Thursday, December 30, 2010

Busy Day for HHBF in the Media

Hi everyone. Kyle Haas, Matt Fox and I visited Russ Horton over at D-Moos radio this morning for some club promotion. Tune in over the next few days to hear the interviews and station IDs that we recorded. There is a link on this blog page to the left of this text, but incase you can't find it, you can listen online: They also keep a daily blog of community news and events (that is actually kept very up to date). D-Moos is going to be very helpful to HHBF in getting news out for the future (hopefully some of it live from meets). Russ has a lot of really cool things planned and I am very excited about all of the possibilities. Help boost their listenership and listen to what our Bluefins have to say on the radio.

We are also in the news on Check out the story on the Gord Basset Invitational and some great pictures!

Happy New Year everyone!! See you next week.

Monday, December 27, 2010

One Arm Swimmer wins heat in 25m Fly at 2010 Nashville City Swim Meet

This video was sent to me by Jordan Horruzey of the Gold group. I suggest watching it, its really empowering. Not incredibly suprising that this kid would win the 25 since they all appear to be about 8 or 9 and the kid with 1 arm is using about 2/3 of the energy that the others are, but he also had a GREAT dive and a strong finish. You don't see his under water stroke in this video, but I'll bet it was the most efficient. Some solid evidence of the merrits of technique. I wonder how he would hold up in a longer race..?

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and is ready to get back to some work before New Years. All the best!


Monday, December 20, 2010

The Program Needs/Hours Retraint Conundrum

As I have discussed before (although I am not so sure how much of a "discussion" it is when I just post something and you read it..?) our programs struggle with the pool space available to us. 6 lanes and 25m for 1 swim club, 2 high school teams, a synchro team, public swim and town programs and only 7 days in a week. People have to go to school between 8am-3pm and likely wont come from 9pm-5am, so we're also restricted there. That leaves a total of 70hours of total pool time available to these 6 different entities... and NO ONE wants to share pool time with HHBF (in fairness, the high school teams are not allowed to... thank you very much, OFSAA). Therefore, we have to be extremely creative with what we get.

For younger competitive athletes, this is pretty easy. Most of them (Intro-comp - Silver) need most work on technique and learning things about the sport. Basic aerobic needs can be met with the amount of hours that they have. There are no real issues here. For the intro level athletes (Intro & minifins), 1 hour of instruction is perfect. They don't need much aerobic capacity yet and will phase into it as they progress through the program.

With the athletes that are older (Gold/Regional Development/Platinum) things get trickier.

At the Gold level, these athletes are balancing the difference between technique, strength, speed and aerobic capacity. The amount of hours they have and the rest they have between workouts is perfect for conditioning what they will need to move ahead in the club and also what they will need to compete. Meets are a crucial part of this training program, because these athletes need to race. Athletes aged 11-13 are growing and developing the enzymes required to sprint effectively; racing becomes very important in their mental and physical development. I do not see a practice missed to go to a meet as a negative thing at all: these athletes would be spending tons of time resting at our pool while recovering from race pace work. That time is much better spent working on skills and aerobic capacity. The meet environment is much better suited for race work.

These athletes technically need to race more than anyone else because their focus is qualifying for Central Region Championships and/or performing at them. And, of course, to advance and move ahead in their careers which requires higher qualifications. I we do not give these athletes the most amount of chances to compete, we are simply setting them up to fail. We have spent much of the time this season teaching them how to be fast, teaching them how to be better, we cannot disallow them to compete. These athletes need the most opportunity.

The elite program is geared towards athletes who are at a Provincial, National or International level and are training to be competitive and relevant at that level. The climax of their season is in June-August so training becomes most important throughout the season. This group will occasionally enter a meet for 1 day to get some racing done, then do an extra practice on the Sunday to recover or overload (depending on the time of the season). The goals of this group are different than the other groups: This group already will be competing at the end of the season because they have the qualifications to. They spend less time trying to qualify for events and more time training for the main event at the end of the season.

Comparing these three groups is very difficult when you understand the goals of each group and what they each are after. The Elite group requires more training time than the other groups. Due to the age of the athletes, Regional Development and Platinum require about 80% of the training time that the Elite group will need. Gold requires slightly less than what they are getting, but they need to be s stepping stone to the groups above them (and they have clearly been benefiting from the extra time).

Since most groups (aside from Gold) are only getting about exactly what they need, attendance becomes very important. For example, I said before, Regional Development and Platinum require about 80% of what the Elite group has in order to be successful... this means that their entire schedule is baselined mandatory in order to be in prime shape... so 80% attendance in the Platinum group is actually lower than it appears. Remember, we're competing against other teams that have more pool time; we need to do everything we can in order to remain competitive.

Gym Attendance is also quite crucial. It is important to remember that our dryland training is not something to do in addition to our training; it is a major part of our training. People that choose not to attend gym workouts are doing just as much damage if they were to miss a water workout. The reason: We don't need to be in the water to train athletic abilities such as balance, coordination, flexibility, power, speed of limb movement, spacial orientation, agility... so why not maximize it outside of the pool..? Athletes who dimish its value because it is not pool time are making a mistake and missing prime opportunity to better themselves.

Our sport is about more than just swimming up and down a black line. Its about more than just basic aerobic capacity. The age group game is about development and making your self as good as possible before the jump to adolescence, and later, to University age (where most athletes will swim faster than they ever have before). I have developed a plan to make HHBF athletes as good as possible so they can enter uncharted territory with the best possible tools. Please remember these 2 things, especially as we approach 2011:

1.) There is no reason why HHBF can't be as good or better than most other teams in Ontario. We've proven that we're becoming a threat, we cannot back away from that now.
2.) Its easier to get to your destination when you know where you're headed... if you don't know where you're going it doesn't matter which way you go.

Please plan to be a part of this team's success. Clear eyes and full hearts can't lose.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Follow me on twitter

Hey folks. Not sure if any of you do the twitter thing but no one follows me :(


Most recently; read about how I crazy glued my face... No I'm not kidding sadly.

GHIP problems and upcoming stuff...

Hello everyone. Trust me on this: NO ONE was more frustrated that I was when GHIP was shut down last night, although it was the right thing to do. The air quality on deck was worse than I have ever encountered it. I couldn't even inhale without my lungs burning and going into a coughing fit; defenitly unsafe for the athletes last night. The town has since handled the problem and the air quality was fine this morning; much easier to breath, no eerie mist in the air and no sweating walls. Everything is back to normal. Our administrator will get back to you all with more details as they become available.

A couple of things to keep an eye on:

1.) Record Breaker time trial is tomorrow morning. Hopefully we will see some of the older records fall off of the board and see some younger athletes enjoy their time on the record board.
2.) Get well soon, Matt Fox! We wish you a speedy recovery!
3.) Randy Bennett, the Head Coach and Director of Island Swimming and Head Coach of a new high performance program called the Victoria Academy of Swimming, will be doing a short interview with me in the next couple of weeks which I plan to post on this blog. I'm not a journalist, but hopefully can get some relivant info and decent reading material out of him. Keep an eye open for that. He is coach of Ryan Cochrane, Stephan Herniak, Julia Wilkinson, etc. I'm sure that he has a lot to say.
4.) Christmas training begins Monday for Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Regional Development and Elite. Hopefully everyone will be around for that.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Old article... but who doesn't love a good read about Michael Phelps??

This is an oldie but a goodie...

Deal Boles interviews John Rogers at the Toronto Swim Center

Although its not Thursday and this video doesn't necessarily apply to to what HHBF is trying to develop (and that I'm not in love with JR), this video is an interesting look at what the Toronto Swim Center is doing...

Dean Boles Interviews Coach John Rogers from Greg Wells PhD on Vimeo.

Just a thought... maybe I'm not alone in my dismissal of JR..? Maybe there are too many coaches who refuse the advice of experienced, seasoned, world class coaches... maybe that's why Canada is behind the 8 ball right now... just a thought.

I'm trying to stay open minded.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Vaughn Days 2 and 3

Quite a few highlights this weekend with an unofficial total of 7 club records broken...

Boys 11-12:
200IM, 50FLY broken by Bjoern-Ole Schrader. New records: 200IM (2:40.67) 50FLY (31.96). It should be noted that Nolan Haas was also under the old club record of 33.68.
100FLY broken by Bjoern-Ole Schrader. New record 1:12.61.

Boys 15&Over 200IM broken by Kyle Haas. New record of 2:17.76.

Girls 11-12
50BK broken by Keri-Lyn Copeland. New record of 34.67.
400IM broken by Keri-Lyn Copeland. New record of 5:43.83.
50BR broken by Emma Fender. New record of 39.66.

Great evidence that this team is stronger and deeper than ever! Congrats to those 5 athletes! We are very proud of you!

Saturday we were having a rough time with the fundementals: a lot of missed turns, missed walls and lazy mistakes, but we still somehow scraped together some solid races.

Sunday's mandate was to head back to fundementals and make sure that we wer doing things very well. Those who chose to follow the plan were very successful! Amongst the highlights (in no particular order):

--Note: if I didn't mention your name, please don't think that you did not do well. 77 athletes in Vaughn this past weekend and my memory is fuzzy from all the horrible techno music during warmup.

Matt Fox: clocked (unoficially) the 9th fastest time in the country this year in 200BK (4th fastest in Ontario) and 5th fastest time in Ontario for 200FR on Sunday. 4th fastest 100BK on Ontario on Saturday. Great weekend overall!

Keri-Lyn Copeland: had an outstanding weekend. 7th fastest time in Ontario in 50FR, 13th fastest time in Ontario for 100FR, 8th fastest time in ONtario for 200FR and top 25 in 3 other events.

Chris Zanewycz: really significant PBs in 4 events and very close to regional times in his 3rd (possibly 4th) meet. Good swimmer on the rise.

Simon Olsen: I loved Simon Olsen's swims and team spirit this weekend. He was disqualified in 200IM though. When Ian asked him if he was going to be alright, Simon's response was "Meh, its only a race". Very good attitude from this new athlete!

Colleen Jarv: AWESOME 200IM today, less then .30 seconds off of regionals for 200IM.

Aysia Leckie: HUGE PBs and some A times for this girl. Great swims!

Paige Olmstead: Best meet of the season this far. Great 100FR and first time under 40 seconds (39.98) for 50BK. Awesome work!

Livy Olson: Watch out EVERYONE! This girl is deadly fast with goggles on ;)

4 GIRLS (10&UNDER) under 1:40 for 100FR: Livy Olson, Megan Brosseau, Madeline Michie, Mackenzie Murphy.

Trevor Burwell: Regained his speed this weekend in 100 and 200FR posting PBs in both.

Aaron Brautigam: Sgnificant PB in 200BR as well as in 400IM, 100FLY, 100FR, 50FR.

Eric Siegfriedt: First regional qualification time in 50FR, congrats!!

Erin Troughton and Clancy Harris: 2 girls that are really learning the decipline of sprinting and posting good times as a result.

Taylr Cawte: GREAT 100FR, 50FR, 100BR and 200BR!! SO much progress in such little time!

Michael Jickling, Anthony Heartsink & Aleksander Plackoski: solid 10 & Under boys contribution this weekend. Its great to know that we have young guys coming up that can race.

Quinn West: Great finish in 200IM, come from behind victory which he should bring to workout on Monday.

Some real breakthroughs being made in Regional Development. I am really proud of the way these guys swam this weekend and the work that Chris has been doing with them. A lot of great progress made in the past 2-3 months.

My fingers hurt from all this typing: too many awesome results. A special thank you to Chris and Ian for all their help this weekend. I'll get back to highlights once the results file is posted; then I'll be able to download them and produce some reports to be more accurate. Until then, excellent work everyone that competed! I am very proud of the Blue Fins!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Vaughn Meet - Friday Night distance

Hi everyone. I love the Vaughn pool. The Town of Halton Hills could learn a thing or 2 about the benefits of a good complex.

400FR and 400IM tonight.

Aside from a few people being sick and having to scratch out, we had a pretty successful evening. In the girls 400FR; Veronica Fong, Sam Ceci, Clancy Harris, Erin Troughton all started the night out with very solid races. Unfortunately for Sam Ceci, her entry time put her in an unsuitable heat so she wasn't quite sure how fast she was going... I think that she could have been faster had she been in a faster heat. Very good time overall, 5:07 which marks over 25 seconds off. Erin Troughton was a best time by about half a second. Clancy and Veronica had HUGE PBs but I think saved a little bit too much until the end. We have been working on splitting in the Platinum and Elite groups. The indication is that we are making some solid headway, but have more work to do prior to February.

I had Kyle, Trevor, Mitchell, Karl and Matt Fox all in the first heat of boys so getting accurate splits and final times was a challenge. Kyle equaled his best time almost exactly, while Trevor and Karl were feeling off tonight. Mitchell had a great race, just missing the provincial standard in 400FR with a time of 4:29.8, while 13 year old, Matt Fox was slightly off of his best time, sighting shoulder fatigue early int he race. Quinn Jaggard scored a best time in 400FR of 5:35 which is a good indication that Quinn's endurance is getting better; a good sign for a possible boys relay @ Provincials in February. Nolan Haas was off of his best time BUT is working towards his 800FR prereq and has been faster than prereq pace for 2 weeks in a row for the 400FR. Prereq should not be an issue. AJ Tarczy finished up with a HUGE PB, dropping 1:06.5. Not bad for only being in the water once this week.

400IMs were swum well! Ali Taran was slightly off of her best time (mostly the last 100) but on the positive side, really benefited from the start work we did last night at GHIP and had a MUCH improved BR leg. Keri-Lyn Copeland finished 2nd overall with a 16 second PB of 5:43.83 which breaks Loren O'Brien-Egesborg's old record of 5:43.86 by 0.03 seconds (final time has not been confirmed, this is off of the clock so this is not an official record yet... will confirm tomorrow). Also a provincial split for 12 year olds... although I don't think she's in favor of swimming in at provincials in February.

On the boys side, Bjoern-Ole Schrader tried a new strategy and removed 2 seconds from his club record. His new record of 5:43.66 was much improved splitting and much better than we expected. I am very proud of him. Aaron Brautigam also removed 2 seconds from his best time with a final time of 5:15.75. The interesting thing about this race was that Aaron's faster fly split seemed to make all the difference.

If I learned 1 thing tonight (aside from the info I have been collecting in workout) it was that the majority of my IMers swim basically the same BK split no matter how fast or hard they swim the first FLY split. This changes my IM philosophy a bit and I would think that we'll see some interesting results going forward based on this new consideration.

I am pretty happy with the way things are going so far. I am very excited for tomorrow and Sunday. The focus for the most of us is to swim fast in the morning (as that is a bit of a weakness for many of our older swimmers). We want to finish up 2010 with a BANG... stay tuned for details.

Mike Thompson
Head Coach

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hi guys. Sorry I haven't posted lately. More to come soon, I promise... Just super busy this last week. Thanks for checking in.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Q&A Time

Here are some questions from the mailbag. Hopefully they answer the question for more than one person, as I know that people have questions that they don't always ask.

Q. Hi Mike. Just wondering where I would look for swim clinics for my athlete. I keep hearing different swimmers from our club are going to them but I'm not sure who offers them as I would like to sign him up.

A. HHBF has only been included in 2 camps/clinics away from our pool this season. The first one (swim Ontario learn to train camp) in October was a selection camp. Our swimmers were selected based on best times from last season. The one this weekend is a submission camp. The criteria for enrollment was 2 "b" standards maximum of 3 swimmers per club.

The Gold group had Jen Noddle come in for a breaststroke clinic in October and Jen Button come in to do a fly clinic with the older athletes in October as well. I am always on the lookout for new opportunities for our swimmers of all abilities. A problem this season is that clubs and regions are finding that these clinics and camps are not economically viable so there are not as many. We will continue to find as many opportunities as possible for our athletes going forward. I'm not sure that there is much you can do as a parent shy of doing the Swim 2 Win camps during March break. Those can be found on the swim Ontario website.

Q. How does my child move up in the new HHBF structure? Please explain the structure to me…

A. This season, HHBF has adopted a structure that is performance driven. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, it makes things easier on your fees. HHBF will not have to rent hours of pool time for ¼ or ½ groups that have not qualified for a meet and have to stay back at the pool to practice; everyone in the group has the general standards to all go to a common meet which means that no one should be left behind (elite is slightly different and may end up in this situation when certain individuals qualify for SNC National meets).

Secondly, our new group structure conforms better to Swim Canada’s Long Term athlete development plan. The groups toward the top of the club are driven by time standards which shift with age (ie: 11&U, 12, 13, 14, etc). In order to gain entrance into the Platinum group, for example, one must have at least 1 Central Region (or “B”) standard. These standards change with age, so the training intent here is to steadily develop over time (not to peak at age 12) and not only consistently obtain these standards, but to exceed and obtain higher standards. The standard to move into the Elite group is currently 2 “A” standards, although most athletes in that group have Provincial and National level time standards.

The Regional Development group was developed to assist athletes who have difficulty qualifying for Central Region Championships. This group is dedicated to training athletic abilities that will assist in obtaining these standards, such as agility, coordination, aerobic capacity (especially with kick), etc. I am very involved in this group, although I am not the main coach for it. This group has been remarkably successful this season in bringing the mean average standards achieved up to a “D” standard. This is a significant achievement for Coach Chris Henderson, since many of his athletes have gotten their first charted standard this season. I am very proud of the results of this group. This month, 2 athletes from this group have moved into the Platinum group by achieving B standards.

The Gold group is a training group which focuses on getting athletes ready to make the jump to the groups ahead (which have much more pool time and dryland training). Dryland training is introduced in the Gold group as a teaching tool. This group spends a lot of time working on quick, controlled movements to improve agility coordination and flexibility (range of motion) and learning how to do exercises and training sets properly so that they are not lost when they move forward in the club. Athletes from this group will move in 1 of 2 ways. 1.) If they achieve a “B” standard, they are eligible to move to the Platinum group directly. 2.) If they are 13 or older and have not obtained a “B” standard, they will move into the Regional Development group to hone their skills with more pool time and dryland time.

Bronze and Silver are both training level groups where athletes are all learning the fundamentals of the sport and learning how to train under coach Ian Cunningham. The standards for moving into or between these 2 groups are training ability based. Ian will evaluate: “Can this swimmer keep up with the athletes in the group above?”, “Does this athlete understand enough about the basics to move ahead and not get in the way of the group above”, “what has this athlete’s attendance been like”, etc. Ian and Chris make a group decision on athletes moving between and beyond these groups to make sure that the athletes are best prepared for moving forward.

Intro-Comp blew me away last year. Shannan Andrews did such a great job with them that we had them going to meets late in the season and they were quite competitive at those meets. I loved where it was going, so I gave this group an extra hour/week. We kept them training 3 consecutive days for the purpose of learning. We found that younger athletes were able to practice and remember skills better when their practices were closer together (rather than 3 days apart). This group specializes in stroke, turn, dive and fundamental teaching and Shannan is doing a great job of it. Athletes that are selected to move are selected usually by their ability to do more swimming. Athletes that are able to execute proper skills, attend meets, perform strokes turns and dives legally and have a high attendance rate are usually best suited for the Bronze group. Minifins and Intro Non-Comp moves are done usually by age and ability.

For administration reasons, moves will happen only happen on the first of the month, but may not happen every month. Moves depend on the availability of qualified athletes and space in the above groups.

Our club has gotten fantastic results so far this season with this training structure, and I believe that we will continue to. I am very proud of what we have been able to achieve in this small 11 ½ week time span.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Technological Oopsie!!

Sorry to anyone who tried to view the videos on my blog but were unable. I think I fixed that problem. Check out the videos. It took a lot of coaxing for Brent and Ryan to do those videos... they are very friendly but don't like doing video. I really put myself out there for that so please enjoy!


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Canada Cup day 3

Hi everyone. I have had a VERY busy 4 days so I'm glad that Canada Cup has come to a close. I have learned a lot this weekend and am very excited to bring all my new ideas back to training and the executive board.
Kyle swam 100IM and 50BK today. 100IM was decent and technically very sound. Final time of 1:02.44, breaking Alex Maine's former club record of 1:05.04 by over 1.5 seconds, but I still think that we can be faster. Kyle reminded me o f myself in this race. I always had difficulty transitioning from BR to FR and Kyle had the same difficulty in this race. Our focus was the BK/BR turn which was executed very well. I'm pretty happy with it.
50BK was successful in that we wanted to get a high stroke rate (55RMP or higher on the way out) and we were at 60 to start. The only problem was that the strokes were faster which screwed up Kyle's touch. Kyle finished in 38th place with a final time of 28.15. Kyle still destroyed Alex Maine's old club record of 30.39, but again, there is still more there.
Not a bad weekend for Kyle's first Seniro National meet, but certainly one under the belt. We hope that by Eastern Canadian Championships, Kyle will be within the top 3 on the podium with this experience.

My course is going well. I was able to sit in on a talk from Ryan Cochrane's coach and Head Coach of the Victoria Academy, Randy Bennett. Randy is SUPER approachable and had many gems of info. I really loved listening to him and wish that I had a few hours with him to myself. Tomorrow we get to spend some time with Dr. Greg Wells of the Canadian Sports Center (you may have seen him on TV during the Winter Olympics last year) during the High Performance Camp. I am really looking forward to that opportunity. I'll see everyone soon!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Canada Cup Day 2

Thank you, Ryan Cochrane for agreeing to do that, but also for not treating me like "that guy" who asks for that type of thing... note, thanks to Randy Bennett for being cool about that too.

Day 2 at Canada Cup was alright. Kyle had 2 races today, 100BK and 50FR. Both were best morning swims and second best times ever, but still technically not great. Kyle placed 68th in 50FR and 38th in 100BK. There were some strong positives in both races, but there were some things that should have been better. I, personally, cannot wait to get back to work on Monday to make sure that none of those things EVER happen again. I didn't bring the HHBF camera today so I didn't get those races on tape. Sorry guys. To make up for it, here is a candid version of the video I shot with Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist, Brent Hayden.

Brent, you're a great sport, thank you so much for doing that!

The course I am in is going very well. A lot of light bulbs going off
in my head and a lot of new ideas to try when I get back. I get the feeling that the athletes in my groups hate when I come back from courses because they have to work so much harder on the new ideas I bring back.

We had 3 HHBF athletes do the Swim Ontario Skills Camp in the afternoon: Michael Jans, Britney Dortona and Veronica Fong. All had a great time and picked up a lot of great things for their strokes, turns and dives. From what I saw, it was a great use of time. During that camp, parents watching got a treat; Swimming Canada CEO and Head Coach, Pierre LaFontain did an impromptu speech to the parents. His message: coaches are not perfect so it is up to parents to provide support to them and the club. Find the positive in your situation and make it better. Do not dwell on what is going wrong; things will always go wrong no matter where you are. Pierre also spoke to the Canadian Team members today about the power of positivity. He says that in order to do well in the world, we have to do well first at home, which is a great message and works on any level of athletics. I have been very critical of Canadian Swimming in general and of Pierre, but what he did today for the Canadian Team and the parents sitting, watching the clinic was HUGE. I thanked him personally for it. My perception of him has turned around so much in the past 3 months. I am becoming to understand what he is about and what he is trying to do and I am really starting to appreciate it.

A BIG showing from HHBF fans tonight who showed up in droves to watch finals. HHBF sponsored the 100BK event in finals and through a raffle, Avery Jans and Bronte McMaster got to present the medals for to Tobias Oriwol, Charlie Francis and Brian Johns, 3 of the biggest names in the sport today. I also saw Kyle Haas, Matt Fox, Bjoern-Ole Schrader, Quinn Jaggard and others looking for autographs from some of our best athletes (including Gord McKay, AKA Bizzaro Mike Thompson... you guys really made his day by allow him to sign your shirts). It really was a great day. Thanks everyone for coming.

We have another full day of Canada Cup Swimming in Etobicoke tomorrow. Kyle swims 50BK and 100IM tomorrow. Prelims start at 10am. Finals @ 6pm. Tickets still available at the door. Please come down to see some fast swimming. I'll try to get more video for you guys tomorrow... but now I'm off to bed.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Canada Cup day 1

This mornings session was done by 11:30. That doesn't sound short until I told you that the session started at 10am. It was very interesting to see high level athletes warming up and socializing. This is the first time many of them have seen eachother this season.

Kyle's 200bk was decent. The problem was that he was out a tad too slow and that I think he was nervous being in his first senior national (international) meet. Kyle was out in a 29.94 which would have been alright if he had not dropped to a 32 in the second 50 for a split of 1:02.04. At that point, dolphin kick started a fail. Kyle was back in a 1:06.9 for a final time of 2:09.10 which is only .3 seconds off of his best, a best ever morning swim and 2nd best time ever. Overall, not a bad way to spend you first race at the biggest meet you have ever been to. Kyle finished 44th overall.

Tomorrow is 100bk, kyle's best race so it should be a better morning. So far there has been some really fast swimming. Come down to watch finals if you can, its bound to be exciting.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Canada Cup 2010

Friday, November 26th, 2010 marks the return of HHBF to the Senior National Stage since 2008. Kyle Haas will be competing in the Canada Cup in Etobicoke, ON where international competitors will meet for the first time this Short Course season.

2 weeks ago, at Swim International, 15 year old Kyle Haas, posted the fastest 15 year old time this season in 100BK of 58.38 seconds. This time is the 14th fastest time for a 15 year old in Canadian history and ranks in the top 330 fastest times ever posted by a Canadian (86th fastest in Ontarian in history). Kyle will swim 50BK, 100BK, 200BK, 50FR and 100IM this weekend. Preliminary heats begin at 10am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Finals begin at 6pm on all 3 days. Be sure to keep an eye on the blog for updates from the weekend.

I encourage everyone to come down to watch, even if all you can get down for is finals. It should be a very fast meet and you never know who you will see competing. Tickets are usually available at the door, although it sells out fast. $5 for Prelims and $10 for finals. $30 will get you a pass for every session all weekend.
Please email all ticket requests to
Pickup and payment will be at the door on a “Will Call” basis.

It is not very often that HHBF swimmers get exposed to world class racing. Make an effort to get down to Etobicoke this weekend. I learned how to be fast at breaststroke from watching the 1996 Summer Games... you never know what an athlete can pick up from watching someone else.

UPDATE: While I'm at it, I may as well remind everyone about HHBF TEAM NIGHT on Monday and Tuesday of next week. Great deals and an easy way to support our team... A great time to start your Christmas shopping. Don't forget to tell your friends, family and co-workers!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

GTA West #2

Crazy weekend for me, as the club had a lot going on. I was unable to attend the GTA West meet on Saturday morning due to some other club and personal business I had to attend to, but things seemed to go reasonably well. I was sad that I missed some good 400Fr's and 100Fly's though. I heard that those 2 events went remarkably well. I was especially sad that I had to miss 100BK (my best event when I swam) because it was reported back to me that we had a lot of good ones.

I happily came in today to whiteness some really great racing. Aside from the water being a scalding 87 degrees (which made it difficult for some people to race comfortably), we were honestly RED HOT this morning with the amount of PBs and great swims.

Unfortunately, our pool doesn't have an electronic score board which would automatically average the finish time, so until I see all the final times (which should be tomorrow or Tuesday), I cannot be positive about final times. Some swims of note though were:

- Isaac West finishing 200IM with almost a 10second PB of 2:56 and Nick Levesque finishing 2nd with a PB of his own.
- John Paul Thomson clocking around a 1:05 for his 100FR. First official 100FR time and indicative of his future ability.
- Coleen Jarv and Nicole Waddick finishing very close to each other in 200IM with best times of over 10 seconds each. Both girls had a fantastic morning.
- Olivia Fong turning her morning around by sticking to a good race strategy in 200IM. Around her best time, if not slightly faster.
- Waiting on the official result on this, but it looks like Corey Leblanc may have squeaked just under the Central Region Qualifying time in 100FR with a best time of 1:01.
- I had previously reported that Brooklyn Shelly had made the Central Region cut in 100BR, but I was incorrect, she had just missed it. She obtained it this morning in 100BR and was very excited.
- Jason Reid dropped almost 3 seconds in his 100FR. Best time was done 2 weeks ago in Milton. Great race!
- Livy Olson had a couple of great races today. 100FR was very quick especially since she was swimming blind (goggles). Very tough girl and a quick swimmer.
- Rachel Ironside had a really good morning and had a 50FR that was surprisingly quick for an 8 year old girl.
- Danielle Logozny was a pleasant surprise to see in the front of her heats this morning. She is fairly new to the club, but is catching on to the sport very quickly.
- Felipe Escobar's 200IM looked very good and his strokes are MUCH improved!

There were so many good swims this morning! I wish I had the results in front of me so that I could be more accurate with time, but that will have to wait. Given the success that we have had early in the season, I would like to commend Shannan, Chris, Ian and all of the junior coaches for getting us to where we are. They are quite clearly doing an awesome job.

If anyone has any really great experiences or stories to share from our meet, please forward them to me by email and I'll try to get some on the blog later this week. I am really pleased with the participation and the spirit that we showed at this meet.

Proud Blue Fin,

Mike Thompson

Monday, November 15, 2010

Swim International 2010

I have never felt better about my role as a coach as when things go well. This past weekend, 18 Blue Fins took part in Swim International 2010 in Brantford, ON. Despite terrible air quality (I swear I had chemical burn on my eye) and LONG days, our Blue Fins faired very well. I was a little concerned going into the meet based on how many people were complaining about feeling tired and slow, but here is how it went...

Aaron Brautigam - A solid 6.5 second drop in his 400IM on Friday night set the tone for the weekend. Aaron also placed top 20 in 200BR where he dropped 2.5 seconds. His 50FR was about the same as best. Aaron also passed his NLS exam on Sunday. Congrats, Aaron!

Trevor Burwell - Trevor had a GREAT weekend for IM, but a little flat for FR (which is his best stroke). Trevor dropped almost 13 seconds in his 400IM on Friday night and about half a second in his 200FR. His FR events over the weekend were consistant, but just slightly below or the same as his best. Of note was his blisteringly fast and totally suprising 200IM (2:22.58, 17th overall AND best placing of the weekend). Trevor split the race very well and finsihed the FR leg in 30 seconds flat. Very well done.

Sam Ceci - Sam was only able to come on Saturday morning, but took off time in both 100FLY and 50FR. Very well swum. Sam looks a lot more powerful in the water than she was last season.

Keri-Lyn Copeland - Keri-Lyn had a great weekend with best times in all but 1 event and smashing 11 seconds off of her 200IM time. She also obtained provincial standards in 4 events and placed 2nd overall in 50FR. I can't wait for her to be rested and race 100FR!

Emma Fender - Emma swam 5 individual races and was top 8 in them all. Most noteably, Emma came within a second of the club record for 11-12 girls 200BR (which also was the 9th fastest time in the country for this season) and broke the 1:30 barrier for 100BR. She also had 3 awesome FR races which really turned some heads.

Veronica Fong - Despite looking a little "wiggely" the first day in 50FR (she'll know that I mean) she dropped a total of 15.28 seconds off of 4 events AND pulled her FR stroke together for an outstanding 100FR on Sunday which netted her a soild A standard. She did very well for her first time at this meet.

Matt Fox - Excellent arrival for Matt Fox. Matt (being only 13 for a few weeks) netted 3 medals over the weekend for that age group and winning 100BK. Matt broke 1min for 100FR for the first time, posted the 3rd fastest time in the country this season for 200BK (13 year old men) and is listed top 20 in most of the other events he swam. All in all, a great weekend... except for 1 touch ;)

Kyle Haas - Kyle's weekend went generally very well, although it was a wake up on what we need to do better. Kyle posted some very good times between 100FR and BK, 200FR and BK, 400IM, and 50FR. In fact, Kyle has posted the fastest time in the country for 15 year old Men in 100BK (58.38) 200BK (2:08.70)and 50FR (24.50). I am pretty happy with how this weekend went for Kyle.

Nolan Haas - Congrats to Nolan for qualifying for his first provincial time ever. His 50FR split of 28.96 gained him the honor and also got him a silver medal. Good job, Nolan; I couldn't be prouder!

Clany Harris - This was highest quality and fastest meet that Clancy had ever been to and I think it was really educational for her. I say that because she really wants to better her other strokes and work on sprinting now, after seeing how fast some of the fasest swimmers are. Clancy had a very productive weekend (total of 6.39 seconds dropped over 4 events) but seems to be very excited to get back to training to get even better, which excites me!

Michael Jans - Michael Jans has been doing very well this season bettering his 200BK time and holding on to 2 B standards in 100 and 200BK. We have been working on the speed of his turn and he had some great races on Saturday and Sunday. His turn has improved quite a bit and his times reflect that. I think Michael was pretty happy with his success this weekend.

Mitchell Krafczek - I am very proud of Mitchell's development in the past 6 months. Although Mitchell spent the first few weeks of the season doing cross country (he went to OFSAA last week), he was still able to focus very clearly during the meet and was able to post best times in every event (event splitting a best time at the 100 in his 200FR). Mitchell has looked a lot more relaxed since Ontario Summer Games this summer and I think the experience was very good for him and his confidence, which is really good for HHBF. I really liked what I saw from him this weekend.

Karl Massey - Karl had a very successful weekend with best times in everything (total of 13.78 seconds off in 6 events) and the major milestone of getting down to 1min for 100BK. I know Karl is particularly proud of that one because he was able to focus and perform better than usual at finals. A great weekend overall. It was also one of my better pre-race talks proir to that race (a-thank-you!)

Loren O'Brien-Egesborg - Loren is still recovering from a nagging injury and is training quite well, and given the training that we've been able to put in, I was pretty happy with the results. Of particular note was Loren's 200FR on Friday night which was the fastest she has been in years and split VERY well.

Bjoern-Ole Schrader - Bjoern was the Ironman of the weekend doing 3 events/day, all within about 45min of eachother. Even still, Bjoern was able to take off 9.01 seconds on the first day and stay about even on the second day. His 200IM would have been better if I hadn't come up with a race strategy that failed... my fault. This boy is going to be fierce soon though (as soon as I can get him to a meet where he gets to rest between his best events).

Elizabeth Skuriat - I was really happy with Elizabeth's racing this weekend especially since she is not in 100% top shape yet. She was very close to best time in 50FR and a second faster than best in 100BK in a SUPERHEROIC race which got her into 8th spot in finals Sunday night. A few coaches from other teams have been noting her return.

Ryan Smith - Ryan had an unfortunate slip on his start for 50FR Saturday which resulted in a false start. Sunday his 100FR was very close to best (less than half a second off of his best). Ryan has great size for a 15 year old and looks about 6 inches taller than he actually is in the water. His ability to lengthen out is uncanny.

Erin Troughton - Erin's first race blew me away as she split best 50FR and 100FR times while going out in her 200FR. We talked afterwards that it was a speed that she had never experienced before. The success here is the development and realization of more speed. Now that we know we have it, we can train with it... and times will drop significantly going forward.

I am very proud of our team, but this is very early in the season to get too excited about performance. We still have 8 months left to this season. Its encouraging that we have had so much success early on, but it can't stop there. I have to get back to work.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Milton Da$h for Ca$h Day 2

Results are finally up and I am very happy to see what happened on Sunday in Milton. "What happened?" you ask??
- Aurora Zuraw was a fierce competitor all weekend but her 100FR time of 1:09.99 and 200FR time of 2:35.28 not only nabbed her 1st place in both (against athletes from higher groups) but also gave her 2 solid B times and Regional qualification already. Great work, Aurora!
- Britney Dortona had a spectacular weekend, shedding 32 seconds from her 200FR, placing 3rd but also achieving B and C standards on everything this weekend.
- Carter DeForest got rid of 23 seconds in his 200FR as well as shedding 7 seconds in both 100FR and 100BK. Watch for this guy!
- Tatyana Austrie had some very significant PBs over the weekend but 14 seconds in 200FR is outstanding. She is coming along very well.
- Filipe Escobar had a great Sunday too with an 15 second PB in 50fly as well as an 18 second pb in 100BK.
- I like Jason Fischer's determination to do well, but more so his determination to understand why or why not. He had 3 very significant best times in 200FR, 100BK and 100FR. Go ahead, ask him why.
- Jordan Horruzey also had some very significant success on the weekend. First time under 3min in 200FR, and 1:22.86 for 100FR is a 12 second best time from last season. He has clearly been working hard.
- Quinn Jaggard had 2 big best times on Sunday in 100BK and 100FR. Both C standards in the 13 year old category... this was Quinn's first time racing in this age category.
- Avery Jans, first time under 1:20 in 100FR!!!
- Simon Olsen and Chris Zanewycz are 2 new swimmers to watch. These 2 not only had a ton of fun, but they really performed very well in their first meets. Remember, you heard it here first!!
- Nolan Haas is now officially very close to the provincial standard in 100FLY 100FR and 50FR and had a stellar 50FLY. This seems like only a matter of time.

I remember back when I started with HHBF, Rob and I would get very excited if we had a 13-14 year old coming into his group that went faster than 1:20 for 100FR. Now I can't even count the number of 11-12 year olds UNDER 1:20. I am so proud of what we have done so far, but this is just the begining. Please do not assume that just because we had 1 good meet that we can let our guards down. We've been working hard for about 70-80 days. Imagine how good things are going to get 120 days into the season... 200 days in. Keep working hard: be proud of what we have done, but most importantly be proud of what we can and will do!

Congratulations on a fantastic weekend, everyone.

Mike Thompson
Head Coach

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Hi everyone. Since the results have still not been released from the Milton Da$h for Ca$h, I figured that I would like to make you all aware of our newest fundraiser. On Monday November 28th and Tuesday November 29th, RMP Athletic Locker will be holding a Team Night for HHBF. Most items in store (except for Oakley Sunglasses, Rayban Sunglasses, Wilson Sporting Goods, New Era Hats and Suunto Watches) will be 30% off for Blue Fins family and friends. HUGE name brands including Brooks, Airwalk, Teva, Umbro and more will be 30% off and 20% of all sales will be donated to HHBF. This is a great opportunity to do some Christmas shopping and support our team at the same time. Tell your friends, co-workers and anyone else who likes to save money. This is a great sale!

I personally love RMP. I'd say most of the stuff I wear on he pool deck at practices comes from there, as does a lot of my footwear. This really is a great opportunity, I encourage you all to check it out.

Mike Thompson
Head Coach

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 2 Milton Da$h for Ca$h

I feel like I should be shocked by our performances this weekend in Milton. I feel like I should be, but I'm not. These performances, these athletes, this club is what we have been talking about since I took over as Head Coach 3 seasions ago. This was the type of weekend I had envisioned and I couldn't be happier with our results.

Since I am not home right now (dinner at my Mommy's) I will have to wait until tomorrow to download results so that I don't misspell names or misreport times. Check into my blog tomorrow for a full report.

I am very happy with our club right now! Even if your name wasn't mentioned yesterday, please know that I am very proud of you and you are an important part of something big! Good work everyone!


UPDATE -- I did not realize, but am proud to report that Matt Fox also qualified for Age Group Nationals in 800FR. So did Kyle Haas in 100BR.

Milton Da$h for Ca$h

Yesterday (and today) was the first real competition that our team has had since last season. The first meet of the season is always really interesting because we get to see how well kids handle the stress of competiton, their decision making skills and get a general look at how everyone is swimming right now; RIGHT NOW being the key words. Especially for the younger kids (for some of them it may be their first meet) its the way we get some of the bugs out and they learn what they are allowed to do and not allowed to do by coming face to face with the officials at the meets.

Swims of note in my mind from day 1:
- Kyle Haas nearly broke the 15 year old club record for Men 15 & Over 100BR set back in 1996 by a 20-something year old Jon Newcombe (yes, that guy)... Kyle has only been in the age category for 4 months; he was .26 seconds away. Aaron Brautigham also pealed 2 seconds from his time from last season nearing the provincial standard.
- Sam Ceci lowered her time in 100FLY by almost 2 seconds.
- Karl Massey had a pretty good 400FR (best time by over a second) and went 29 for the first time SC in 50BK.
- Keri-Lyn Copeland went 29.95 for 50FR. First time under 30 and provincial standard.
- Bjoern-Ole Schrader had 2 great races (2 personal bests) and qualified for provincials for 100FLY and 800FR.
- Matt Fox took over 20 seconds off his 800FR (final time of 9:42) for his first 13 year old provincial time. He has been 13 for just over a month.
- Trevor Burwell took 3 seconds off his 800FR to obtain that provincial qualifying time.
- Emma Fender had a rough start to her best event and finished slower than we wanted but was able to turn around the rest of the day and PB in 50FR and 200IM.
- Brittney Dortona took almost a minute off of her 400FR time as well as having an outstanding 100FLY.
- Carter Deforest's fist 400FR was outstanding. He was able to post a time faster than most of our 11 year olds from last season.
- Brooklyn Shelley had an outstanding day! Central Region qualified swims in both 100BR and 200IM.
- Justin Lockhart had an outstanding day as well. Great 50FR and 200IM swims (200IM really blew me away).
- Livy Olson had a bit of a rough day in her first meet but her effort and attitude are outstanding. I have never had an athlete hand me a bloody tooth and ask me to hold it while they swim a race.
- Alex Mancusso and Jordon Stott are 2 very strong younger swimmers to watch! Both had outstanding RACES (race being the key point).
- Clancy "Dream Crusher" Harris had outstanding races all day long. 800FR was about 30 seconds faster than she had ever done and kicked it in in the last 14m to beat the girl next to her.
- Nolan Haas's times have really dropped and he looks a lot bigger than he actually is in the water. 100BR time came down significantly as did 100FLY and 200IM. This could be a very good season for Nolan.
- Ali Taran had a good day and went pain free for the first time in a while.
- Avery Jans climbed to a whole new level, trashing her old times by a huge margin.
- Isaac West posted 2 best times since returning to swimming from surgery and limited practice ability.
- Bronte McMaster looks like a whole new person swimming with real purpose in all of her events yesterday. PBs? Oh Ya!

I was very excited and happy about the performances of HHBF especially in comparison to our main competition, the Milton Marlins. Milton has had a proud history of consistantly pushing out strong, new athletes. But this season, it looks like that title is going to belong to the Blue Fins. Heat after heat and race after race, events were being taken by Blue Fins swimmers. I swell up with pride just thinking about it. Our coaching staff is doing a great job, but more importantly, our athletes are doing a great job for them. I think that collectively, we represented ourselves well and showed both teams and individuals that HHBF is not a flash in the pan.

A quick note to new parents: especially in the first meet swimming longer, more complicated races, it is very normal for an athlete to be disqualified at least once. The stress of racing is new and athletes make paniced decisions which are sometimes illegal ones, and THATS OKAY. The point of a meet like this is to teach these athletes how to deal with the environment and to learn from their mistakes. Coaches can tell them something, but learning from experience is invaluable.

I am not able to be in Milton today, as the elite group has a training commitment elsewhere. I hope that today went as well (or better if possible) than yesterday. Congratulations to all BLUE FINS for an outstanding weekend!

Mike Thompson
Head Coach

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wednesday Video

Today's video is from the 1998 World Championships when 2 of the fastest men in the wold (at the time) went head to head in 100FR. Australia's Michael Klim and Russia's Alexander Popov were at the top of their game in the 90s. They were also training partners in Australia during the time of this race.

A couple of things are worth noting here:
1.) The winner (Popov) went 48.93 which was 1/2 a second slower than his world record. This was after being STABBED IN THE CHEST by a watermelon vendor on the streets of Moscow in 1996 which punctured his lung and kidney (I didn't make that up...
2.) This is way before the time of tech suits. Most of these guys are wearing Lycra breifs (Lychra jammers absorb water and make you slower, but few people listen to me when I tell them that... breifs are much faster unless you have a tech jammer).
3.) This was at the height of Australian swimming when Kiran Perkins, Michael Klim, Ian Thorpe and others dominated the world scene. It was their hope to have the fastest sprinter in the world. Klim honestly didn't think that Popov would ever return to fast swimming after his attack in 1996. Klim later said that he was very disappointed that he lost and blown away that Popov was under 49 seconds.
4.) Brent Hayden was only a second faster this summer with 10 years of sports science and technology that didn't exist in 1998. Popov's world record was only 2 tenths of a second slower than Hayden's time this summer (again without any tech suits or comperable sport science).
5.) Popov was very full of himself and appologized for NOTHING. See these additional videos of him below. Some of his quotes are priceless. In his defence, he has good reason to believe that he is immortle... he was the best ever, then he survives being stabbed in the lung... then returns to being the best in the world... hard to think poorly of yourself under those conditions.

Below is a documentary about Popov for those of you who may be interested in him. To qualify the video, it was produced and written by his coach who was trying to propagandize himself into being the best coach ever. It should be noted that most of the theories and "secrets" about swimming in this video have been dispelled as just theory by Bob Bauman (Michael Phelps's coach) and others who have since changed the sport and rewritten the record board. For those of you who think that there is more than 1 way to skin a cat... should I be alarmed that you are skinning cats?? Is that legal??

Enjoy the video below, but please take it for what it is worth: its dated, but worth a watch. I can find some good pearls of wisdom in it.

UPDATE: after watching this video for 20min, the statement was made that for anyone to break Popov's record of 48.23, he would have to be taller than Popov. Popov is
6'3". Brent Hayden is 3cm shorter than Popov. Cesar Cielo, who holds the current WR (with a banned suit) of 46.91, is the same height.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Test set

Hi parents,

We will be doing our 7x200fr test set tomorrow (Saturday October 30th) from 6am-8am. The elite group will do the test at the same time but will be done at 730 in order to make it to the gym on time. You are all welcome to join us on the deck to help time and record stats. Please note the time change and activities for the morning. Thanks!

Mike Thompson

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Are You "In Shape"?

There has been a lot of talk early in the season about how "In Shape" everyone is. Athletes say in passing "I'm in bad shape", or "you're in such good shape". I, personally, am in terrible shape... in that I am in no condition for any type of physical activity. But what does it mean?

There should be an important distinction between "In Shape" and "Fit". Fit would refer to your fitness level, whereas in shape would refer to your fitness level for a particular activity. For example: If you run every day, you are fit. You may even be able to run a marathon, but are you in shape to swim? Most triathletes are fit, but can they swim well? Unless they are swimmers first... usually not.

Lot of our athletes do get involved in other sports during the swim season. In some cases, they need to miss a practice in order to do other sports and I often get asked my opinion on this, so I feel it will be helpful to share my opinion in this forum for more than one person at a time.

Especially for athletes 12 and under, I have no issue with a swim practice being missed for other sports. Specifically in the case of 12 and unders, other sports can actually be beneficial because these athletes are still actively learning abilities like coordination, agility, balance. These do not need to be learned in the pool, and in some cases it is beneficial to learn them outside of the pool. What these athletes lose in pool time, they will make up for while doing the other sport. Another benefit for athletes of this age is they do not have to become sport specific at such a young age that they get bored with 1 sport. As I have said many times before, I have little interest in HHBF having the fastest 12 year olds in Canada an nothing else: I want to have the fastest 17-22 year olds in Canada. If they quit before that because they're bored, it becomes difficult to obtain that goal.

For older athletes it becomes more difficult. As athletes begin to grow, the window of learning on the above abilities starts to close so the ability to make up the difference becomes more difficult. For example, Athelete A will gain a general physical benefit from running 10km, but will lose a water specific skill session. So as athelets get older, it becomes more difficult to balance more than 1 sport (age range of about 12-13 for girls an 13-15 for boys). As athletes approach their peak height velocity (the most speed they will get from their puberty growth) dedication to swimming becomes more important, especially since these athletes will gain no more "accidental" speed from getting bigger. This is when skill and skill execution under stress becomes particularly imporant... or as some may call it: "Being in good swimming shape".

So you can be FIT but not IN SHAPE. The line doesn't really apply until you are in your early teens usually, but once there swimming needs to become a focus.

Swimming is a funny sport to try to explain. It is very complex. If you were a weight lifting coach, you only need to learn to train 1 energy system and to build muscle. Swim coaches have all 3 energy systems to train and balance, as well as over 14 athletic abilities, AND we usualy work with athletes for 5-10 years an have to adjust as they grow and change. There is much more to this sport than just swimming up and down a lane. Parents sometimes do not see that and athletes sometimes do not get involved in this side of training (especially teenaged boys... they have lots of other things going on in their brains). Its not all about the volume of training (distance/hours) but more about the type of training (quality/distance/hours).


The following video was shown in yesterday's mental training session with Anne Ottenbright. It's a Nike commercial about trash talk. It has nothing to do with my write up above, but the athletes really liked it so I thought I woul post it here. Enjoy...

Mike Thompson
Head Coach

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Video & General Thoughts

I would like to start this post by asking you NEVER to click on another Google ad EVER again! Google has suspended my ad account because I have been asking people to click on ads, which I find ridiculous, since they benefited from the traffic no matter how they were clicked. Anyway, Google refuses to pay me for the past 5 months of having those ads on my site and the clicks and I cannot do anything about it... except tell you all how Google is refusing ro pay me and ask that you never click on another Google ad again as long as you live. Thanks to everyone who supported me by clicking on ads in the past few months.

The Elite group is exhausted due to an upage in distance since Friday. Last night, I could tell that things were not going well as they were having trouble kicking off of walls and generally had little energy. It has forced me to rewrite my week and tweek this cycle of the season a bit, but I'd rather do that than realize that I've pushed too hard too far down the road. I have to hand it to these 12 swimmers, they really have committed themselves to the program this season and are training very well. I had a few comments from those swimmers saying that they were reluctant to cut down on the work this week even though they were tired, which I appreciate, but I don't want people beat down too early in the season. We have another 9 months left; we can afford to take it slow.

Today's video takes a look at backstroke starts in slow motion from the 2004 Olympics from both over water and under water POV. Backstroke starts have always been interesting to me because I feel that they are taught in too many different ways... most of them wrong. As you can see in the video below, every single one of these athletes has a different type of start: different start position, differenthead position on the start, different order of body parts leaving the wall... but they all have 1 thing in common: everyone's hips stay still until they lift from the water and everyone's butt and knees completely clear the water on the start. Watch...

Now take a look at this one...

In both cases, the athletes use the starting bar as leverage to get themselves off the blocks and ABOVE the water. Backstroke starts (as much as I am told I am wrong by some other coaches) are dives off the wall. Like the other starts, legs are a major part of it but if your arms do not drive you upwards, you just meet water resistance right away when you let go.

This was something that I never truely mastered when I swam, even though I was a pretty good backstroker. Its funny now when I break down movements I think "Well, if someone would have just explaned it to me like this, I would have been 55.50 instead of 56.50 for my 100BK."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Kaitlyn Fox Foundation

I had a blast last night at the Kaitlyn Fox Foundation's annual fund raiser put on by Laurie and David Fox. It was the first time that I dressed up for a Halloween party since University, and being rusty at the dress up game, I stole some of my daughter's dress up clothes and went as Dora the Explorer (I'm sure that pictures will show up eventually). I was really great to see everyone in a social environment, supporting the foundation set up by the Fox family to educate families about vaccinations. David and Laurie are so strong and have so much heart. I admire them and treasure them as friends. I encourage you all to visit their website for more info on their foundation.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Correction to Yesterday's post and other stuff

I would like to make a correction to yesterday's blog. How could I forget ROMANA MATTHEWS of Laureintian University who is another GDHS alumni swimming in University. Romana will actually be competing with an HHBF cap this season post University competition. I hope that I made this correction before she noticed. So to recap, there are currently 2 swimmers from GDHS Rebels swimming at University, not 1 as I posted yesterday. Sorry, Romana!

Last night, former National Team member and one of the fastest breaststrokers in Canadian history, Jen Noddle, came to visit our Gold group to share some knowlege with them about breaststroke. I feel that her visit went very well. Although less meterage than normal, Jen spent lots on time on body position and teaching. The girls in the Gold group were especially engaged and I think that the group in general learned something. I was happy to have Jen Noddle in especially since I could not get the Gold group to meet with Jen Button on Saturday. I will continue to draw on my network of resources to keep these swimmers exposed to new visitors, ideas, drills and techniques as often as possible. I just don't want to drain my resources too early in the season.

The Video of the day is one that was sent to me by Kyle Haas earlier this week. Kyle asks if the swimmer in the video (listed as Hill Taylor on You Tube) is faster than Ryan Lochte. My imediate answer is no. The video I posted a couple of weeks ago of Ryan doing 50 dolphin kick underwater was done at a swim clinic in California. Ryan was likely not well rested (he has a reputation as a bit of a party animal) and was asked with no prep to demonstrate how fast he could kick 50 underwater. 25.01 seconds with no prep is VERY good! Hill Taylor kicks it in 23.10 in this video during a LC University meet (it looks like in the southern USA). So is Hill Taylor faster?

Does it matter? Have you ever heard of Hill Taylor? How many world records does he hold? He was obviously fast enough to make the final of 50BK at a University meet, but his prelim time was only 28.43. Kyle Haas, on paper, you are faster. Ryan Locte, on the other hand, holds the WR for 200IM LC and has held both IMs and both BK events SC. So I defend that Ryan Lochte has nothing to worry about from Hill Taylor (based on this video).

As I have mentioned several times this season, the fastest people in the world are getting faster by mastering underwater dolphin kick. Lots of people have gotten very good at it. Maybe rules should be put in place for it and it should be considered an event. Can you imagine the level of difficulty of a LC 100m underwater dolphin kick? Obviously a WR at this point would be silly because there are no rules. Hill Taylor rolls (did I spell that one right, Lori?) onto his stomach before he finishes which, in my book, should be against the rules for that event. Butterfly came to be a stroke as a variation of breaststroke, so maybe this is the new event. What do you think? Email me... not that I can make it happen or anything... Just want to know what you think.

In the mean time, enjoy the video below. DQ or not, it is very cool to watch.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

OFSAA and the damage it does...

I would like to preface this entry by the usual: These are my opinions only and do not reflect those of Swim Ontario, The SNC, Coaches of Canada, Coaches of Ontario or of HHBF.

It is Late October and the beginning of the High School swim season. HHBF mornings go earlier (which I love) and the pool deck is jam packed with GDHS Rebels swimmers when HHBF completes their 70min workout. It amazes me how many swimmers show up for the Rebels every season... well, maybe amazed isn't the word... Astonished? Shocked? I'm not really sure.

Many of these swimmers are former Blue Fins who, for whatever reasons, left HHBF to pursue a swim career with less training and less competition in their races. Some of them are new comers to the sport and some just join to throw it on a University application. Whatever the reason it is a mixed emotion for me and I always find myself torn.

The OFSAA rules for swimming are quite unique in that they separate anyone who is affiliated with a club program and force them to compete against ONLY others that are affiliated with a club program. For example, a high school athlete who swims for a club but does not qualify for a regional championship MUST compete against the provincial champion in that event. Meanwhile, athletes who are not affiliated with a club may compete against others who are not, even if that person had been swimming with a club from age 4 until the week before the high school season starts. Does this seem fair to anyone...?

Further to this, HHBF had be plagued with reasonably good athletes leaving in the past just to get the advantage of NOT having to swim against other club athletes... Yes, athletes that were provincial level (sometimes higher) would stop swimming to avoid the competition of other club athletes and dominate the High School meets. Stop me when this seems unfair to you...

I am torn by OFSAA's rules because it does have a positive side... mainly that athletes will join because they don't have to worry about getting killed by the provincial champion... however, athletes still competed in High School ball even though they had to compete against Lebron James and St Mary's. Club athletes still compete at meets where they know they have no chance of winning their event... so what is the true benefit of this? Swimming is a life skill, so I'm glad people join my sport for that skill... however, the Town of Halton boasts the most lifeguards per capita in Ontario (don't quote me on that stat, I heard it casually in conversation but cannot find it in writing), so team or not, people are still learning this skill. So what is the advantage of separating the athletes like this?

One major down side to this is that CIS swimming suffers HUGE! Its great that there are student swimmers (non club) that can do a 2:02 or faster for 200FR but they only train for 4 months of the year... and only a few hours/week at that. Don't get me wrong, they are very talented athletes, but they are not used to the demands that training requires. Once they arrive at University, the problems start... allow me to elaborate:

Swimmer A arrives at the University of Western Ontario for their first year of University. They won OFSAA in their category, swam club until they were 13 and then quit to swim for their High School. They think that their pretty good and want to compete for the University. Here is the catch; Western asks that students make a min of 7 workouts/week. Western also has to make cuts because they can only cary so many athletes on their team. Student A is out of shape and is discouraged by the National Record holder in the lane next to them on the first day. They decide that they cannot maintain 7 workouts/week and keep up with school work. Student A quits. Canada loses a very talented athlete. End of story.

This happens EVERYWHERE and it is not new. I swam at WLU with several National record holders and medalists. We were joined by a non-club breaststroker one year who won OFSAA with a time of 1:06 for 100BR. Pretty fast, but this athlete lasted less than a full season before deciding that he could not handle the requirements on him between school and swimming.

There are obviously different tiers of University teams and some do exist where anyone could walk on (Ryerson comes to mind), but many of them now: Guelph, Western, U of T, Ottawa, Laurentian, Waterloo are amongst University teams that are dominated by FAST club swimmers. They all run with a club structure of workouts and would be like a high school athlete joining the top group of any club. How many high school athletes are willing to do that?

I had a conversation with a Rebel this morning who told me he was planning on attending one of these universities next season and that he planned on swimming. When I recomended that he join HHBF at the end of his high school season so that he could get himself in decent shape without impacting his OFSAA eligability this season, he grew concerned that it would interfere with his school work. This athlete is pretty good. It's sad for me that Canada will likley lose this athlete to "studies" unless he, and more like him, are willing to treat themselves like athletes. If I can graduate University with a double major while training 18-22 hours/week, I'm almost positive smart people can do it too.

So here is the point of my argument: this year GHDS Rebels will get probably 100 people on thier team. How many of them will go on to swim at University? The Rebels usually have upwards of 80 people / year on their team... how many are in a University program right now? 1. Jenn Ormiston now swims for WLU and placed top 10 in 50BR this past weekend at a large meet in Guelph. Great result for her and she is setting a fantastic example for the other 80 people/year who do not make it... but tell me that those 80 couldn't make it. I can show you data that proves that they can, they would rather find an easier way. OFSAA is teaching them to look for that easier way.

The OFSAA structure must change if Canada really wants to "Own the Podium". Its a gold mine here with the amount of athletes in Ontario that end up fizzeling out before their careers even really begin. Arguing against this easy way for athletes to win is not far off of arguing against doping in my books. I say it is time to break this separation and treat Swimming the same as Cross Country, Basketball, Volleyball, Track, Tennis... come to think of it, lets treat it like most other sports. I see no value in this separation at all and see much benefit in it's repeal since most of our athletes don't make it to University, thus evaporating prior to their prime. Swim Ontario must know that most of our athletes are sitting on their couches instead of training in a pool... and yet they do not demand any change and still sanction the OFSAA Championships. The frustration always begins in October.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

LC time @ WLU

Things were a little hectic today with our WLU workout. The lifeguards had pushed the bulkhead to the wrong end of the pool and so the lane ropes would not fit... so we had to stop our workout and push the bulkhead to the other end of the pool. We also had a bit of a coaching shortage which left me a little busier than usual. I had also planned on using the starting blocks for some start work, but that didn't really go the way I wanted. All in all, it was a bit of a stressful afternoon, but stress is good. Better yet, our ability to function and adjust our game plans under stress was good. I still think that we had a very solid workout between 4 groups and the groups under all 4 plans got exactly what they needed (and Gold got a little bit more). All in all, we still come out ahead, as I was able to get a great rate on the pool time from Nandi (head coach of WLU and ROW). Thank you everyone for coming and for your patience as we get use to using a new pool (new for us).

I lived in Kitchener until I was 16 and spent more hours than I can count swimming up and down the WLU lanes. Being there today brought back a lot of memories. The ROW record board on the pool deck is decorated with swimmers that I used to be close with. The memorial plaque of Victor Davis with a replica of his medal is still on the wall. It looks a lot nicer and cleaner after the renovation in 2009 (the bulk head is also about 20x lighter), but it still reminds me of a lot of good times.

Getting back to the record board, Jen Button's name is still displayed proudly as is Victor Davis' and others that I remember fondly. I thought I would post this video of former ROW member and one of the funniest men I've ever met, Takashi Yamamoto from Japan and his insanely fast 200FLY. His record with ROW is 1:54.13 LC. He was an intense training machine who could kick under 1min LC for 100FLY. Seeing his name on the board made me chuckle a little and made me wonder what he's up to these days. Ah, to be young again. Enjoy the video.