Coach Pete

Expert advice for Swimmers, Triathletes, and Coaches

Ryan McLean….Who is she?

Last night on the evening news there was a story about a young lady who was a high school swimmer and had been in a terrible auto accident that left  her in a wheelchair. Her spinal cord had been severally damaged and is paralyzed from the waist down. Swimming has been her salvation and she is now a swim coach for her high school team she once swam on. I thought that she would be a great inspiration for you guys   out there, who sometimes take things for granted and moan and grown when things get a little tough! here is her story. I know that after reading it you will be as generous as you can be, every little bit   will help….I would love to see the swimming community get behind this young CHAMPION !

Thanks, Coach Pete….to find out more about Ryan go to my blogroll and click on Ryan McLean

My name is Ryan McLean. I was born on August 18th, 1980. I was raised in Denver, Colorado where I attended Cherry Creek High School. In 1997, I was a junior on the varsity swim team. After leaving a school-sanctioned dance, I piled into a car with my friends and headed off to the bowling ally. We never made it there.

The driver of the car lost control on the highway. The car flipped through the air across the median and collided with oncoming traffic and I was projected out of the car through the side window. I landed an estimated 150 feet from the car. As if someone picked up the snow globe of my life and violently shook it up, everything changed in a matter of seconds. I broke my spinal cord, collapsed my lungs, endured massive road-rash on my back, and broke nearly every bone in my legs.

After arriving at the hospital I endured over 20 hours of surgery before being placed in the Intensive Care Unit. That is where I stayed for the next month. After I was strong enough to breathe on my own, I was placed in another unit in the hospital for three weeks. From there, I moved to a spinal cord and brain trauma hospital for three months of additional recovery.

At Craig Rehabilitation hospital I learned how to live my life from a wheelchair, paralyzed from the bottom of my ribcage down. By the time school started up again in August I was as ready as I would have ever been to encounter a world I no longer knew. Going back to a senior year of high school, once my whole life had been turned around, was no small challenge. Quickly I learned that maintaining normalcy was going to be the only way to progress from what had happened some months before. So, the day that I left the rehab hospital I began coaching at a private swim club. That winter I joined the swim team as I had every year prior, only this time swimming with the slower, junior varsity team. I have always been quite competitive both in and out of the water, which made the swim season in my senior year frustrating. I was too weak to last more than twenty minutes in the water and could only manage to swim very short events in meets. I swam almost four times as slowly as I had before and had to get used to coming in last place every time. Then, I was embarrassed, but now I am proud.

I finished my high school career and moved on to college. I began my studies as a liberal arts major and quickly realized that was not where my passions lay. My extended stay in the hospital spurred my interest in Biology and I chose this as my new major. I struggled with my studies because science had never been something that came easily to me, but I enjoyed every second of it thoroughly.

After finishing my undergraduate degree, I relocated back to my hometown and began coaching swimming for the very high school from which I graduated. I felt elated about being able to lend my talents to the very community that supported me when I needed them most. After watching me interact with my swimmers, Kathy Smith, the school principal encouraged me to think about teaching. I truly believe that moment changed my life.

I had never considered teaching as a career before. I immediately applied for a secretarial position within the science department while I pursued my teaching license and my master’s degree.

I never would have believed how much I enjoy tutoring and mentoring children. I feel a huge sense of pride being a part of such a prestigious department at one of the top high schools in the country. It has been the greatest experience of my life and I know now that this was the job I was born to do. I love spending time with my students every day trying to inspire them to learn, not only biology, but tolerance as well. Each day I try to lead by example. I challenge them to believe in themselves the way that I believe in myself. I show them that the world is not about what happens to you, but rather how you perceive and react to those events. I take extra time with students who are struggling academically or personally and make sure that they know they have a place to study, get help or just talk. As a result, I often find my office full of students during my planning periods or after school but I believe it is really important to give kids a safe place to be when they need it. I also feel that I have made a significant contribution to the biology program here and enjoy planning and interacting with my fellow teachers. . All in all, I have a beautiful life.

Since my accident I have pushed the limits of my abilities in other areas of my life as well, ranging from sports to travel. Through motivational speaking engagements, I have shared my story with thousands. I hope that I have inspired people, if nothing else, to wear their seatbelts! I have kept up with my swimming and have been exploring other sports such as cycling, racing, and ice hockey. 2007 was a year of firsts for me. Last summer I entered my first marathon and triathlon. This fall I became a member of the first paraplegic basketball team in Denver. I also bought and decorated my first home in the foothills outside of Denver. I am proud of my accomplishments, but I want even more.

Just recently, I was approved to travel to India to undergo stem cell treatment in hopes of regenerating some of my spinal nerves. After extensive research, I believe this treatment to be ground breaking, giving me the potential to increase my longevity and possibly regain some movement or function. I have taken this opportunity to teach my students about stem cell research, which has resulted in many stimulating discussions in my classes. At the very least, this experience will affect me in mind, body, and spirit. I realize how few people have had this opportunity and I am anxious to see if this technology will make a difference for me. My mentor while I was at Craig Rehabilitation Hospital recently underwent this same treatment and she has seen miraculous results. Although the treatments are relatively new, I am excited to be at the forefront of a technology that offers so much hope to people with disabilities. I have started a blog on line so that I can keep a diary of my experiences in India and beyond that. I plan to share it with my students, friends and anyone else who may want to learn about this procedure. I’m also excited to see India and will hopefully be able to travel around a bit during my two month stay. After that, who knows?

February 28, 2008 Posted by | Age Group, Coaches, Masters Swimming, Parents, Triathlons | 2 Comments

The Water Cube…Beijing National Aquatic Center…I thought this might interest you guys

Beijing National Aquatics Centre 1.jpg

The National Aquatics Centre, known as ‘The Water Cube’, will be one of the most dramatic and exciting venues to feature sporting events for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Interior of the Water Cube    © Arup/CSCEC/PTW

The interior of the Centre also makes a strong impression

In July 2003, the consortium of Arup, architecture firm PTW, the CSCEC (China State Construction and Engineering Corporation) and the CSCEC Shenzhen Design Institute (CSCEC+DESIGN) won the international design competition for the National Aquatics Centre for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The competition, which was judged by a panel of international architects, engineers and pre-eminent Chinese academics, commenced with submissions from ten international consortia and also involved a public exhibition and vote.

The Water Cube looks set to be ready in October 2007. Both the concrete and the steel structure have been completed, and 500 m² of prototype cladding was installed in April, 2006. The next phase is to install all of the cladding and then follow on with de-propping the internal structure and completing the interior.

The Water Cube    © Arup/CSCEC/PTW

The building’s structural design is based on the natural formation of soap bubbles

To arrive at the building’s structural design, which is based on the natural formation of soap bubbles to give a random, organic appearance, we used research undertaken by Weaire and Phelan (professors of physics) into how soap bubbles might be arranged in an infinite array.

To bring the design to life, the individual bubbles are incorporated into a plastic film and tailored like a sewing pattern. An entire section is pieced together and then put into place within the structure. There are interior and exterior films, and the film is then inflated once it is in-situ. It will be continuously pumped thereafter.

The actual pumping has been sub-contracted, and once the installation is complete the operator will be responsible for both the operation and maintenance of the facade for ten years. This was a key component of the brief and in the choice of contractor.

The project is an opportunity for us to offer our expertise in sustainable services. The building will use solar energy to heat the pools and the interior area, and all backwash water is to be filtered and returned to the swimming pools.

The scheme and design for the project was developed in Australia. The project has now been handed over to a team in Beijing who are taking care of the construction

February 28, 2008 Posted by | Coaches | 1 Comment

The big meet is here


With the JO’s just a few days away, I would advise all of you to go to the archives of this BLOG click on December and read ” How to prepare for the big meet” part one and part two. I think it will really help you all out.


Coming soon the interview with Coach Raphael Lima

February 27, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Oh My Gosh!…My Goggles Fell Off.


Ok, so what do you do?..You suck it up, put your head back in the water and race!. Goggles falling off is a common occurrence that young swimmers encounter.

There are a few things that can prevent this from happening. When you place your goggles on your head make sure that the elastic strap sits on the crown of your head and not beneath it. Pull up on the straps near your ears as tight as your can. Have the goggles fit into your eye sockets tightly, with a little pressure by pushing them in. All of this should be done before getting up on the block, not when your on the block.

If your goggles come off, don’t panic…..

Another thing that you might want to do is at practice take off your goggles for one set and get the feel of water in your eyes at race pace.

Always take an extra pair of goggles to the meet, just in case something happens to them…..  

February 25, 2008 Posted by | Age Group | Leave a comment

Great Job at the District ll Championships

Congratulations to Team Weston and to Age Group Coach Raphael….Getting 29 cuts for the upcoming Junior Olympics.

How about that Peanut Power Tradition in the girls 10 and under 200 free relay, way to go ladies!


Jessica Modrak and Kylie Herman Part of the Peanut Power Relay


How about Nick Alemann in the 200 and 500 free! So much for being persistent!

I am so proud of you all… lets get busy for the JO’S

Read “How to Prepare for the Big Meet” in the December Archives

February 25, 2008 Posted by | Age Group | Leave a comment

Team Weston Raised $5,000 to the Gary Hall Foundation for Diabetes


        Gary Hall, Team Weston Swimmers, and Coach Tomas Victoria

Great job Team Weston! Helping the Gary Hall Foundation for the cure of Diabetes. $5,000.00 was raised during a Swim-A-Thon at the Midtown Athletic Club in Weston Florida. Congratulations to Coach Tomas and all that helped pull off this wonderful event.

Good luck to all the swimmers competing in the District ll Championships this week end. Go get some JO cuts….

Bring it !!!!

February 22, 2008 Posted by | Age Group, Parents | 1 Comment

Don’t Be Afraid To Fall

               John Creasey's picture  

      Babe Ruth                   R.H. Macy                   John Creasey

You’ve failed many times you may not remember. You fell down the first time you tried to walk. You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn’t you? Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat? Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot. R.H.Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on. English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times but he also hit 714 home runs.

Don’t worry about failure. Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try…..Don’t ever give up, Coach Pete

February 21, 2008 Posted by | Age Group | Leave a comment

Interview with Tomas Victoria Head Coach of Team Weston Aquatics, Florida

                                                   Coahead shotch Tomas is a graduate student from the University of Florida in Physical Education. He coached the Venezuelan National Team for 10 years for both the World Championships and Pan Am Games. Coach Tomas moved to USA in 1995. His swimmers have established 5 FGC records, two Southern Zone records and have qualified for All Stars, Zone Championships, Sectionals Junior Nationals,Senior Nationals and US Open. He has been the Head Coach of Team Weston Aquatics since 1998. Coach Tomas is a  level 4 ASCA certified Coach and is the current Venezuelan National Team advisor for swimmers training in USA. His main goal as the swim coach is to bring Team Weston to a national level competition swim team, able to qualify swimmers in the national squad. Contact Coach Tomas at

Q. What Motivated you to become a swim coach?

A. The love for the sport,the experience and relationship that gave me as a swimmer and the challenge for the ultimate goal..

Q. What has been your most rewarding coaching experience?

A. I  had a few and I know I will have many more to come, but witnessing my swimmer Nelson Mora win the gold medal beating the #1 swimmer in the world in the Pan American Games in Argentina in 1995 in the 200 fly. Also the two back to back HS State Championships of my daughter Daniela and her winning the Southern Zone Championships setting  a new meet record.

Q. What was the highest level of swimmer you have coached?

A. I have coached a few but, some of the better ones are Ricardo Monasterio, World Short Course Champion medalist and Nelson Mora, Pan Am Games Gold Medalist.

Q. How much influence did your father have on your coaching? ( Coach Tomas’s Dad was the Olympic Coach for Venezuela )

A. A lot, he has been my coach and teacher during my career. His expertise has taught me so much not only how to coach, but how to motivate and make swimming fun for my swimmers.

Q. How much difficulty have you had separating coaching your daughters and still being just dad?

A. From day one, since they decided to become competitive swimmers I kept the swimming in the pool, while at home we have always been a normal family not involving swimming in our relationship and it has worked out for both of them to the point that both have been offered athletic scholarships to Colorado State University and The University of Florida.

Q. What was your most memorable moment in coaching?

A. It is hard to point out a specific moment, but lately when we came in 6th place in last years Short Course Junior Olympic Championships. Winning against teams a lot bigger and more experienced than ours and you had a lot to do with it.

Q. What are your goals for the future of swimming?

A. I know I won’t be coaching forever. My plans are to establish a solid competitive swim team with a larger aquatic facility and become the technical director and assemble a staff of great coaches to be able to develop world champions and a winning team. 

Q.What was your most humorist in coaching?

A.It happened just recently at the Gary Hall Swim-a-Thon for Diabetes.We assembled a relay team of older swimmers to swim against a team of much faster swimmers. We beat them thanks to my cheating- jumping early off the start, turning before reaching the wall and swimming a little bit of fly during the breaststroke leg. I was such fun and our parents enjoyed it a great deal.

Q. What do you love most about coaching?

A. The relationship with my swimmers. It is fun to come to practice every day and spend some time listening to their comments and jokes, but most important being a mentor to them, they see you not only as their coach but also as a friend or big brother

Q. What would you have been if you were not a swim coach?

A. Sometimes I ask myself what can I possibly do if not coaching? I don’t see any career that can give me the satis-factions and happiness that swimming gives me every day

February 21, 2008 Posted by | Age Group, Coaches, Masters Swimming, Parents, Triathlons | Leave a comment

The Young Athlete

TWA4 009

They also serve who sit by Pat McInally

Pat McInally was a sports reporter for the New York Daily News during the late 1960’s. He wrote a column to young athletes in a question and answer form. While I was clearing out some of my old paperwork that just seems to accumulate over the years I came across this old article that I clipped out of the paper and used it on many occasions to make a point about not giving up. A reader poised a question to Pat and it went like this.

Our son is a good athlete but has never really gotten to play much. He puts in so much time and energy and he knows he’ll never be a star, but he keeps practicing and sitting on the bench anyway. We don’t want to discourage him, but don’t you think he should get involved in something in which he would be more successful?

Pat Answered:

I don’t know if you’ve ever played any sports but, believe me, there is so much more to athletics than just being a star. Sure, it’s great to receive the awards and fame that go with stardom, but they’re just bonuses, not the only reasons for playing. Whatever happened to things like enjoying the competition, sharing the camaraderie between teammates, and developing discipline, sacrifice and dedication. Somewhere along the line, probably because of television coverage and large professional contracts, too many of us have lost track of these priorities. Can’t you see that your son’s attitude and approach exemplifies what athletics are supposed to be all about? Instead of thinking about discouraging him, why aren’t you praising him and be proud that he’s out there working hard to do something because it’s important to him and not just for superficial rewards. You wonder if he should quit and find something else that he would be more successful in. Well, I think the work habits and persistence he has exhibited, with little reward beyond personal satisfaction and that which he shares with his team, make him very successful! These are irreplaceable and will help him throughout his life, far more than trophies, press clippings, or dating the cheerleader.

Sports like life, is unpredictable. Your son may never leave the bench, but who’s to say that he’s not just a late bloomer and may some day get his chance to star. In either case, you should be encouraging him to continue his quest and be thankful that he has the drive and guts to keep playing, despite his discouragement and lack of success thus far.


I hope you enjoyed Pat’s Article as much as I did….Please feel free to comment on it….Coach Pete

February 21, 2008 Posted by | Parents | Leave a comment

Doping is for Dopes Part ll

If you think our sport is clean…Take a look at this report from FINA.

logo16th FINA World Sports Medicine Congress
“Optimising Performance & Promoting Health”
7th and 8th April 2008   –   Manchester, UK

Provisional Suspension
Marko Strahija (CRO)

Following a positive doping control result (out-of competition test) on November 8, 2007 for the substance hCG (Class S.2 Hormones), the FINA Executive decided to provisionally suspend the Croatian swimmer Mr. Marko Strahija until a hearing before the FINA Doping Panel can be made (FINA Rule DC 7.1.12).
The suspension enters in force from December 12, 2007.
According to FINA Rules, a provisional suspension means that the athlete “is barred temporarily from participating in any Competition”.

FINA Doping Panel Decision
Asmma Kataria (EGY)

The FINA Doping Panel has decided that Ms. Asmaa Kataria (EGY) shall be ineligible for two (2) years after a positive doping control result for the substance Ephedrine (Class S.6 Stimulants). The doping control test was conducted with the occasion of the 9th All African Games held in Algiers (ALG) on 18th July 2007.

Provisional Suspension
Rebecca Gusmao (BRA)

Following a positive doping control result (out-of competition test) on July 13, 2007 for the substance Testosterone (Class S.1.1.b Anabolic Androgenic Steroids), the FINA Executive decided to provisionally suspend the Brazilian swimmer Ms Rebecca Gusmao until a hearing before the FINA Doping Panel can be made (FINA Rule DC 7.1.12).
The suspension enters in force from November 2, 2007.
According to FINA Rules, a provisional suspension means that the athlete “is barred temporarily from participating in any Competition”.

Provisional Suspension
Laura La Piana (ITA)

The Disciplinary Commission of the Italian Swimming Federation has provisionally suspended Ms. Laura La Pania following a positive result to the substance Octopamine (Class S.6 Stimulants) with the occasion of a doping control test conducted on 28 July 2007 at the 25 Km Italian Championships in Anguillara (ITA).

FINA Doping Panel Decision
Mehdi Sebou (MAR)

The FINA Doping Panel has decided that Mr. Mehdi Sebou (MAR) shall be ineligible for two (2) years after a positive doping control result for the substance nandrolone (Class S.1.1 Anabolic Agents). The doping control test was conducted with the occasion of the 1st FINA Men Water Polo Development Trophy held in Kuwait City (KUW).

Doping Offence
Nuno Miguel Cardoso Rola (ANG)

On 16 July 2007, the swimmer Nuno Miguel Cardoso Rola (Angola) was tested positive to the substance 19-Norandrosterone – Metabolite of Nandrolone- (Class S.1.a.) following a doping control test conducted with the occasion the 9th All-African Games in Algiers.
The Angolan Swimming Federation imposed a sanction of two (2) years’ suspension on the competitor.

FINA Doping Panel decision
Anatoliy Poliakov (RUS)

The FINA Doping Panel has decided that Mr. Anatoliy Poliakov (RUS) shall be ineligible for two (2) years after a positive doping control result for the substance Boldenone (Class S.1.1 Anabolic Agents). The doping control test was conducted as part of the FINA unannounced out-of-competition testing programme on 23 January 2007.

Doping Offence
Youri Mikulchin (RUS)

On 2 June 2007, the swimmer Youri Mikulchin (Russia) was tested positive to the substance Carphedon (Class s.6 Stimulants) following a doping control test conducted with the occasion the All-Russian Junior championships in Volgograd, Russia.
The All-Russian Swimming Federation imposed a sanction of two (2) years’ suspension on the competitor.

FINA Doping Panel Decision
Anastasia Ivanenko (RUS)

The FINA Doping Panel has decided that Ms. Anastasiya Ivanenko (RUS) shall be ineligible for two (2) years after a positive doping control result for the substance Furosemide (Class S.5 Diuretic and Other Masking Agents). The doping control test was conducted as part of the FINA unannounced out-of-competition testing programme on 23 January 2007.
> Full Wording

Doping Offence
Sabri Jari (TUN)

During the Tunisian Swimming Championships (25m), the swimmer Sabri Jari (TUN) refused to submit to sample collection on 11 February 2007. The Federal Commission of the Fédération Tunisienne de Natation imposed a sanction of two (2) years’suspension on the swimmer.

February 20, 2008 Posted by | Age Group, Coaches, Masters Swimming, Parents, Triathlons | 1 Comment