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.