Coach Pete

Expert advice for Swimmers, Triathletes, and Coaches

Keep them Motivated

How many times have you come to the pool and found that the only person motivated and ready to work was you? Your swimmers were in some sort of funk and not with today, just not ready to give their all. Maybe you have been pushing too hard, maybe they need some sort of diversion, some sort of activity other than swimming that can bring them together as one family so to speak.

I have found this to be very helpful and productive. Below is a photo of Team Weston with their fearless leader on a Family bike ride after a Saturday morning practice. We stopped had some bagels and made our return trip back to the pool. On Monday afternoon practice they were up and ready to….Give it a try, it might work well for you, be inventive find some activity that will encourage your swimmers to be a TEAM…Team Weston and bike ride

Lighten up on them and have some fun!……It Works


January 19, 2008 Posted by | Age Group | Leave a comment

Basic Backstroke Start

The key to a powerful, explosive backstroke start is getting a good grip on the wall. USA Swimming has recently passed a rule that should help you and make it a bit easier, by allowing you to have your feet above the water line


Feet above the water line – However you may not stand in the gutter or bend your toes over the lip of the gutter


Even though the old rule kept your feet under the water, you could still develop a solid foundation by focusing on how to position your feet. As with all starts you must stay focused. Stay compressed and be ready to explode in the proper direction.


In this start it may be better to place one foot higher that the other, as in the track start. This is useful if the walls are slick. It’s usually better and safer to go for a good grip than for quickness or distance or height. While you may end up dragging the lower leg through the water a bit more, this is better than slipping down the wall and wind up going nowhere.

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To set up for the start you can either grab the block or the side of the pool. The decision depends on your age, height,strength, and flexibility. Grabbing the block is the ideal way to start, however for younger swimmers I find it places too much stress on the arms and shoulders, and the gutter serves them better. In either case stay comfortable while waiting to hear the command “Take Your Mark”

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When you move to the starting position, try not to lift yourself out of the water. Instead, try to draw yourself toward the wall, focus on the pressure on your feet. Remember, the goal is a strong start that sends you back not up!. No matter whether you grip the block or the gutter, you should roll your head forward as you take your mark. Your head is usually the first thing to move backward when the starter hits the beep. By rolling the head forward, you coil your body and prepare to explode all of your energy and movement.


 ” If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail”

January 18, 2008 Posted by | Age Group, Stroke Technique | 2 Comments

Breaststroke Pullout with Dolphin Kick


Push off at your normal depth for Breaststroke Pull Out and hold on to a tight streamline position


Turn our palms out to begin the out-sweep


As your hands separate and prepare for a powerful pull, allow the legs to float up just a bit


As you continue your out-sweep, you continue to let your legs rise to prepare for a heavy downward movement. The higher you raise your legs, the more range of motion and power you have for the downward kick.


Your hands hook in at the point that will give you maximum leverage for a strong, quick, and powerful pull. Anchor your hands against the water to help you slam your legs down in a fly motion.


As you begin to press back, you bend your knees slightly to add even more power to your downward kick.


As your press back continues, you snap your legs downward in a powerful kick.


As the hands press past the hips, the downward kick is complete, time your fly movement so that the hands and feet finish at the same time. Anchor your hands and use the leverage generated by your hands and arms to help snap the feet together at the finish


Here is where many swimmers will get themselves in trouble with the new rule. The rule states that you get a single downward dolphin kick. an upward dolphin kick is not permitted.

January 17, 2008 Posted by | Stroke Technique | 1 Comment

Interesting Quotes from World Class Swimmers

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“I wouldn’t say anything is impossible. I think that everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and put the work into it” ….Michael Phelps 

“Before the Olympic trials I was doing a lot of relaxing exercises and visualization. And I think that helped me to get a feel of what it was going be like when I got there. Iknew that I had done everything that I could to get ready for that meet, both physically and mentally.”….. Michael Phelps

People ask me,”what was going through your mind in the race?” and I don’t know. I try and…let my body do what it knows” ….Ian Thorp

“When I go out and race, I’m not trying to beat opponents, I’m trying to beat what I have done…to beat myself, basically. People find that hard to believe because we’ve had such a bias to always strive to win things. If you win something and you haven’t put everything into it, you haven’t actually achieved anything at all. When you’ve had to work hard for something and you’ve got the best you can out of yourself on that given day, that’s where you get satisfaction from.”….Ian Thorp

“I concentrate on preparing to swim my race and let other swimmers think about me, not me about them.”……Amanda Beard

“I have been visualizing myself every night for the past four years standing on the podium having the gold placed around my neck.”….Megan Quann

” The water is your don’t have to fight with the water, just share the same spirit as the water, and t will help you move.”…..Alexander Popov

“Being your best is not so much about overcoming the barriers other people place in front of you as it is about overcoming the barriers we place in front of ourselves. It has nothing to do with how many times you win or lose. It has no relation to where you finish in a race or whether you break a world records. But it does have everything to do with having the vision to dream, the courage to recover from adversity and the determination never to be shifted from your goals.”….Kieren Perkins

January 15, 2008 Posted by | Age Group | Leave a comment

How to Swim Successfully at the Big Meet – Part V


B0000879  Control the Controllable’s

   Swimmers should know where  the   marshalling area is, where they can get to the warm up area and find a good spot to stretch out. They should locate an area for a little “Quite time” before the race. They need to know where the bathrooms and locker rooms are – they need to know the environment that they will be competing in.

Solution: Arrive early enough to prior to race day and do some reconnaissance.

Sleeping/eating/recovery/ – manage yourself: The responsibility for a top performance is yours, not coach or mom or dad. Enjoy the experience.Confidence at and enjoyment of the Big Meet environment comes from knowing you had a total and through preparation – So I will not wish you luck at the Big Meet, because I consider luck as being prepared to take advantage of an opportunity!

Go to the Big Meet Knowing:

  • Knowing you have prepared to the best of your ability
  • Knowing the competition environment and challenge it
  • Knowing yourself
  • Knowing your opposition
  • Knowing the event
  • Knowing you can overcome any obstacles or difficulties presented to you


Excuses do not win races. Looking back at a lost championship meet and complaining that “if only I had a better warm up” or “if only I had better food to eat the night before” or if only I would have had more rest” do not bring back lost opportunities.Get it right the first time by preparing to meet the actual challenges of the competition environment

January 13, 2008 Posted by | Age Group | Leave a comment

How to Swim Successfully at the Big Meet Part IV

  Prepare for the worst !

If things don’t go to plan, you should learn skills to adapt to any situation and to deal with difficulties.

Can you learn to race fast without being fully warmed up?….Do you have any plans for arriving late at the meet, long waits, buses not showing up, lane space not available, forgot your goggles, lost your swim bag?….A good exercise for Coaches and swimmers to utilize are the WHAT IF– scenarios. About a month before the big meet, have a meeting with all the swimmers going to the meet and raise the issues that concern them, for example: What if we get to the pool and there is no space to warm up?…What if we get to the pool and I can’t find my Mom or Dad?…What if we get to the pool and my goggles snap and break during warm up’s?

The team could work through these problems of “WHAT IF” questions and solve them as a group. Practice some of these “WHAT IF” scenarios at minor meets leading up to the big meet.

  • Practice dryland warm up
  • Practice eating and drinking between races to see what works best
  • Practice recovery techniques like stretching and warm downs
  • Practice pool warm up
  • Coaches should help swimmers prepare for the infamous over crowded lanes common at most big meets by having all the team warm up at a workout in one lane maybe two times a week one month before the big meet. This will give them a good understanding of having to work together to get a good warm up. To take this one step further, to teach swimmers how to race fast after warming up in a crowded pool, have them “race” in training immediately after the all in one lane warm up practice.


January 11, 2008 Posted by | Age Group | Leave a comment

Masters Swimmers Inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5  — The International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame announced in Lauderdale, Florida on Wednesday the induction of nine masters athletes into the Hall of Fame.

    The nine individuals are selected annually by an international committee to be honored for their international achievement in Masters aquatic competition.

    The ceremony has been set for January 8, 2005, at the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Lauderdale.

    Inductees include: Flora Connolly of Britain, a masters swimmer ; Bumpy Jones of the United States,a masters swimmer; William McAlister of the Untied States, a masters diver; Tod Spieker of the United States, a masters swimmer; Phil Whitten of the United States, a masters contributor; John Deininger of the United States, a masters diver; Betsy Jordan of the Untied States, a masters swimmer; Sandy Neilson-Bell of the United States, a masters swimmer; and Richard Reinstaedtler of Germany, a masters swimmer.

January 10, 2008 Posted by | Masters Swimming | Leave a comment

Favorite Workout for Masters


Jennifer Magnusssen, one of South Florida’s top female tri-athletics trained with Team Weston and was one of my most dedicated Masters swimmers. Jen has great technique and an outstanding ability to focus on the event she is swimming. One of her favorite workouts is only about 3200 yards, however she keeps up the intensity by challenging every interval. Below you will find the workout. Give it a try and let me know how you liked it.

8 x 100 (75 free / 25 drill choice)
on the 1:50 (or 10 sec. rest)

Kick Set
4 x 75 Kick – mix it up by 75
on 10 sec rest

8 x 50
odd free – even stroke
on the :55 (or 15 sec rest)

Pull Set
3 x 200 Pull (breathe 3/5 or 3/7 by 50)
15 sec rest after each 200

Main Set
4 x 50 fast – choice
4 x 50 fast – free
middle 25 fast – SHOOT THE TURN!!
choice on 1 min
free on :50 or 1 min

10 X 25 odd: kick – no board fast
even: swim fast
on 10 sec rest – good tech.

3 x 100 (50 back / 50 free) EZ
work on good rotation
on 20 sec rest

Extra set (do before cool down)

4 x 75 (25 under H2O kick / 50 swim)
-add 300 yds to total
on the 1:20 work on good streamline during the kick

Total Yards 3250

January 9, 2008 Posted by | Masters Swimming, Triathlons | Leave a comment

How to Swim Successfully at the Big Meet Part III

  •  Sorry I have not been writing, I have been out of town for a week. But now that I am back lets continue on how to swim successfully at the big meet, ok?
  • Tactics play a crucial role in swimming successfully at the big meet, that is why we must prepare tactically. 
  • Do you have a race plan?
  • Are you able to stick to this plan, regardless of what everyone else is doing?
  • Have you learned to change speed when needed?
  • Are you ready to change breathing patterns in free and fly to meet the situation?

Being prepared tactically means having the skills and ability to deal with any situation that you are placed in. So where do we learn these skills? We learn them in small, minor meets leading up to the big meet, we learn them in training workouts. We practice and experiment with a range of different situations.

For example: Training for the 100 fly at JO’S

  • At smaller, minor meets try: Pacing – even
  • Breathing pattern – Alternate breathing every other stroke with every two strokes
  • Underwater technique and break out – 10 yards underwater at high speed tight streamline, then no breathing on the first three strokes
  • Finish tactic – No breathing on the last four strokes
  • Low stroke count

January 8, 2008 Posted by | Age Group | Leave a comment