Tuesday, January 26, 2016



The way we train is a startlingly accurate representation of how we compete.
The way you perform your turns when you are exhausted or unfocused at practice is similar to the way you will execute them when they are exhausted at the end of a race.
Long before you ever get up on the blocks to compete you are building your race. Piece by piece, day by day through the grind of practices.


Slow rotation, poor foot placement, loose tuck, and on and on. It makes me laugh a little when I hear swimmers say that they want to take time out of practice to work specifically on their turns, when over the course of a 4,000 yard practice they have a chance to do up to 160 of them.
How many of those turns are being done with intent?
Done with a tight tuck?
Or with their feet exploding off the wall?
Or are done turning at the appropriate length from the wall?
Swimmers shouldn’t be of the mind that they need to have specialized turn time to work on them, but that they should be taking advantage of the opportunities already being presented to them to make their turns as fast and as awesome as possible.
(Side note: not only should you be doing quality turns, but you should also be doing turns at race-like speed to acclimatize yourself for competition. This is something covered in “3 Sneaky Training Tips for a Faster Sprint Freestyle.”)


Here’s a fun fact: when you push off the wall (or dive into the water), that is the highest velocity you will attain in the water.
At no point over the course of the rest of the lap will you be going any faster.
When you understand this, it might make you rethink performing those streamlines where it looks like you are trying to hold a beach ball over your head.
Yes, it requires some focus and discipline—especially towards the end of workout when you are exhausted both physically and mentally—but the easiest way to maintain speed off your walls is a tight streamline and breakout.


Whether it is a weak-side elbow dropping in freestyle, or a breaststroke kick not fully finishing, sloppy technique infects our swimming at the first turn of inattention.
Good technique takes time, patience and repetition to develop and build, so don’t throw away that hard work by letting bad technique habits creep into your swimming.
Alex Popov was famous for swimming long, easy-looking distances with a technique that was no different from that you would see when he was winning back-to-back Olympic golds in the 50m and 100m freestyles.
Remind yourself to maintain proper technique with some simple cues (“High elbow! Attack with the shoulders! Hips up!”) that will remind you to maintain excellent technique in the water.


As someone who has traditionally enjoyed doing kick sets, I still find myself fighting the 3-pull urge that happens when I approach the walls. (Especially when I am tired…)
Sure, it might give you that little bit extra of speed heading into the wall (skewing your actual kick results), but typically when you pull you are cheating by giving your legs a nice little rest.
Done once or twice over the course of a kick set might not seem like a big deal, but when you add that up over the course of a swim season you are looking at a lot of kicking meters being thrown out the window.


At the Beijing Olympics it wasn’t the French and their 4x100m freestyle relay that had the closest chance to disrupt Michael Phelps’ quest for 8 golds.
It was Serbia’s Milorad (Mike) Cavic in the 100m butterfly.
Phelps would come back to win in a time of 50.58, out-touching Cavic by 1/100th of a second. The finish was so close that observers in the facility swore that Cavic had touched first, and the tightness of the race prompted the Serbian delegation to file protest.
The finishing order would stand, and Phelps, in looking at the race later that year with Anderson Cooper of 60 Minutes would reflect,
“He’s (Cavic) picking his head up before he is finishing…It’s acting as a speed bump…That’s the difference in the race.”
Yes, we aren’t all swimming for gold at the Olympics, but when races come down to those photo-finishes you want to be the swimmer that finishes.
Put your head down and finish like a boss.


Similarly to the point above, gliding into the finish 3-5m from the wall at the end of a rep is a poor precedent to set in practice.
You see it all the time with swimmers, content to work hard for 90% of the rep, and glide into the wall like they are Matt Biondi in the ’88 Seoul Olympics.
When the flags or black T appear in your field of vision it should prompt you to attack the wall, not merely glide into it.


Practice is a place where you prepare for racing.
So why not start practicing like you want to race?
With intent, focus, and a desire to attack your swimming instead of just cruisin’ through it.


See link for full artile:


Men's 200-Meter Backstroke, Swimming
Team USA frontrunner: Unclear
Why you should watch: Ryan Lochte won gold in 2008 and bronze in 2012, but hasn’t competed in this event as of late. So who will step up and take his spot? Matt Grevers, the Olympic champion in the 100-meter, won the national title in December 2015, followed by 2014 Youth Olympian Patrick Mulcare. Ryan Murphy and Tyler Clary made the final at the world championships, finishing fifth and seventh. Murphy also won at the Arena Pro Swim Series at Austin.

Women's 200-Meter Backstroke, Swimming
Team USA frontrunner: Missy Franklin
Why you should watch: Franklin won the event at the 2012 Olympics, as well as the 2011 and 2013 world championships, before finishing with silver at the 2015 worlds. The five-time Olympic medalist will strive to return to the top of the podium in Rio.
Other contenders: Maya DiRado

Men's 200-Meter Breaststroke, Swimming
Team USA frontrunner: Kevin Cordes
Why you should watch: Cordes won a silver medal in the 200-meter breaststroke at the 2015 world championships and has the potential to make a big splash in his Olympic debut in Rio.
Other contenders: Carlos Claverie, Nic Fink, Josh Prenot

Women's 200-Meter Breaststroke, Swimming
Team USA frontrunner: Micah Lawrence
Why you should watch: After finishing sixth at the 2012 Olympic, Lawrence has been a podium mainstay, winning bronze at the 2013 world championships and silver at the 2015 world championships.
Other contenders: Lilly King, Kierra Smith, Laura Sogar

Men's 200-Meter Butterfly, Swimming
Team USA frontrunner: Michael Phelps
Why you should watch: Phelps won gold in this event in 2004 and 2008, followed by silver in 2012, and is eager to return to the top of the podium in one of his favorite strokes. The most-decorated Olympian of all time set a world-leading time at the national championships in August while the rest of the world was at world championships.
Other contenders: Tyler Clary, Chase Kalisz, Tom Shields

Women's 200-Meter Butterfly, Swimming
Team USA frontrunner: Cammile Adams
Why you should watch: After finishing fifth in her Olympic debut in London, Adams is on pace for her first Olympic medal following a silver at the 2015 world championships.
Other contenders: Haley Anderson, Katie McLaughlin

Men's 200-Meter Freestyle, Swimming
Team USA frontrunner: Unclear
Why you should watch: Team USA could have any number of men in the hunt for the podium in this event, led by Conor Dwyer, Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps. Phelps has one gold and one bronze Olympic medal to his name in this event, but has been surpassed as of late by Dwyer and Lochte. Lochte was fourth at the 2015 world championships, but Dwyer outpaced him at the Arena Pro Swim Series at Minneapolis in November.

Women's 200-Meter Freestyle, Swimming
Team USA frontrunner: Katie Ledecky
Why you should watch: Ledecky is the reigning world champion in this event (along with three other freestyle distances) and has the potential to medal in as many as seven events in Rio.
Other contenders: Missy Franklin, Allison Schmitt

Men's 200-Meter Individual Medley, Swimming
Team USA frontrunner: Michael Phelps
Why you should watch: Can Phelps win his fourth consecutive gold medal in the event? So far, his chances are solid. In 2015, he won two national titles in the distance and set a world-leading time.
Other contenders: Conor Dwyer, Ryan Lochte, Chase Kalisz

Women's 200-Meter Individual Medley, Swimming
Team USA frontrunner: Maya DiRado
Why you should watch: DiRado will look to make her Olympic debut in Rio and could medal in both the 200- and 400-meter IMs, as well as a relay or two. At the 2015 world championships, DiRado won silver in the 400 IM and finished fourth in the 200.
Other contenders: Caitlin Leverenz, Melanie Margalis

Friday, January 22, 2016

Rio Report- Katie Ledecky

Reasons Katie Ledecky will Dominate Rio


Two world records, four world championships, one Olympic gold. All before she passed her driver’s license test. Born in Washington, D.C. in 1997, Kathleen Ledecky (Katie, for short) did not waste much time before beginning her already-legendary swimming career.  She started swimming at age 6, following in her older brother Michael’s footsteps.
Ledecky lives with her parents in Bethesda, Maryland and attended Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart. She continues to train with her original club, Nation’s Capital Swim Club. She was first coached by Yuri Suguiyama, but moved under Coach Bruce Gemmell.


2012 U.S. Olympic Trials
Ledecky exploded onto the U.S. swimming scene in 2012 at the Olympic Trials, where she was the youngest swimmer at the meet. She quickly claimed her spot in the future of American swimming by winning the 800 freestyle and finishing third in the 400 and ninth in the 200.
2012 Olympic Games 
A few weeks later, she surprised her country and the world with a gold medal finish in the 800 freestyle at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, solidifying her place on the international stage. Her time of 8:14.63 was scarily close to the World Record and broke Janet Evans’ long-standing American Record of 8:16.22.



Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart '15


David and Mary Gen Ledecky ... mother swam at University of New Mexico


One older brother, Michael, is also a swimmer ... He will be a sophomore at Harvard College in the fall


Age 6 ... started swimming with brother for summer league swim team, Palisades


Swims 8,000 meters/yards a day ... 2.5-5 hours a day ... 8-9 workouts a week


Sports team: Washington Capitals ... Sports moment: qualifying for the Olympic Trials

By far one of the best pacers and distance swimmers I have seen in a long time.  This girl has so much stamina and endurance and power behind every stroke.  

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Swimmer Spotlight : Landri


Name:  Landri
  Date of birth and age: February 28th - 9
 Grade and teacher: 5th  Mrs. Dobbins
When did you start swimming: 4 years ago????
  Favorite swimming memory: “When BayLeigh and I did a secret handshake so many times our thighs turned red in Freeport.”
 Favorite stroke or event: backstroke/100 backstroke
Favorite thing to eat: cookies and cream icecream 
Favorite color: blue
Favorite subject: Math
  Favorite sports team: Chicago Cubs 
  Swimming goal: 1 State time for the 2015-2016 season for 9-10 age group
 Advice for fellow swimmers: “Never give up even though you might want to.”
 One thing you want non-swimmers to know about the sport: “Swimming isn’t as easy as it looks.”
What do you want to be when you grow up: Meteorologist
  If you could do anything you wanted for an entire day what would you do:
  Who is your best friend: Hannah and Katie
Who is your role model or who do you look up to: Missy Franklin
Do you have any pets: cat- Orville
  Favorite movie: Pixels
 Favorite book: Hoot

Monday, January 4, 2016

Speaking of New Year's Resolutions

Check out:  17 New Year's Resolutions- Swim Swam for the full version, this is the modified version for our team :)

See my notes in yellow

We have never met, but I am willing to bet that we share something in common. Two things, in fact. The first is that we have both spent some time over the course of late December plotting out a resolution for the New Year. The second is that we have both spectacularly failed at keeping most, if not all of them.
Make this the year that you keep your resolution. The one where you don’t just talk about the rad stuff you want to accomplish in the pool, but actually stick to your word and follow through with it.
With that in mind, listed below are a few ideas for helping you craft resolutions that you keep this year:
1. No pulling on the lane rope. I could not be more guilty of this one. I have cut my fingers numerous times on lane ropes that were chipped and jagged, and yet, I go back for more. I’ll learn, maybe, someday. But probably not.
2. Be less of a grouch during practice. Each swimmer has their own facial expression and demeanor when they are neck deep in a difficult set. Some get angry, some get hysterically giddy, while others resort to cursing under their breath at the end of each repeat. “Think positive” isn’t just an overused cliché—the way we phrase our thoughts has a real effect on how you actually feel.
3. Make this the year you go injury-free. Injuries stink, and the smelliest of them all are the chronic ones. The ones you know are coming, that are always just peering around the corner, waiting for you to get lax on your pre-hab and stretching. Vow to be more consistent with your pre-hab, and go a step further by learning as much as you can about your injuries so that you can get a better understanding of why they happen and become more inclined to act to ward off futures flare-ups.
4. Get in the habit of being more grateful. It’s easy to grow to despise the lifestyle of a competitive swimmer, especially over the winter months. Two-a-days, missed social opportunities, and never ending hypoxic sets (oooh I rue thee so) can all cloud out the things we are super grateful for. Each night pull out your log book/journal/book of secrets, and write out a couple things you are grateful for.
5. Sleep more! Now this is a resolution that I am sure a lot of you can get behind. Sleep plays a huge factor in helping you recover from your workouts, and, well, it’s easy! Just lay there, and close your eyes and stuff. The hard part is finding time to do it, and requires you making a commitment to going to bed a little earlier and ignoring the bedroom eyes your cell phone, tablet, and Netflix are giving you.
6. Straighten out your stroke imbalance. Many swimmers suffer from stroke imbalances that come naturally from being right or left hand/arm dominant. Things like bilateral breathing, swimming with a snorkel, or doing kick on your off side with one arm out to improve body position (while getting you used to swimming on that side) can help edge you towards having a more balanced stroke. 
7. Stop peeing in the pool. I’ve had coaches in the past who were unwilling to let us out of the pool unless our faces were blanched and registered the expression—“Look, I gotta go, man!”—there was no way we were getting out to “just” pee. So I understand that for many swimmers out there this resolution will be hard to keep.  GO BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE LOCKER ROOM!!!
8. Start and/or end every workout with a perfect dive. If you are like me, my practice-opening dive is either—a) run halfway down the pool deck and launch myself into the water, or typically—b) quasi-bellyflop into the pool. As a result our dives don’t get the TLC they need until dives are explicitly worked in during workout, or in the days leading up to competition. Sure, one or two dives a day might not sound like a lot, but the consistency will add up over time, and because you are doing so few of them it should encourage you to focus on making them as excellent as possible.  Be at the starts clinic on FRIDAY JANUARY 8
9. Start journaling your workouts. Recording your workouts is a good time. You pick up valuable intel over the course of your training, it provides a few therapeutic moments of reflection after your workouts, and also gives you a record of progression that should pump your tires and keep you motivated to return to the pool each day.  Keep a journal and motivate yourself to do at home DRYLAND - if you start doing this please share it with me :)
10. Each day encourage a youngster on the team. Believe it or not, the younger kids look up to you. Seriously. You’re older, cooler, and get to swim in the faster group. You don’t need to be a world record holder to influence the swimming and the lives of younger swimmers on your team. Each day spend a few minutes working with a younger athlete on the team. Not only will it remind you why you fell in love with the sport to begin with, it will make their day.
11. Do the warm-down as a warm-down with good technique. Beyond the active recovery aspect of warming down, I’ve always found that once you start cutting corners in areas of your workout that seem trivial it becomes easier to cut corners on the main sets as well. You should be committed to being an absolutist in this regard. Do the set as prescribed, and remember that the way you do anything is the way you do everything.
12. Work on the thing you keep telling yourself you suck at. We all have those holes in our swimming, those weaknesses we avoid at all costs. We tell ourselves that we don’t have time for it, and don’t want to work on it because we simply don’t like it. The funny thing is that we tend to have a strong distaste for the things we aren’t good at, right up until the point that we become good at it. And then we love it, and wonder how we ever went so long without it in our lives. Whether it is your bilateral breathing, your breaststroke kick, or your backstroke starts, work on ‘em until they get traded to the strength column.
13. Lead the lane more often. Don’t be afraid to rise to the occasion. Cruising in the middle of the group, or even towards the end of the lane might be comfortable and safe, but it’s not going to help you swim any faster. Stepping up and taking responsibility for leading the lane means you have to pay attention to the set (a good thing) lest you lose count of laps or repeats, and the little bit of pressure of knowing the rest of the lane is trying to chase you down will push you to give a good effort.
14. Align your lifestyle with your goals. You work exceptionally hard in the pool, fine tuning your Ferrari of a swimmer’s body with an endless number of meters and deliberate focus on form, so why do you make it harder on yourself by treating your body like a bumperless 1994 Dodge Shadow? By fueling yourself properly, staying hydrated, and managing the erryday stresses of life, you will allow yourself to more consistently perform at the peak of your abilities. AGAIN!  Dryland at home :)
15. Reward yourself. Marking the small victories that litter our respective journeys makes the long haul of the season exceptionally more enjoyable. You don’t need to wait until you drop ten seconds in your 200 IM to recognize that what you are doing is awesome. Make every practice that week? High five! Did 5 dolphin kicks off every wall for a full workout? Booyeah! Didn’t use 6 arm pulls into each wall during the main kick set? I can respect it! Celebrate the victories and treat yourself, and you will find that you will become ever more eager to seek out continued improvement.

Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national level swimmer based out of Victoria, BC. In feeding his passion for swimming, he has developed YourSwimBook, a powerful log book and goal setting guide made specifically for swimmers. Sign up for the YourSwimBook newsletter (free) and get weekly motivational tips by clicking here.


My New Year's Resolution is to try to share more information with my parents and swimmers this year!  I am constantly perusing the wonderful world wide web for swimming information, whether it be information about new techniques or drills, information on swimmers and times, coaching advice and tips, etc.  I am going to try my best to put out a couple blog posts weekly sharing anything interesting or news worthy that I come across.  We will have a Swimmer of the Week- this will be about a swimmer from our team I am going to spotlight and interview for the blog, I will also do a Swimmer Spotlight so your swimmer has names and faces to look forward to before Rio. Hope you enjoy!