Coach Pete

Expert advice for Swimmers, Triathletes, and Coaches

Talking Backstroke Continued….Lets look at the START POSITIONS

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”


October 23, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Michael Phelps: The Untold Story of a Champion

Michael Phelps is an American sports hero, perhaps the greatest Olympic athlete the world has ever known. His unprecedented eight gold medals in the 2008 Summer Olympics have made him a superstar. But his journey to Olympic immortality is every bit as compelling as his achievements in the pool. From learning to cope with ADHD to the story of how Phelps became the greatest swimmer ever, Phelps’ tale is told in full detail here for the first time.

The author, Bob Schaller, has known Phelps and his coach for more than eight years, and has extensively interviewed him, along with his mother, sisters, coach, and teammates. Filled with revelations, career statistics, photographs, and insightful analysis of how Phelps achieved the seemingly impossible, this is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn the complete story behind the legend.

List Price: US $12.95

This book should make a great Christmas gift for your young swimmer….Coach Pete

The Untold Story of a Champion

October 22, 2008 Posted by | Books to Read, Coaches, Parents | Leave a comment

Talking Backstroke

It is of my opinion that the key to backstroke is the hand entry into the water. Your hand should be behind the shoulder and out to the side. You should swim your fastest at the start and off your turns, then extend that speed out into the the middle of the pool. You can accomplish this by fly kicking at a fast rate of speed at least 6 to 8 kicks on each stat  and turn. Make the kicks small and fast you don’t want to feel the water on your feet, just as you are coming to the last fly kick…start to flutter kick when you take your first stroke. Your shoulder and hip should rotate together. Your shoulder should roll as high as your head…aim your shoulder to the sky and the other shoulder  to the bottom of the pool 




Olympic Champion and World Record Holder Kristina Egerziegi on Backstroke….Look at her shoulder roll and hip up position…Look at her hand entry into the water and head position




                         Backstroke Drills

  • Vertical Kick – Kick fly it is used most on back stroke star and turns. You should be able to kick 3-5 full kicks per second. You should do this for 3 minutes intervals. Do sets with 10 seconds rest in between
  • Fly Kick Underwater-Fly kick on you back in a streamline position for at least 15 yards.
  • Fly kick on your back on the surface of the water-Fly kick with your hands at your sides kick intervals of 25’s,50’s and 100’s
  • Single Arm –Stroke with one arm and roll shoulder lift of the other hand. Recover with thumb pointed up and palm down








October 21, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Triathlon Training in Italy

I recently received an e-mail from Ernesto Bronzetti manager of the Hotel Perla in Riccione, Italy….I thought I would pass it along to who ever might be interested…I have no connection with this hotel the post is for your information only :


Dear  Mr Pete,

my name is Ernesto Bronzetti and  I am the manager of the  ” Hotel Perla  ”  in Riccione (Italy).

My purpose in writing is to propose my hotel as a place of sojourn  for a training camp .

Ours is a three-stars , family run hotel ( recently restored) situated just in front of the beach and just  1km from the indoor and outdoor Olympic swimmimg pool situated inside the Sports centre “Italo Nicoletti” .

The Riccione swimmimg stadium has already become the stage of important national and international events.

This construction is placed in a beautiful environment and in a strategic spot, only 5 minutes from the Highway and Miramare-Rimini airport. The construction is supplied with all the services for the clients: reception, rest area, bar, large changing rooms, grandstands with a capacity of 2000 people.  The swimmimg stadium proposes itself as the ideal candidate for the swimmers.

Here is some information:


Lenght mt. 50x 10 lanes

Width mt. 25

Height mt. 2 constant

Lenghtm. 25x 10 lanes

Widht mt. 11

Height mt. 1,20 constant

Diving board from 1 to 3 mt.


Lenght mt. 50x 10 lanes

Width mt. 25

Height mt. 2 constant

We have been working with athletes for many years and we  are  capable of satisfying the varying requirements of these guests, for this reason we can boast consolidated experience in this sector.

We are also a bike hotel and we are well-organized to respond adequatly to all the needs of this sport:  rent bike,  safe store-room and workshop for the bicycles, skilled cycling guides, route maps,  a rich continental buffet breakfast,  a choice of three menus with fish and meat  and specific menus for sportsmen, laundry service for technical wear, use of the  steam bath and of the  outdoor jacuzzi swimming pool,   free entry at the health club “Blue Line” just near the  Riccione swimmimg stadium. On request  sports massages.

We have numerous athletes who have been making use of our services for many years.  

They are already our guests:

the Italian  National TeamTriathlon , the Fassa Bortolo Team, the Fidea Cycle Team, Cofidis, Navigators, Martin Yelling( English national duathlon champion), Aubrey Brice (Olympic champion from Canada), Alessandro Alessandri (Italian duathlon champion).  They all choose the Hotel Perla as a place of sojourn for their training camp as they feel home away from  home!!!!!

We offer two kinds of rooms all with satellite television and air-conditioning:

Libeccio (Standard room)

Grecale (Superior room)

You can book Half board or just B&B as you prefer.

We can also arrange the transfer from/to the airport ( from Rimini airport and  from Riccione station it is free!!!) 

At your disposal our 9  seats Perla van to reach the swimmimg pool. 

For further information or possible requests don’t hesitate to contact  me  .

In the meantime visit our web-site

Kind regards

Hotel Perla

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Masters Swimming, Triathlons | Leave a comment

Reviewing an old post about Kicking

Kick, Kick, Kick

Posted by pspag on February 14, 2008

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Travel, from meet to meet. Go across the nation from north to south and from east to west and you will hear coaches bellowing out the same lament to their swimmers….Kick, Kick, Kick! We watch Michael Phelps and we are amazed at his kicking power. Does this just happen? Or does he work extremely hard at this attribute? I wonder what kind of kicker he was as a young age grouper? I wonder did his coach ever toss him out of a workout for not kicking? It is so important to get it into your heads that if you  ever want to truly compete on a high level of swimming you have to begin to work on the kicking part of your swim now! There are all kinds of kicking drills your coach can come up with, it’s up to you to get it into your head that what he is doing is good for you. You have to be open to receive his drills with an open mind. I have said this many times, “Your mind is like a parachute, it only works when it is open!” Take the challenge and Kick!…. Kick on your side, kick on your back, kick with a board, kick with fins, kick with your head down, kick with your head up, kick with sneakers on, …just kick.

Make kicking fun, challenge the lane next to you, or kick one lap as fast as you can then jump out of the pool and do ten squats. Jump back in the pool kick a lap as fast as you can and again jump out of the pool and do ten jumps as high as you can.

This can be done as a circuit in your workout ask your coach to make it a part of his kicking drill. Add time factors to your kick sets, this helps push you harder. Your goal should be to improve your kicking endurance….so go KICK!

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

News on Michael Lohberg

October 13
As usual there is some good news and some not so good news. First the good news. Michael’s hematologist told him on Friday that he is building red blood cells. That is certainly big. Of course his values are not normal, but there is activity and that is great. Friday morning, when Michael was due for a platelet transfusion, he had a fever and they took additional cultures and a chest x-ray. The x-ray came back negative and Michael went home with the good news about the red blood cells. Saturday at 5 pm, I received a phone call from the hospital, that Michael needs to be admitted. The culture came back positive for bacteria and he needs an intravenous antibiotic treatment. You can imagine Michael’s dismay, about to have a nice Saturday night dinner and a football game and then this. Oh well, he watched the game in the hospital instead and by Wednesday or Thursday he should be released. In the big scheme of things, just a minor set back and he is taking it well. Since he experienced a lot of back pain last time he was admitted, we took Christopher’s memory foam mattress topper and it turns out to be a life saver. So at least Michael is comfortable. He is only sad, that he still has not made it back to the pool. Hopefully soon. Thank you all for your continuing cheers and support,

  • The Coral Springs Swim Club will be hosting a 3K Family fun walk/ run fundraiser to benefit Coach Michael Lohberg in his fight against Aplastic Anemia. The event will take place at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex on November 16, 2008. Let’s help Coral Springs make this event a huge success.  for the registration form and the event flyer with details about the race.  please, don’t hesitate to call
  • Bruno Darzi at 954-629-3092
  • October 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


    IS YOUR FREESTYLE STROKE AS EFFECTIVE AS YOU THINK? Are you getting the most out of your stroke, or are you just spinning your wheels? Are you at a plateau not lowering your time…all of these things are the effect of not swimming freestyle with the proper technique. It seems to me that we can become complacent with our stroke, thinking that it is not important to maintain proper technique throughout the entire stroke cycle. Have you been thinking about distance per stroke, have you been thinking about the proper depth of your stroke, have you been thinking about the finish of your stoke….have you been thinking !!!! or have you just been spinning your wheels and just looking to get from one end of the pool to the other end of the pool as fast as you can. My friends technique is the most effective tool that you can use to be FAST! You must discipline yourself to be as effective as you can be. Key points to think about

    • Body position….swim streamline, getting up on your side and using the proper hip tip while reaching out to get length on your stroke.
    • Alternate breathing, keeping one goggle in the water and one goggle out of the water
    • Finishing the stroke at the back sweep of the stroke
    • Lowering your stroke count for the same distance while lowering your time
    • Maintain a strong kick throughout your entire swim

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    October 9, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


    I know that I am still a newcomer to Colorado, but it’s beauty still amazes me. Yesterday I took a short drive up in the high country and here are a few photo’s

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    I know that this has nothing to do with swimming, but I just had to share this with you guys

    October 7, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    Breaststroke Drills for Technique and Performance

    • Head Up out of the water –One of the most important drills for breaststroke…pull your hands fast enough to keep your head out of the water. This drill is called “FAST HANDS”
    • Pull Only – Face in the water – this works your arm speed
    • 4 Pulls/2 strokes- Try to keep pull speed and stroke speed the same…This will work better if you drop the pull-out from the swim. Try to do repeats of 50’s or 100’s
    • 4 kicks/ 2 strokes – Keep kicks and stoke at the same speed
    • Long Glide – Helps you get flat within the stroke…be patient !
    • Long Glide & Pull Out – Use three to four strokes across the pool after the pull out
    • Heels to Hand Drill –Helps control the lift of your legs and keeps the hips up; try to kick with the balls of your feet.
    • none of these drills work unless you do them correctly & consistently…..Take the Challenge

    About my Trip to Europe

    these are photo’s that I shot in Tallinn, Estonia. It was one of the countries that I visited on my trip to Northern Europe. It was a very old city and I found it very interesting:

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    October 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment