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

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

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

Wake up and Smell the Coffee…Before it’s too late!



The 10 Commandments for Swimming Parents
By Rose Snyder



With the Summer JO’S only 50 days away I think it may be a good time to review these Commandments,they have been posted on your Team Weston web-site. I think that they are well written and deserving of your attention.




1. Thou shalt not impose your ambitions on thy child.

Remember that swimming is you child’s activity. Improvements and progress occur at different rates for each individual. Don’t judge you child’s progress based on what you think they should be doing. The nice thing about swimming is that every person can strive to do their personal best and benefit from the process of competitive swimming.

2. Thou shalt be supportive no matter what.

There is only one question to ask your child after a practice or a competition.- “Did you have fun?” If meets and practices are not fun, your child should not be forced to participate. Remember though, that “fun” is often defined individually; reaching a goal, doing your best can be fun.

3. Thou shalt not coach thy child.

You are involved in one of the few youth sports programs that offer professional coaching! Do not undermine the professional coach by trying to coach your child on the side. Your job is to provide love and support and a safe place to return to at the end of the day. Love and hug your child no matter what. The coach is responsible for the technical part of the job.

You should not offer advice on technique of race strategy or any other area that is not yours. And above all, never pay your child for a performance. This will only serve to confuse your child concerning the reasons to strive for excellence and weaken the swimmer/coach bond.

4. Thou salt only have positive things to say at a swimming meet.

If your are going to show up at a swimming meet, you should be encouraging and NEVER criticize your child or coach. Both of them know when mistakes have been made. Please remember that “yelling at” is not the same as “cheering for”.

5. Thou shalt acknowledge they child’s fears.

Your child’s first swimming meet, 500 free or 200 IM can be a stressful situation. It is totally appropriate for your child to be scared. Don’t yell or belittle, just assure your child that the coach would not have suggested the event if your child was not ready to compete in it. Remember your job is to love and support your child through their entire swimming experience.

6. Thou shalt not criticize the officials.

If you do not care to devote the time or do not have the desire to volunteer as an official, please don’t criticize those who are doing the best they can.

7. Honor thy child’s coach.

The bond between coach and swimmer is a special one, and one that contributes to your chil’s success as well as fun. Do not criticize the coach in the presence of your child, as it will only serve to hurt your child’s swimming.

8. Thou shalt be loyal and supportive of thy team.

It is not wise for parents to take their swimmer and jump form team to team. The water isn’t necessarily bluer in another team’s pool. Every team has its own internal problems- even teams that build champions. Children who switch from team to team ar often ostracized for a long time by the teammates they leave behind and are slowly received by new team mates. Often swimmers find that switching teams does not improve their performance.

9. Thy child shalt have goals besides winning.

Most successful swimmers are those who have learned to focus on the process and not the outcome. Giving an honest effort regardless of the outcome is much more important than winning. One Olympian said, “My goal was to set a world record. Well, I did that, but someone else did it too, just a little faster than I did. I achieved my goal and I lost. Does this make me a failure? No, in fact I am very proud of that swim.” What a tremendous outlook to carry on through life!!

10. Thou shalt not expect thy child to become an Olympian.

There are 250,000 athletes in USA Swimming and we keep a record of the Top 100 all time swimming performances by age group. Only 2 of the swimmers listed in the 10 7 under age group made it to the Top 100 in the 17 – 18 age group. There are only 52 spots available for the Olympic Team every 4 years. Your child’s odds of becoming an Olympian are about .0002%

Swimming is much more than just the Olympics. Ask your coaches why they coach. Chances are, they were not Olympians, but still got so much out of swimming that they wanted to pass the love for the sport on to others. Swimming teaches self – discipline and sportsmanship; it builds self-esteem and fitness; it provides lifelong friendships and much more. Most Olympians will tell you that these intangibles far outweigh any medal they may have won. Swimming builds good people, like you want your child to be, and you should be happy your child wants to participate!

June 3, 2008 Posted by | Parents | Leave a 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

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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

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

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

101 Winning Ways – Great little book written by Olympic Coach Nick Baker

Nick Baker

I highly recommend this book for swimmers of all ages…It is a book that quotes ways of winning that stick in your head!….Coach Pete 

Attitudes for Swimming and For Life

101 Winning Ways Book

This book is dedicated to swimmers of all ages and abilities who commit countless hours in pursuit of their swimming dreams.


Swimming is a very competitive sport. To be competitive, you need the right winning attitudes or winning ways. Winning attitudes act like an automatic pilot, guiding you to victory.

The pages in this book identify 101 winning attitudes, attitudes all great swimmers possess – including Michael Phelps. 101 Winning Ways presents these winning attitudes in an easy-to-read, easy-to understand format. The creative cartoons and simple text make learning fun and easy.

While physical fitness and technical know-how are key ingredients to swimming success – nothing, absolutely nothing, can replace the winning attitudes found in this book.


Nick Baker, former Olympic Coach and founder of Peak Performance Swim Camp, shares his recipe for winning in his new book 101 Winning Ways. Coach Baker believes that given the right attitudes any swimmer can be a winner. 101 Winning Ways delivers these attitudes one inspiring page at a time.

Here’s an Idea

Keep a copy of 101 Winning Ways by your bedside and read a page a night, just before you go off to sleep. Consider the meaning behind the words and imagine yourself with that winning way. How would it change your swimming? How would it change your life?

How to order your book: Go to:

April 24, 2008 Posted by | Books to Read, Parents, Uncategorized | Leave a comment