Coach Pete

Expert advice for Swimmers, Triathletes, and Coaches

Warm Up …..Always!

You should have several warm-up strategies and learn to swim fast using each one

While a good warm up can be important to achieve a successful swimming performance, there are hundreds of stories about swimmers winning major events and breaking records after not having a ideal warm up. The key is to have more than one warm up strategy.

TWA3 047 

Coach Pete, there’s no room to warm up!

Warm up problem- Pool Space…the pool is so crowded that there is no space to warm up!

Solution: Give this a try! Coaches should prepare their swimmers to deal with this infamous over crowded warm up lanes problem by having all the team warm up at a training session in one lane three times a week in the month leading up to a major swim meet. To take it even one step further, teach your swimmers how to race after warming up in a crowded lane. Have them “race” in training immediately after the all in one lane warm up

Warm up should also include good dryland exercises – Jogging, stretching, and etc.


April 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

U.S. Swimming News

Racing Starts

Effective May 1, 2009, USA Swimming’s Board of Directors has modified the racing start rule, 103.2.2 (which already provides that racing starts should only be taught in at least six feet of water) to further clarify that racing starts should only be taught under the direct supervision of a USA Swimming member coach, and to expand the definition of teaching racing starts to make clear that no swimmer who has not been certified as proficient by his or her coach should be performing racing starts into less than six feet of water.

2009 Spring Regional Coaching Clinics
USA Swimming, in conjunction with the American Swimming Coaches Association and the appropriate LSCs, is presenting very affordable regional coaches clinics offered throughout the nation. The purpose of these clinics is to bring coaches education to areas that are not frequented by other clinics. USA Swimming’s goal is to raise the level of coaching and swimming through educational training programs.

These clinics will present the latest information for an entire coaching staff from the novice coach to the latest technique for the experienced senior level coach. New this spring is special pricing where for a low $100 you can bring your entire coaching staff! Or a single coach can attend for only $50 for the weekend clinic.

Some of the topics to be covered during the three day clinics:

  • Gold Medal Starts
  • Making Your Team Known for the Best Turns On The Planet
  • The Backstroke Revolution
  • Does Your Club Do This?
  • and many more topics…

Upcoming regional clinics:

  • Wytheville, Virginia          May 1-3         
  • Boise, Idaho                   May 8-10       
  • Charleston, West Virginia  May 15-17      

April 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Should You Permit Your Swimmers Participate in Water Polo Games ?

water polo 


This is the question that many coaches try to answer….Some are concerned about injuries that their swimmers may incur. Some are concerned that their swimmer may not return to competitive swimming. How do feel about this? Would you permit your swimmer to participate in water polo ? I am very interested how you feel about this… Let’s hear from both Swim Coaches and Water Polo Coaches 

April 25, 2009 Posted by | Coaches | Leave a comment

Don’t go to the board when you have shoulder soreness

After reading this article, it made so much sense to me I just had to post it. I think it may help many of you…during your training

Don’t Go To the Board: Treating Shoulder Soreness Differently

There is a widespread misconception among coaches and swimmers thinking about treating shoulder injuries. During workout if you begin to feel pain or soreness in your shoulder and you switch to kicking with a traditional kickboard, using a traditional position, you may actually be making the problem worse.

The traditional position — with your hands holding the tip of the board, your elbows resting on the surface of the board and your head up, eyes looking forward — increases the pressure on your rotator cuff. The main movement that causes pain in the shoulder during freestyle is the top catch of the stroke. Kicking with a board can cause your shoulder to feel prolonged pressure similar to what you feel during the catch.

This position can add pressure to the impingement of the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles (Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, and Subcapularis muscle tendons). These muscles help hold the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder tightly in place. These four muscles all cross through a relatively small space. When these soft tissues become inflamed, the space tightens and impingement occurs, resulting in a “pinching feeling.”

    There are several ways to avoid pain in your shoulder and continue to work out without causing pain. And you can add variety to the workout design at the same time. These include:

  • Kicking with a smaller kickboard, or even a pull buoy, so that you are lower in the water and the pressure on your rotator cuff is not as intense.
  • Kicking without a kickboard, using a drill such as the extension kick, which will promote good body position and avoid shoulder pressure.
  • Continuing to swim, but with fins. While you are swimming, use your legs — not your arms — for most of your propulsion. Let your arms go through the swimming motion without pulling or catching the water. This will allow you to keep your shoulder loose and keep working on your body rotation.

April 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Davie Nadadories Name New Coach

Marty Grady was announced the new Head Age Group Coach for Davie Nadadores.

The 2008 Sun Sentinel High School Coach of The Year, Coach Grady brings expert experience to the Nadadories program. Coach Grady has been coaching for almost 30 years with the Florida Gold Coast Swim League, Coach Grady will command the building and development of the age group team.

I have had the privilege of knowing Marty for a number of years, he is a great coach and a fine gentleman.I wish him all the best in his new endeavor. 



April 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Breaststroke/Butterfly Turn


When performing a breaststroke or butterfly turn, your goal should be to get in and off the wall as quickly as possible. How fast you can turn depends largely on how quickly you can get your feet onto the wall. Consider the wall to be like a hot stove, if you hang on to it you will get burned

The breaststroke and butterfly open turn can be broken up into three distinct phases:

  • chest slap
  • hip slap
  • hand recovery close to the cap


Chest Slap – After both hands simultaneously touch the wall, one arm is immediately brought back into the body with the elbow pressed against the ribs and the hand slapping the upper part of the chest, close to the shoulder (Some coaches modify the positioning of this arm).

Hip Snap – Draw your knees up quickly toward your chest and the wall with toes pointed. Both chest slap and hip snap movements are performed simultaneously. This causes the shoulder of your recovering arm to drop in the water while your hips rotate to allow you to place just your toes horizontally on the wall. While your legs are brought under the body, the head and shoulders are brought straight back, looking up toward the ceiling or sky.

Hand Recovers Close To the Cap – The hand that remained on the wall will recover close to the head as if you were saluting to the official standing over your lane. Continue to drop back until your feet are on the wall and your hands meet in a streamline.

Push off the wall with your toes only, as if you were jumping rope. Your heels should never be placed firmly on the wall. When pushing off, your feet are planted on the wall, parallel with the bottom of the pool. This will help you to push off more on your side, since pushing with the toes pointed down causes a lot of resistance. As you push off, you will twist the body in a corkscrew motion onto the stomach. Your feet must push off with your shoulders past vertical and with your chest facing the bottom, as you hold your streamline tight by squeezing your arms against your ears.

There are two common errors in doing breaststroke and butterfly turns: the “spin like a top turn”, and the “pull-up turn”.

If you “spin like a top” when you turn, it may be because you are rotating your head in a “no” motion and rotating your shoulders horizontally through the water. To correct this, keep your eyes on the wall until your feet are on the wall. The speed of the turn does not depend on how quickly you get your hands on and off the wall, but how quickly you get your feet on and off the wall! Once your feet are on the wall, bring your head back into your streamline looking upward rather than turning your head to the side.

Pulling yourself up out of the water as you turn , probably means that you are grabbing the lip of the wall and pulling your shoulders and chest up and out of the water. This turn will cause you to lose most of your momentum, since you want to get “in and out,” not “up and down”. When your hands touch the wall, rather than pulling yourself up, immediately bring one of your elbows back and drive your bent knees and feet into the wall.

April 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Backstroke to Breaststroke Transition Turn in the IM

The Crossover or Modified Roll Turn With Pullout (backstroke to breaststroke transition turn in the IM)
Michael Phelps demonstrates the difficult crossover or modified roll turn from backstroke, the following breaststroke pullout and the breakout.
By Kevin Milak Demonstrated by Michael Phelps Photos by Kevin Milak

Before the rule change that allowed a rollover turn on backstroke, the modified roll turn was the quickest way to turn from backstroke to breaststroke in the IM. However, this turn has not faded into technique history as “what we used to do before they changed the rule.” Many elite athletes continue to use this turn during IM transitions from back to breast.
The rule regarding backstroke to breaststroke transition turns states:
The swimmer must touch the wall while on the back. Once a legal touch has been made, the swimmer may turn in any manner, but the shoulders must be at or past the vertical toward the breast when the swimmer leaves the wall, and the prescribed breaststroke form must be attained prior to the first arm stroke.²
In this article, we will be taking an underwater view of this difficult turn, the following breaststroke pullout and the breakout. Not only will we have a fish-eye view of the turn, but it will be demonstrated by the best IM swimmer in the world, Michael Phelps.
How To Do It:

Approaching The Wall
Swim into the wall the same way you would approach the wall for a backstroke flip turn. Your distance from the wall when you initiate the turn should be slightly less than it is for your normal backstroke turn. This may require you to lengthen your last several stroke cycles slightly in order to get yourself closer to the wall (Photo #1).

On the last arm stroke, instead of rolling over onto the chest, your body will roll halfway onto the chest so that you are perpendicular to the bottom of the pool, with your chest facing the lane line. Your last arm stroke (Michael’s right arm) will reach behind your head (Photo #2).

Touch And Roll
Drive into the wall, bringing your hand and forearm behind your head. During this final moment before you make contact with the wall, you must be careful not to let your shoulders pass vertical (which would be illegal). Plant your hand fairly deep on the wall, just behind your opposite shoulder (Michael’s left shoulder). Your fingers will be pointed down and behind you (if the wall were a clock, Michael’s fingers would be pointed at 7 o’clock), with the palm of your hand flat on the wall (Photo #3).

Once your hand is on the wall, continue to roll onto your stomach and somersault. Bring your other arm (the one that did not touch the wall; Michael’s left) down toward the bottom of the pool, which will help you to bring your body into alignment and stop you from flipping too far (Photo #4).

Roll onto your side‹not all the way onto your stomach‹as your feet come in contact with the wall. Your feet should be relatively high on the wall, fairly close to the surface, and your toes should be pointed parallel to the surface. Bring your arm that came in contact with the wall overhead to meet your other arm so that you can get ready to push and streamline (Photo #5).

Push and Stretch
Push off on your side with your eyes looking toward the side of the pool, tightening your streamline as your legs straighten. Streamline with your elbows close together behind your head and your torso flexed and straight (Photo #6).

Push and Stretch As you get set up for your pullout, rotate onto your stomach by turning in a corkscrew motion as you push off the wall. Your legs should be squeezed together with your toes pointed. Make sure to exhale as you streamline, so that you do not float to the surface before you are ready to make your breakout. Be sure not to hold your streamline so long that your body begins to lose momentum and slow down (Photos #7 and Streamline).

The Pulling Phase
The arm motion of the pullout can be described as an exaggerated butterfly stroke: the pull and press of the arm strokes are very similar motions. Begin to sweep your hands out with the palms pitched slightly outward and upward so that the hands are outside the shoulders. Once your hands are outside the shoulders, the palms of the hands will begin to face backward. This motion is primarily a stretch to get your hands into the correct position for the next catch of the pull (Photos #8 and #9).

Flex and bend your elbows nearly 90 degrees until your hands nearly come together under your chest. Then press the water under your body from the point at which your hands pass under your chest until they pass by your navel, accelerating your hands as they go through the pull. Throughout most of this phase, your hands will be close together, with your thumbs and index fingers forming a diamond pattern (Photo #10).

The final phase of the pull is the upsweep, where your hands push out from under your body to push slightly upward. Your hands will stop against your thighs, with your fingers pointed down your leg. This final part of the pull should be the fastest your hands will move during the pullout. During the momentary glide, shrug your shoulders and squeeze your arms close to your sides (Photo #11).

Kick to Surface and Arm Recovery
The closer you can recover your hands and forearms to the body, the less drag you will encounter. Flex your elbows enough that your arms move forward with your hands almost sliding across your body. As your arms are passing under your stomach, your feet should begin to recover by bending your knees slightly. Your feet should recover very gently so as not to cause too much drag (Photos #12 and #13).

Use the propulsive phase of the kick to finish the recovery of the arms. Your body should be close to the surface, and as soon as your arms are back up into a streamline, they should begin to press outward to begin the first breaststroke pull. Your eyes should always be looking down throughout the entire pullout, from streamline to breakout. You will only begin to raise your eyes during the first breath of the first stroke cycle of breaststroke (Photos #14 and Breakout).

April 14, 2009 Posted by | Age Group, Coaches, Stroke Technique | Leave a comment

Dara Torres New Book


Dara Torres: Age is Just a Number
In Age Is Just a Number, Dara Torres reveals how the dream of an Olympic comeback in 2008 first came to her — when she was months into her first hard-won pregnancy. With humor and candor, Dara recounts how she returned to serious training —while nursing her infant daughter and contending with her beloved father’s long battle with cancer.

Dara talks frankly about diving back in for this comeback; about being an older athlete in a younger athletes’ game; about competition, doubt, and belief; about working through pain and uncertainty; and finally, about seizing the moment and, most important, never giving up. A truly self-made legend, the story of this five-time Olympian will resonate with women of all ages, and with anyone daring to entertain a seemingly impossible dream.

April 13, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wishing you all a Happy Easter

easter bunny 

I am sure most of you will be taking a Easter Break and so will I….So until next week I hope you all have a wonderful Easter. Thanks to the Davie Nadadores Web Site I was able to borrow the animation above……Adios Coach Pete

April 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Colorado Swimming News

The FAST boy’s 9-10 relay team competed at the Colorado State Championship Meet and set a team record.

The Fort Collins Area Swim Team (FAST) finished in second place out of 45 teams that participated in the 2009 Colorado Age Group State Championships. Only the Colorado Stars team from Denver posted a better overall team score. A total of 888 athletes participated in the meet held at EPIC. FAST hosted the meet and had 52 athletes that qualified and participated.

FAST had two swimmers that earned individual State Champion titles. Alex Tooley earned two state titles by placing first in the 13-14 boys 100 yard breaststroke (1:00.31) and the 200 yard breaststroke (2:13.68). Ranon Pritchard swam for four state titles in the 11-12 boys 200 yard individual medley (2:15.27), 400 yard individual medley (4:55.12), 100 yard freestyle (53.84), and the 50 yard freestyle (24.69).

A total of 17 FAST swimmers placed in the top ten in one or more events. Dominique Schiffman, Elise Forzley, Audrey Oweimrin, Riley Hoffman, Hannah Hunter, Bailey Nero, Sammie Guay, Alex Dragan, Nolan Huey, Austin Hill, Max Holter, Walter Dauksher, Matthew Sima, Tristan VonNeida, and Kincaid Hoffman posted top ten individual finishes. The team also placed 12 relay teams in the top ten and had one state record-breaking relay time. The second place overall finish is FAST’s best since 2000, when the team also finished in second place.

April 4, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment