Coach Pete

Expert advice for Swimmers, Triathletes, and Coaches

News From Colorado

wild flowers      Flat Irons     Mountain Trail

    Wild Flowers                   Flat Irons, Boulder                 Mountain Trail

This is what your retired coach has been up to. Spring time in the Rocky’s is absolutely beautiful. I must admit it really beats sitting at a pool for 4 hours watching a swim meet. Ginny and I have been doing a lot of hiking and riding our bikes. You can’t help, but get in shape in this part of the country. As we get into June and July the wild flowers bloom all over the mountain sides. Our next hike will be into the Maroon Bells near Aspen, the scenery is supposed to be near Heaven. We had some real good snow in the mountains this past winter so the melt off should produce great rafting…We will let you know how that goes.

Only 55 days until the FGC Long Course Junior Olympic Championship – Plantation – July 24-27, 2008

Are you training hard, are you working on good technique on your starts,turns,stroke are you working on your kick….It’s all up to you how intense you are and how focused you are…The time is really flying bye….Get it going

Talk to you all soon….Coach Pete

May 30, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tips from the Race Club Swim Camp


Secret Tips

1.) Most important of all- RELAX and ENJOY.  The more you relax, the more potential you have physiologically to swim fast.  Learn how to do it slow- then fast.

-Jon Olsen 1/17/07

2.) Alter your drills.  Play with new ideas, whether good or bad.  You won’t know what works until you try it from all angles.  This can lead to coming up with completely new drills.  It is not wrong if it works for you!

-Jon Olsen 1/22/07

3.) Always think about body position first. It has a huge impact on all strokes.

-Jon Olsen 2/15/07

4.) When doing drills always take your time, go slow, and think about how that drill relates to that particular stroke.

-Jon Olsen 2/27/07

5.) Think outside the box (or pool).  What activities out of the pool directly relate to your strokes in the pool? Work on it, perfect it, and have fun with it (i.e. boxing, spearfishing, surfing, etc). 

-Jon Olsen 3/12/07

6.) Keep your head down. Forget the old idea of keeping your head high enough so that the water hits you in the forehead. You’ll move faster and with less resistance by keeping your head on an even plane with your body, as if you were standing and looking straight ahead.

-Jon 6/07

7.) Think scull, not plow. As much as possible, try to stay horizontal in the water. Good head position will definitely help. You don’t want your feet and hips to drop and drag, which only makes you plow through the water and, in effect, swim uphill. Avoid arching your back, and try to stay flat, long and streamlined — like a single scull skimming through the water. When your body position is right, it can almost feel like you’re swimming downhill.

-Jon 6/07

8.) Recruit the core. Coordinate your kick, body rotation, catch and pull to allow your core muscles to do as much of the heavy lifting as possible. Relying too much on your arms and shoulders will make you slower and more prone to injury.

-Jon 6/07 

9.) Avoid crossing over. Imagine a line bisecting your body vertically. Many swimmers, especially when breathing, have a tendency to let their hands cross this line during the pull.

-Jon 6/07 

10.) Finish your stroke. Pushing up or down against the water wastes energy and contributes nothing. Make sure your propulsive efforts keep you moving in a horizontal vector. From the initial catch to the final push of each arm stroke, keep your fingertips pointed toward the bottom of the pool. As your underwater hand moves in front of your head, and then parallel to your body, and then back toward your thigh, your wrist should adjust to ensure that your palms and fingertips pull, then push, the water horizontally toward your feet.

-Jon 6/07

May 28, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Good Book to Read

Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games

Swimmers Craig Beardsley, Lisa Buese, Glenn Mills and Sue Walsh, all members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Swim Team, are among 18 American athletes denied the opportunity to compete in the boycotted 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow featured in the new book “BOYCOTT – Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.”

Written by identical twins Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli, the book chronicles the stories of Olympic team members who trained thousands of hours for their once-in-a-lifetime chance at Olympic glory in Moscow only to become pawns in a political Cold War chess match between superpowers. The book also outines the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that led to the boycott, efforts by some athletes to overturn to the boycott by legal means and the entire 1980 team’s eventual ceremonial gold. Former Vice President Walter F. Mondale wrote the book’s foreword.

About the four swimmers featured in the book:

Beardsley, a native of New York, N.Y., resident of Chatham, N.J., and a standout swimmer at the University of Florida set the world record in the 200 butterfly at the 1980 Olympic Trials.
Says Bearsdley of the boycott, “At that time, I don’t want to say that I supported the boycott, but I wasn’t against it either. I tried to think there was some good in it. We were doing the right thing. I supported everything at that time…(however)…I began to realize that it was just another political movement. I became strongly opinionated about trying to separate sports and politics. It will never happen again. Sports, like music, is one of those great things that bind people together.”

Mills, a native of Ridgeville, Ohio, overcame the death of his brother to break national swim records as a teenager to qualify for the 1980 team. His dream to compete in the Games was also dashed by just missing qualifying for the 1984 Games. Says Mills of his Olympic status today, “There is pride that goes along with being an Olympian. We are pretty much fully accepted by our peers. They know what we did. We are respected and that’s really what means the most to us.”

Buese, who grew up in Louisville, Ky., qualified for the 1980 team in the 100 butterfly at the age of 17. Says Buese of her accomplishment of making the Olympic team, despite not having the opportunity to compete, “It is something I will always have and no one can ever take away from me. When I’m faced with difficult situations, I know I have it in me to rise up to the challenge no matter what the challenge is.”

Walsh, a native of Hamburg, N.Y. and a standout swimmer at the University of North Carolina, swam the fastest 100 backstroke ever in 1979 as a teenager. She missed qualifying for the 1984 Games by .01 a second. Said Walsh 28 years after the boycott, “I don’t know that I understand the politics today either, because it certainly didn’t encourage the Soviets to get out of Afghanistan.”

Other athletes featured in the book are:

Don Paige (Athletics) Philadelphia, Pa.

Gwen Gardner (Athletics) Los Angeles, Calif.

Gene Mills (Wrestling) Pompton Lakes, N.J.

Bill Hanzlik (Basketball) Beloit, Wisc.

Amy Koopman (Gymnastics) Arlington Heights, Ill.

Isiah Thomas (Basketball) Chicago, Ill.

Carol Blazejowski (Basketball) Fairview, N.J.

Luci Collins (Gymnastics) Englewood, Calif.

David Kimes (Shooting) Monterey Park, Calif.

Brian Gust (Wrestling) Lakeville, Minn.

Linda Cornelius Waltman (Athletics) Ft. Worth, Tx.

Thomas Schuler (Cycling) Birmingham, Mich.

Ron Galimore (Gymnastics) Ames, Iowa

Debbie Landreth (Volleyball) El Segundo, Calif.

May 27, 2008 Posted by | Age Group, Books to Read, Coaches, Parents | Leave a comment

Safety Advocates: Don’t Check that BlackBerry With Kids in the Pool

flag 046

Posted by Sara Schaefer Munoz

Yesterday I was assigned to a story that gives any parents chills: A reported rise in drowning deaths among kids under 5. It was also a harsh reminder about paying attention to safety amid the distractions of the juggle. (Child Drowning’s Rise, Spark Safety Concerns )

New data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission showed that the average annual number of drowning deaths involving children younger than five in pools and spas poolhas increased from 267 for 2002-2004 to 283 for 2003-2005.

I realize the data was presented in a bit of an odd way, and pool industry officials even questioned its significance. They also pointed out that deaths per pool have actually gone down if one considers the increase in the number of pools put in. Yet one thing is clear: 283 annual child drowning’s is not a number anyone’s happy with.

Safety officials said most accidents happen in residential settings, when a young child wanders off for a few seconds and no one is watching. And these days, the article makes clear, you don’t have to be mega-rich to have your own backyard pool: Large, inflatable pools that hold hundreds of gallons of water can cost several hundred dollars or less, and some consumer advocates say they can pose more of a risk than a traditional pool.

Reporting the story, I was reminded of a good message for all juggling parents: A few seconds of inattention is all it takes. The 2-year-old son of Stew Leonard Jr., quoted in the article, drowned even while a large group of adults was gathered around a pool. He now promotes water safety through a foundation set up in his son’s name. These days, Mr. Leonard told me, he fears adults have even more distractions. “All of a sudden they are looking at their BlackBerry or texting somebody – that’s all it takes. One email at the pool and you are not watching your kid,” he says.

For working parents, it can often be a caregiver or another mom who’s watching kids around the local pool or at a home. The article was a reminder to me to go over water safety rules with sitters, my husband and my parents, which basically boil down to: “Don’t take your eyes off her for a second.” (We don’t have a pool at our house, but do have one in our townhouse complex. Fortunately, it’s well secured and too far away for my daughter to wander over.) The article also made me wonder about our plans to send my daughter to camp in June, in a program that will involve lots of kids in the water. While the lifeguards and counselors are trained, they are still young and relatively inexperienced. On the flip side, it’s safer in the long run if she learns to swim early.

Coach Ginny Spagnuolo who has taught thousands of children to swim and taught water safety for Broward County Schools advocates swim lessons as early as possible. There are many learn to swim programs offered, make sure that the program has qualified certified instructors and that the student teacher ratio is low. One of the best learn to swim programs that she recommends is “Swim America”. This is a program born out of the American Swim Coaches Association.

Readers, what are your ground rules when it comes your caregivers and kids around water? Any qualms about swim camps or your kids playing at a neighbor’s pool when you’re not around?

May 23, 2008 Posted by | Parents | Leave a comment

Tri-Athlete Training Tip

freestyle3  At the left is a good illustration of proper head position for breathing. Note also the high elbow recovery of the stroke. To help you practice “sighting” while you are working out, try to swim 3 or 4 strokes …then lift your head straight up out of the water and sight an object at the other end of the pool. Doing this will enable you to get use to sighting in open water.

May 22, 2008 Posted by | Masters Swimming, Triathlons, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Masters Workout for 1650



Are your workouts becoming boring? Is training for the 1650 boring? Here is a little workout that I used when I was coaching Masters at Team Weston.

There is also a few drills in this workout give it a try!



Drill Reverse IM

(free, br., bk., fly)


6 X 50

With fins on your side

rotating left/right

Swim Ladder
11 lengths, 10, 9,
down to 1 (10 between)
Drill Loosen up

6 of each stroke



Some possible drills:
. Kick, no board, arms at body’s side. Think: kick head down, kick head up. Don’t rush the kick. It begins at the chest and unfurls quite slowly with a snap of the ankles, like cracking a whip. If your timing is good on the whole stroke, this will be very easy. If it’s difficult to do, probably your timing is off. Within a fraction of a second, the sequence of entry is head, hands, feet. The second kick is half way through the stroke.
Back. Swim with exaggerated roll and glide on your side, one arm outstretched and one at your side for about 6 to 9 kicks.
Breast. Kick twice, pull once for a length; then kick once and pull twice. Swim using fly kick.Free. One-arm, catch-up (hand touches outstretched hand before you pull), ripple (drag your fingers in the water, directly below your elbow, during recovery), hesitation (leave your hand out of the water behind you for a second before beginning recovery.

May 20, 2008 Posted by | Masters Swimming, Workouts | Leave a comment

Peak Performance Named best Swim Camp

As I have reported many times in this BLOG, Coach Nick Baker does a great job training young swimmers at his Peak Performance Swim Camp. Now, Sports Illustrated Magazine recognizes what a great Swim Camp Coach Nick conducts too!

Sports Illustrated Kids logo

Peak Performance Sports Illustrated Kids article cover

Sports Illustrated Kids names Peak Performance Swim Camps one of America’s Best Sports Camps!

View .pdf article »



May 15, 2008 Posted by | Parents | 1 Comment

Hello from Colorado

Bike Ride-1 Here is a resent photo of Coach Ginny and I on a bike ride near our home in Loveland. Springtime in the Rocky’s is just beautiful, soon the wild flowers will cover the foothills and I will be getting my camera working overtime. I hope all of you are doing well down there in South Florida. Keep training hard and be focused on your technique. If any of you need any advice or help with any question you may have, drop me an e-mail

Coach Pete

May 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

USA Swimming introduces ultimate coach resource


Coach Tomas Victoria and Coach Victoria “Vejo”

USA Swimming’s ultimate coaching education resource, “Foundations of Coaching,” is now available on DVD for the first time. The two-DVD set provides over four hours of education for coaches of all levels. The project, which was supported by the U.S. Olympic Committee, is the new required resource for USA Swimming’s updated Foundations of Coaching certification test.

The DVD is hosted by seven-time U.S. Olympic coach and USA Swimming National Team Head Coach and General Manager Mark Schubert. Included are chapters on philosophy and ethics, administration and organization, stroke technique and workout development. Among the highlights are practical tips from top U.S. coaches, including 2008 U.S. Olympic Men’s Coach Eddie Reese and 2007 World Championships coaches Bob Bowman, Teri McKeever, Sean Hutchison and Bill Rose.  In addition USA Swimming Nutritionist Charlene Boudreau provides a “grocery store tour,” to teach coaches about proper dietary choices for their swimmers.  The DVD includes access to over 50 downloadable coaching education files and documents.

“We are very pleased to be able to deliver an incredible amount of coaching education material in this easy-to-use resource,” said Pat Hogan, USA Swimming’s club development managing director. “The instruction and wisdom imparted by top coaches on this DVD is truly invaluable, whether you are new to the business or if you’ve been coaching for 20 years. We’re very proud to offer this complete program to continue to help our USA Swimming coaches develop our swimmers.”

“The USA Swimming Foundations of Coaching DVD is a must-have for all American coaches,” said John Leonard of the American Swim Coaches Association. “As coaches, there is always more we can learn and there are always more ways we can improve ourselves to provide the best possible instructions to our swimmers, and this DVD is a great resources for accomplishing that.”

The Foundations of Coaching DVD is available for purchase at and The cost for the two-DVD set is $25.

May 9, 2008 Posted by | Coaches | Leave a comment

93 days to the Olympic Games in Beijing and 77 days to the Florida Gold Coast Long Course Junior Olympics….

TWA4 043 TWA4 044 TWA4 012 TWA4 100 TWA4 152

  • Is your training any different than the Olympians training for Beijing? Do you think they are working on technique, starts, turns and endurance? I’ll bet they are and I’ll bet they are intense and focused on every little detail that will help them in their performance. So with only 77 days to your Olympics, why not focus on proper technique and improve your strokes. Why not work on endurance that you will need to be strong enough to compete for three days…It’s like putting money in the bank! You have to work on these things NOW! TODAY!…work on every turn, get power off the walls, kick into you stroke with strong tight streamline position. Keep your strokes long, deep and finish!. Work on your pullouts on breast and fly. Work on hip/shoulder rotation on your back….Be your own little Olympian, Be focused, be intense, be strong!

Bring IT!

May 8, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment