Coach Pete

Expert advice for Swimmers, Triathletes, and Coaches

Dr. Keith Bell’s New Release

keith bell

Way back when, in the early days of my coaching career one of the first books that I read was “The Nuts and Bolts of Swimming” by Dr. Keith Bell. Keith is still out there writing great books for both swimmers and parents to read. His company Keel Publications out of Austin, Texas produces books for Performance Excellence. His latest book out is “76 Rules for Outperforming the Competition” is one of the books I recommend for young swimmers looking to improve their performance…Check it out! 


May 22, 2009 Posted by | Age Group, Books to Read, Coaches, Parents | 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

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


Go to their web site at then click on the Davie Nadadores Swim Camp Brochure and Application Form and download …..Here is a rundown of the Coaches


Owner and Director |

Coach Tomas Victoria was born in Caracas, Venezuela. Graduate from The University of Florida in Physical Education in 1982 , he is married to Carol Victoria and has two daughters Andrea and Daniela , both of his daughters are involved in competitive sports : Andrea was an All American and state MVP in water polo during her High school years with St Thomas Aquinas HS she obtained an athletic scholarship to Colorado State. Daniela was an All American and two time Florida High School state champion in 100 breaststrokes she is a freshman at the University of Florida in swimming.

Coach Tomas was the Head coach of the Venezuelan National team from 1984 to 1995 his swimmers established over 100 National age group records and made the national Team in multiple occasions to events such as Pan American (1991 Cuba-1995 Argentina- 1999 Canada) and World Championships(1994 Rome , Italy -1995 Rio, Brazil) .

He moved to Florida in 1995 looking for new challenges, he established himself as a coach in the Florida Gold Coast with Team Weston Aquatics were he continued his career by placing swimmers in meets such as Pan Am Games, Rio, Brazil 2007, World Championships Melbourne, Australia 2007, World Youth Championships Rio, Brazil 2006 and Monterrey, Mexico 2008, Zone Championships, US Open, Junior National and Senior National Championships qualifiers.

His swimmers have graduated to accept Athletic and Academic scholarships to Institutions such as: Stanford University, Boston University, University of Florida, Florida Atlantic University, and Indian River College.


Owner and Head Coach |

Coach Alex Pussieldi is originally from Brazil where attended University of Rio Grande do Sul (Journalism) and University of Pernambuco (Physical Education).

Former Junior National Coach of Brazil from 1995 to 1997, and responsible for more then 90 national age group champions in Brazil and several national records. After a very succesfull coaching career in his country, Coach Alex move to United States where has been one of the most active coaches in South Florida.

Coaching Career:
1989 – 1995 – Head Coach at Clube Portugues do Recife, Brazil
1996 – 1998 – Head Coach at Duvel Natacao, Brazil
1999 – 2004 – Head Age Group Coach at Fort Lauderdale Swim Team
2002 to present – Head National Coach Kuwait Swim Team
2003 to present – Head Coach at Lauderdale Isles Yacht Club Florida Summer League
2001 – 2005 – Head Coach at St. Thomas Aquinas High School Boys Swimming & Diving Team
2005 to present – Co-Head Coach at St. Thomas Aquinas High School Boys Swimming & Diving Team
2004 – 2008 – Senior Coach at Pine Crest Swim Club
2008 to present – Head Coach Davie Nadadores Swim Club

Coaching accomplishments:
15 State Titles in Brazil
3 National Club Titles in Brazil
2 times South American Champion with Brazilian National Team
14 times Gulf Champion with Kuwait National Team
5 times Florida High School State Champion with St. Thomas Aquinas High School
4 times South Florida Coach of the Year from Sun Sentinel
3 times South Florida Coach of the Year from Miami Herald
2 times Coach of the Year from Dairy Farmers

International participation:
1995, 1996, 1997 Europe Youth Multinations Swimming Championship
1993, 1995, 1997 South American Junior Championship
2003, 2004 FINA World Cup in New York
2004 World Short Course Championship in Indianapolis
2005 World Championship in Montreal, Canada
2005 FINA World Cup in New York
2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar
2006 FINA Youth World Swimming Championship in Rio, Brazil
2007 Pan American Games in Rio, Brazil
2008 FINA Youth World Swimming Championship in Monterrey, Mexico
2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China

April 1, 2009 Posted by | Age Group, Coaches, Masters Swimming, Triathlons | Leave a comment

Michael Phelps…What’s going on???

Mike…what the heck are you thinking about ? The greatest swimmer ever, the coolest guy in town, the golden boy of our sport. You have so much to live up to, you are the inspiration to all of us in the great arena of sports. These are some of the things that I am thinking about. Why waist it all? The statement that you are only 23 years old and that it was an immature thing to do can go just so far….I wrote an article some time ago that “Doping is for Dopes” well I would hate to put you into that class….but give us a break Mike and clean it up ! If you think I am being tough on you, and you are under a lot of stress to be the All – American Hero….Think about the kids who look up to you.When they Think about you now, will they think of your eight gold medals or will they think of you sucking on a bong !


February 3, 2009 Posted by | Age Group, Coaches, Masters Swimming, Parents, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lactate Testing at the Club Level


I would like to hear the opinion of you coaches out there on lactate testing on the club level. Do you think it’s worth the effort? Here are some points of interest to read on the subject.


Lactate is the unique metabolic variable that indicates the capability of the muscles for an athletic performance. We emphasize “unique” in the preceding sentence because no other metabolic parameter provides the same information. Lactate is an output of the anaerobic process and a fuel for the aerobic process and levels of it in the blood during exercise is indicative of the strength of each system. No other parameter provides this same information.

The ability of the muscles to reach a peak performance during an athletic event requires that the energy systems providing energy be “fine tuned” or “balanced” properly so the athlete can generate the highest amount of energy per unit of time during a race. Proper training is what accomplishes this fine tuning or optimal balance and it is lactate testing that lets the coach know if the balance has been obtained or how each energy system must be trained in order to obtain the balance.

Coaching is a profession requiring both art and science. The building blocks for an optimal performance are many and must be constructed in a proper sequence and must recognize that each individual is different. Some of these building blocks are correct technique, positive mental attitude and a proper diet. However, the cornerstone for this building is precise physiological training. That is the main reason an athlete spends so much time in the water, on the bike, on the track or the road, in the weight room or wherever training is best conducted. Ask yourself, do you know if all those miles/hours of training are paying out?

But what is appropriate physiological training? It is not volume or else those who put in the most hours/miles would be the winners. It is not intensity or else those who pushed themselves the hardest would be the winners. It is not someone’s favorite workout or else everyone would be copying the magic workout or training pace. It turns out that each individual has their own way of adapting and any smart training plan must recognize this. This is a fact of life. Each has to find his or her own way to the proper balance of the energy systems and peak conditioning on the day that counts, race day.

With proper protocols a portable lactate analyzer enables the coach to measure both the aerobic and anaerobic conditioning of each athlete. Information about both is necessary for the coach to optimize the conditioning of each athlete whether they are a 50 meter freestyle swimmer (about 22 seconds plus per race) or an Ironman triathlete (over 8 hours per race for the world’s best). With information on each energy system the coach can plan, control and monitor the training of athletes with a precision not available before. Lactate testing provides the important information that enables the coach to individualize the intensity of each athlete’s workout and control their training so they reach performance objectives. No over-training and no surprises come race day.

How Does Lactate Testing do This?

Provides a multi-dimensional profile of conditioning. Because lactate is produced by the anaerobic system and used by the aerobic system it is the only marker available for measuring each system. The amount of energy an athlete can produce per unit of time depends on the development of both systems which is why they have to be balanced. (Essentially this means training the anaerobic system to a level that is appropriate for the athlete’s aerobic capacity.) This balance will depend upon the event for which the athlete is competing and will also depend upon which part of the training cycle the athlete is in. The closer the athlete gets to the “big” event the balance will have to be “fine tuned” for a peak performance.

Show adaptation in each system. Over time changes in blood lactate levels tell the coach what physiological adaptation has taken place in each system. It tells the coach which forms of training are working or not working. Training time becomes much more efficient as the athlete performs only workouts that work. Your analyzer becomes a “training compass” that “steers” each athlete in the right direction. It is much more relevant than heart rate monitoring which reflects a general overall body response to stress and doesn’t necessarily reflect what is happening in the muscles or with the anaerobic system. It is much more versatile than VO2 testing which requires very expensive equipment and requires experts to administrate the test properly.

Teaches coaches and athletes what is required for a peak performance. Lactate testing is also a learning and motivating experience for coaches and athletes as they become much more aware of the interactions of variables and the other nuances that affect workouts as well as performance. Since the emphasis will be on training energy systems and not the use of very broad training zones, coaches will understand what works best for each energy system and why, what may be counter-productive and when and in what sequence various types of training are appropriate

November 8, 2008 Posted by | Coaches, Masters Swimming, Triathlons | 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

Suggestive Reading for August

What Though the Odds

What Though the Odds

When Dick Rosenthal retired as athletic director in 1995 after a lifetime of service to the University of Notre Dame, he was asked about the most memorable moment during his tenure. Without hesitation, the chief of sports at America’s most storied university replied, “Haley Scott.”

When the Notre Dame women’s swim team suffered a fatal bus crash, the lives of those on the bus, their families, and the community were changed forever. Paralyzed after the accident, Haley Scott was told she would never walk again. That was unacceptable to her.

With the help of those who cared most about her – her family, her school and her teammates – she chose a different fate and promised not only to walk, but to swim again for the Fighting Irish.

Author: Haley Scott DeMaria with Bob Schaller


Four Champions One Gold Medal

Chuck Warner’s new book, Four Champions, One Gold Medal, Four Champions One Gold Medalis a monumental achievement! Descriptive, prescriptive and inspirational, it recounts–step-by-step–the road taken by four world-class athletes in quest of Olympic gold: Americans Tim Shaw, Brian Goodell and Bobby Hackett, and Australian Steve Holland.
All four were extraordinary athletes–incredibly hard-working, and totally focused on their common goal of winning the 1500 meters at the 1976 Olympic Games. All four were champions in every sense of the word. Yet only three made it to the blocks at the start of the 1500 in Montreal. And, of course, only one emerged as Olympic champion.
Warner tells the compelling story of each of these gifted athletes, who share a love of swimming and the goal of winning, yet come from strikingly different backgrounds–from their first stroke in a pool through the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” in Montreal. The 1500-meter race in ’76 was one of the greatest races in Olympic history, and Warner recounts the race in thrilling detail, stroke-by-stroke, lap-by-lap, getting inside each swimmer’s head.
For budding distance swimmers and their coaches–or for anyone who wants to learn how dedication to a goal can reap unbounded rewards–this book is an absolute must.
Author: Chuck Warner

August 5, 2008 Posted by | Age Group, Books to Read, Coaches, Parents | Leave a comment

Dr.Keith Bell’s Books

I received an e-mail from Sandy Nelson-Bell today and she informed me that Dr.Bell has a few new books that might interest you guys. You can view his web-site by going to the Dr.Keith Bell link on my BLOGROLL at the right hand side of the screen or read the comment on the Nuts and Bolts article….have a good night Coach Pete

June 3, 2008 Posted by | Age Group, Books to Read, Coaches | 4 Comments

Nuts and Bolts of Swimming

I recently received an e-mail from one of my former swimmers, telling me that he has finally found the key to swimming competitively. He explained to me that his thoughts and concentration were always on bettering his time or making the cut for whatever meet he was in. He never experienced the fun of just racing! Then one day he said to himself, “all I am going to do today is win my heat”…And what do you know, he is having fun and bettering his time.

It brought me back to a book I read some years ago written by Dr.Keith Bell, called the “Nuts and Bolts of Swimming”… Nut’s and Bolt’s is a great book for the aspiring swimmer. This book includes tips about how to keep yourself on track in training and the psychological aspects of swimming. I would recommend it to any swimmer who is having difficulty keeping their goals in sight. This book helps swimmers to understand they are not the only ones feeling the pressure and the psychological strains involved in swimming at a higher level. This is also great for coaches who are having a hard time motivating their swimmers. It gives ideas and advice to swimmers and coaches alike and I would recommend it full heartedly to any swimmer or swim coach. I hope it is still in circulation, you may be able to find it on

nuts and bolts

June 2, 2008 Posted by | Age Group, Books to Read, Coaches | 1 Comment