Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Admit it.  After Chris's post yesterday, your thoughts on the state of Chinese swimming at least briefly turned to one of these two movies.

So, uh... yesterday Chris posted his concerns about Chinese swimmers setting themselves up to soon overtake the American men for world dominance and I was expecting it to launch a firestorm of comments about doping and population base and development systems and structures and maybe even a little Craig Lord bashing and all those other good juicy things that swim nerds can't shut up about that make swim blogs so awesome...

you know--  the whole reason we love the internet:  Anonymous arguing where everyone can pretend they are experts and throw insane comments out there with no fear of retaliation other than trolls out-smart-assing them, which is really more fun than it is painful.  Blog commenting can be a sport all on it's own, ya know?

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Musings of a Paranoid Team USA Fan

Is it only a matter of time before this is the world's best swimmer?
Each year, for the last four years, I've reached a point in the competitive swim calendar where I start a full scale panic about Team USA and their future. The rest of the world starts to hold their earlier trials meets, drop pretty fast times, rocket to the top of world rankings, and I predict the end of Team USA.  Each year I've pretty much been wrong. That won't stop me from doing it again.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Blueseventy Nero XII- Can I Be Bought?

I'll admit the timing of this post is highly suspect. In my last blog, I basically went off half-cocked about the new FS3 system and the havoc it may wreak on this coming championship season. You may not believe me about the sequence of events that followed. Later that day, I got a letter, dated January 12th. It was from blueseventy, offering me an advance trial of their new racing suit, the Nero XII. They offered to send me one, and although they didn't say it, I'm sure they hoped I would write about it in my blog. That's my first disclosure.

Friday, January 20, 2012


This morning we only did about 1600 yards at practice... but that doesn't mean it was easy.  I am one of those coaches who believes that mornings are for getting specific and doing the things that are hard to organize when the whole team is in the pool.  We do a lot of speedplay, parachutes, cords and other things that can become chaotic when we are sharing the pool with the whole club.  Mornings are valuable, and they are not just to cram in more yardage.

Another belief I hold dear, is that easy kick sets are a waste of time.  Kick sets need to have a focus.  Which of the great coaches was it who said this gem?:  "everything we do in the morning is BS except for the kick."   HAHA.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Those were the days!
The title of this post pretty much sums it up. With the decision to allow Speedo's FS3 "System" in NCAA competition this coming year, college swimming is right back in the same situation a majority of us were complaining about in 2009. So, like many coaches, I'm left scratching my head. How did we not see this coming? Why didn't we learn our lesson? And why do so few people seem to care this time around?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chatting with Gary Kempf

On-deck conversations with other swim coaches are one of the best parts of the whole coaching gig.  I feel blessed to get to talk shop with some great people on the weekends, and the world of swimming is small enough that it seems like no matter what part of the country a coach is from it turns out that you know some of the same people.   I especially love chatting with old school coaches.  They often have a kind of insight that could only come from seeing the way we do things now in contrast to where we came from.  Often they know personally the people who helped us to innovate and move the sport ever forward and remember the thought processes behind some of the major decisions that have shaped competitive swimming into what it is today.

Last week, while Coach Keyser had the Asbury team training at our pool, I had the pleasure of getting to know his "assistant coaches" Gary and Dorothy Kempf.  Gary was the Head Coach at the University of Kansas for over 20 years, and Dorothy is a great coach in her own right.  As a matter of fact, Gary says "she is one of the best sprint coaches in the country" and she won't let him touch her sprinters.  Haha.  They are both just wonderful people and I loved getting to see them work with the Asbury kids.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Different Take on Christmas Training-- Asbury University

I got an email from a guy recently who was college roommates with one of my former swimmers.  He was asking for pool space for when his team comes to town in January.  Sure!  I am happy to accommodate, but why in the heck are you bringing your team to Joplin, Missouri?  Shouldn't you be on a beach somewhere?

So I have to ask all you swim-briefers out there:  where did your college team go for Christmas training?  Drury is in Hawaii right now.  I know some teams head to Florida, Bermuda, Brazil...  When you are training that hard, you deserve to spend some time at the beach between workouts, right?

Seems legit... but this coach had other things in mind.  No surfing and sunbathing on this trip.  They had more important things to do.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Value of Anonymous

The serious, social issues strain of the Swim Brief took a nice holiday break. Now, with 2012 upon us and me holed in a hotel room during a Florida cold front, we are back. Today I want to discuss something that was going on in the background of my ongoing discussions with USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus. As I posted my series of blogs, Chuck requested that I disable anonymous commenting for the blogs. I refused. Here's why:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The 2011 Chesapeake Pro-Am

I love the Chesapeake Elite Pro-Am.  If you are a coach and you are looking for a great meet for a December shave, I can definitely tell you it is worth the trip to Oklahoma City.  My swimmers always come back with great stories to tell and it is one of those rare sporting events where club kids get to mingle a little bit with some of the world's best swimmers.

I wrote up a post before the trip this year and for some reason never did post it, (I am retro-posting it here) but in it I list a few of the awesome things I have seen at the meet in the past.  This year I can add to that list-- I got to see Anthony Ervin's comeback first hand.  Hells yeah... but honestly, that was just one of many highlights.  Pick through the results and you will see.