Coach Pete

Expert advice for Swimmers, Triathletes, and Coaches

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

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

Good Reading….

If your looking for a good book to read during the summer or while your on vacation. There is a book that just hit the market called “The Great Swim” written by Gavin Mortimer. Here is a brief synopsis of the book:Let me know if you enjoyed it.

The dramatic story of the four courageous female swimmers who captivated the world in the summer of 1926.
Despite the tensions of a world still recovering from World War I, during the summer of 1926, the story that enthralled the public revolved around four young American swimmers—Gertrude Ederle, Mille Gade, Lillian Cannon, and Clarabelle Barrett—who battled the weather, each other, and considerable odds to become the first woman to conquer the brutal waters of the English Channel.
The popular East Coast tabloids from New York to Boston engaged in rivalries nearly as competitive as the swimmers themselves; each backed a favorite and made certain their girl—in bathing attire—was plastered across their daily editions. Just as Seabiscuit, the little horse with the big heart, would bring the nation to a near standstill when he battled his rival War Admiral in 1938, this quartet of women held the attention of millions of people on both sides of the Atlantic for an entire summer.
Gavin Mortimer uses primary sources, diaries, interviews with relatives, and contemporary reports to paint an unforgettable portrait of a competition that changed the way the world looked at women, both in sport and society. More than an underdog story, The Great Swim is a tale of perseverance, strength, and sheer force of will. A portrait of an era that is as evocative as Cinderella Man, this is a memorable story of America and Americans in the 1920s.

The Washington Post – Allen Barra

In 1926, in what might be the most amazing athletic achievement of the century, Ederle swam 21 miles from Cape Gris-Nez, France, to Kingsdown, England, to break the record held by a man, Argentina’s Enrico Tiraboschi, by nearly two hours. A comparable achievement today might be Michelle Wie beating Tiger Woods by 15 strokes—if Wie’s life were at risk each time she approached the sand traps…In The Great Swim, British journalist Gavin Mortimer tells this story with a verve that pulls the reader in like a high tide.

By the way as a kicker to this story is that Gertrude Ederle presented Coach Ginny (my wife) her very first swim medal back in the 50’s

coach Ginny-1  Gertrude

          Coach Ginny                                  Gertrude Ederle

April 29, 2008 Posted by | Books to Read, Coaches, Parents | 1 Comment

Daniela Victoria Trying to Qualify for the 2008 Olympics


Daniela will be competing in San Marino Italy at the end of April in the Copa Latina Meet to try and qualify for the Venezuelan Olympic Team that will compete in Beijing this summer. Daniela is a member of Team Weston Aquatics and trains at the Midtown Athletic Club in Weston Florida under Coach Tomas Victoria, her father. Daniela has been one of Florida’s top female breaststorker’s and will be attending the University of Florida in the fall. Our hearts go out to her and we all wish her luck in her pursuit of making the team

April 9, 2008 Posted by | Age Group, Coaches, Masters Swimming, Parents, Triathlons | Leave a comment

Another Opinion from Australia

Games boycott no answer: Hackett

Grant Hackett ... wouldn't want to see a boycott.

Grant Hackett … wouldn’t want to see a boycott.
Photo: Getty Images

March 21, 2008 – 2:45PM

Australian swim team captain Grant Hackett says boycotting the Olympics has never been the correct solution as the pressure on China mounts following its response to unrest in Tibet.

His comments come a day after five-time Olympic gold medallist Ian Thorpe said he did not believe athletes should boycott the Beijing Games.

China’s human rights record has again come under scrutiny, with its crackdown on protesters in the Himalayan region leading to calls ranging from snubbing the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics to a full boycott of the Beijing Games.

However, Hackett said he believed boycotting the Olympics was never an appropriate response and the decision for countries to skip the 1980 Moscow and 1984 Los Angeles Games on political grounds had been counterproductive.

“I don’t think that is the answer to the problems, to be totally honest,” he said before the Olympic swimming trials starting tomorrow in Sydney.

“I would not like to see people do that.

“I don’t think that was the answer back in the ’80s and I don’t think it is a sustainable resolution to the problem.

“So, in saying that this team will not boycott, certainly that has been said by (Australian Olympic Committee president) John Coates, it has been said by (Australia swim head coach) Alan Thompson.

“I guess what issues escalate over there in the next few months, well hopefully that does not happen … and we can be focused on the positive things that are happening in China with the Olympics coming there and the great performance of athletes.

“And hopefully that issue (Tibet) does die down a little bit.”

The AOC has vowed Australia will not boycott the Games despite a renewed focus on China’s human rights record and a call to do so from some athletes and Tibetan groups.

Thorpe yesterday agreed with the AOC’s call.

“The Games is a peacetime event, it’s a peaceful event,” he said while in Canberra for an indigenous health summit.

China has denied using deadly force to quell the unrest, saying the only deaths so far were 13 “innocent civilians” killed by rioters in Lhasa on Friday while 325 people were injured.

But the exiled Tibetan government believes the death toll is more like 30, and possibly as high as 100.

April 7, 2008 Posted by | Coaches, Masters Swimming, Parents, Triathlons | Leave a comment

Boycott Opinion from Australia

Ross, says 

Unfortunately an event like the Olympics cannot be dissociated from politics. To do so is disingenuous and smacks of the same selfishness of the Australian cricketers rebel tour of South Africa in the 80s. Yes, the sportsmen work hard, but let’s not forget they’re on a taxpayer funded ride at the AIS where they pay no HECS. People doing medicine work just as hard and contribute far more than running and jumping and swimming.
To call a boycott ‘wrong’ amounts to moral cowardice. Fortunately China does care about its international reputation and so the athletes are in a unique position to draw attention to the illegal, violent invasion of Tibet AND the astounding level of humans rights violations in China itself. I guess in these days where nobody takes responsibility for the things they do, it seems a strange idea for people to take responsibility for things they should do. In fact it makes these athletes the worst kind of cowards: those who are in the position to do something but choose not to for personal gain. This burying your head in the sand, not-my-problem attitude shows the moral turpitude of the modern sports person. I am embarrassed and ashamed to be represented by people of this ilk.
If you truly believe sports boycotting is wrong, perhaps you should read about the Wallabies’ boycott of the South African rugby tour in 1971. Those players had more moral fibre in their little fingers than this entire Australian Olympic team.

April 7, 2008 Posted by | Coaches, Masters Swimming, Parents, Triathlons | Leave a comment

Great News!

U.S. Paralympics Trials: Team Named, Dave Denniston Makes Squad — April 6, 2008

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, April 6. THE U.S. Paralympic Team held its Trials over the weekend at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Overall, 38 swimmers earned berths as six world records fell during the meet.
On the first night of swimming, Susan Beth Scott set the S10 division world record in the women’s 400 free with a time of 4:40.10.
The following night featured a trio of world records. Singapore’s Pin Xiu Yip set the S3 50 back standard with a 1:01.55 during prelims. Yip returned during finals to drop the record even further with a 1:00.80. Finally, Deb Gruen broke the SB6 200 breast record with a 3:36.37. On the final night, Erin Popovich shot down the SM7 200 IM record with a time of 3:00.34, while Rudy Garcia-Tolson clocked a 2:40.59 in the SM7 200 IM to claim his record.
While every member of the U.S. Paralympic squad deserves applause for punching their tickets to Beijing, one has always been near-and-dear to all of our hearts. We extend a personal congratulations to Dave Denniston for making the Olympic team! Way to go Dave…..Bring it!

April 6, 2008 Posted by | Coaches, Masters Swimming, Parents, Triathlons | Leave a comment

Interesting Article on The Olympics

From The Sunday Times

April 6, 2008

Stand up, for today you can force China through a tunnel of shame

The London torch procession shows how craven Britain has become: ignore it or protest

Simon Jenkins

Today’s London publicity stunt for the Chinese regime should be ignored by the public and any reputable athlete or politician, unless to register a fierce protest. The four-month “journey of harmony” of the Olympic torch (or many cloned torches) through 21 nations is an exercise in political laundering. It is appalling that the prime minister is to “greet” his torch in Downing Street.

This tour has nothing to do with sport. It has been staged by the Chinese government, not the International Olympic Committee, with “celebrity runners” in each country approved by the commercial sponsors, Coca-Cola, Lenovo and Samsung. In Britain those conned into joining include Tim Henman, Sir Trevor McDonald, Vanessa-Mae, the Sugababes, Ken Livingstone and Gordon Brown. It shows how craven Britain has become to its membership of the so-called Olympic family and its Chinese parents.

The idea of carrying a lit torch from the Temple of Hera in Greece was invented by Hitler in 1936 to suggest a link between the German people and fellow Aryans in southern Europe. It was revived as a political act by Sydney in 2000 with a regional tour symbolizing Australia’s links with the Pacific rim of Asia. Athens staged a world tour in 2004 in honor of the Games returning to their original home.

Nothing has equaled the present shenanigans. China’s ruling politburo knows that these Games carry heavy political baggage. Everything is image. The regime wants value for money from its $30 billion and that would never accrue from a mere fortnight’s track and field events.

That is why today’s London run, which began in Athens last month, will return to China by touching down in Lhasa, Tibet. There it will meet a torch from the summit of Everest. The centrality of Lhasa to the tour is to emphasize that Everest is in China by virtue of being in Tibet. It is not the protesting Tibetans who are polluting sport with politics, but their Chinese overlords.

Participants in today’s display are thus endorsing an event the climax of which is to celebrate a dictator’s conquest of a neighbor. When Saddam Hussein did that to Kuwait, Britain went to war. The least Britain owes the Tibetans is not to add to their humiliation. Playing sport is one thing, political cheerleading is another.

I normally dislike boycotts, embargoes and sending’s to Coventry. They tend to hurt the wrong people and only boost the self-importance of those at whom they are directed. That particularly applies in areas such as sport, where non-political contact between young people in conflict-ridden parts of the world should be promoted rather than suppressed.

For that reason it is right, as the Dalai Lama has said, for athletes to participate in the Beijing Olympics, as in Hitler’s in 1936 and Moscow’s in 1980. But the athletes and their political and media hangers-on should recognize that the Games have never been politics-free, not since their revival in 1896. The ambition of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, their promoter, was emphatically political, hoping that big nations would “fight each other at the Games” instead of rushing into wars of national prestige.

Since then a self-perpetuating mafia, the IOC, has relentlessly hyped the Games as festivals of national prestige to push their cost way beyond that of any other world championship and beyond the hopes of any poor city or nation.

It demands permanent stadiums, villages and massive security, most of it useless for any lasting purpose. The world is littered with vacant and derelict Olympics venues. London has caved in to the same pressure and is building unnecessary sites for athletics, swimming and cycling, as well as London facilities for horse riding and shooting that could have been staged in the home counties at Hickstead and Bisley.

The IOC knows that only by investing the Games in flatulent pretension can it hope for rich governments to keep it in the style to which it has become accustomed. Nothing but dictatorship could have drained Beijing of the $30 billion that its Games are costing. After Britain’s experience of IOC lifestyle requirements – such as “Zil lanes” in Mile End Road for its personal limousines – it may have to rely on other dictatorships in future.

The pretension is embodied in the torch, a 20th century invention, called “a symbol of peace, justice and brotherhood” that is “bringing people together on its journey of harmony”. Its “mother flame” is being transported about the world in a specially adapted Air China jet, with 10 “flame attendants”, like Greek acolytes. The torch requires its own motorcade and a nightly hotel room where it must be surrounded by unsleeping guards.

No sport does itself credit by associating with antics reminiscent of the crazed millionaire in Dr No. Yet even London has capitulated to this nonsense, with the British Museum, Downing Street, Canary Wharf and the Docklands Light Railway all cashing in. Taxpayers must spend £1m on eight hours of police overtime culminating in the lighting of an “Olympic cauldron” at the Millennium Dome. If this were not the Olympics it would be total nutcase country, with the Witches of the Sabbath and the Flat Earth Society demanding equal time.

Handling the politics of the Olympics will clearly be a matter of some delicacy. The Chinese ambassador in London may yet absent herself from today’s event. Gordon Brown and his cabinet should do likewise. The British, led by Tessa Jowell, the ensnared Olympics minister, periodically intone their “concern for civil rights in China” as if it were a Buddhist mantra. It makes no difference.

From the moment the Games were awarded to Beijing, all involved knew they risked becoming quislings to the Chinese cause.

Many athletes have protested that boycotting the Games because of Tibet or civil rights would be a “terrible blow to young people who have trained for years”. But most sporting championships are purely about sport, such as those devoted to cycling in Manchester last week. By contrast, athletes always knew that Beijing would be a seismic political event.

In Tibet 140 people are reported to have died, preliminary to the athletes’ enjoyment of their sport. Eight were reported shot last week for supporting the Dalai Lama. The Chinese have closed Lhasa to clamp down on further protest, as they had to close Tiananmen Square for the first receipt of the torch. They have arrested 70 Uighurs in the “autonomous” province of Xinjiang. Dissidents in Beijing are being arrested and condemned to who knows what fate. One writer, Hu Jai, has been imprisoned and tortured for doing what the IOC boss, Jacques Rogge, advocated, namely that the Olympics be used to publicise human rights abuses in China. What is Rogge doing now?

The Olympics are a festival of chauvinism, a farrago of anthems and flags and medal tables and prestige. Those participating in the Olympics are not individual players, as in most sporting occasions. They are Coubertin’s soldiers, defending their nation’s honor in a charged political climate. The Olympics are a United Nations general assembly by another name. China and the IOC are relying on the ceremonial flummery to validate the Games financially and politically.

There is now no way those participating can cut the Games down to sporting size. The IOC has long closed that option. But in this contest of political symbolisms, they can return like for like. The more odious the host regime, the more assiduous visitors can be in publicizing the odium.

Politicians should go nowhere near these Games except in protest. Leave them to sport. Today and at every stop along the way, the torch and its bearers must suffer a tunnel of shame, parodying its protestations of peace, brotherhood and justice. This is an opportunity to publicize and protest against the world’s greatest dictatorship.

The BBC’s 400 Olympics staff are on the mother of all junkets, in contempt alike for China’s oppressed and Britain’s licence-fee payers. It will be shocking if such a media bonanza ignores its wretched political environs.

China last week welcomed the British government as a member of something called the Olympic family. If this is a family, I hope that for the next four months it is an intensely unhappy one.

April 6, 2008 Posted by | Coaches, Masters Swimming, Parents, Triathlons | Leave a comment

Looking towards Beijing

Friday, March 07, 2008 1:31:00 PM

Phelps sizzles at Olympic tune-up in Texas

In Thursday

In Thursday’s 200 IM, Michael Phelps notched what is a pedestrian time for him when he won in 1:57.39.


What is your opinion on boycotting the opening day ceremony by our president?

Bill Asks President Bush to Boycott Beijing Olympics over Human Rights Violations
Pro-lifers hope for bipartisan opposition to China’s forced abortion policy

By Michael Baggot

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 4, 2008 ( – The Communist Chinese Olympic Accountability Act, introduced on Tuesday, if passed would forbid federal government officials and employees, including President George W. Bush, from attending the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremonies, in protest against the nation’s disregard for human dignity, such as its one-child policy. 

Republican Thaddeus McCotter introduced the bill opposing US political representation at the Olympic opening ceremonies, “based upon communist China brutalizing protesters in Tibet, supporting and enabling Sudan’s genocidal regime, forcing a one child policy upon Chinese families, persecuting Chinese citizens for freely exercising religion, repressing free and independent labor unions, engaging in wanton environmental degradation, and systematically denying the Chinese people their basic freedoms.”

“We are not talking about athletes, who are going in the spirit of competition of the games, but we don’t need politicians going because politicians, unlike athletes, send political messages,” McCotter explained.

“President Franklin Roosevelt did not attend the 1936 Berlin Olympics; and President Bush should not attend the Beijing Olympics. In the grand sweep of history, President Bush’s attendance at these games will be an unwelcome and unnecessary stain upon his legacy as a champion of human liberty.”

“The Chinese government has a brutal history of forcing women to abort their babies.  Everyone from both sides of the aisle can agree that this barbaric practice must end.  It’s horrific that any country would allow abortion at all, but forcing abortions falls to another level of evil,” stated Andrew Flusche, staff attorney for American Life League.

Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping introduced the Chinese one child policy in 1979 as a “temporary measure.”  This past March, however, nearly three decades later, the Chinese government indicated that the policy would remain in effect over the next decade.

Under the policy, many Chinese women pregnant with a second child face fines, forced sterilization, or forced abortion from the government.

While President Bush currently plans to attend the opening Olympic ceremonies in August, Flusche contends that “a truly pro-life President would do nothing that would ever lend a shred of support to abortion.”

Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has given cautious support to the idea of boycotting the opening ceremony.”I think boycotting the opening ceremony, which really gives respect to the Chinese government, is something that should be kept on the table,” she said. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has already decided not to appear at the summer opening ceremonies.
“China’s strangulation of Tibet is only an extension of the suffocation of liberty in China itself. Should the Olympics go off as planned, China will rightly conclude that the world has made its peace with Beijing’s oppression, and is indifferent to whether the Olympic rings are used as shackles. A modified boycott would expose that as a lie,” wrote Fr. Raymond J. De Souza in the National Post, encouraging Canadian officials to boycott the Olympic Games.

April 5, 2008 Posted by | Coaches, Masters Swimming, Parents, Triathlons | 1 Comment

The Common Bond…..

TWA3 048

            Coach Pete, sharing that passion with his kids

After reading the Coaches interviews with Coach Bill Sphan, Coach Tomas Victoria and Coach Raphael Lima. I find one common bond between them that makes all of us coaches the same. It is the single thread that weaves us together as one. It is the love of the sport, it is called passion! There are few occupations that one can work at that can create this type of passion. If you read their interviews they all loved coming to work…Even now in retirement I still have that passion and love of the sport, . We coaches are so very fortunate to be able to be such an important part of so many lives of so many people. I want to thank you guys for your open candidness and giving me your time to answer my questions during the interviews.

Keep up the good work…Coach Pete

March 4, 2008 Posted by | Coaches | Leave a comment