Saturday, March 31, 2012

Trials - Saturday

Going to be an exciting night! Women's 200BR is going to be a very close race and as will men's 200BK. Friend of HHBF, Tobias Oriwol, was well under Canadian Record pace this morning and shut it down with 25m to go so that should prove to be a very intense 2min.

I came across this article earlier today that I think is a good read as we near the closing of trials. Check it out!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Olympic Trials Day 3

Exciting couple of days with a ton of upsets and excitement. Stefan Hernyak shut out of his second Olympic team by the unheralded David Sharp of Halifax, Amanda Reason making a career resurgence by qualifying as a 4x200FR relay swimmer (should be a VERY good relay this summer btw) and Mike Brown failing to qualify for the Olympics. HHBF is staying with OAK at Olympic Trials, so today was exceptionally exciting with Tara Van Beilen qualifying for her first Olympic Team in 100BR. What a roller coaster of a weekend and we're only half way done.

One thing that is not clear to many is how someone makes the Olympic Team. You used to have to win the event, but that s no longer so. Now you must win under a time standard in order to go for sure. If you are not under that standard, you must be below a second, slower, standard and are then nominated for the team. Those people will not learn their fate until July. See the explanation below.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Trials Day 1

Lesson of the day: 13-14 year old boys should start working their butts off in 400IM!!

Simply put, 400IM is not overly competitve. 4:17 won it and then a lot of people are between 4:25-4:35 which isn't that quick on a world stage. Learn strategy and work on it NOW!!! 13-14 year old boys; here is your opening. You'll be the ones here in 4 years. TAKE ADVANTAGE NOW!!!

Brittany MacLean (friend of #coachmikepodcast) set a new Canadian Record in womens 400FR and both her and Savannah King made the team. It was a crazy busy day and I'm putting the finishing touches on some video and I hope to have that up soon but Kyle Haas races 100bk tomorrow, so that job comes first. See you all soon and I hope you're all watching at home.

Monday, March 26, 2012

T'was The Night Before Trials...

Here is the dynamic view from the deck of the Montreal Olympic pool (not easy to get while so many people are moving so cut me some slack here...).

The atmosphere is electric and Swim Canada is about to put on a great show! All of the stars are here and are ready to race hard and fast. Stay tuned for updates. This is going to be awesome!!

Special thanks to Sean Baker and OAK for letting HHBF tag along! Tune into Sportsnet nightly for live coverage of finals. You wont want to miss anything that these guys have in store.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mens Division I NCAA Championships

Check out the "Fastest Meet in the World" results this weekend (my quotes are not to demean the meet, it really is bloody fast!). Keep in mind that this meet is in yards, but for relevance sake, I will convert the times. For any guys hoping for scholarships in the future:

Yesterday's 200IM in prelims:
1st place: 1:42.70scy (1:54.62scm)
8th place: 1:43.72scy (1:55.72scm)
16th place: 1:45.09scy (1:57.29scm)
Meet qualifying: 1:49.25scy (2:01.93scm)

Yesterday's 50FR in prelims:
1st place: 19.04scy (21.24scm)
8th place: 19.41scy (21.66scm)
16th place: 19.62scy (21.90scm)
Meet Qualifying: 20.29scy (22.65scm)

Keep a keen eye on the results over the weekend for Canadian names that will also appear next week at Olympic Trials like Matthew Swanston, Nick Karpov and Chad Bobrovski. Its a great meet, but it is sooooo important to know whats going on in the swimming world. You can also stream prelims and finals video from all 3 divisions HERE.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

For anyone who missed this last night...

For anyone who did not watch the Rick Mercer Report last night on CBC, he did a segment at the VAS including friend of #coachmikepodcast, Randy Bennett and some of his swimmers; Ryan Cochrane, Blake Worsley and Julia Wilkinson. Take the time to check it out; I am not a Rick Mercer fan, but it was humorous and definitely relevant to me. I enjoyed it. Support exposure of our sport!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Womens Div 1 NCAAs

For those of you who may be thinking an NCAA scholarship, pay attention to the results from this week's womens NCAA Division 1 Championships. How many of our top Canadians do you see in the listings? Get an idea how how fast these races truly are and if where you would fit (note; the times are in yards, but a savvy swimmer knows where to look to convert those times roughly).

Time Conversions Utility

To save you time:
- The top women went approx. 23.95 for 50FR this morning in prelims. 16th place was about 24.98.
- The top women went approx. 2:06.46 for 200IM in prelims. 16th place was 2:11.52.

coachmikepodcast episode 16

New podcast episode up for download. This week I rant about "doing your best" and chat with former Canadian Olympian, Jen Fratesi about what swimming meant to her and how it prepared her for her career in Radiology. Check it out! Will be available for download from iTunes by Saturday March 17th.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

More Guest Posts:

I want to diversify more and get more coaches and athletes involved in this blog, so stay tuned for more interesting contributions in the next month or so.

John Mcleod is a coach with NYAC whom I have grown to know well over the past few seasons. John is another young coach trying to make his way through the "Old Boys Club". As you can see in his contribution to this site; John has a very good understanding of what success takes. John joins the blog with this reflection on success written just after the Christmas holidays.

The following is a post about what athlete’s value and how they are influenced. This is all speculation on my part but hopefully informative nonetheless.

Over the holidays I had ample free time to do whatever I wanted. I could have watched a movie, gone to the gym or pool whenever I wanted or read a book. For the majority of the holidays I did just that, but I also started my ASCA level 1 international coach course. I came upon a small article within the coaching book concerning Motivation as a Key for Learning and it was entitled Extrinsic versus intrinsic. The basic summary of the section in question is what drives an athlete to perform and it answers that with extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. An example being a medal is extrinsic and the satisfaction of accomplishment being an intrinsic. It tells the swim coach to guide an athlete towards seeking out their own intrinsic rewards and holding them in higher regard than an extrinsic reward. These made a world of sense to me and made me realize we, as adults, naturally do this (for the most part) but children need to be taught this. So I decided to elaborate on this.

First you need to define your Intrinsic and Extrinsic rewards. By definition, anything intrinsic is of or relating to the essential nature of a thing; inherent. Simply put, it defines you and who you are. For example: The grades you get in school are an extrinsic reward of the hard work, dedication and ultimately time you invested in your class. The feeling of relief, satisfaction and pride is your intrinsic reward for receiving that grade. Ask yourself this: which feeling do you want more of? Yes, getting a good grade is a great feeling and counts towards applications of schools, but ultimately it ends there. The sense of pride and satisfaction carries you even farther and ultimately helps you out in other aspects of life such as your athletics, career and family.

I wanted to focus on athletics because frankly it’s where I am most comfortable and have the greatest experience guiding people. It’s easiest for me to figure out my intrinsic/extrinsic rewards with my swimmers. I asked several coaches and my own swimmers what they value (what kind of reward) they look for in athletics, here were some answers

Winning a ribbon/medal
A coach congratulating you
Achieving a time standard
Winning a scholarship/bursary

Being proud of an accomplishment
Developing a love of the sport
Wanting to return for more work
Feeling loyal to a teammate or team

I originally wanted to make this article about the guiding influences (school, parents, athletics, friends) and how you shift your value in them towards your own family and career but I’m going to save that for another time. The point of this article was two-fold:
1. Sort out your priorities and think about why you compete/train
2. Plan out some new realistic goals and develop a new passion for this sport

Swimming is an amazing sport, like a lot of endurance sports such as X country skiing it involves a lot of endurance work but also like athletics and basketball there are short-speed bursts of power and strength. I believe that swimming is one of the best well-rounded sports in terms of the requirements to be successful in it. You need technical skill, a well-balanced schedule for the immense training demands and countless other needs. I read a quote in the Michael Phelps biography and it went along the lines of this

I loved to play any sport, football, lacrosse, track, you name it and I tried it. Inevitably, whenever my friends found out I was a swimmer they laughed and said anybody could swim. I always invited them to my workouts but none of them ever showed up. I guarantee you I could finish a football workout or a hockey practice, maybe just barely but I could do it. I guarantee it if you stuck a hockey player or a football player in my pool that none of them would even finish my warm up

The point of this article should be clear. You guys (swimmers) are already very skilled and adept and have achieved a lot in your life already. Has what you already achieved really what you originally set out to achieve. Is what you wrote on your goal sheets last year or the year before really what you wanted this year? Hopefully the answer isn’t yes and I can impart a little more advice.

The article in the coaching book talked about the shift from an intrinsic reward to an extrinsic reward. The coach needs to teach the athlete how to make that shift, easy enough, right? I doubt it honestly, every swimmer is different and every coach is different in their own respects. Coaches aren’t like managers at big chains or stores. We don’t have a clear and concise expectation for us. Generally speaking our expectations for coaches are as vague as oversee training of x,y or z group to as specific as have an emergency action plan in place. It’s very broad if you think about it. And the same goes for a swimmer.

Swimmers in their early teens naturally seek out extrinsic rewards. I can’t explain the psychology here or any facts but in my observation, they naturally want approval from their peers, parents and coaches. This is healthy; it clears the air, allows open conversation and relates experiences with other athletes. MY job as a coach, to shift them towards these intrinsic rewards can be accomplished in many ways. The best way to do this is to manage emotions in training and at competitions. I help them set out clear and possible goals and then set out a plan to achieve these goals. I ask them how they’re day is going and get to know them on a personal level because that it is where the subtlest but most profound changes take place.

Don’t get me wrong, extrinsic rewards are not useless, they are a great reminder of an accomplishment, but ultimately how you feel inside and what you take pride in will define you more as a person. What do you think was more rewarding for Michael Phelps? Those 8 gold medals he won in 17 days during the 2008 Olympics or the sense of accomplishment and realization of all the hard work and sacrifice getting him up there. Those 8 gold medals will hold less and less meaning as he gets older but that sense of accomplishment and pride will stay as a strong and meaningful reminder for the rest of his life. He can use that in whatever career he chooses and in any aspect of his life he chooses.

What you feel inside and how you treat these feelings ultimately will define you, your results or achievements are just reminders of this.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

New Contributor to the Blog

I am always looking for new and exciting content for this blog and it is with great pride that I introduce new contributing member, Lindsay Seemann.

Lindsay is a 2008 Olympian who is currently a journalism on scholarship in Arizona. Lindsay has fought her way back from several illnesses and set backs and will swim at Olympic Trials in March. It is a great honor to have her contributing to this blog.

Here, she writes about her career from her perspective. Please join me in welcoming Lindsay.

I Swim for Me by Lindsay Seemann

The beauty and the curse of swimming is that no one can help you once the race starts. No one can fight your battles for you. In the water, you are all alone. This keeps your accomplishments close, and your failures closer. It always seems that we remember the bad races more than we remember the good ones.

Throughout my swimming career, I have seen the top of the podium and my name at the bottom of the results list. To quote one of my favorite movies, Friday Night Lights, “There isn't much difference between winning and losing, besides how the outside world treats you.”

It took me a long time to realize that the outside world isn't as a bad as our minds make it out to be. Swimming isn't a spectator sport, therefore very few people actually care about how well you perform. Your family, friends, coaches, and team mates only care because they want you to be happy. They witness determination and fear to see hard work go unanswered by your goals.

The past four years has been a roller coaster. I have had to fight a lot of battles and in swimming the only battles you fight are against yourself. There is no one tackling you at the one yard line, or cross checking you into the boards. The only opposition that can effect how fast you swim, is your own mind. In your lane there is nothing but water and a black line on the bottom.

There have been times I feel like this sport is rejecting me like a bad heart transplant. Coming back to swimming after having mononucleosis has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do in this sport. Constant hard work, with no pay off. I have been forced to celebrate small victory after small victory as I take steps towards achieving the level I used to be. I have to celebrate my progress instead of best times.

Results don't always add up. You may train hard, eat right, and still fail. Sometimes your best effort does not attain your goals. There is no answer for it. Its just a part of sport. I have been learning to happy with a race as long as I tried my best and know I did everything I could. How can I ask for more than my best effort? After all, the only expectations I want to live up to are my own.

“You have done it once, you can do it again,” is a haunting phrase I hear from the outside world. Just because you have done something before, doesn't make it an easier task, if anything it makes it harder.

Between the failures and small victories I have asked myself many times why I do this. Why do I swim? Through the pressure and stress, why do I swim? Because I am chasing a dream.

Making an Olympic team isn't easy, that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. If it were, the Olympic Games would not be anything special.

Before I made the 2008 Olympic team, I was just a girl with a dream. I dreamed big and without fear. As we approach 2012 Trials, I am an Olympian striving to repeat my past. I would do anything to go to just one more. The path I have taken the last four years has not been ideal, but I am only 19. Whether my next Olympics is 2012, 2016, or 2020, I would love to compete at that level again. Its not about attaching an Olympian title to my name, or earning the right to have a five-ringed tattoo. I already have those things. Its about chasing after a dream. Its about what makes me happy. I swim for me.

~Lindsay Seemann for Coach Mike's Blog