Thursday, February 27, 2014

From a Distance: A Coach's Lament

Most coaches aren't lucky enough to stay in one place for their entire career. Check out your favorite coach's bio, and you are likely to find at least a few stops along the way. You grow, you reach new heights, you need to find a better situation. Suffice it to say, I know there are a lot of coaches sitting in the position I find myself in over these past two weeks. Last week's ACC Women's Championship and this week's men's meet are the first one I haven't taken part in since 2009. It's a strange, disorienting experience.

Monday, February 24, 2014

This Meet's Getting Fast!

Around this time of year, as college programs fight for conference supremacy, there's a familiar refrain. It can be heard on pool decks across the country, as coaches chat through warmup. It's on message boards. It's in swimswam articles:

"Boy this meet's getting FAST. It took (time for 16th place in this year's meet) to make it back in the 400 IM!"

Monday, February 17, 2014


A while back, I watched an interview with Steve Jobs on netflix. Released in the buzz of his autobiography and his lionization in death, it was a glimpse into the past and one of the few recorded interviews he ever did. One part of the interview has stuck with me ever since. Jobs brings up the topic of "taste". In this context, "taste" is all about liking the best in any number of things: cars, food, movies and, of course, user friendly electronics. I think about this definition of "taste" when I coach swimming. I think we can all agree as coaches we want to see good quality practice. But what is "quality", in a swim practice? Well, it's a matter of taste.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

"Training is for Kids"-- or, How the Viking Perfected the Old-Man Taper

Yup.  I am a professional athlete now.  I filled out a W9 and everything.  Haha.

I am sure that some of you out there saw that SwimSwam gave me a little love this December for my race at the Chesapeake Pro-Am.  I think it is time for me to tell the story.  (Sorry, Chris and I have both been a little absent lately.  Busy!  Bzzzy Beeezzzz!)  First, I have to say that Chesapeake is my favorite meet ever, not just because the prize money brings in the pro's, but because they run their operation with creativity and precision.  When the hotshots come to OKC, the host club really takes care of them and they plan cool events like visiting a children's hospital, autograph sessions and more.  The meet was huge this year and they had no timeline or operation issues.  An absolute class act.  This is why it surprised me that I was invited to declare myself a "professional athlete."

Monday, February 10, 2014

This Is The Way We Do It: Training Camps

When you live in Denmark, you should prepare to hear one phrase over and over again. At least certain variations of it:

"This is how we do it"

Or maybe

"We've always done it this way"

You'll get this response after you witness something that seems totally uncommon to you but entirely normal to everyone else. My first such exchange coaching here came just two days into my trip, when I saw that pace and sprint lanes were one and the same. And so it goes at most every meet.

This week I'm on training camp, it's own special brand of Danish repetitiveness. School is off in Denmark this week, and so most Danish swim clubs are abroad training away. Why not?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Swimbrief Reboots

This is not the first attempt at writing this post. Over the past few months, I've stared at a blank page on this blog a number of times. This is, however, the first time I've actually known what I wanted to write. It's taken a few months and some searching, but I've finally decided what I want to do with this blog moving forward. It's time to reboot the Swimbrief, and I'm excited about it. But first I owe an explanation of how I got here.