus as slow.” Holloway doesn’t time flips, saying, “FAST is FAST—the biggest thing is making sure swimmers don’t place their feet on the wall, but maintain speed from the flip all the way around, knowing that the water will slow their rotation when their feet enter the water at the end of the flip. “Also, the wall never moves, so we want a flip fast and a maximized press against the wall. Too many kids actually slow their flip/rotation, trying to time their push-off or placing their feet on Matt Kredich, Tennessee the wall for a push-off. “As for timing a flip during a race, we tell our swimmers not to dramatically change their stroke, but to exit the hand a tad early to help speed their rate. Never slow the rate down into the wall.”
there may be some benefit to the athlete— more breath, less uncomfortable, easier to streamline. “At Tennessee, we have a high standard. In warm-up, we almost always do repeated turns per length—some in the middle of the pool—or start at the halfway point and do 20 turns in a row. We’ll also start on the wall and do underwater turns by: • Pushing off the wall underwater and turn, forward or back, at the second line. Let momentum carry you to the third line; • Pushing off the wall underwater, turning at the second line, unfold, come back underwater; • Pushing off on the surface, taking two strokes, doing a surface turn and returning.” Sometimes swimmers go back and forth from the wall to 8-to-10 meters, alternating a no-wall turn with a turn on the wall. “Walls complicate things a little bit,” says Kredich. “If swimmers do no-wall turns, they can be more aggressive. When doing those, we eventually have swimmers come back and repeat the skill on the wall so they are doing a full turn.” The Volunteers divide the turn into seven segments: approach, rotation, landing, jump (push-off), flight (the period after the jump and before creating additional propulsion), underwater propulsion and exit (breakout). Using both directions in an eight-lane pool, athletes will jump to the second line, the third and fourth lines, where they are not allowed to create any propulsion until their heads (or feet) cross the third line. The drill, which Volunteers do twice a week, magnifies any number of weaknesses. “If the approach isn’t good, then the landing won’t be good,” says Kredich. “If that is the case, poor athletes will not be in a position to jump. So, that exercise ensures a good turn setup. Without a good jump, swimmers will not make the third line without a dolphin kick or pullout. “No-wall turns, we do almost every day. At other times, we’ll name a focus and ask athletes to compete. You can always place certain requirements or challenges on top of any set. We might be doing 20 100s on a pink pace (130-150 HR based on Jon Urbanchek’s charts), but within that set, have athletes race a teammate from the flags to the wall or stay underwater to the halfway point and so on. If we are coming off a meet where we were getting beat into the wall, the next week our focus is going to be on the approach,” he says. “In warm-up, we may do 30 12-and-ahalf-yard swims—jump off the wall, and at
the seven-meter mark, race to the exit—or race to the exit and then stop. Instead of taking another stroke, people are usually in too much of a hurry to begin a stroke when they come to the surface. “They just snap into a line at the surface and carry as much speed into it, and then glide to the end of the pool, go back and do it again. We call that ‘sliding the exit’— slide into the middle of the pool and then go back. There are a lot of different exercises we create, especially in isolating one part of the turn. By doing that, we shorten later conversations,” Kredich says.
Next month’s article on Trained Behaviors will focus on breathing. Michael J. Stott is an ASCA Level 5 coach whose Collegiate School (Richmond, Va.) teams have won nine state high school championships. He has been named a 2017 recipient of NISCA’s Outstanding Service Award.
to learn more about the “Art of the Turn” from Mike Westphal, Indiana University associate head coach.
June 2017 / SWIMMINGWORLDMAGAZINE.COM
THE LEADERSHIP OF CHUCK WIELGUS
Chuck Wielgus, 67 (Feb. 6, 1950 - April 23, 2017)
A 20-Year Marriage of Values and Culture to USA Swimming Members
Some would say the 20-year marriage of Chuck Wielgus’ work with the people of USA Swimming was made in heaven. Others might not, but it’s impossible to question the enormous development of USA Swimming during that time. The record shows that during Wielgus’ tenure, athlete membership increased from 200,000 to nearly 400,000, and the Olympic Trials grew from 4,000 to 13,000 spectators per session and included nightly prime-time major network coverage. The creation of the Golden Goggles Awards and the USA Swimming Foundation were hard to fathom before he arrived, nor was the creation of the most extensive “Safe Sport” program in the world. Nonetheless, if the members of USA Swimming did not share similar values with Wielgus, this was a marriage that might have never come to be... 18
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HIRING SHARED VALUES Prior to his hire at USA Swimming, Chuck was the CEO of the national governing body for the relatively unfamiliar sport of competitive Kayaking & Canoe, and then the executive director of the Senior PGA Tour Tournament Directors Association. One would think he would jump at the chance to interview to become executive director of one of the very top national governing bodies in America and lead, what is arguably, the premiere Olympic sports team in the world—the American Swimming Team. Yes, Chuck was interested, as was USA Swimming’s selection committee whose members were very impressed when they spoke with him on the phone. But Wielgus declined an invitation to appear before the selection committee on each of their first two interview weekends. Why? The general answer is values. Throughout his life, Chuck was an avid reader. As a boy, a favorite book series was that of Chip Hilton, written by basketball Hall of Fame Coach Claire Bee. Each story had multiple plots, but always included a lesson in values such as honesty, integrity and respect. These were critical to the way Wielgus led his life, and the series of 24 books was so meaningful to him that he always kept them on his book shelf. The specific reason Chuck would not schedule an initial interview with USA Swimming was because he had already committed to taking his son on college visits. The committee appreciated his integrity and dedication to his son, thinking shared values are a good start to a successful marriage. ANTICIPATION When Chuck’s first interview with USA Swimming took place, his ability to anticipate was evident. He probed the organization’s appetite for change, asking the search committee, “Is USA Swimming doing everything it can to become the premiere sports organization in the world? Is it working not just toward outperforming other NGBs, but being compared with NBA, NFL, MLB?”
Chuck’s line of questioning caused the selection committee members to really sit up and pay attention. And, in turn, by listening closely to how the committee members responded to his questions, Chuck was able to anticipate both the problems and the possibilities facing the organization. The perspective that Wielgus strived to maintain while serving as the CEO of USA Swimming was a broad one, often stated as “from 30,000 feet up.” To accomplish that, he needed an excellent staff that could lead the various divisions of USA Swimming—national team, club development, business, marketing and foundation. He knew if he employed the right people on the “wet side” (national team and club development), he could be free to work on business and marketing, where he always thought two or more steps ahead of where the organization currently stood. He quickly ended the USA Swimming contract with a New York marketing firm and brought it in-house—“No one can tell your story like you can,” he said. Initially, he spent a great deal of time listening, learning and preparing the membership for what was to come. He coined three principles for his vision for the organization: Build, Promote, Achieve. Over and over, he kept those three concepts in front of the membership and developed a budget that mirrored them numerically. Following the fall 2000 Olympics in Sydney, athlete growth slowed to a recent post-Olympic low of just 4.9 percent. Subsequently, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) told him that they would have a funding cut because “swimming has been so successful, you really don’t need the money.” Therefore, Wielgus anticipated the need to put more resources into “Build,” and the necessity to become more self-sufficient to “Achieve.” To hire the staff he wanted, acquire more TV time and add to the support of the national team, he needed more money. In 2002, he masterfully presented a logical argument to the USA Swimming convention’s house of delegates for the support of increasing membership dues, and posed the question, “If we’re not going to invest in ourselves, why should anyone else?” The House voted overwhelmingly in favor. He started the USA Swimming Foundation with a mission that philanthropists and sponsors could embrace: preventing children from drowning. Wielgus also anticipated the need to celebrate the generosity of the contributors, and in 2004, he launched “swimming’s Oscars”—the Golden Goggles Awards. In 2016, the Foundation contributed about $1.6 million to the USA National Team. PREPARATION The Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared” might best describe Chuck Wielgus. When he was a boy, he earned the highest achievement in scouting, that of an Eagle Scout. A part of his preparation for developing programs was his openness to accept good ideas from anyone and anywhere. We’ve all had the experience of conversing with a boss who seemed itchy to move on, or answer or push our thoughts away— but not Chuck Wielgus. His office door was nearly always open, and whether someone walked in, emailed or called with what they thought was a great idea, he listened. “If you think it would be a great program, sell me on it,” was a common refrain from Chuck. Then he might ask the person to get back to him in two weeks with more information—and those programs often came to fruition with his support. One of the areas for which he has been rightfully praised was his judgment in hiring good people. When he interviewed someone, he made sure he spent time with them to understand what was most important to them personally. He had once coached competitive swimming, and valued that experience. Some key examples
were adding the leadership of Coach Pat Hogan for club development, Coach Mike Unger for the business division and retaining Coach Dennis Pursley for the national team division. He also looked for the very best to lead marketing, finance, public relations and every other aspect of the USA Swimming staff. While Hogan focused on club development and Pursley (and later Mark Schubert and Frank Busch) on national-team performance, Chuck spent much of his time on the grand efforts to market, partner with sponsors and secure more television time. He gave a great deal of responsibility to Hogan and Pursley, and guided each division leader with a meeting but once a month. The high retention of staff allowed for the development of institutional knowledge. More and more, USA Swimming moved from member-driven and staff-supported to staff-driven and membersupported. Chuck’s key contact point with the membership was always the president of USA Swimming. A staple of Wielgus’ preparation for a USA Swimming board meeting was a 15-page memo that summarized the projects and progress of each of the divisions. Despite being well prepared for board meetings, Chuck didn’t always get the board to agree with what he wanted. Nevertheless, he moved on quickly to the work at hand. [PHOTO PROVIDED BY USA SWIMMING]
Last December, USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus was awarded a 2016 Honorary Doctorate from the United States Sports Academy for his lifetime of service to the world of sport. (Pictured, from left: William Hybl, USOC president emeritus; Wielgus; and Walter Glover, executive vice president of the U.S. Olympic Endowment.)
Which came first...the chicken or the egg? Chuck Wielgus or Michael Phelps? Clearly Wielgus created more exposure for Phelps to shine, but without Phelps (and a few other well-known swimmers), TV would not have been as interested in covering those events. When the NBC broadcast of the 2004 USA Olympic Trials won its prime-time slot, the materialization of Chuck’s vision—and Michael’s intention to “change the sport”—both began to materialize. Was he perfectly prepared for every situation? Of course not, and, generally, he was masterful at dipping his toe into something to see how it felt before jumping in. But most of us remember that in 2005, he made a very public mistake. He sat down, poorly prepared, with ABC News, to talk about “sexual predators” within swimming.
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CHUCK WIELGUS — continued from 19 To begin with, he didn’t recognize the capacity of editors to clip and attach questions to different answers to sensationalize and alter the perception of what he had said. The outcome of a man armed with all he thought he needed, of being on the right side of the issue, wasn’t enough. The appearance of being detached and unfeeling to many people who were irreparably harmed decades before when the organization was governed by the AAU, didn’t matter. The outcome was a public relations disaster. But Wielgus had the capacity to turn his difficult experiences into lessons. He prepared for his next decision the way wise people do—they listen, they learn from their mistakes, and they adapt. He and the USA Swimming president quietly went to Washington, D.C. to visit a focus group of women who had been violated by coaches. The two were emotionally moved by what they heard, (From left) Both Chuck Wielgus and Frank Busch (see story, page 19) helped USA Swimming do everything it could to become the premiere sports organization in the world. Wielgus served as the national governing body’s executive director for nearly 20 years, while Busch was the national team director for the past six years. [PHOTO BY PETER H. BICK]
to view a tribute to Chuck Wielgus from NBC Sports.
and they knew that USA Swimming had to improve its protective measures for the well-being of its members. The outcome was initiating a Safe Sport program whose model has now been adopted by the USOC. DEDICATION Some critics might say that Wielgus could have worked harder at getting the right people on his board or changing the effectiveness of the international federation for aquatics (FINA). But he
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didn’t see either as his role. He deliberately separated himself from the politics around board elections. While he quietly supported many leaders who spoke up for clean sport and FINA reform, he kept his primary focus on pursuing excellence for USA Swimming. The challenge Chuck made to USA Swimming in his interview to become the best sports organization in the world wasn’t a grand idea for the moment. Rather, it was a personal intention that fed his work ethic throughout his tenure. There was no idea too big to consider if it fit into the theme of “Build” or to “Promote” or to “Achieve.” How could someone with such a large and skilled staff stay as busy as he did? Perhaps Chuck’s greatest attribute—and one of his most important priorities—was communication. Wielgus forged relationships with a huge circle of people with whom to be in contact—from reaching “upward” to the USOC, to sponsors, to staff, to coaches and their organizations, to members with ideas and to volunteers. Somehow, he seemed to make time for everyone. In his annual reviews with the USA Swimming board, two concerns generally were stated: the first was that he should take more time off; the second related to his fierce loyalty to his staff— whether they continued in the organization or chose to leave. The board often told him that he might be able to let employees go more often as merited. When Chuck did fire employees, it was done with as much dignity and care as he could possibly deliver. CULTURE One of the people who initially interviewed him for his position at USA Swimming was Jim Wood, two-time president of both USA Swimming and USA Aquatic Sports. In an interview, Coach Wood asked Chuck what he was most proud of accomplishing as the NGB leader of kayaking/canoe. Chuck described with excitement a “festival” that he had launched that had become the focal point of the sport. Wood, a little alarmed at the idea of reworking the sport of swimming’s focal point, said, “That’s not going to work in swimming—we focus on the Olympic Games.” Chuck smiled and responded that it was the very culture of USA Swimming—targeting the Olympics as the rallying point—that he loved. Over his nearly 20 years as CEO (July 1997 through April 2017), Chuck only grew in his affection for USA Swimming... and virtually everyone in the sport. Critics could say that his salary was high, while supporters point out that he could have moved into a position as an athletic director that would have paid him much more. Scott Blackmun, chief executive director of the USOC since January 2010, said, “Swimming in the United States has never been stronger, and that’s because of Chuck.” In 2006, Wielgus began his battle with colon cancer. At some point over this last decade or so, one might think he would step away from his work and enjoy some time to “play.” But Chuck Wielgus was a creator, not a consumer. His work gave him a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Traditional marriage ceremonies conclude with the vow, “Until death do us part.” But when founded in values and an invisible, spiritual depth, a partnership can continue even after physical separation. For many of the members and staff of USA Swimming, both their friendship and how Chuck Wielgus led the organization will remain a standard for a long, long time. Coach Ira Klein, former USA Swimming field director, put it this way: “We will fill the position, but never replace the man.”
LEAVING A LASTING LEGACY BY DAVID RIEDER Frank Busch has spent six years as national team director for USA Swimming, but that stint will be over at the end of August, after being in charge of his fourth World Championships. As he leaves, he could not be more pleased with the infrastructure he’s leaving behind. “I’ve been thinking about this for a while,” says USA Swimming National Team Director Frank Busch. “I feel really good about where the National Team Division is right now. We have great people, and they’re doing a great job. We’re already all over 2020, so I feel really good about it.” When he took over the job, Busch realized that his biggest challenge would be maintaining a healthy relationship with the U.S. Olympic Committee, and that the best way to do that would be to win a lot of medals— which his teams did. American swimmers won 31 Olympic medals in London in 2012 and 33 in Rio in 2016. Each time, the team won exactly half of the gold medals awarded in the pool with 16. First and foremost, Busch’s job was to produce results, and he did that. SO WHAT WORKED? The majority of those athletes who won the medals were professionals, out [PHOTO BY PETER H. BICK] of college and in many cases without any lucrative endorsement deals. So Busch led the push to make professional swimming financially viable. “We learned how to customize our funding,” he said. We’ve changed the way the APA (Athlete Partnership Agreement) works to where it’s not about what you did last year—it’s about what you’re doing now. Yeah, you are supported by your world ranking, but you get incentive to come to the (Arena Pro Swim Series) meets.” Busch figured: if athletes needed to train through these midseason meets so that they would perform well at the target ones, why not pay for them to make an appearance rather than emphasize results? Put more money into the so-called annual “Operation Gold” meet. In 2017, for instance, athletes will receive a $7,500 bonus just for making the U.S. World Championships roster.
Putting those incentives in place for pros and his two massive Olympic medal hauls will be the legacy Busch leaves behind. And to whomever succeeds him in the country’s top coaching position, he will pass along one key reminder: it’s time not to do the exact thing you’ve spent your entire career doing. “I felt like it was my job not to coach athletes anymore. I would never tell a coach what to do with their athletes,” Busch said. “It’s all about support, and it’s not as much about relationships so much with athletes as it is about relationships with coaches. “I think you have to understand that we are a service industry, and the more we serve, the better our chance for success. I really feel like we have expertise in the areas that we have right now,” Busch added. “Just stay out of the way and let people do their job.” “GOD BLESS AMERICA” But that’s not to say Busch didn’t have any direct connection to the swimmers he led into the Olympic arena—far from it. Shortly before the swimming competition began at his second and final Olympics as national team director, Busch gathered the team outside in the Olympic Village to deliver a message of national pride. “When you have somebody like Michael (Phelps) who (was competing in) his fifth Olympics, and then you have all those rookies that we had, you try and figure out what you’re going to be able to say to somebody that’s going to affect you and going to affect him,” he explained. “Do you know how many people have died for this flag? Think about history, and think about how many people you watch walking around with prosthetics. When they see you get up on the blocks, and they see you put your hand over your heart, it just gives them a thrill of a lifetime.” What came next was one of the most emotional moments of the week as the team circled up, held hands and sang “God Bless America.” Busch saw his job as one of staying in the background, but in that moment, he helped provide the inspiration for one of the great performances in the sport’s history. June 2017 / SWIMMINGWORLDMAGAZINE.COM
THE AUDACITY OF ANNETTE KELLERMAN:
How She Became the Most Famous Swimmer in the World STORY BY CHUCK WARNER PHOTOS PROVIDED BY INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING HALL OF FAME
The context for the milestone achievements of a Michael Phelps or a Katie Ledecky lies with knowing the history of their forerunners. The International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale plays a key role in preserving the memory of all
he early years in the life of Annette Kellerman didn’t include an intention of changing a woman’s world. She faced personal hurdles first. Diagnosed with rickets at the age of 2, her crippled legs necessitated metal braces for her to walk through her mother’s conservatoire, where she dreamed of dancing unencumbered one day. Born July 6, 1897, in New South Wales, Australia, the expectations for young girls was to fit into a restricted role. The male gender dominated the decisions over what was acceptable in society at that time. By 6 years old, Annette had struggled and fought to gain the strength to remove the braces off her legs. She enjoyed making an entrance into a room with style and announced to her sister with delight, “I’m going to be wonderful, and everyone is going to love me.” LOVE OF SWIMMING Swimming was the designated medicine to help her weakened condition, and the Sydney bath houses were a popular location for frolic and exercise. She explained her love of swimming, saying, 22
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aquatic history. Over the next several issues of Swimming World, we will bring you some examples of the ISHOF exhibits. This story is drawn from the exhibit, “100 Years of Women in Swimming.”
“I learn much from people in the way they meet the unknown of life, and water is a great test. I’m sure no adventurer or discoverer ever lived who couldn’t swim. Swimming cultivates the imagination. The man with the most is the one who can swim his solitary course throughout the day and forget a black earth full of people who push.” Annette’s swimming proficiency earned the tutelage of Australian champion Freddie Lane, and then she became a champion herself. In her mid-teens, she won the New South Wales Championships in the 100 and 400 freestyle, and in the mile, she set a world record. As was common to the way Annette lived her life, she had the audacity to go up on the high diving boards where it was said that “no woman had ever gone before.” There, she learned to dive off 60-foot platforms into pools and, it has been written, from 100 feet into open deep water. BOUND FOR ENGLAND When the family music business took a downturn, she was positioned to help her mom and dad by earning some money in open
water/river swimming competitions. Her father, Fredrick, believed that swimming and diving could be turned into an art form. Mr. Kellerman learned that there was more interest in such events in Europe—with bigger crowds and pay. At 16, Annette and her dad boarded an ocean liner bound for England. Just about the only thing that ever defeated Annette Kellerman in her life was the English Channel. A London newspaper sponsored her effort to become the first woman ever to swim across the 11-mile distance. To build publicity—and contribute to her training—they asked her to prepare in the Thames River. For several weeks, Kellerman reportedly swam through oil slicks, debris and fog as much as 100 miles a week. She gradually drew large crowds, watching along bridges, who cheered her on. Three times she tried and failed to cross the Channel, but when she completed three-quarters of the distance in 10-and-a-half hours, she set a record that stood for years. She competed with 17 men in a race on the River Seine through Paris, and finished third. Her demonstrated qualities of courage, competitiveness and achievement built a reputation that resulted in her signing to perform a vaudeville act at the “London Hippodrome.” Annette’s mother, Alice, was likely proud of the way her stage performance began. She first played a little violin and danced. But then she gradually reduced her clothing to her tight-fitting swim attire and dove into a small tank of water where she performed the forerunner to synchronized swimming—underwater ballet—while holding her breath three-and-a-half minutes at a time. AN AMERICAN “REVOLUTION” Her shows became so popular that America beckoned, and off she went. Perhaps fittingly, it was at the site of the start of the American Revolution,
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ABOVE > Annette’s swimming proficiency earned the tutelage of Australian champion Freddie Lane, and then she became a champion herself. In her midteens, she won the New South Wales Championships in the 100 and 400 freestyle, and in the mile, she set a world record (pictured here in 1907 with American Charlie Daniels, eight-time Olympic medalist, world record holder, innovator of the American crawl and fellow inductee of the International Swimming Hall of Fame). RIGHT AND NEXT PAGE > Dubbed the world’s “most perfect woman,” it was only natural that opportunities would flock Kellerman’s way—movies, endorsements, stage shows. Pictured here are advertisements endorsing Adams Black Jack chewing gum and “the perfect shoe—the La France.” The next page shows flyers for “A Daughter of the Gods” and “What Women Love.”
June 2017 / SWIMMINGWORLDMAGAZINE.COM
KELLERMAN — cont'd from 23 Boston, where Annette Kellerman’s defiance of the expected behavior for a woman helped initiate feminist reforms and greater water safety. She displayed her comfort in her physicality when she walked through the Revere Beach in a tightfitting one-piece bathing suit. The police arrested her for indecent exposure. The next day, Annette pointed out to the judge that it was dangerous for women to swim in the long dress-type outfits that covered every inch of their body and weighed them down. She displayed a new styled garment in which she had sewn “panty hose” to the standard men’s tank top suit to create a full body suit. Evidently, this conformed to the law of a woman covering her body, but it also achieved the sleek movement through water—and the show of a woman’s beauty—that Annette desired. The judge asked her to wear a robe in the future until she was ready to enter the water. Annette agreed and the charges were dropped. “The Kellerman Suit” rocketed in popularity across the country. “MOST PERFECT WOMAN” The publicity was tremendous, but out of Boston came even more marketing for her. In 1910, Harvard professor Dr. Dudley Sargent completed a study of thousands of women, comparing their measurements to the statue of Venus De Milo, which had been said to be that of perfection. He declared Annette Kellerman as the world’s “most perfect woman” because of her matching physical traits. Meanwhile, in 1912, women were first permitted to swim in the Olympic Games in Paris. A request to include the 300 meter freestyle was denied because it was thought to be too strenuous (although it was eventually contested eight years later). The women’s events that first year were restricted to the 100 freestyle and the 4x100 freestyle relay. But in that same era, Annette was writing her own rule book for how a woman could be accepted in aquatics and entertainment. Kellerman became known as the “diving Venus,” and her contract for her vaudeville show rose to $1,250 24
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NEXT PAGE, TOP > Annette Kellerman’s defiance of the expected behavior for a woman helped initiate feminist reforms and greater water safety. She displayed her comfort in her physicality when she wore a tightfitting one-piece bathing suit in public—a controversial topic in the early 20th century—and was arrested for indecent exposure. The charges were later dropped, and “The Kellerman Suit” rocketed in popularity across the country. NEXT PAGE, BOTTOM > Numerous aquatic athletes went on to become successful Hollywood film stars, including not only Annette Kellerman, but also such athletes as diver Aileen Riggin Soule, competitive swimmers Gertrude Ederle, Eleanor Holm, Esther Williams, Buster Crabbe and Johnny Weissmuller, along with lifeguards Ronald Reagan, Sean Connery, Paul Hogan, Alexandra Paul, Telly Savalas and Clint Eastwood (Annette, pictured here with Ronald Reagan). ABOVE > Believing that swimming and diving could be turned into an art form, Annette’s father, Fredrick, took his daughter on an ocean liner bound for England since there was more interest in such events in Europe than Australia. Her shows became so popular that America soon beckoned (Annette, pictured here on ship with her pug).
per week ($30,000 today). Her father passed on in 1912, and she proposed marriage to her long-time publicist and love, Jimmy Sullivan. Imitators came along, as vaudeville was beginning to give way to silent motion pictures. Annette pondered the question, “Wouldn’t movement through water look great on the big screen?”
ENTERTAINMENT STAR Annette took her skill of flowing like a fish through water to Hollywood in 1914 and became a silent-film star. Her belief in the importance of water to the spirit and soul helped make the movie, “Neptune’s Daughter,” a huge hit. The cost of production was $35,000, and it grossed $1 million ($12.7 million today). The studios were so impressed that they invested $1 million into a lavish production of water, mermaids and beach scenes for the film, “Daughter of the Gods.” Eventually, she made six feature films and earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Before she turned 30 years of age, Annette Kellerman had transformed her swimming ability into becoming one of the biggest entertainment stars in the world. Longing for the reaction from a live audience, she returned to New York, where the owners of the Hippodrome enticed her to perform the biggest water show ever on stage. They built an eight-foot-deep, 8,000-gallon water tank under the stage of the 5,200-seat theatre that could be hydraulically lifted to the stage at the culmination of her performance. And they paid her $2,500 per week to perform two shows a day, seven days a week. In today’s dollars, that’s about $3 million per year. The performance she loved most, Annette said later, was in 1920 as ballerina Anna Pavlova in The Dying Swan at the New York Metropolitan Opera House, conducted with a 90-piece orchestra serenading her movement. That was the one she felt her mother would have truly loved. LIVING LEGACY As Annette Kellerman’s 25-year stage career began to wind down, she capitalized on her worldwide fame by writing books on women’s beauty and by marketing exercise programs in which she advocated walking five miles or more each day. She became a mentor to housewives all over the world as a model of not just health, but also of independence and self-reliance. Most of all, she encouraged the positive effects of swimming: “The ocean is worth more to any woman than any serum produced in a million-dollar laboratory.” Gradually over the 20th century, doors for women in aquatics and through society began to open. Perhaps the grand kick that Annette Kellerman provided accelerated the process dramatically? In 1952, Esther Williams starred in a glorious accounting of Kellerman’s life in the film, “Million Dollar Mermaid.” In 1970, Annette moved back to Australia, where she and Jimmy enjoyed life on the Brisbane Gold Coast. She continued to swim into her later years, routinely completing one-half mile before breakfast. Looking back on her life, she observed, “My early days of misfortune has turned out to be my greatest blessing. Without it, I would have missed out on the grim struggle upward and the rewards that waited at the end of it all.” She passed on at 88 years of age in 1975. At her request, her ashes were scattered on the waters of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. In 1974, Annette Kellerman was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, where her legacy lives today.
June 2017 / SWIMMINGWORLDMAGAZINE.COM
MOMENTOUS MALE MILESTONES BARRIER BUSTERS
In February, Swimming World highlighted women in swimming who busted through barriers. This month, we’re celebrating their male counterparts who stretched the bounds of the sport.
ur generation is spoiled to have had Michael Phelps, The Greatest Olympian of All Time, grace us with his explosive performances, Olympiad after Olympiad. But Phelps had many predecessors who parted the chlorinated waters for the phenoms of the future. Here are just a few of swimming’s history-altering characters...
Johnny Weissmuller, USA
FIRST SWIMMER TO... • BREAK 1:00 IN THE 100 METER FREE • BREAK 5:00 IN THE 400 METER FREESTYLE • PLAY THE FILM ROLE OF TARZAN Johnny Weissmuller, USA (58.6, 7-1922; 4:57.0, 3-6-23; 1930s and 1940s) The Austro-Hungarian-born American swimmer and actor was one of the world’s best swimmers in the 1920s. Weissmuller won five Olympic swimming gold medals and one bronze medal for water polo. After winning 52 U.S. national titles and setting 51 world records, Weissmuller retired and became the sixth actor to portray Tarzan in films. Fun Fact: Dozens of other actors have also played Tarzan, but Weissmuller is by far the best known (starring in 16 films). His signature Tarzan yell is still used in films!
[PHOTO PROVIDED BY INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING HALL OF FAME]
BY ANNIE GREVERS
ter animals, he noted fish move their tales from side to side, while whales and dolphins move their tales up and down to undulate forward. He experimented with the dolphin-like undulation and soon combined it with the arm movement of the breaststroke. Volney swam at Northwestern University and, as a freshman, anchored a three-man team that set a world record for the 300 yard freestyle relay. He remained an avid swimmer until his death in 2006 at the age of 96. Fun Fact: Some, including the International Swimming Hall of Fame, also credit David Jiro Nagasawa, Japan
FIRST MAN TO DEVELOP THE DOLPHIN KICK Volney Wilson, USA (Summer of 1934) Many have been credited with the over-water arm recovery we now see in butterfly, but the dolphin kick can be traced back to a young physicist. Volney Wilson studied the movements of marine life at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. While observing underwa[PHOTO PROVIDED BY INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING HALL OF FAME] 26
SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE / June 2017
Murray Rose, Australia
Armbruster, who coached swimming at the University of Iowa from 1917 to 1958, with evolving the dolphin kick. Armbuster and his swimmer, Jack Sieg, experimented with the kick in the 1930s. ISHOF claims that Armbruster’s interest in the dolphin kick had been piqued as early as 1911. FIRST MAN TO BREAK 1:00 IN THE 100 YARD BACKSTROKE (AND LATER TEACH THE U.S. NAVY HOW TO SWIM) Adolph Kiefer, USA (59.8, 1935) In 1935, when Adolph Kiefer (in 2013) Kiefer was just 16, shows an autographed photo he broke a minute in of himself from the 1930s. the 100 yard back[PHOTO PROVIDED BY INTERNATIONAL stroke. The following SWIMMING HALL OF FAME] year, Kiefer set an Illinois state record of 58.5 seconds, which Don Schollander stood for 24 years! is congratulated That summer, having by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson just turned 18, he was after Schollander’s the youngest member four-gold-medal of the U.S. Olympic performance at team that competed the 1964 Tokyo Olympics in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. After winning Olympic gold, he returned home a hero and toured the world, [PHOTO PROVIDED BY INTERNATIONAL racing worthy chalSWIMMING HALL OF FAME] lengers. Out of 2,000 races, Kiefer only lost twice! In the fall of 1943, he was asked to audition for the film role of [PHOTO PROVIDED BY SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE] Tarzan, but responded to the call to serve his country in World War II instead. When the U.S. Navy realized more lives were being lost to drowning than at the hands of the enemy, Kiefer stepped in to FIRST VEGAN OLYMPIC SWIMMING CHAMPION revamp Naval swimming instruction. He was put in charge of trainMurray Rose, Australia (1956 Olympics) ing 13,000 U.S. Navy swim instructors. In 1947, Adolph Kiefer & Associates was founded in Chicago. Rose made his Olympic debut at the 1956 Summer Olympics as Kiefer’s company introduced the nylon tank suit to the swim mara 17-year-old. He won three gold medals at his inaugural Games. ket in 1948, a marked improvement upon the cotton and wool suits At the 1960 Olympic Games, Rose earned a medal of every color. that were the previous standard. Rose held world records in the 400, 800 and 1500 meter freestyle Fun Fact: Sadly, Adolph Kiefer, 98, passed away last month, events during his career. May 5. At the time, he was the oldest living American Olympic Rose was the Australian equivalent of Mickey Mantle in fame, a champion. handsome “All-Australian” boy for his countrymen and women to idolize. Rose studied drama and TV at the University of Southern FIRST SWIMMER TO SWIM BUTTERFLY (AS WE KNOW IT TODAY) California. After graduating in 1962, Rose appeared in two films, Jiro Nagasawa, Japan (1945) “Ride the Wild Surf” and “Ice Station Zebra.” Rose probably would have added to his Olympic medal stash, Nagasawa was the first to combine the over-water arm recovbut Australian swimming authorities refused to let him compete in ery with the dolphin kick. In 1945, he set a world record using the the 1964 Olympic Trials after his moviemaking career prevented stroke, and between 1945 and 1956, he set five world records in the him from competing in Australia’s nationals—the qualifier for 200 meter and 200 yard butterfly. By 1954, the stroke was officially Olympic Trials. called “butterfly” by the International Swimming Federation. Fun Fact: Rose was a vegan before nixing meat from the diet Fun Fact: The first Olympic butterfly event was held in 1956. was a trend. His diet included sunflower seeds, sesame, unpolished The USA’s Shelley Mann won the women’s 100 meter butterfly rice, dates, cashew nuts and carrot juice. Because of his diet durwith a time of 1:11.0, while teammate Bill Yorzyk took the 200 fly ing his swimming days, he earned the nickname, “The Seaweed in 2:19.3. The women’s 200 fly and men’s 100 fly were first conStreak.” tested 12 years later.
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BARRIER BUSTERS — continued from 27 FIRST MAN TO... • BREAK 2:00 IN THE 200 METER FREESTYLE • WIN FOUR GOLD MEDALS IN SWIMMING AT ONE OLYMPICS Don Schollander, USA (1:58.8, 7-27-63; 1964 Olympics) Australia’s Robert Windle came close to breaking two minutes in April of 1963, clocking 2:00.3 to break a three-way tie among Japan’s Tsuyoshi Yamanaka (8-20-61), USA’s Don Schollander (811-62) and Australia’s Murray Rose (8-25-62) for the world record by 1-tenth of a second. Three months later, Schollander was the one who earned the distinction of being the barrier buster with his 1:58.8 at the Los Angeles Invitational. The next year, Schollander, then 18, won four gold medals at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics—the 100 and 400 meter freestyles plus the 4x100 and 4x200 freestyle relays. He also made the 1968 Olympic team that competed in Mexico City, where he won two more medals—gold, 4x200 free relay; silver, 200 free. After first breaking two minutes in the 200 free, Schollander went on to lower the world record in that event nine more times through 1968 (1:54.28, 8-30-68). Only one other swimmer during this period was able to set a world record in the 200—West Germany’s Hans-Joachim Klein, who held the record at 1:58.2 for 69 days between May 24 and Aug. 1, 1964, until Schollander reclaimed it with a 1:57.6. Fun Fact: Schollander attended Yale University from 1964-68. As a senior, he was Mark team captain of the Bulldogs, Spitz which went 14-0 in the regular displays his seven season. He also was a member Olympic of the same fraternity (Delta gold Kappa Epsilon/Phi chapter) medals and the school’s secret society from Munich. (Skull and Bones) as future President George W. Bush. FIRST MAN TO WIN SEVEN OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALS IN ONE OLYMPIC GAMES Mark Spitz, USA (1972 Olympics) Spitz won seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, an achievement surpassed only once, 36 years later by Michael Phelps. But what made Spitz’ accomplishment even more impressive was that all of his performances were in world-record time! Between 1968 and 1972, Spitz won nine Olympic gold medals plus a silver and a bronze, five Pan-American golds, 31 U.S. Amateur Athletic Union titles and eight U.S. NCAA titles. Fun Fact: Spitz set 33 world records between 1968 and 1972.
[PHOTO PROVIDED BY INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING HALL OF FAME]
SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE / June 2017
FIRST SWIMMER TO BREAK 4:00 IN THE 400 METER FREESTYLE Rick DeMont, USA (3:58.18, 9-6-73) At the 1973 World Aquatics Championships in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, DeMont became the first man to swim the 400 meter freestyle in under four minutes. DeMont was out in 2:00.13. Many would think he didn’t have a shot at breaking 4:00, but he and Australian Brad Cooper had become pioneers with their negative-split swimming. DeMont turned up the heat in the final 100 (58.18) to overtake Cooper and break the historic four-minute barrier. Not-So-Fun-Fact: Sadly, many don’t remember DeMont’s name for this triumph, but for a heartbreaking disqualification at Munich Olympics the year before. The then-16-year-old DeMont was stripped of his Olympic gold from the 400 meter free, then prevented from swimming in the final of the Rick DeMont, USA (left) and 1972 1500, which he was USA Olympic teammate, Steve Genter, favored to win. Definished first and third, respectively, in the men’s 400 free, but DeMont was later Mont had tested posidisqualified. tive for ephedrine, an active ingredient in the teenager’s asthma medication. The U.S. team doctors had overlooked the drug on his IOC medical forms. Fun Fact: DeMont is a gifted watercolor artist. He majored in fine art at the Univer[PHOTO PROVIDED BY sity of Arizona, where INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING he serves as head swim HALL OF FAME] coach today. FIRST SWIMMER TO... • BREAK 15:00 IN THE 1500 METER FREESTYLE • BREAK 8:00 IN THE 800 METER FREESTYLE Vladimir Salnikov, Soviet Union (14:58.27, 7-22-80; 7:56.49, 3-23-79) The American team wasn’t in Moscow to see Salnikov break the 15-minute barrier because the United States boycotted the 1980 Olympics. Instead, 21-year-old Brian Goodell (who was expected to be the 1980 American poster boy prior to the boycott) watched on TV from California as Salnikov crushed Goodell’s four-year-old world record by more than four seconds. Four years later, the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc states took revenge on the USA by boycotting the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Salnikov, who had eagerly anticipated racing the best in the world, was deprived of his shot in 1984. In 1988, at the age of 28, “Old Man” Salnikov swam his grueling signature event at the Seoul Games. Few believed he could stay on top, but he won the mile, becoming the oldest swimmer in 50 years to win an individual Olympic gold. Salnikov received a standing ovation from his fellow Olympians in the athletes’ dining hall after his win. Salnikov also was the first swimmer to break 8:00 in the 800 free, accomplishing the feat in 1979—a year before the Moscow Games—when he lowered Bobby Hackett’s 8:01.54 world record (6-21-76) by more than five seconds. Fun Fact: Salnikov’s long-time coach, Igor Koshkin, de-
cided the distance swimmer was past his prime at the old age of 25. From 1985 forward, Salnikov was coached by his wife, Marina, a former Soviet track and field record holder in the 100 meters and a sports psychologist.
David Berkoff, USA
[PHOTO PROVIDED BY INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING HALL OF FAME]
FIRST SWIMMER TO POPULARIZE UNDERWATER DOLPHIN KICKS David Berkoff, USA (1985) It’s hard to fathom swimming without underwater dolphin kicks, but swimming was mostly done on the surface of the water until 1987. Enter American backstroker David Berkoff. He began experimenting with the streamlined underwater undulation in 1985, while training at Harvard University. Berkoff would stay underwater, kicking for 35 to 40 meters. He eventually became the first backstroker to go under 55 seconds in the 100-meter distance (54.95p, 8-12-88). At the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games in September, the world saw for the first time what Americans had coined “The Berkoff Blastoff.” In the 100 meter backstroke final, Berkoff had a slow start, but touched first at the 50 by a half-second. However, Japan’s Daichi Suzuki—who also used a form of the underwater undulation—caught and outtouched Berkoff for the gold medal, 55.05 to 55.18. Berkoff had earlier lowered his monthold world record of 54.91 to 54.51 in prelims. Fun Fact: The kick caused such a commotion at the 1988 Seoul Games that FINA voted immediately to limit the underwater portion off of each wall to 10 meters (which was modified to 15 meters in 1991). Every elite swimmer in the world now implements underwater dolphin kicks in backstroke, freestyle and butterfly. Breaststrokers even get one in their underwater pullout! Berkoff changed the sport forever.
FIRST MAN TO SWIM THE 100 METER FREESTYLE IN UNDER 49 SECONDS Matt Biondi, USA (48.95, 8-6-85) Biondi, known as “the California Condor” for his huge wing span, competed in the Summer Olympic Games in 1984, 1988 and 1992, earning 11 medals—eight gold, two silver and one bronze. At the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Biondi won five gold medals, setting world records in the 50 meter freestyle and three relay events. His historic Olympic medal haul was exceeded only by Mark Spitz (7 in 1972) and shooter Carl Osburn (6 in 1920) at the time. It was nearly 32 years ago—in Matt Biondi, USA August of 1985—that Biondi broke the 49-second barrier in the 100 meter freestyle. Biondi was 19, fresh off his surprise appearance in the 1984 Summer Olympics. He went 48.95 in finals of the 1985 U.S. nationals in Mission Viejo, Calif. Fun Fact: In 1988, Biondi was the only swimmer in the 100 free Olympic final to break 49 seconds. He captured gold handily, with a 48.63, setting an Olympic record, which lasted 12 years—the longest in the event’s history. In the 1996 Olympic Games (in which Biondi did not compete), it took a 49.0 to capture bronze—safe to say, Biondi was ahead of his time.
[PHOTO PROVIDED BY INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING HALL OF FAME]
Vladimir Salnikov, Soviet Union
[SWIMMING WORLD SEPTEMBER 1980 COVER BY TONY DUFFY]
FIRST AMERICAN MALE SWIMMERS TO WIN GOLD MEDALS IN THREE OLYMPIADS—AND IN THE SAME EVENT Tom Jager and Matt Biondi, USA (4x100 Free Relay, 1984-88-92 Olympics) Tom Jager and Matt Biondi became the first U.S. swimmers to win gold medals in three Olympiads and to win the same Olympic event three times. Each swam on the 1984, ’88 and ’92 winning 4x100 meter freestyle relays. Jager also won Olympic gold medals in the 4x100 medley relays in ’84 and ’88, bringing his goldmedal total to five. Despite setting the world record in the 50 meter freestyle six times during his career plus holding the record for more than 10 years from August 1989 to June 2000, Jager never won an Olympic gold medal in the 50. He captured the silver medal in 1988—the first year the 50 was contested at the Olympics— then followed that with a bronzemedal performance in 1992.
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June 2017 / SWIMMINGWORLDMAGAZINE.COM
BARRIER BUSTERS — continued from 29 Fun Facts: From 1985-90, Biondi (3) and Jager (6) had combined to break the world record in the 50 meter freestyle nine different times! Both swimmers were at the forefront of “less-is-more” sprint training. Jager said endurance in training was necessary, but that was for the legs—the engine of great sprinters. Great technique and powerful legs led these two to the top.
Fun Fact: Thorpe’s victory in the 400 meter freestyle at the 1998 Perth World Championships made him the youngestever individual male world champion. He was 14.
Tom Jager, USA
FIRST MAN TO WIN FOUR WORLD TITLES IN SAME EVENT Grant Hackett, Australia (1998-05)
FIRST MAN TO WIN SPRINT FREESTYLE EVENTS IN TWO CONSECUTIVE OLYMPICS Alex Popov, Russia (50 and 100 Free, 1992 and 1996 Olympics) In 1996 at Atlanta, Popov became the first Olympian to repeat his Olympic titles in both the 50 and 100 meter freestyles, having also won both events four years earlier at Barcelona. The sprinter loved to intimidate his competition and was rumored to light up a cigarette on his way out of the pool (we don’t endorse this tactic). Popov was the man to dethrone American sprint kings, Matt Biondi and Tom Jager. Popov broke Biondi’s six-year-old 100 free record (48.42) in 1994 [PHOTO BY TIM MORSE] with his 48.21. In 2000, Ian Thorpe, Australia Popov trumped Jager’s 10-year-old world record in the 50 free (21.81), paring it down to 21.64. Not-So-Fun Fact: Popov was stabbed in the streets of Moscow just weeks after collecting four medals in the 1996 Olympic Games. The swimming phenom underwent emergency surgery to repair a sliced kidney and pierced lung. The following summer, he defended his 50 and 100 free European Championship titles in Spain. He won a silver medal in [PHOTO BY DAVID GRAY, REUTERS] the 100 at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. FIRST SWIMMER TO DON A TECH SUIT Ian Thorpe, Australia (1999 Pan Pacs) “The Thorpedo” became an Australia sports icon in his highnecked, full-sleeved and full-legged Adidas racing suit. The sleek black suit was not a wetsuit, but was a custom-made swim skin, which fit Thorpe so snuggly, it had to be cut off with scissors after races. Thorpe won five Olympic gold medals between the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games in his trademark bodysuit. Oddly enough, there didn’t seem to be much controversy around the swimming great’s outfitting. But in 2009, when the design evolved into a neoprene, buoyant wetsuit, and world records were being broken in every event, FINA—with pressure from the World Swimming Coaches Association—took note and eventually said “no more” to the super suits. 30
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Hackett captured the 1500 meter freestyle at four consecutive World Championships (1998 Perth, 2001 Fukuoka, 2003 Barcelona, 2005 Montreal), making him the only swimmer to win the same event four straight times. Hackett also won the men’s 1500 meter freestyle race at both the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the 2004 Athens Games. This achievement led him to be regarded as one of the greatest distance swimmers in history. Fun Fact: Hackett went undefeated on the international stage in the 1500 free from 1996 until 2007.
Alex Popov, Russia
[PHOTO BY KAI PFAFFENBACH, REUTERS]
FIRST (AND ONLY) MALE SWIMMER REPRESENTING THE NETHERLANDS TO WIN THREE OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALS Pieter van den Hoogenband, Netherlands (2000 and 2004 Olympics)
Pieter van den Hoogenband became Holland’s first male swimmer to collect three individual Olympic gold medals. The 2000 Sydney Games saw “The Flying Dutchman” in his prime. Hoogie set a world record in the semifinal of the 200 free (1:45.35), then repeated his time to the hundredth in the final. He held off a fast-charging Ian Thorpe in front of the young Aussie’s home crowd to seize the gold. The Dutch sensation then overthrew the two-time Olympic champion in the 100 free, Alex Popov, to win gold. Van den Hoogenband set a world record in the semifinal (47.84) that stood for eight years. He had another successful campaign at the 2004 Athens Games—winning gold in the 100 free and silvers in the 200 free and 4x100 free relay. Van den Hoogenband is the only swimmer in history to compete
in the 100-200 freestyle double at the Olympics and also repeat as 100 freestyle champion. Unlike his purebred sprinter predecessors (Popov, Biondi), this Dutchman didn’t fear the 200 free. Fun Fact: “The Flying Dutchman” never slowed down! Van den Hoogenband returned to his fourth Olympic Games in 2008 at
Pieter van den Hoogenband, Netherlands
Grant Hackett, Australia
[PHOTO BY ALLSPORT] Michael Phelps shows everyone how he felt after winning Olympic gold medal #7 in the 100 fly at Beijing in 2008.
[PHOTO BY TIM WIMBORNE, REUTERS]
the age of 30. He ended up finishing a respectable fifth place, and, amazingly, broke his national record in the 100 free from the 2000 Olympics in the semifinal, zooming to a 47.68. He retired in December of 2008. He also became the first swimmer to make the Olympic final in the same event (100 free) at four consecutive Olympic Games. FIRST MAN TO WIN EIGHT GOLD MEDALS IN ONE OLYMPIC GAMES Michael Phelps, USA (2008 Olympics)
[PHOTO BY JASON REED, REUTERS]
The number of “firsts” Phelps has racked up during his monumental career is unequaled. By far the most notable was his performance in Beijing, where he accumulated eight gold medals in one Games—with perhaps some divine intervention in the 100 fly and 4x100 freestyle relay (thanks, Jason Lezak!).
Fun Fact: At the 2001 World Championship Trials, Phelps broke the world record in the 200 meter butterfly to become the youngest male ever to set a swimming world record (15 years and 9 months).
OTHER NOTABLE MALE BARRIER BUSTERS • Jim Montgomery, USA: first to break 50 seconds in the 100 meter freestyle (49.99, 7-25-76) • Thompson Mann, USA: first to break 1:00 in the 100 meter backstroke (59.6, 10-16-94) • John Naber, USA: first to break 2:00 in the 200 meter backstroke (1:59.19, 7-27-76) • Roman Sludnov, Russia: first to break 1:00 in the 100 meter breaststroke (59.97, 6-29-01) • Kosuke Kitajima, Japan: first to break 2:10 in the 200 meter breaststroke (2:09.97, 10-2-02) • Lance Larson, USA: first to break 1:00 in the 100 meter butterfly (59.0, 6-26-60) • Roger Pyttel, German Democratic Republic: first to break 2:00 in the 200 meter butterfly (1:59.63, 6-3-76) • Tamas Darnyi, Hungary: first to break 2:00 in the 200 meter individual medley (1:59.36, 1-13-91) • Ted Stickles, USA: first to break 5:00 in the 400 meter individual medley (4:55.6, 8-18-61)
June 2017 / SWIMMINGWORLDMAGAZINE.COM
IT’S OK TO BE NERVOUS GOLDMINDS BY WAYNE GOLDSMITH
Master the nervousness of the moment— never allow the nervousness of the moment to master you.
Do you get nervous? Here’s the good news: welcome to the human race...everyone gets nervous! Movie stars, rock stars, politicians, comedians, world-famous celebrities, professional athletes and, yes, even Olympic and world-champion swimmers get nervous. The trick is not to fear fear. Feeling nervous is normal, natural and necessary. Those weird feelings and funny sensations you’re experiencing is your body telling you: “Hey, wake up! It’s time for us to go into action and do something amazing. Let’s get that blood flowing, a bit of adrenaline moving, and let’s get ready to go, go, go.” Nerves are nice, but only if you learn how to manage them—or, more specifically—if you learn to manage the way nervousness can make you feel. Nervousness is a little like the “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” fairy tale: • Not enough nervousness, and you’re likely to feel slow, flat and tired. • Too much nervousness, and you’re jumping around, excited and way too stimulated. • But get it “just right,” and you’ll be ready to fly—fast and fantastic. THREE PRACTICAL EXERCISES TO TURN NERVES INTO REAL NERVE! 1. “What If” The “What If” exercise is a great way to eliminate many of the fears you have about your racing. 32
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[PHOTO BY MIKE ARON]
First, write down a list of all the things you’re worried about: a list of all the fears you have about racing and competing. Some examples might include: • “What if I finish last?” • “What if I slip on the blocks?” • “What if don’t do a PR?” • “What if I let down my team?” • “What if I break in the relay changeover?” These are all perfectly normal and natural fears. However, there are ways to overcome each of them. Without doubt, the single most effective way to eliminate stress is to do things when you know you need to do them. This means, of course, training to your full potential—every session, every day. However, even if you give everything you’ve got to everything you do, there’s no guarantee you’ll completely eliminate all of your fears and anxieties.
Therefore, systematically work through all of your “what ifs.” For each one, come up with two or three strategies to help you manage your fears. For example: “What if I finish last?” Strategy 1: “I’ll learn from the experience. I’ll go back to training and work harder than ever. I’ll become a much stronger and tougher swimmer.” Strategy 2: “I’ll get with my coach right after the race and ask him to help me improve the things I need to improve from my race.” Strategy 3: “I’ll give everything I can to my next race. I’ll have a great pre-meet breakfast. I’ll do an outstanding warm-up. I’ll do all I can to race at my best. Then, if I finish last, I’ll know for certain that I’ve given it everything—that there wasn’t a single thing I could have done to improve my performance, and I’ll be happy with that.” By training to your full potential every day—and by having some strategies to help you manage all the race-day fears and stresses you feel—you can virtually eliminate every “what if” you can imagine. 2. Visualization and Imagery Everyone of us can dream. Visualization—sometimes called imagery—is using your dreams to help achieve your goals. Visualization can also help you overcome your fears and worries about the future: • Find a quiet place at home...like your bedroom. • Sit or lie down, close your eyes and take a few deep, slow breaths—around five or six breaths per minute is about right for most people. • Imagine you are at the meet that’s causing you stress...the meet that is making you nervous. • Now “dream” about you arriving at the meet. Imagine you’re walking in, feeling tall, strong and confident. • In your mind, “see” yourself warming up in the pool—swimming easily, smoothly and effortlessly...feeling fast and light...flowing through the water comfortably and with complete relaxation. • Now “see” yourself getting out of the warm-up pool and walking along the deck with your head high—feeling strong, confident and at complete ease with your environment. • Open your eyes. Stay still and quiet for a moment, and think about your “dream” for a minute or two. A short, simple visualization exercise such as this is very effective in helping you overcome your fears and nervousness. One of the most common causes of nervousness is doing things for the first time. By dreaming—by “seeing” yourself doing things— you can eliminate many of your “first-time” fears. See the swimmer you want to be! If you can see it...you can be it. 3. Three Great Things about Failure Without doubt, the “fear of failure” is the most common cause of nervousness. Many swimmers believe that failure is the worst thing that can happen to them, and that there’s nothing positive about performing poorly. However, failure is not the end: it’s the beginning of the next phase of learning and improvement in your swimming career. Imagine for a moment that you’ve finished last in an important race. It could be a race at a local meet or the state or national championships: a race that was important to you and one for which you prepared and trained several months. Write down three positive things that would happen as a result of this “failure.” For example: • It will inspire me to work harder than ever. • It will teach me what I should focus on to improve my skills
and fitness practices. • It will give me the chance to spend more time learning with my coach. It’s not failure that’s the problem. It’s how you choose—yes, choose—to react to failure that’s important. REAL-LIFE STORY I was recently working with a young triathlete who had broken his foot. He was obviously a little depressed. When he spoke, his language was negative, and all of it focused on the bad things—e.g., not being able to train, not being able to race and not being able to spend time with his friends. I challenged him to come up with three great things about having a broken foot. He looked at me like I was crazy! He said, “There’s nothing great about having a broken foot!” I replied, “I bet we can come up with several positive things that you can do because you have an injury.” • What about doing more swimming while you can’t ride or run? • What about going to the gym and working on your core and upper-body strength? •What about going to see a psychologist to help you improve your mental skills? • What about spending time with a nutritionist to work on your diet and nutrition program? • What about taking a course on bike repair and learning how to maintain your bike in perfect condition? • What about studying videos of how the best triathletes in the world race, and learn how they use racing strategies and tactics? In the end, we came up with 37 great things about having a broken foot! *** As we mentioned, feeling nervous is normal, natural and necessary. It can lead to turmoil and trouble and become a hindrance—an obstacle to you performing to your potential... OR...nervousness can be like turning the key to start the motor of a finely-tuned race car—the little spark that fires your mind and body to achieve remarkable things. Wayne Goldsmith is one of the world’s leading experts in elite-level swimming and high-performance sport. Be sure to check out Goldsmith’s websites at www.wgaquatics.com and www.wgcoaching.com. to check out “Wayne’s Water World” to read a related story by Goldsmith that deals with swimming stress.
SUMMARY 1. Being nervous is normal, natural and necessary for you to race fast and perform at your best. 2. When you feel the nervousness starting, don’t run, don’t hide—embrace it! Smile and realize that it’s the first sign that it’s race time. It’s time to put into practice all the skills, techniques and qualities you’ve developed in training. Race time...is the best time. 3. Learn how to control nervousness—and how to benefit from its arrival—and you’ll be cool, calm, composed and confident when it really matters. June 2017 / SWIMMINGWORLDMAGAZINE.COM
2015, University of Louisville junior Kelsi Worrell became the first woman to break 50 seconds in the 100 yard butterfly. She broke a 13-year-old record belonging to the one-and-only Natalie Coughlin. Worrell proved her success translated into meters by winning the 100 fly in her first international competition, the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. She set a Pan Am Games record with a 57.24, annihilating the competition by a full second and making her a real contender for the 2016 Olympic team. In Worrell’s senior season with the Cardinals, she cranked the American and NCAA record down further to 49.43 seconds. The momentum from 2016 NCAAs carried through the summer, when Worrell went on to win the 100 meter butterfly at Olympic Trials, earning her first Olympic berth while beating defending Olympic champion, Dana Vollmer, and 2012 Olympian, Claire Donahue. It’s no coincidence that 2015 and 2016 were breakout years for Worrell. Those were the years in which Worrell started treating her body like a high-performance machine. “I first started paying attention to my nutrition in college, particularly my junior and senior years when a nutritionist became available for our team,” Worrell said. “I’ve never had to worry too much about my weight, but I became more aware of foods to help me recover quicker...and in turn, to help me swim faster.” Worrell definitely put in the work in the pool and the weight room as well, but her body started responding to the nutritious meals the strong swimmer was eating. BY ANNIE GREVERS and “Before I was eating to get full—now I eat to fuel myself,” Worrell said. “I have become more aware of the benefits of certain foods and make a conscious effort in evTASIJA KOROSAS erything I eat.” PHOTOS PROVIDED BY Worrell received a food education through observation. During Louisville travel KELSI WORRELL meets, all meals were mapped out for the athletes. By taking note of how she felt and performed after eating carefully chosen fuels, Worrell was able to take her nutrition game up a notch independently. ] BICK H. [PHO TO BY PETE R “While I don’t eat perfectly, I’d like to think I’ve come a long way in my eating habits the last five years!” she said.
A T HE T
Disclaimer: Kelsi was at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs when she recorded her meals for us. She had access to a cafeteria with options engineered for elite athletes. The following menu may be slightly more gourmet and elaborate than her typical home-cooked meals, but they’re still worthy of including in your own diet.
BREAKFAST Peanut butter and jam on a wheat English muffin, vanilla yogurt with granola and berries, and coffee
Meal Focus: Carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores Why It’s Good: Consumption of carbohydrates should be the overarching goal of breakfast. They are quickly digested and help replenish glycogen stores after fasting for six-plus hours of sleep. An English muffin serves as Kelsi’s primary source of carbohydrates for the meal. Adding jelly and peanut butter provide additional carbs as well as a small amount of protein and fat to keep you full longer. Granola will assist glycogen replenishment, while yogurt will aid with small amounts of fat and protein. Coffee in the morning will wake you up and stimulate the GI tract.
SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE / June 2017
POST-PRACTICE RECOVERY Core Power protein shake, almonds and organic fruit strip
Meal Focus: Carbohydrates and protein balance for muscle repair Why It’s Good: Carbohydrates and protein work together to help rebuild broken-down muscles. The protein shake acts as the main source of protein, while the organic fruit strip adds a source of carbohydrates. Almonds bring everything to the table: protein, carbs and fat!
LUNCH Half-piece of salmon, pasta with tomato sauce, jalapeno rice casserole and broccoli
Meal Focus: High-nutrient consumption Why It’s Good: Sometimes athletes are so focused on getting in the right amount of protein and carbs in their diet for fuel purposes, they forget that obtaining essential and nonessential nutrients will help their bodies perform at peak condition. Salmon will add omega-3 fatty acids to the diet, which contains anti-inflammatory properties. Nutrients in tomatoes are more bio-available when cooked so your body will more readily absorb all the vitamin C that tomatoes have to offer. Vitamin C works as an antioxidant, meaning it will help protect you against common sickness. Broccoli is also rich in vitamin C.
DINNER Spinach salad with quinoa, strawberries, more rice, spaghetti squash frittata and flank steak
Meal Focus: Recovery, refueling and nutrient consumption Why It’s Good: Your dinner should be a combination of all previous meal focuses: recovery, refueling and nutrient consumption. The steak is Kelsi’s main source of protein, and the rice is her main source of carbohydrates. Both promote muscle recovery. A slice of spaghetti squash frittata supplies additional protein from the egg and a minimal amount of carbohydrates from the spaghetti squash. A side salad consisting of spinach and quinoa increases nutrient consumption of crucial vitamins and minerals to help further enhance your need for speed!
At last summer’s U.S. Olympic Trials, Kelsi Worrell took some time after the awards ceremony of the women’s 100 fly to autograph a little girl’s T-shirt. [PHOTO BY PETER H. BICK] June 2017 / SWIMMINGWORLDMAGAZINE.COM
CELEBRATING A LIVING LEGEND STORY BY ANNIE GREVERS · PHOTOS PROVIDED BY INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING HALL OF FAME
[PHOTO PROVIDED BY HOBIEBILLINGSLEY.COM]
(From left) Doc Counsilman started coaching the Hoosiers in 1957. He and Hobie Billingsley were both alumni of Ohio State, and Doc offered Hobie the IU diving coach job in 1959. Hobie retired in 1989, and Doc followed in 1990. During that time, Indiana won six NCAA team titles (consecutive from 1968-73) and finished runner-up five times.
W Indiana University is preparing a 90th birthday celebration later this month for Hobie Billingsley, one of the world’s most influential figures in diving. At IU for 30 years, he led his divers to more than 100 national titles. He, too, was a national and NCAA champion and later became a four-time Olympic coach representing three different countries, a comedy diver, an author and speaker, founder of the American and World Diving Coaches Association, and was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1983. Known for his passion for the sport and profound belief in his divers, Billingsley recently took time to speak with Swimming World Magazine. Here’s his extraordinary story... 36
SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE / June 2017
hen the USA Diving magazine, The Diver, arrived at young Drew Johansen’s house, he hastily flipped to the back page of the issue. Every month one of diving’s most celebrated coaches, Hobie Billingsley, would have an illustration from his diving technique book published in the mag. Young divers could look to the drawings for direction—Johansen couldn’t wait to “see what Hobie had for me each month.” Johansen, now a two-time U.S. Olympic diving coach, ended up landing in Hoosierland in 2013. Indiana University has a long history of swimming excellence, thanks to the former coach and noted swim scientist, James “Doc” Counsilman. But by Counsilman’s side was another aquatic innovator, Hobie Billingsley. In 1965, Counsilman released his sport-changing book, “The Science of Swimming.” A doctor of physiology (origin of “Doc” nickname), Counsilman was among the first to apply physics to the sport of swimming. That same year, Hobie Billingsley released his own sport-changing book, “Diving Illustrated.” The instructional sketches made it possible for divers and coaches to learn techniques correctly and uniformly. Billingsley taught himself to dive with a FINA Diving manual published in 1908. In his words, “I’d have to be Superman or God to have done those dives (as they were illustrated).” Growing up during the Great Depression, Billingsley was raised by his mother in Erie, Pa. They got by on $500 per year. To keep young Hobie off the streets, his mother begged the YMCA to grant her son a scholarship. After his year on scholarship expired, Hobie
continued to sneak into the YMCA...for nine years! At the age of 12, Billingsley was called upon to be an alternate for a diver who had fallen sick before a competition. He had been taking tumbling, so the coach figured his skills would translate well off the boards. Billingsley fell for the sport. The YMCA coach, Bob Fields, was going to take a group of divers to Buffalo, N.Y. for a meet. Billingsley had never been out of his hometown before, so Buffalo sounded as sweet as Tahiti. When Fields posted the list of divers who qualified for the travel squad, Hobie’s name was missing. “Mr. Fields, why isn’t my name on the list?” a devastated Hobie asked. “You’ll never make a diver,” was the coach’s curt response. This was the line that changed the direction of Billingsley’s life. The coach’s doubt drove Billingsley to practice diving three to four hours each day, on his own. He was guided by the ancient FINA manual and rec swimmers willing to watch. Billingsley competed in his first high school state championship and took fifth—not bad for a self-taught athlete! He switched high schools so he could have a swim coach who knew a little about diving. There were no exclusively diving coaches in the country—college or high school—until 1954. When Billingsley had exhausted his high school coach’s diving knowledge, the coach encouraged Hobie to travel to AAU Nationals at the New York Athletic Club. He could learn from some of the greats there. Hobie told his mom the impossible cost of such a trip—$50— thinking there was no way she’d be able to scrape that lump sum together. Two days Hobie Billingsley and his best friend later, Mrs. Billingsley and fellow Ohio State diver, Bruce handed her eternally Harlan (an Olympic diving champion), grateful son $50. He created a seven-act water show in still doesn’t know which they toured country clubs where she found the throughout the U.S. during the money. summers, establishing themselves as The aspiring stuall-time great comedy divers. dent of the sport took full advantage of his diving field trip. He sought out the best, such as Ohio State’s national champions Frank Dempsey and Charlie Batterman. He scribbled down everything the veteran divers would share. In 1944, Billingsley journeyed to Michigan for AAU Nationals. This time, he only had six dollars in his pocket. Seventeen-year-old Billingsley became the first high school diver to make finals at AAU Nationals. When he arrived home to Erie, his mother showed him the newspaper—her son had made the sports page.
Ohio State University was a hub for the nation’s best divers. The OSU diving program was founded in 1937—they had never lost a national championship. A family friend of Billingsley’s had offered to pay his way to attend the University of Michigan, but the aspiring diver sought to train with the best. He would work at a country club to pay his way through college, and that college would be Ohio State. Billingsley was coached by Mike Peppe, though Billingsley said it was really the divers who did all the constructive critiquing. “Peppe came in two times per week, but he got all the credit,” Billingsley said. The young Buckeye won Big 10s as a freshman in 1945. The next week, he won the 1-meter and 3-meter at NCAAs. The following week, Billingsley dived again at AAU Nationals. Billingsley and his best friend from high school, John Boyd (who went on to revolutionize aerial combat), had enlisted in the Army Air Corps a few months earlier in 1944. Peppe came up to Billingsley after he had taken second place on the 1-meter and the 3-meter at nationals. The coach handed the diver a telegram that read, “Report for service, April 7, 1945.” It was already April 7 when Billingsley read the telegram. Peppe had kept the news from him so his star diver would compete in nationals! Billingsley served until December of 1946, and spent time in Okinawa at World War II’s end in 1945.
BACK TO THE BOARDS
Billingsley and his best friend and fellow OSU diver, Bruce Harlan, graduated with their master’s degrees from University of Washington and Stanford University, respectively. They both became diving coaches, but needed a side gig to keep their families fed. A seven-act water show was born. Harlan and Billingsley toured country clubs throughout the U.S. in the summers. Ten days before they were to return home, they put on a show in Fairfield, Conn. They had rented a scaffold and placed wooden boards on top for the show. To disassemble, the duo climbed the scaffold, planning to simply shove the boards into the water. Harlan tragically lost his hold. Billingsley was close to Harlan, but not close enough. Harlan fell to his death, right in front of his best friend. Billingsley was offered his late friend’s coaching job—the best coaching gig in the world—at the University of Michigan. But he couldn’t fathom taking his dear friend’s job. Doc Counsilman, the Indiana swim coach, started coaching the Hoosiers in 1957 as an assistant, and was named head coach in 1958.
— continued on 38
June 2017 / SWIMMINGWORLDMAGAZINE.COM
HOBIE BILLINGSLEY — continued from 37 He had a posse of great swimmers follow him to IU from the Indianapolis Athletic Club. Counsilman and Billingsley were both alumni of OSU, and Doc offered Hobie the IU job.
close you get to the finals.” This was in the 3-meter event. Gilbert had never dived from the 3-meter before beginning his training that fall in Indiana. He went on to win the event with the highest score and largest margin ever. “No one could believe it!” Billingsley said, as if reacting to Gilbert’s final dive nearly 60 years later. At 90, Billingsley’s passion for the sport still seeps through his words.
“I walked in with no money for diving,” Billingsley said regarding his rocky start at Indiana University. “I taught a full load and coached diving for $4,500 per year. But I couldn’t coach my divers A COACH’S BELIEF while the swimmers were there.” The humble diving squad could use the pool from 6 p.m. to 7 As Johansen prepared his team of U.S. divers for the 2016 Rio p.m. The four IU divers did not like the way Billingsley was coachOlympic Games, a story from Billingsley popped into his mind: the ing. Lesley Bush miracle. He recalls them saying, “We came here to get our letter, not Before the 1964 Olympic Games, Billingsley went to watch become champions. If you don’t back off, we’re going to quit.” his first women’s diving national championship in Pittsburgh. A Billingsley’s immediate reply was, “You can’t quit—you’re off the 17-year-old diver named Lesley Bush competed. “She was just an team. GET OUT!” But his divers’ mentalities were nothing comaverage kid,” Billingsley recalled. pared to the news that fell on Indiana Athletics in 1960. Billingsley asked her father, Don, “Can she dive tower?” IndiEvery Indiana sports team was given four years of probation due ana University did not have a tower. Billingsley agreed to drive 100 to head football coach Phil Dickens’ recruiting violations. That meant no IU athletes could compete at NCAAs. How was a new coach supposed to recruit? Unlike Counsilman, Billingsley didn’t have any great athletes follow him to IU. He needed a star. But how? Well, one of his divers suggested “this kid in Lancaster, Pa. who’s a real good diver.” Rick Gilbert was his name. Billingsley started writing Gilbert letters. He wrote him three times per week—for six weeks— with no response. Finally, Gilbert wrote back. Billingsley saw Gilbert dive for the first time at nationals at Yale. He took seventh. He became the second high school diver ever to final at AAU Nationals. The first, you may recall, was Billingsley. But Billingsley didn’t think IU had a “shot in hell” of recruiting Gilbert. “We were his fifth choice,” When Hobie Billingsley (bottom Billingsley said. OSU had a provrow, third from left) was a en coach, a star-studded roster of miles, three times per week to teach Lesley—and the rest of freshman at Ohio State, he helped divers, a good facility. IU had an the team—how to dive off the lofty platform. his Buckeye teammates and Coach untested coach, a lousy roster and “She caught on quick,” Billingsley remembered. At OlymMike Peppe (top row, far left) a dank pool...oh, and that unfortupic Trials in 1964, Bush took fourth on the springboard, misscapture the 1945 men’s NCAA nate four-year NCAA suspension. ing the Olympic team in her best event—her only shot...in her Division I team championship Finally Billingsley called, mind. She was a rising senior in high school. Leslie broke by sweeping the 1-meter and thinking Gilbert was going to down crying. 3-meter diving competitions. Michigan or OSU. When Gilbert “You still have the tower!” Billingsley reminded his forcommitted to IU, Billingsley broke lorn pupil. “You never know!” down. “Why,” he asked, “are you She was the last diver throughout the rounds of the platcoming here?” Gilbert answered, “Because I think you could make form. On her final dive, she scored a 9-8.5-8-8 and a 7. (Billingsley me a great diver.” Billingsley was in shock. “You’re not kidding, are was the one who gave her a ‘7’!). Bush had qualified for the Olymyou?” he asked in disbelief. The young recruit responded, “A guy pic team in the platform—the event she had spent a mere six weeks that tries as hard as you—I want you to coach me.” studying. “Everyone said it was a mistake,” Billingsley recalled. “Never in your life will you be sorry!” Billingsley vowed. At Despite Indiana divers dominating at Olympic Trials, Billingsley the 1961 AAU Nationals, Gilbert was up against four Olympic divwas not chosen as the Olympic diving coach. Dick Kimball, the Uniers who trained at OSU. Billingsley said to Gilbert, “Let’s see how versity of Michigan coach, had the reins. 38
SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE / June 2017
with chlorine. Two of aquatics’ most brilliant minds were exchanging ideas that would change the course of sports history. “Until 1954, diving was trial-and-error or just copying everybody else,” Billingsley said. Doc Counsilman, the IU swim coach, once called out the young diving coach: “You’re yelling all the time. Do you even know what you’re talking about? Do you know Newton?” Counsilman was referring to Sir Isaac Newton and his laws of motion. Billingsley was the coach at the 1963 Pan American Games. “I knew all the divers, but I didn’t know how to coach, so I thought, ‘I’m going to make movies of them.’” He sat down with one of his IU divers, Fred Schlichting, to watch a video of Bob Webster, the 1963 Pan Am Games gold medalist. “Watch how powerful his legs are. Watch how he (unlike other divers) doesn’t grimace in the air. Have you ever seen legs that strong?” Billingsley said in awe. “He’s not doing it with his legs. He’s doing it with his arms,” Schlichting pointed out. Here’s where Counsilman’s Newtonian physics came into play. It was Webster’s weight bringing the board down—for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (Newton’s third law of motion). Billingsley was changed forever. He couldn’t believe how much he didn’t know! He set out on a journey to learn as much as he could. “I couldn’t get enough of coaching,” he said. One morning, Billingsley woke his wife with a brilliant idea: “We leave the country once or twice a year. We dive against foreign people. We wave at the coaches. Why couldn’t we bring all of the coaches in the world together? The sport would grow!” At a test event before the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, Billingsley rounded up the 37 coaches present. “I’d like to form a World Diving Coaches Association. Tell everyone we’ll meet Oct. 26, 1968 behind the 3-meter board.” At the 1968 Olympic Games, 80 diving coaches showed up to the firstever World Diving Coaches Association meeting. Hobie shouts instructions to his At the next WDCA meeting in Gerto dive in six weeks. She beat the greatest diver in the world.” divers from the pool deck, then many, Billingsley realized how every “That was one of those nuggets I was able to take and demonstrates how the dive country has different concepts of how use,” Johansen said, regarding the Bush miracle. Johansen should be performed. As head to do their dives. has never seen someone with such passion for the sport and coach at Indiana from 1959-89, “We formed a constitution. As a profound belief in his divers. his divers won 16 NCAA and 64 result, everything changed in diving,” “The Lesley Bush story is a great example of that,” JoAAU diving titles as well as four Billingsley said. “That’s why I’m hansen said. “He never counted his divers out. He instilled Pan American, three World and known as the diving coach.” that confidence in his athletes—that’s what gave them the two Olympic gold medals. Coach Johansen cannot remember ability to perform.” a time in his diving life at which he In fact, another example of Billingsley being able to indidn’t know Hobie’s name. still confidence in his divers is when IU’s Ken Sitzberger “Hobie’s been very instrumental in inspiring coaches,” he said. performed the second miracle of the 1964 Olympic Games. He was “At a recent IU reunion, 200 alums came out—along with alumni, trailing by 63 points after nine dives on the springboard. With Hointernational coaches journeyed to Bloomington, Ind. He has inbie’s coaching, Sitzberger made up the difference with his 10th and spired diving in enfinal dive, winning Olympic gold in Tokyo! tire countries.” The coaches on staff doubted Bush. In Billingsley’s words, they wondered, “What the hell is she doing here?” A parent of one of Billingsley’s male Olympians offered to pay his way to Tokyo. “What would happen if Bush won tomorrow?” Billingsley asked Kimball. “She can’t dive worth crap,” Kimball replied. The Tokyo Games marked the first time a digital scoreboard was used. Bush was up against Ingrid Kramer of East Germany—the defending Olympic gold medalist in both the springboard and platform events, the greatest diver in the world. Billingsley saw a high score on the scoreboard, but missed the dive. “Who was that?” Then he saw “1st: Bush” and “2nd: Kramer” on the board. Bush came over to Billingsley. “You’re doing great! You’ve been the greatest diver in the world for three dives now,” he reminded her. That night, in finals, Bush held her first spot. Billingsley went into shock. She had one dive left. “Hobie, what do I do?” Bush asked. “Just get out and do the damn dive,” Hobie replied. All she needed was a 6.5. “I couldn’t watch it; I’m a coward,” Billingsley said. Scores registered “8.5-7-7.5-7-6.5.” “I broke down completely,” Billingsley said. “I got a girl to learn
COUNSEL FROM COUNSILMAN
The air in the IU natatorium was thick in the 1960s, and not just
to relive an exclusive SwimmingWorld.TV interview with Hobie Billingsley, first published in May of 2008 and recently found in the Swimming World Vault.
June 2017 / SWIMMINGWORLDMAGAZINE.COM
RESISTED/ASSISTED TRAINING WITH CORDS AND OTHER ACCESSORIES Coaches are constantly using different pieces of equipment to help their swimmers refine technique, build strength and endurance, and to get them ready for competition. (Pictured: Long Belt Slider by NZ Manufacturing)
[PHOTO PROVIDED BY NZ MANUFACTURING]
BY MICHAEL J. STOTT
It is not unusual at high-level meets—especially in prelim warm-ups—to see coaches pulling tethered swimmers to and fro. While “cords” have been around for decades as a primary source of resisted/assisted training, they are more prevalent than ever. In general, cords consist of an adjustable nylon belt, a long length of rubber tubing and a loop for anchoring. Marketed under various names—i.e., StrechCordz®, CyberDyer Stretch Resistance Cords, bungee cords, swimmer leash, and so on—they help athletes refine technique, build strength, endurance and get them ready for competition. But how do coaches use these devices? Following are thoughts and sets from two coaches who use them extensively.
SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE / June 2017
UNIVERSITY OF INCARNATE WORD Chris O’Linger is assistant men’s and women’s coach at the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio, which is completing its transition to NCAA Division I athletics. In April and May, O’Linger monitors swimmer speed regression as athletes switch from short to long course training. “Not all fault can be placed on the swimmers—the laps are longer and the amount of turns are cut in half,” O’Linger says. “When training 200s and Chris O’Linger 400s, we look for technical efficiency and maintenance of stroke technique. When combined with the monotonous aerobic work—necessary for several reasons—the focus on the factors that offer only a slight competitive edge are usually not emphasized,” he says. “Our training sets utilize a variety of equipment, such as StrechCordz® Sta[PHOTO PROVIDED BY UNIVERSITY OF INCARNATE WORD] tionary Cords, StrechCordz® Resistance Cords, DragSox, Sensory Mitts, carpet for running, etc. The following sets (done short course) emphasize quick and correct transitions as well as the feel for speed in the water. “Warm-up consists of a series of balance and connection drills, with and without equipment. This leads into speed-focused stroke work mixed with some aerobic kick.” SET 1 (Done twice through) • 2 x Stroking Adjustment Drill (Green Stretch Cord) Swimmer 1 holds the stretch cord at varied lengths. Swimmer 2 swims a desired stroke until they progress no further. At this point, Swimmer 1 lets go of the cord (underwater), and Swimmer 2 sprints into the wall, completing a full-speed transition into SP3 (three cycles sprint off of the wall). The goal is to adjust stroke accordingly to hit the wall at full extension and maximum speed, positioned correctly. Swimmers 1 and 2 switch positions, completing each repetition twice. • 8 x Stationary Transitions (Green Stationary Cord) Each swimmer hooks up to a stationary cord three to four meters off the wall, facing the wall. When ready to swim, each swims their desired stroke full speed, resisted, into the wall. A transition is done at full speed, combined with a push-off. The swimmer resets and repeats eight times. The transition will be difficult, as the resistance pulls the swimmer back if not completed at a reasonably fast speed. The resistance helps the swimmer reach the wall at full extension.
Assistant coach Chris O’Linger says that his University of Incarnate Word swimmers utilize a variety of equipment for their training sets, such as StrechCordz® Stationary Cords and Resistance Cords, as well as Drag Sox (pictured) and Sensory Mitts (see next page).
[PHOTO PROVIDED BY AQUAVOLO]
• 2 x Full Speed Transitions Swimmer dives in and sprints a 37.5, focusing on stroke adjustments for a fast, successful transition. Swimmer rests and repeats twice.
LIBERTY UNIVERSITY Head women’s coach Jake Shellenberger has a strength and conditioning background that he leveraged as an assistant coach at Penn State and uses directing the women’s program at Liberty University.
SET 2 (Done twice through) • 1 x 25 (Green Stretch Cord) Resisted Sprint—Max 20 Cycles Swimmer swims against stretch cord to other side, maintaining all stroking variables—tempo, body positioning—in times of stress. Stretch cord is secured to block. • 1 x 25 (Green Stretch Cord) Half-Assisted Sprint Secure stretch cord to block. Swimmer swims with stretch cord assistance, maintaining all stroking variables in times of exaggerated momentum. When stretch cord no longer offers assistance, maintain all stroking variables into a strong finish. • 1 x 25 (Green Stretch Cord) Assisted Sprint Swimmer swims with the assistance of stretch cord AND partner reeling in the stretch cord, maintaining all stroking variables during times of over-exaggerated momentum. • 1 x 25 (Sensory Mitts) Sprint Swimmer sprints, keeping focus on all stroking variables when maximum water is not caught with the hands. Swimmers must rely on core strength and kick to maintain both speed and body positioning. • 1 x 25 (Run/Dive) Sprint The final sprint offers the swimmer a chance to sprint with more momentum than a flat start can provide. Start the watch the moment the swimmer’s streamline first enters the water. The slightly faster times seem to motivate the swimmers to compete against each other at a high rate. “Apparently, faster times, such as ‘8.0’ for this 25 seem very rewarding to the brain,” O’Linger says.
[PHOTO PROVIDED BY LIBERTY UNIVERSITY]
“We love using cords specifically for pre-race, post-activation potentiation (PAP) as a part of our meet warm-up,” says Shellenberger. “PAP is fantastic for eliciting faster times pre-race, as the cord work ‘turns on’ the neuromuscular system and readies the body for fast swimming. “The science is complex, but essentially PAP-style pre-race work with cords helps recruit more motor units and muscle fibers, increases the rate of force development and inhibits the regulatory response of the Golgi Tendon System,” he says. “Cords can be used for assisted or resisted work at a meet, and both will elicit a PAP effect.”
— continued on 42
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一娀䌀漀爀搀稀⸀挀漀洀 簀 㠀 ⸀㠀㠀㘀⸀㘀㘀㈀ June 2017 / SWIMMINGWORLDMAGAZINE.COM
SPECIAL SETS — continued from 41
SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE / June 2017
the lane line with the other hand. 4. When athlete can no longer hold on, they release the cord and start swimming toward the wall. 5. Coach pulls the athlete into the turn, easing up a bit into the turn to stay safe. 6. Athlete pushes off the wall as coach again pulls the cord tight. 7. Athlete explodes off the wall against resisted cord with racespecific number of underwater body dolphin kicks into a breakout. [PHOTO PROVIDED BY AQUAVOLO]
LIBERTY PRE-RACE PAP WITH CORDS • 1 or 2 x 12.5 Max Blast resisted efforts against a cord or parachute with choice of gear or • 1 x 25 Assisted with a cord, no gear • 1 x 25 Assisted with a cord, with no resisted efforts prior or • 1 or 2 x 12.5 Max Blast resisted efforts against a cord or a parachute with choice of gear, with no assisted effort to follow “...Or any combination of the above,” adds Shellenberger. “This is highly individual. Some of our women prefer resisted to assisted efforts. As for a pre-race ritual, if swimmers believe in it, it is going to work. And the literature tells us that both resisted and assisted efforts provide a PAP response, so we let our athletes go with what they believe will work best for them. “We may also add some curveballs to the mix. For example, if we have an athlete who tends to slow into the turn, we may have them go the 25 cord assist to a foot touch. In another example for fly and back swimmers, we may go the 12.5s resisted against the cord all underwater body dolphin kick to make sure the legs are ready to perform underwater come race time. “Our school record holder in the 100 fly often went the following combo at meets before the 100 fly and 200 medley relay: • 2 x 12.5 Max Blast resisted against the cord with fins and paddles, 1 = kick, 2 = swim • 1 x 25 Max Blast fly assisted with the cord, with no gear “This combination was fun to watch in action as the 12.5 resisted kick and swim efforts against the cord elicited a major PAP response in the legs and arms that carried over to the 25 assisted effort, where she combined the leg action with the forced tempo of the cord to the arms. “For athletes who tended to slow into walls for turns, we have experimented not just with assisted cords to a foot touch, but an assisted cord pull into a full turn, a push-off and then max dolphin kicks off the wall into a two- or four-stroke breakout resisted against the same cord. “For the coach administering the cord pull, this is tricky to master. But when it works, it is fun to watch and highly effective. The execution takes practice, but can be perfected by both coach and athlete as follows:” 1. Start 10 yards from the wall, with athlete placing the cord in the middle of the back. 2. Athlete places the cord over the shoulder, with the hand holding the cord at head height as not to put unnecessary stress on the shoulder when the cord is tightened. 3. Coach pulls the cord tight with athlete stationary, holding onto
to download more cord exercises and drills from Liberty University.
Michael J. Stott is an ASCA Level 5 coach whose Collegiate School (Richmond, Va.) teams have won nine state high school championships. He has been named a 2017 recipient of NISCA’s Outstanding Service Award.
BY MICHAEL J. STOTT
Q. SWIMMING WORLD: You have had many coaching influences. A. Coach Ron Aitken: Charlie Powell and Steve Baxter had the greatest impact on my personal swimming and coaching career. When I was a child, Powell made the sport enjoyable and exciting. He knew exactly how to inspire fast swimming in each individual. He was a postman by profession and came to the pool every day with a high energy. He inspired us to be big fish, carrying us from a recreational program to AAU and then USA Swimming. Steve Baxter was my high school coach and club coach when I was in college. His personality was one of fun, yet getting down to business. He consistently challenged us to work hard and feel proud conquering difficult sets. He gave me a nickname that grounded and reminded me to enjoy swimming. Steve created an environment of excellence, fun and a get-the-job-done attitude that I have taken to Sandpipers of Nevada. SW: What led you into coaching? RA: I attended UNLV on a swimming scholarship. My goal was to earn a degree and own a business. I finished swimming in 1990 and was doing well in the hotel industry when a former swimmer contacted me about coaching. I was given an 8-andunder group. I learned that if swim practices weren’t fun, swimmers wouldn’t show up. It taught me the need to make practices entertaining and productive. SW: Why UNLV? RA: UNLV and Cal State Bakersfield were the only two post-secondary institutions knocking on my door. My family and I were neither prepared—nor knowledgeable—about college recruiting and how to reach out to additional schools. Now I help all of our families understand the recruiting ins and outs. UNLV was the best financial option for my family.
SW: How have you grown Sandpipers from 60 to more than 400 swimmers? RA: It’s been our biggest challenge and a long story with many ups and downs. In 1994, I was the 8-and-under coach. For two years, the club continued to lose kids to Las Vegas Gold, the city’s premier club that once employed 2016 Olympic coaches David Marsh and Bob Bowman. Because our head coach routinely missed practices, I found myself coaching all groups on various days. In 1996, I became the head coach. In 1997, Ramzy Ladah became the Sandpipers’ first junior national swimmer, which started a 10-year run that took us from 12th to first (2004) at the Nevada State Championships. Sandpipers won three more state championships in 2011, 2012 and 2013. For facilities, we use the Desert Breeze Aquatic Center and other local pools, and have a great staff and supportive families. SW: You have had Olympic Trials qualifiers in every stroke and distance. How do you coach that range of swimmers so effectively? RA: This was a chip-on-my-shoulder for years. I didn’t want to be labeled as just a breaststroke coach, distance coach or whatever. I coach what is in front of me at that time. Early on, I had swimmers great at the breaststroke, then great ones in the 200 fly, 100 fly and so on. Each season brings a different set of athletes into my training group. They all train for the 400 IM, no matter what; they all train for distance freestyle; they all train for their specialty stroke(s) and events, and they work on every stroke and every speed. I balance some swimmers more on their specialties when needed, but their foundation is the 400 IM and distance freestyle. Working on the 400 IM gives swimmers the opportunity to work all strokes. The distance freestyle training gives swimmers the strength, endurance and heart they need in all races. I believe that specializing in
[PHOTO BY DANIELLE BASILIO]
With Sandpipers of Nevada, Ron Aitken has produced an Olympian and numerous national-level performers, all while teaching them to love open water swimming.
Coach Ron Aitken Head Coach and CEO Sandpipers of Nevada Las Vegas, Nevada
• University of Nevada, Las Vegas, B.A., B.S., business management, ’92 • USA Swimming Top 16 in 200 breaststroke • Two-time NISCA All-American • Four-year scholarship athlete and senior team captain at UNLV • Level 5 ASCA coach, Award of Excellence winner • Coached multiple U.S. national junior team members every year since 2009 • Produced Olympic Trials qualifiers in 2000, 2008, 2012 and 2016, with qualifiers in every event from the 50 to the 1500 free and all strokes, 200 IM and 400 IM • 2016 USA Swimming Development Coach of the Year • His Bishop Gorman High School teams won a record five straight Nevada state championships • Head coach, Team USA, 2016 World Junior Open Water Championships (Hoorn, Netherlands) Coach Aitken’s Sandpipers have been four-time Speedo Sectional and Nevada State Club team champions while finishing second six times. The team has been five-time Southern California Winter Age Group champions, and Aitken is a five-time Southern Nevada Swim Coaches Association Coach of the Year.
— continued on 45 June 2017 / SWIMMINGWORLDMAGAZINE.COM
HOW THEY TRAIN: Erica Sullivan and Brennan Gravley
[PHOTOGRAPHY BY JUANA ANDERSON]
PROGRESSION OF TIMES ERICA SULLIVAN SCY
SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE / June 2017
BY MICHAEL J. STOTT
Formerly a Top 10 USA distance swimmer in the girls 11-12 age group, high school junior Erica Sullivan remains a potent distance competitor. Ranked by College Swimming as the top female in Nevada and 19th in the country with a 1.78 power index, she is a national junior team member and Junior Pan Pac and Olympic Trials veteran. As a 15-year-old at last summer’s Trials, the 5-7, 134-pound dynamo finished 27th in the 400 (4:14.54) and 12th in the 800 meter freestyles (8:38.94).
PROGRESSION OF TIMES BRENNAN GRAVLEY
ERICA SULLIVAN AND BRENNAN GRAVLEY No stranger to change, she has had eight different coaches in her 10 years as a Sandpiper. “I like her story because she was always left behind when others moved to higher-level training groups,” says her coach, Ron Aitken. Sullivan is the current Nevada state high school champion in the 500 yard free (4:47.44), but it is in USA Swimming where she is making a splash. Last December, she notched SCY times of 1:47.43 in the 200 free, 4:39.66 in the 500 and 15:47.39 in the 1650. Her winter 9:29.91 in the 1000 broke the Southern California Swimming LSC record held by Tiffany Cohen from 1983. Her best 500 and 1650 times put her dangerously close to the SCS LSC records held by Janet Evans (4:37.30) and Cohen (15:46.54). “Erica has the ability to get her game face on for practices, and she also knows how to have fun. She can make adjustments in sets and can fix technique and stroke counts during sets,” says Aitken. “She swims more laps with purpose than a majority of athletes I have coached. She is one of very few athletes who has a vision of where she wants to go, and she works hard to get there, though she keeps her goals pretty much to herself. When impressive in the water at practice, she clearly has her mind on the target,” says Aitken. Following is a Sandpiper long course practice that Sullivan uses to focus on stroke/stroke counts:
3-5 rounds of the following: • 3 x 100 freestyle on 1:30; holding time (1:14-1:16). Max DPS 36-38 strokes • 1 x 100 freestyle on 1:30; holding time (1:10-1:06). Max DPS 44-46 strokes 2016 2017 Coach Aitken: “Her stroke is high—often 50 per lap—and we want to keep the rate up while improv9:28.97 9:11.88 ing the number of strokes taken without losing the rate.” 15:52.14 — 2-3 rounds of the following: • 6 x 100 freestyle on 1:30, followed by a 400 freestyle for time. Coach Aitken: “On the 6 x 100 freestyle, Sullivan concentrates on descending time while trying to maintain a consistent stroke count. The 400 free is FAST AS POSSIBLE. Last summer, she made her move by going 4:40s in practice down to 4:28s.”
Brennan Gravley, 16, is a big-time talent in a small frame—standing 5-4 and weighing 134 pounds. As an 11-year-old, he ranked sixth in the nation in the 1000 yard free. At 12, he stood fourth in the 800 meter free (9:11.01) and second in the 1500 with a SCS record time of 17:31.06. His most recent success came in the 1000 at the Lakeside Stampede Meet in Lewisville, Texas, where he posted a 9:11.88, splitting the 500s in 4:35 and 4:36. A high school junior, Gravley has had five different coaches in 10 years. Unlike teammate Sullivan, “He has always been swimming at the top of each group and has been the hardest worker,” says Coach Aitken. “Brennan has been the pint-sized guy who conquers the battles swimming against giants. It’s always exciting to watch him step up against 6-2 swimmers and race them head-to-head. Brennan is loud and can be an over-the-top motivator in practice, and his energy keeps the group sharp and aggressive during sets,” says Aitken. From 2015 to 2016, Gravley dropped his 1500 time from a 16:25 to 15:52, just missing the Olympic Trials cut of 15:49. “Brennan is looking forward to trying to make the open water junior team this May,” says Aitken. “I think his size, energy and love for NASCAR gives him a big advantage in open water. He was just short of making the cut for open water nationals last summer. I look forward to watching him develop, as he is just now starting to reach elite levels.”
Q&A— continued from 43 only one stroke or event can weaken athlete performances and the ability to be tough in races requiring a wide range of skills. I’m sure I could take one athlete, focus on one event and see faster times, but that doesn’t give the athlete the ability to compete in multiple races, which would offer more to college teams. Further, when coaching young kids, they may be a backstroker for a year or two, but then excel in butterfly or the IM.
Lake in California. Open water has been an avenue to making USA junior travel and national junior team rosters. We are hoping to have swimmers make the national team this summer. Our athletes have traveled to Hungary, Amsterdam and Maui, among other places, because of open water.
Contact Swimming World Magazine At:
SW: What benefits accrue by earning USA Swimming Gold Medal Club status? RA: Gold Medal Status provides grant dollars and funding for new equipment that we use to improve our program and performance.
䜀伀䰀䐀 䴀䔀䐀䄀䰀 倀䔀刀䘀伀刀䴀䄀一䌀䔀 匀吀䄀刀吀匀 圀䤀吀䠀 刀䔀匀䤀匀吀䄀一䌀䔀 吀刀䄀䤀一䤀一䜀
SW: You love open water swimming. RA: Open water provides a natural reward with unique swimming locations and events that are usually finished by noon. Swimmers have the rest of the day to tour or relax. Open water swimmers work hard. I like being around that type of athlete—a swimmer must train and prepare for open water. I also like the race strategies involved. SW: Why drag them to Florida every year since 2010 for the U.S. Open Water National Championships? RA: We don’t have to drag our swimmers to Florida. They love it! We usually fly into Fort Lauderdale. Most of our swimmers have only seen the Pacific Ocean. They love the beach, so when someone makes an open water team, they are eager to travel! We are attending the Open Water Festival in Miramar, Fla. this year as a tune-up race going into nationals, which will be held at Castaic
Michael J. Stott is an ASCA Level 5 coach whose Collegiate School (Richmond, Va.) teams have won nine state high school championships. He has been named a 2017 recipient of NISCA’s Outstanding Service Award.
SW: What inspiration do your Olympic Trials athletes and national junior team swimmers provide to other team members? RA: It says becoming a national team member is possible if you do work and follow the program. Having Cody Miller come home to Las Vegas to visit, as well as having Erica Sullivan, Erin Emery, Logan Houck and others on deck and in the water, conveys a clear message that the opportunity is here and that success is reachable.
SW: What percentage of your boys and girls teams at Bishop Gorman are made up of USA swimmers? RA: Twenty-five percent of the kids currently swim on club teams, 25 percent formerly swam club, and 50 percent have never been on a club team.
to read more Q&A with Coach Ron Aitken.
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一娀䌀漀爀搀稀⸀挀漀洀 㠀 ⸀㠀㠀㘀⸀㘀㘀㈀
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UP & COMERS AGE GROUP SWIMMER OF THE MONTH
If you ask 12-year-old Claire Tuggle of the Clovis Swim Club in California what her favorite thing is about the sport of swimming, the answer is simple: she loves to race. And that love for racing has translated into national age group (NAG) records in six events (three for girls 10-and-under and three for girls 11-12). Tuggle’s coach, Mark Bennett, explained to Swimming World, “She is very consistent with her effort, intensity and focus at practices. When she sets a goal, it’s not enough to achieve it just once. She will strive to achieve the objective over and over, and then strive to do it even better!” Her determination to exceed her goals shone through brightly this spring when she set NAG marks four times in three events. While swimming at the NCSA Junior Nationals, March 14-18, in Orlando, Fla., she lowered the 200 yard freestyle record twice (1:48.85p, 1:47.71) as well as the 500 free (4:49.32). And a few weeks later at the Far Westerns, March 30-April 2, in Pleasanton, Calif., Tuggle improved upon her 200 yard IM time with a 2:03.23 to become the fastest 11-12-year-old. As a 10-and-under two years ago, Claire claimed NAGs in the 200 and 500 yard free (1:58.20, 5:13.74) and the 400 meter free (4:37.41). Claire also enjoys playing the cello. Her dad is a fire chief, and she has three brothers. SPONSORED BY
WHAT IS THE BEST THING YOU DO IN SWIMMING?
My strongest stroke at this point is freestyle, but I think my greatest strength is competing. I live for the race!
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE TOUGHEST WORKOUTS/SETS YOU’VE DONE? We play the 300 game once a year. My whole team starts on an easy 300 interval. The interval drops by 10 seconds for the first 10, and then by five seconds. If you don’t make the interval, then you are out. We keep going until there is only one swimmer making the interval. This year, I won and swam 8,000 yards—and I won the one-pound chocolate bar!
WHO IS YOUR SWIMMING IDOL...AND WHY?
Missy Franklin—she works hard, but still finds a way to have fun.
SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE / June 2017
[PHOTO PROVIDED BY THE TUGGLE FAMILY]
BY TAYLOR BRIEN
WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS YEAR?
This year, I am looking forward to NCSAs. I really hope to make the junior national team.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT SWIMMING?
The friendships—we work so hard together, go through so many successes and disappointments, that we build bonds that are different than a normal friendship.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE HOBBIES?
Hobbies—there isn’t much time. However, I do like time with my friends and family, playing badminton in P.E., playing with my dog, and coloring. to see race videos of Claire’s 200 and 500 free NAG record performances at NCSA Juniors.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON FINA’S PROPOSED ADDITIONS TO THE OLYMPIC LINEUP—MEN’S 800 FREE, WOMEN’S 1500 FREE, MIXED GENDER RELAYS AND 50s OF STROKE? BY ANNIE GREVERS
GARY TAYLOR / Associate Head Coach, North Carolina State
As a coach on the endurance end of swimming, I believe we have really glorified the opposite end of the spectrum for a number of years now. If these proposed additions are added, we’ll see more of this with the 50s of stroke and the mixed relays. This continues to give opportunities to athletes who perform in the shorter, more sprint-based events. Under the current event list, endurance-based athletes have been relegated to qualifying in the 800 (for women), 1500 (for men) or possibly open water. The 400s have become extremely competitive with a mix of middle distance and distance athletes, so adding the 800 for men and 1500 for women may allow for some different individual opportunities. Additionally, this would capitalize on the popularity of distance queen, Katie Ledecky, and the men’s NCAA 1650 races. I’m for anything that may help give more opportunities and popularize endurance swimming!
MANDY COMMONS-DiSALLE / Head Coach, University of Cincinnati
Men’s 800/Women’s 1500: I believe this event should either be added or should be uniform—either men and women compete in the 1500 or men and women compete in the 800. While I do like the idea of giving distance swimmers another event to contest, my concern in adding an additional distance event would be the value to the viewers. Generally, I am sure they would prefer to watch shorter races. 50s of stroke: I think this might be a good idea, but I am hesitant. The 50s add a lot of excitement and are already being contested internationally throughout the world. However, it does add a LOT of additional events to the Olympic schedule, and it might be very taxing for the athletes who have the potential to compete in the 50, 100 and 200—not to mention relays. That is quite a bit of racing to demand on the individual athlete over the course of a meet.
Mixed Relays: I am personally not a fan of adding this event. While I think it would be competitive—and it does have an excitement value—there are a lot of variables with it, and it seems to be less of a serious event due to mixing genders.
BRAD ROBBINS / Head Coach, Tigard Tualatin Swim Club, Ore.
I think adding the additional distance events for both women and men is a great opportunity for our true distance swimmers to showcase their toughness and capabilities, in addition to offering them more opportunities to race in their specialty. There are also subtle differences between racing the 800 and the 1500 that might allow other swimmers to step up and earn the opportunity to represent their country. Everyone loves the excitement of the “splash-and-dash” 50s. Sprint racing draws a bigger interest because the concept of giving an all-out effort for a brief burst is something that nearly everyone can understand. So, the 50s will be great for spectators and viewership. From a swimming perspective, it’s a great chance for true stroke specialists to add an additional race to their lineup. However, I think we’d also see some pure sprinters—traditional 50 freestylers— throwing themselves in the mix and challenging some of the stroke swimmers, which would be interesting as well. Hopefully, it would not discourage swimmers from continuing to try to be great 200 swimmers. I think that’s one of the things that has always been great about NOT having the 50s of stroke—if you are a butterflyer and you want to swim more than one race, you better learn to be tough in the 200. The mixed relays are a quirk—something you’d see at a summer league championship with parents or coaches, but I think the interest is only in the novelty of it.
MIKE WESTPHAL / Associate Head Coach, Indiana University
I am all for adding more events if it increases the opportunity for more individuals getting the Olympic experience. If roster sizes can’t be increased, then I would not be for it. June 2017 / SWIMMINGWORLDMAGAZINE.COM
PA RT I N G S H OT
American Adolph Kiefer (June 27, 1918 - May 5, 2017), who was Americaâ€™s oldest living Olympic champion, passed away last month at the age of 98. He was considered by many to be the best backstroker ever, having set records in every backstroke eventâ€”many of which lasted for 15 years and more. At 16, he was the first man to break a minute in the 100 yard back. At 18, he was the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic team that competed in Berlin, where he won the 100 meter back in an Olympic record that would stand for 20 years. It is said that in more than 2,000 career races, Kiefer lost only twice. (See related story, page 24.) [PHOTO BY SWIMMING WORLD PHOTO VAULT]
Sponsored by The Subscription Box Service for Competitive Swimmers Take 25% off your first month of Swimfluence with code "SW" at www.swimfluence.com
SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE / June 2017
Published on May 31, 2017
ON THE COVER: Our generation is spoiled to have had Michael Phelps, The Greatest Olympian of All Time, grace us with his explosive performan...