Coach Pete

Expert advice for Swimmers, Triathletes, and Coaches


It is my opinion that the word responsibility in swimming terms is defined as the ability of how you respond to different situations. For instance: Coach does not put you on the “A – Relay”. Are you responsible enough to respond to his decision in an appropriate manner? If you swim hard and don’t make your JO cut, or your sectional cut. Do you have the ability to respond in an appropriate manner? Or if you make your cut and set a team record, do you have the ability to respond in an appropriate manner?….to be a CHAMPION you must be RESPONSIBLE  

In my opinion accountability and responsibility go hand in hand no where in this post do we find the word “entitlement”. Last year I watched a TV segment on Dateline called the “Eco-Generation”. It was about children of baby boomers that were born in the 1980’S and beyond. This group of people have a sense of entitlement; they have high self esteem for no real reason, mostly because all their life they have been told that they have done a good job…therefor they are entitled to all the rewards. All you have to do is to participate, and you get a reward. All you have to do is to show up …and we give you a trophy! This is the way our society is going today. In Canada’s school system, schools are not giving failing marks any more they simple call it delayed success.

Swimming makes an attempt to give your children high levels of self esteem through hard work and strong effort. Coaches try to have them think and believe in themselves as winners. Coaches want them to think that they are not entitled to anything unless it’s earned! Coaches want them to learn how to handle situations that effect themselves as well as other people

Coaches want to teach them how to get up after being knocked down. Coaches teach them how to know when something good happens to them, we want them to not only see the flowers; we want them to smell them too!

In closing I want to share this short story with you. Someone asked, “why do you spend all day with your son fixing his bike when the bike shop down the street could fix it in an hour” and the father replied, “because I am building a son-not fixing a bike”

Swimming is all about building character, building people,building tradition,giving a sense of self and skills…this is what we teach in US Swimming, I hope you agree I would appreciate your comments

Coach Pete

January 31, 2008 Posted by | Age Group, Coaches, Parents | Leave a comment

Snorkel Drills

Snorkels are used to improve body balance and stroke efficiency, they are also used to improve lung capacity in regular training sets. The following are some favorite snorkel sets by former national team member Emily Mason while she trained with the University of Arizona

Favorite Set

8 X 50 on 1:00 with snorkel ( long course)

4 X 100 on 2:00 negative split with snorkel

2 X 200 on 4:00 #2 faster than #1 with paddles and Pull buoy

1 X 400 for time with snorkel

8 X 200 on 4:30 (by 50’s) 50 kick streamline no board/50 swim

Descend 1-4 two times


Bow and Arrow Drill

Use your snorkel for this drill – Beginners use should use fins. This drill was designed by University of Arizona Coach Rick DeMount. It is similar to catch-up, but more technical. One arm remains out front, sculling the water until you feel you have a good catch or hold of the water. Your other arm remains above your head , elbow high with your fingertips ready to slice or enter the water. Once your sculling hand begins the power part of the stroke, your slicing hand enters the water and begins the sculling phase. When your slicing hand enters the water make sure that you reach out and not down and remember to roll your body.

Equipment to use

The Freestyle Snorkel is the latest evolution to the original Swimmer’s Snorkel and is the first snorkel designed specifically for freestyle swimmers. The advanced shape of the snorkel fits closer to the face and does not rotate at the mouthpiece for a more streamlined fit with less resistance and increased stability. The new design allows the swimmer to achieve a lower head position during freestyle and therefore further optimize body position. You’ll feel it immediately and without the adverse effects of turbulence – even at top training speeds
Additional benefits include:
•New design uses centrifugal force generated during flip turns to greatly restrict water from entering the tube
•Ability to maintain a natural, rhythmic breathing pattern due to easy achievement of proper body position
•Optimum functionality and comfort from surgical-grade silicone tubing
•Elimination of purge valve results in an increased lung capacity to clear water from tube
•Increased CO2 tolerance and VO2 max from regular use
•Fully compatible with cardio cap (additional accessory) for stimulated altitude training

Finis Freestyler Snorkel

January 30, 2008 Posted by | Stroke Technique | Leave a comment


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                                           Team Weston Masters

2008 One Hour Postal Championships How far can you swim in one hour? The most popular postal event sponsored by USMS is back again after the first of the year. Anyone can participate in their own pool any time in January by swimming as far as they can in a one hour period while a friend or team mate logs your yardage and splits. The entry form for the one hour postal swim is available for download here. Pace charts and split sheets are available here for use in swimming postal events.

2008 Check-Off Challenge
How many different events do you swim each year? If you are like most Masters swimmers, you probably only enter a handful of different events over the course of the year and find yourself swimming the same events over and over. If so, the USMS Check-Off Challenge is for you. This USMS sponsored fitness event lets you challenge yourself to complete each of the 18 pool events some time during the year. Participants will receive a T-shirt with the event logo and a list of each of the events that you can “check off” as you swim them throughout the year. The next mailing of T-shirts will occur in mid-March, 2008, for entries received by February 28, 2008. Additional mailings may occur as needed. The entry form can be found here.

January 29, 2008 Posted by | Masters Swimming | Leave a comment

Butterfly Stroke

Yesterday I visited a small town in the Rocky Mountains called Estes Park. It is the last town just before entering the Rocky Mountain National Park. By now you must be saying,”Ok, so what does this have to do with butterfly stroke?” I took a photo of the majesty and power of this huge mountain. It was  awesome!


Then today I visited the Denver Aquarium with my grandchildren and watched the power and majesty of some of the most powerful fish in the world they to were awesome! And I thought to myself as awesome as the mountain was and as awesome as the fish  were, I tied the two together and thought a bit about butterfly stroke

A green sea turtle swims past a school of Raccoon Butterflyfish near Hawaii.

  Now this may seem as a weird analogy, but I think that you treat the butterfly stroke as that mountain to climb with it’s high peaks and slippery slopes. Then I think about how peaceful the fish were and how easily they moved through the water no matter how big they were or how powerful they were. They all had a feel for the water and used their body motion to move them swiftly and effortlessly.

If you use your body in a undulating motion keeping your weight up front and kicking from your hip using your legs as a whip. This motion alone will move you through the water. You have to relax and feel the water, not fight it!

A good drill that I have used with my age groupers was a drill that used fins. I would have them put their hands at their sides and keeping their feet together move their body’s in a see-saw motion pushing their chest down into the water and their butt popping up out of the water. This undulating motion moved them across the pool in a butterfly motion and gave them a feel for the water….try it, it may work for you, and don’t make it a mountain to climb, just relax and enjoy it. 

January 28, 2008 Posted by | Age Group, Stroke Technique | Leave a comment

Stroke efficiency

The fewer strokes you take, the more efficient you are and the less energy you expend. The trick is to master what it takes to do fewer strokes per lap while still maintaining your speed. I have found that swimmers lose interest in their swimming or fail to improve because they just swim – doing the same thing day after day. They workout hard, but they are just spinning their wheels. Swimming is a constant challenge, if you pick out something particular to work on you can enhance your chances of improvement. This type of approach to workouts also allows your mind to be open to the challenge. It’s a form of meditation when you concentrate on just one part of your stroke.

Here are a few things you might want to concentrate on while swimming freestyle

  • Keep pressure on the water



  • Hip shoulder rotation


  • Head Position one goggle in one goggle out of the water and high elbow recovery


January 25, 2008 Posted by | Stroke Technique | Leave a comment

TWA Swimmer Playing Water Polo at Colorado State University


Andrea Victoria playing water polo for Colorado State University

Last Night I had the privilege of watching one of our own Team Weston Swimmers play water polo at the EPIC Center Pool in Fort Collins Colorado. What impressed me so much was to watch a young lady who was a stand out player for St.Thomas High School take a different role as a player on a mature team of veteran players. Andrea was a shooting star at St. Thomas, and now she is playing defense for her college team. This shows me that Andrea has accepted her role to be a TEAM player. It shows me that her level of maturity is at a high level, she plays with little complaining and gives her all throughout the entire game. Her coach has been giving her a good amount of playing time considering that she is a freshman.

What really impressed me was to watch her Mom and Grandmother who traveled over 2100 miles  cheer for her in the teams first home game. As I wrote about earlier parents are wonderful supportive people.


Mom getting into the game………

January 25, 2008 Posted by | Age Group, Parents | 1 Comment

Parents are great people…….

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Parents are great people, they are loving, they are caring, they are supportive, they are many things. However the one thing that they are not is coaches. In most cases a parent who thinks they are helping their child by interfering with the coaching process, only confuses the child.

When you decided to get your child into competitive swimming I am sure that you checked out all the local swim clubs to find out what kind of an organization they were. Then you investigated the qualifications of the coaching staff,had a meeting with the head coach, and discussed his philosophy of coaching and  then made your decision based on all these findings.

When your coach is working with your child he/she is looking for those skills that he/she is teaching to be performed at practice as well as meets. If you think that what he/she is teaching is wrong or not what you expected – talk to the coach….don’t start making stroke corrections with your child. Don’t discuss race strategies with your child…you don’t know what the coach already has discussed with your child. In simple terms just be MOM or DAD…not coach! Interfering with the coaching process only confuses your child. They don’t want to disappoint you and they don’t want to disappoint the coach

Your child needs your support, your understanding, your hugs…even when they are dead last! Take the pressure of winning off their back. Most of all let your coach …COACH!       

January 24, 2008 Posted by | Parents | Leave a comment

How do we coach the 10 and under Phenom

DSC_0001  jo cuts 006  Dsc_0005 Emma Lincoln

Jenna Moodie        Andrea Vallejo      Bogdan Cioanta       Emma Lincoln

I have coached all of the above swimmers,  Junior Olympic Champions, National Top 16, and Florida Gold Coast All Stars….all accomplished as 10 and under’s. Are they off to the Olympics? and are they superstars? should they be treated any different than the rest of your 10 and under’s? My experience coaching young age groupers has been, to not get too excited about the Phenom. Many parents get very excited at this early success and that is understandable. However as a coach you have to take things very slowly and with little pressure on the child. The burn out ratio of young age group swimmers is extremely high. Many swimmers who have had great success as age group swimmers never get passed the aging up process. I have known swimmers that quit the sport by the time they were 15 years old due to too mush pressure to soon by both parents and coaches.

Be patient and let them be ten years old, have them do the same workout that your entire group is doing, don’t start loading them up with more yardage. Be very patient, and the end result will be a great reward. Work very hard on the foundation of proper stroke technique, rather than beating them up with intense hard long workouts.

Teach them the value of being patient, and work with their parents as to what your game plan is for their swimming Phenom. 

January 23, 2008 Posted by | Age Group, Parents | 1 Comment

Quotable Quotes

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Only those risking to go far will ever know how far they can go

Only a mediocre person is always at his /her best.

Practice is 90% physical – 10% mental. Championship meets are 10% physical- 90% mental

Pride, intense pride, that’s what it all comes down to.

Practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.

People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they themselves discovered than by those which have come from others.

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People who feel good about themselves produce good results.

Swim each practice as if it was the most important practice of the year.

Take the best team and the worst team. Line them up and you would find very little difference. You would find an emotional difference. The winning team has dedication – they don’t accept defeat.

Take all defeats as a temporary setback

Don’t ever give up!

January 22, 2008 Posted by | Age Group | 5 Comments

Some interesting thoughts

As I sit at my computer this morning, I watch the new fallen snow out my window and think of what shall I write about today. What came to mind was this interesting photo I took at the Capitol Building in Tallahassee, Florida shows that you just can’t get away from swimming now matter where you are. Talahassessee 127 

It was part of a mural that depicted all of the wonderful recreational activities in the state.


There is another photo that comes to my mind and it is of Pope Benedict XVI and his feeling’s about sports


Sports Can Be aid to Personal Development
When sports are pursued in the right spirit and with respect for dignity they can promote the development of the person, Pope Benedict said. The holy father explained when he received the Austrian national alpine ski team in audience. He explained: “sports can help man to see his own capacities as talents and life as a gift from god,” “even when sports are pursued at high levels it is necessary to preserve the interior harmony between body and spirit, not reducing sports to a mere seeking after results”.

Then there is another photo that really amuses me. It is a photo of an old plastic toy shark.I found this shark around the pool, left by some child who had been playing in the pool before practice. During practice I had the shark in my hand and while giving out the workout for the day, I had put down the shark on one of the start blocks as the swimmers got set in their lanes and continued the workout. At the end of the day the kids in the lane that I had placed the shark on, all said to the other kids ” Coach thought that we were the fastest swimmers in the pool today”, the other kids asked why they thought that. They said, “look he put a shark on our lane”. Seeing an opportunity to motivate young swimmers I gave the shark each day to the swimmer who I thought was the hardest worker for that day. This went on for about two or three weeks.It was great fun!

weston sweimmers 032    

The FAST Shark…….

January 21, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment