If you’ve invested even a moderate amount of time training up and down and around the black line you have become intimately familiar with the term ‘swimmer’s shoulder.’
Given that swimmers annually perform hundreds of thousands of arm rotations it should be of little shock to learn that this type of work and frequency places a lot stress on the shoulder musculature and joint.
As a result, the shoulders are the most commonly injured body part as a result of competitive swimming.
Studies have shown a large number of swimmers will experience injury to their shoulders over the course of their swimming careers:
- One study showed 47% of collegiate swimmers having experienced shoulder pain that lasted 3 weeks or longer (with the same study reporting 48% of masters swimmers experiencing it as well despite half the workouts of the collegiate swimmers).
- A study of over 1,200 American club swimmers found swimmers presently experiencing shoulder pain ranging between 10% in the younger age groups, and 26% of national team swimmers experiencing pain at the time they were surveyed. Using a kick-board and swim paddles were also reported to aggravate shoulder pain.
- Another study done in Australia on 80 of their elite swimmers aged 13-25 found that 91% of them were experiencing shoulder pain. When given an MRI, 69% of the swimmers showed inflammation of the tendon of the supraspinatus muscle. (This bad boy helps to keep your shoulder stable and helps lift the arm sideways—which is why when you have tendonitis in this spot that it hurts when you recover the arm.)
- And lastly, when the University of Iowa’s men’s and women’s swim team was tracked and monitored for a period of five years the shoulder was the most reported injured body part, followed by the neck/back. Freshmen, in particular, tended to suffer injury more often—sometimes twice as frequently—than their teammates.
These studies and stats tell us what most swimmers and those around the sport already intuitively know—that swimmer’s shoulder is frighteningly common.
In this little guide we are going to tackle it.
Preventing Swimmer’s Shoulder – It Starts with Posture
At the end of the day, when you take off your swim goggles and call it a day at the pool, shoulder related injuries are generally as a result of poor posture and sloppy mechanics in the water.
Yes, overuse and the seemingly endless repetition of arm rotations seems like an unstoppable prescription for shoulder agony, but when you have proper alignment and posture you minimize the chances of injury.
It starts with building better posture, both in the pool and out of it.
It’s easy to see how the battle for good posture is a hard one—we are a culture of banana-shaped sitters.
From being slumped over our desks, on the couch, in bed, or during our countless staring matches with our mobile device, the posture we carry for the 22 hours of the day we aren’t in the pool inevitably bleeds into our swimming.
And when we have bad posture in the water we are creating the ideal circumstances for the inevitable shoulder injury.
Besides avoiding the time missed and misery that comes with being chronically injured, think about this…
When we have poor posture, we not only limit the mobility of our limbs but we also dramatically short-change the amount of power we can exert.
In order to correct our not-so-great posture, we’ll start where we spend the most of our time…
1. Sleep on your back.
Having sore shoulders is inevitable over the course of our swimming careers.
It’s bad enough that they are tired and sore after a tough workout, but it’s even worse when sleeping improperly on them at night ends up causing even more pain.
I cannot count how many times I woke myself up at night from a streaking pain in my shoulder, flashing all the way down to my elbow because I was splashed across my bed on my front with my bad shoulder wrapped up under my head.
Whether you go full blown fetal, semi-prone while giving sweet cuddles to a pillow, or in any other variation of side sleeping, the default setting for most of us is on the side.
The problem for swimmers (and their sore shoulders) is what happens when they place their arm above their head, or roll their shoulders forward. Placing your shoulder out of alignment tends to exacerbate the pain, causing you to wake up in the middle of the night with your shoulder on fire.
Lay on your back while you sleep to take the pressure off your shoulder, and to put your neck and shoulders in alignment.
To further place your arms and shoulders back into their socket—where they are supposed to be—place your hand across your chest. If your shoulders still aren’t rolling back far enough place a pillow under your elbow in order to elevate the hand a little bit.
You’ll find this position is especially helpful if you are presently experiencing shoulder pain.
(Shout-out to Kelly Starrett at MobilityWOD for this tip.)
2. Improve your t-spine mobility.
As swimmers we know all about the importance of having flexible shoulders, pecs, ankles and hips. It’s drilled into us from day one with the myriad of stretches and arm and leg swings we do from our age group days and up.
But if I told you that something called your thoracic spine played a major role in your swimming, would you have the faintest idea what I was talking about?
The thoracic spine refers to the part of your spine located in the upper and middle back.
This bad boy is built for rotation, it’s built for flexion, and it’s built for extension.
When swimmers have poor t-spine mobility it affects a whole bunch of things, not just how likely you are to spend the last half of the workout doing vertical kick in the dive tank instead of completing the workout with your teammates.
You can’t rotate as well to breathe, causing over-rotation of the hips. Your shoulders and chest roll forward and inwards. And it also restricts your undulation, hindering your dolphin kicking.
Here is a two pack of simple exercises to incorporate into your warm-up to boost your t-spine range of motion:
Foam roller thoracic spine extension. 8 deep breaths. You will find yourself extending further back. Suck belly button in. Roll up another vertebrae or two and repeat. Support your head with your hands to avoid undue strain on your neck.
Quadruped t-spine rotation. On all fours put a hand behind your head and dip below your opposing shoulder, leading with your elbow. Keeping your head straight and hips stable—don’t twist your hips, in other words—leading with your elbow, rotate your shoulders so that your elbow ends pointing at the ceiling.
3. Improve scapular stability.
What are your scaps? And why are they important? And more importantly, why is it so fun to say “scaps”?
During my day they were neglected in favor of more rotator cuff work. Over the past decade or so research has begun to show just how critical a role they play, with swimmers with less than awesome scaps generally suffering from added stress to the anterior shoulder capsule, a rise in the likelihood of rotator cuff compression, and decreased neuromuscular performance in the shoulder.
Okay, so those were some sciencey words.
To break it down, the scaps provide a solid base from which your shoulder joint can exert additional force and power.
Stable, strong scaps = more power and speed in the water. (And less likelihood of injury.)
An easy way to develop scap stability is to throw a basic standing row into your warm-routine. You can use an elastic band, cable machine, or my favorite, TRX.
Keep your elbows tight, feel the squeeze in your scaps at the end of each rep, and perform the movement with control.
4. Strengthen your rotator cuffs.
For as long as I can remember I have watched swimmers do internal and external rotators with bands on deck.
I’ve banged out a large number of them myself, and continue to do so to this day as part of my daily warm-up. It’s been so intertwined with the term shoulder injury that it has turned most swimmers and coaches into armchair physiotherapists.
“Aww yeah, shoulder is acting up. Gotta get back on the internal and external rotators.”
A word of caution with doing endless sets of rotator cuff strengthening exercises, however.
Performing work on the rotator cuff isn’t a cure all for shoulder issues. It should be used as a preventative tool, and one that is lower on the totem pole than having overall mobility in your t-spine and stability.
Dr. Erik DeRoche, USA Swimming’s team chiropractor on the 2012 and 2014 World Championship teams as well as the University of Michigan’s team chiropractor at NCAA’s in 2012, backs this up:
“Commonly, I see swimmers performing rotator cuff strengthening exercises as a fix for shoulder pain.
This, while a part of therapy, is one of the last things I do on the continuum of care.
Establishing mechanical deficits is primary…”
Which transitions into probably the most critical preventative measure you can take against shoulder injury…
5. Swim with perfect technique.
Having great posture outside of the water is fantastic, and will serve you well.
But if you forgo any thought of maintaining solid posture in the water, than you are still leaving yourself open to taking on shoulder injuries in the future.
Remember that swimming is a resistance exercise, just like weight lifting or any other kind of resistance training, and that achieving proper technique and form should be your over-riding objective before adding any kind of load (intensity and/or volume) in the water.
On top of the risk that you are putting your shoulders at, swimming with stinky posture means you are losing out on substantial power in the water.
Don’t believe me?
For a moment round your shoulders forward, and try to simulate your stroke. Are you getting a good range of motion? Nope. Are you using your core, back and arms to the best of their capability? Certainly not.
In other words, having excellent technique and mechanics in the water is absolutely critical to both swimming fast and staying clear of nagging shoulder injuries.
“Poor swimming mechanics is what I see most commonly creating shoulder ‘issues’ in any swimmer.
The primary factor which contributes to impingement syndromes that I see in my office is a thumb first hand entry in the crawl/freestyle stroke.
What this hand entry creates is internal rotation of the arm/hand and ‘closes’ off/pinches the soft tissues on the inside (medial) arm and disallows for adequate reach and therefore a less than optimal catch.”
Russell Mark, high performance consultant to USA Swimming, agrees (emphasis mine):
“Repetition alone isn’t enough to injure your shoulder. Repetition of bad technique is. It’s so easy – and incorrect – to swing your arm behind your body when you swim.
- In freestyle, a wide hand recovery is more natural and easier on your shoulder than a recovery with your hand close to your body. Swing your hand and arm around to the side.
- During the pull phase, make sure your hand doesn’t scull wide at the same time your body is rotated.
If you have shoulder pain, talk to your coach and see a physician. Try and identify exactly what part of the stroke the pain occurs and make an adjustment! Pain is when your body tells you you’re not doing something right for it and you need to listen.”
Brent Hayden, Olympic bronze medalist in the 100m freestyle in 2012, and winner of the 100m freestyle at the 2007 FINA World Championships, had this to add for all you freestylers out there:
“…eliminate zipper drill and over-emphasis of high elbow freestyle, which often involves shrugging (therefore impinging the shoulder) the arm through the recovery. Instead aim to come around naturally like an arm swing with a soft elbow.”
6. Make pre-hab routine.
Swimming is a big investment of time.
I get it—between all of the two-a-days, 4-day meets, and more meters and yards than you could possibly count—the sport demands much from us.
In addition to school, work, and what passes for a social life it is hard to put together the extra time to insure the health and well-being of our shoulders.
But you can avoid having to put out the fires of chronic or sudden shoulder injuries by spending just a handful of minutes per day before your workout priming your body and shoulders for not only high performance swimming, but movement that is less likely to result in injury.
This means making your pre-hab work habitual.
Simply a part of your training. As essential as your goggles and suit.
Travis Dodds of Vancouver based InSync Physiotherapy notes that most shoulder injuries are avoidable:
“My view is that this injury is almost entirely preventable.
If an athlete is starting to feel stiffness or mild shoulder pain they should focus more on prehab.
If it lasts more than a few days or becomes severe enough to limit their stroke or range of motion they should seek treatment, even if pain doesn’t seem that bad. Swimming through pain simply limits your technique.”
Make your pre-hab a part of your daily warm-up routine, something that you don’t even have to think about—just something you do—and you will be well on your way to swimming injury-freer this season.
Start with solid mechanics in the water. Have killer posture in and out of the pool. Seek the advice of your coach and a qualified therapist to deal with your specific condition.
And go forth with less pain in your shoulders my chlorinated homies.
This year’s World Cup promises once again to be a fierce battle between the sport’s biggest names.
“No pressure at all, the World Cups are always a good time, of course I always want to win any competition I race in but I feel the World Cups are always special for me,” said a very confident and relaxed Le Clos, who currently trains in Antalya in Turkey for about 30 hours per week.
Discussing the format of the series, Le Clos admits that although it can be difficult to train in between the events, he loves the ability to challenge himself.
“For me personally, I think short course swimming is more exciting when it is over a series of events. I’ve always enjoyed the concept of a circuit with many stops around the world, although sometimes the structure around the events makes it difficult to train in between, especially when travelling through time zones,” said the Olympic champion.
“The World Cup is an opportunity for me to work on my skills throughout the year with short course racing and I challenge myself to win the overall series. There are many great champions that have come through and will challenge, and I have huge respect for all of them.”
Positive thinking and winning attitude is definitely two ways to describe Le Clos – although the best advice he ever received was from his father Bert Le Clos.
“I have received a lot of great advice from numerous mentors but the best advice has usually come from my Dad, he is the greatest. He has always said to me to never give up in any race no matter how far behind or ahead you are, that’s why I’m always able to push through during tough wins or losses,” he said.
Le Clos also confirmed that he will attend the FINA World Swimming Championships 2018 in Hangzhou, China, in December this year with the objective to establish new world records
Great Britain’s Adam Peaty broke his own 100m breaststroke world record to retain his European title in Glasgow.
The 23-year-old Olympic and world champion finished in 57.00 seconds – 0.13secs quicker than his previous best time – as team-mate James Wilby grabbed silver following a late surge.
Peaty took a huge lead on the first 50m before pulling away further to win by 1.54secs from fellow Englishman Wilby.
“I can’t believe I beat what I did at the Olympics,” said Peaty.
“I was in perfect shape then – I’m not even in that good shape now. I didn’t try to be in that good shape.”
Britain then won a bronze in the mixed 4x200m freestyle relay after a stunning final leg from Freya Anderson, 17, who moved up from sixth to third.
Elsewhere on day three of the inaugural multi-sport championships, cyclist Ethan Hayter, 19, won omnium gold, defending champion Katie Archibald took silver in the 3,000m individual pursuit and the men’s four and women’s eights both won silver in the rowing.
Hayter’s gold in the final event of the day moved Britain up to third in the medal table with three golds, five silvers and three bronzes.
1. UNLEASH GREATNESS.
Whatever greatness in the pool means for you, whether it is making your first sectionals or provincials cut, this poster will remind you to unleash your inner greatness every single day.
It is produced on glossy, high quality paper, and comes in at 2 feet by 3 feet, which means it can not only remind you to be great, but also cover up any unfortunate holes or otherwise unsightly portions of your wall.
“Be not afraid of greatness.” — William Shakespeare
2. I ONLY FEAR NOT TRYING.
It’s shocking how many swimmers are more afraid of the hardship of the journey than of the regret they would face if they don’t try at all.
Don’t be that swimmer.
Be the athlete who gives it their all, and who can walk away from the pool knowing that they gave it their absolute best, and can do so without regrets or fear.
“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.”
3. CHALLENGES ARE THE DOORWAYS TO EXCELLENCE.
How often have you stopped cold after a setback? Or been demoralized by a defeat? If you are like me, more than a couple times.
This poster is designed to remind you that all too often success is just on the other side of the struggle and grind.
In other words, if you want excellence, you gotta be willing to punch through a few challenges on the way.
“We don’t grow when things are easy. We grow when we face challenges.”
4. DREAM BIGGER.
It can be hard to create big goals when we are surrounded by small-minded friends, family, and swimmers. For every athlete that accomplished something worthwhile there was someone who told them it couldn’t be done.
That they should think smaller, and dream smaller. This is your reminder to think big. To dream big. And to act big.
“…with hard work, with belief, with confidence and trust in yourself and those around you, there are no limits.” –Michael Phelps
5. DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT.
The most freeing moment is making a firm and unwavering decision to after a goal. To have the end goal specified, a plan to get there, and the determination to see it through.
After all, it all begins with a decision. Once made, everything else seems to fall into place.
This poster is designed to remind you to live up to your decision on a daily basis.
“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
Swimmer’s bodies get love because we are lean, but not too lean. Usually tall, with long limbs, flexible, with broad shoulders, and a (mostly) defined abdominal area, the competitive swimmer look is one that is fashionable in all seasons.
Here are 9 signs that you have a swimmer’s body:
1. YOU’RE TALL. (FOR THE MOST PART.)
Swimmers at the top levels of the sport are inordinately tall.
As an example, the average height of male 100m freestyle world record holders is 6’4” dating back to 1976, with the United States’ Rowdy Gaines being the shortest amongst the group at 6’1”. (Which is also how tall Missy Franklin and Aussie sprinter Cate Campbell are.)
But fear not my vertically challenged friends, there is still room for those who weren’t born to NBA-sized parents.
The distance legend Janet Evans was 5’5. David Berkoff- the guy whose underwater dolphin kick was one of the stories of the 1988 Seoul Olympics- was 5’8.
More currently, Japanese superstar Kosuke Hagino is 5’8”, showing that while the general trend of swimmers is tall, it’s not a deal breaker if you aren’t.
2. YOU’RE FLEXIBLE.
Before the start of every race Michael Phelps gets up on the blocks and wrap-slaps his arms and hands behind his back. Phelps’ also has remarkably flexible ankles, and hyper-extending knees and elbows.
The overhead movement required for fast swimming means we have flexible lats, shoulders, and back. When swimmers aren’t in the pool we are usually flopping around on a foam roller, or stretching those double-jointed arms around our heads like contortionists.
After all, whipping our arms above our shoulders for thousands of meters on end requires them to be at least mildly flexible.
3. YOU’RE STRONG.
I’m not talking about being able to lift massive amounts of weight in the gym, but relative strength. (Although freestyler Nathan Adrian’s 160 pound dumbbell bench press—per arm—might have something to say about that.)
Michael Phelps could do over 30 pull ups at a time. Natalie Coughlin crushes both in terms of relative strength and when playing around with the dumbbells.
While you won’t see us lifting up cars, you will see us lifting ourselves up and over chin-up bars with relative ease.
4. YOU HAVE HILARIOUSLY LARGE LATS.
With all of that overhead work comes highly developed lats. Your lats stretch across the entirety of your back (latissumus dorsi means broadest back in Latin), from your spine to your shoulder.
From the kazillions of pulls we perform over the course of our swimming careers these muscles get rather, well, large. The large expanse of a back is a hallmark of the competitive swimmer regardless of your stroke or distance.
The big latty McLatty’s transition nicely into the next thing that gives a not-so-subtle hint that you are a swimmer…
5. YOU HAVE SWIMMER SHOULDERS.
Or as we call them…
They are so pronounced that they are termed specifically for us.
Completing the V-shape common to swimmers are those boulder shoulders. Or, as we shall call them—bashoulders. (I’ll work on that one.)
The cumulative effect of a big back and big shoulders means that shopping for clothing is a bit tricky. Sitting on the aisle seat on a plane means you are getting body checked by the snack cart and bathroom-bound passengers no matter how far into your seat you try to tuck yourself.
And no matter where you are at in the world you can spot a fellow swimmer by the high shoulder to waist ratio.
6. YOU’RE BUILT LIKE A TORPEDO.
Despite all of our (relative) strength, and the shocking amount of time spent both in the pool and in the weight room, we are lean.
After all, success in the water demands it.
Unlike our land-locked sporting brothers and sisters we compete in a medium that is trying to slow us down at every turn. Water is thick to the tune of being nearly 800 times denser than air at sea level.
In order to combat this we need to assume a form that is less Diesel F350 and more Murcielago.
Swimmers who are built with sleekness are rewarded with much lower drag than their overly muscley compatriots.
The end result of this slender footprint in the water is efficient and fast swimming.
7. YOUR HAIR IS CONSTANTLY WET AND BEAT UP.
It’s not too hard to discern swimmers from the general population by just looking at the tops of their heads.
During the winter they are the ones who have water-logged heads for the first couple hours of the day, with the tops of the back of their shirts and sweaters becoming soggy.
Over summer months— when the outdoor pools provide a 1-2 combination of ultra-violet rays and chlorine—our hair gets particularly manky. Stiff, weathered-looking and border-line brittle, like you could break it off if you twisted it with too much enthusiasm.
Although there is the misconception that chlorine turns our hair green (the culprits there are “old brass fittings, gas-heater coils, trace copper in the water supply or residue from copper-based algicides that are dissolved in the water”), it’s more the perpetual sogginess, the tangles and the nearly surfer-boy look that our hair takes on that identifies us.
While a lot of swimmers will take care to remove chlorine from their hair with a swimmer’s shampoo, we don’t always have time do perform hair maintenance–especially when we are just gonna be back in the pool in a few hours time.
8. YOU HAVE ALL THE TRICEPS.
For a moment imagine this… A swimmer with large shoulders, and the expansive latissumis dorsi to go along with it… And then tiny triceps.
Seems a little weird, doesn’t it?
To go along with all the other backside muscular awesomeness swimmers are also gifted with bulging triceps.
For everyone except for those weird breaststrokers (I only call you guys weird because I never learned to master the stroke. So maybe I am a little jealous…) swimmers use their triceps to finish the stroke, meaning that over the course of their careers they do about 3.2 million tricep extensions.
With that kind of work they are bound to get huge.
9. THE AMOUNT OF BODY HAIR YOU HAVE IS ALWAYS IN FLUX.
Hair is part of your body, right? Yup!
This leads to some tortured and lengthy hotel shave down sessions for some of the more developed males, and lamentable amounts of ‘splaining by the ladies for why they have hairy legs between meets.
No matter how many times we hear—“but does it really make that much of a difference?”—we know that yes, it actually does.
We understand that it is impossible to replace that feeling when we first dive in after a shave and sensing as though someone had slapped a prop to our backside.
And that no matter how many times we nick ourselves, and how many times we shaved against the grain (can you tell I sucked at shave downs yet?) it was always worth it when we felt amazing diving into the water.
– WATER POLO
It’s the standard swimming pool game, the official Olympic waterball sport. If you swim or swam in California, you probably played the game. A few elite swimmers have achieved notable success in water polo. 11-time Olympic medalists Matt Biondi won an NCAA Team Title for his role on the Cal Golden Bears water polo team. Terry Schroeder is USA Water Polo’s resident icon, and 4-time Olympian Tony Azevedo is the sports biggest star. Internationally, Hungary is the water polo beast. Period.
– 7 players on each team
– two goals on either side of the pool
– an invasion game, one team strives to get their ball in the opposing team’s goal
1a. Murderball. Like water polo, but without much in the way of rules. One variation involves a standard water polo goal, others involve putting the ball in the gutter and holding it there for a 5-7 second count. Best saved for post-season, though, as this one can get a little rough.
2 – SWIMMING BATTLEBALL
Swimming Battleball is like water polo, but with more teeth and grit. Played in the 1970s and 1980s during first weeks of fall practice, this two hour marathon of war is an ideal way to get swimmers’ their feel for water back fast.
– Divide your swim team up, no matter how big.
– Split the pool in half. The deep end, if you have one, is the playing field. The back field is for two swimmers only from each team.
– Time on the clock? You play the entire workout, treading water the entire practice.
– The goal is a plywood board into which you cut a large hole.
– This is a two-ball game, ideally big balls, beachball-sized. The objective: get your big ball through the hole. Keep your opponent’s ball shutdown, or in the back field.
– You can dunk the person holding the ball (but SwimSwam’s not responsibility if you do as we’re merely reporting the rules).
– Once your team scores, one swimmer from the goal-scoring team, jumps out, grabs the ball, throws it to their player in the back field. Repeat.
***NOTE, many teams win by dominating the opponent’s ball. Often a strong Swimming Battleball player can simply bear hug the ball and lay on it, suffering multiple dunks without releasing the ball.
3 – SHARKS AND MINNOWS
Sharks and Minnows is as old as swimming. Cavemen painted it on walls… Ok, maybe it’s not that old, but swim teams and summer leaguers have been playing it since the 1950s You know the rules, but why not make the rules work for your development and success. Try our version, SwimSwam Sharks and Minnows.
– Always play the length of the pool, not the width, preferably in a 50 meter pool to test your skill.
– Pick your shark, the best swimmer on the team.
– Staying underwater isn’t enough for the shark not to get you according to SwimSwam Rules. You have to stay in a tight steamline position as you kick underwater to the other side. No streamline, you’re shark bait.
***Disclaimer: We use these rules to encourage tight underwater streamlines, but don’t push yourself too much. Swimmers can blackout if they hold their breath too long. Remember this is only a game. Breathe if you need to breathe.
4 – WHALE
Whale is nothing more than running on deck and jumping over the swimmer in the pool. We’re not a fan of this game. It’s popular, but it is not safe, and, frankly, most swimmers, hardcore swimmers, aren’t that agile on land. Whale is #4 on our list, but we if you play this game, be very, very careful.
5 – BEAN
Bean is famous…was made famous by SwimSwam co-founder Garrett McCaffrey, when he actually captured it on video many, many years ago… meaning 2007. Alas, the video is now gone from the web. (If anyone can find it, please forward the link.) The Rules? I don’t know the rules. They’re lost to time and the suckhole of the web. I know elite swimmers played it. I know Michael Phelps played it. I know it resembles a watery form of tag, though passive and sneaky, often executed during warmup or long distance sets. If you know the BEAN RULES, please educate us and share in the comments below.
6 – MARCO POLO
After enormous research, the evidence is fairly clear. This games suffers from more cheaters than any other in the world. You know the rules. One person is it. They have to close their eyes and try to find the other players. They shout “Marco” while the other players are supposed to shout “Polo” in response, but that’s rarely the case. If someone’s close to the person yelling “Marco,” they stay silent. Moreover the person yelling “Marco” tyically sneaks a peek. This game is lame, though wildly popular, which is why it comes in at #6.
7 – CAPTURE THE CHANGE
This is easy and always a winner with kids. Throw a few hundred dollars in change in a pool, and let your swimmers work on their underwater speed scooping all of it up.
8 – CAPTURE THE GOLDFISH
Steve Lochte, father of 12-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte, has announced his retirement from coaching at 66-years old. This ends a 44-year coaching career, including most recently at Daytona Beach SPEED.
Ryan Lochte is DBS’ most famous alumni, having swum for his father’s club as a child and frequently representing them nationally as an adult. Ryan Lochte‘s 12 Olympic medals (6 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze), tie him with Jenny Thompson, Dara Torres, and Natalie Coughlin as the second-most of all-time for a swimmer, behind only Michael Phelps’ 23.
Theclub has produced a handful of other national and international-caliber athletes as well, though. That includes Rex Tullius, a 2016 Olympian representing the U.S. Virgin Island and NCAA All-American at Florida; three-time NCAA All-American at Florida Matt Norton; Florida All-American Julia Nagy; and Kentucky All-American Kendal Casey.
Steve Lochte was also formerly the head coach of Daytona State College’s men’s and women’s swim teams, where he was “reassigned” during the 2010-2011 swim season and eventually replaced as head coach by Don Gibb. A few years later, in 2013, Daytona Statte College dropped their swimming programs.
Steve Lochte announced his retirement via an email to team families, which was also posted on the team’s website.
To all DBS Families:
Yes, it is true! At the age of 66, with 44 of those years spent coaching swimming, I have decided to move on to the next chapter of my life and retire!
Some of you were disappointed I chose to tell my athletes first, and I understand your disappointment, however, I wanted my swimmers to hear of my retirement from me first, as they are the most crucial factor of DBS and my life’s work.
Tom McGibeny has been named the successor as head coach. McGibeny is also the National Team coach for the U.S. Lifeguard Association, which competes around the world in lifeguarding competitions.
I know everyone has questions and hopefully, I will be able to answer most of them:
- All day-to-day coaching duties for all groups at all pools will remain in the capable hands of our coaching staff. Please see the website for assignments.
- The Senior coaching staff in Port Orange will continue to have a great coaching staff led by Coach Tom [McGibeny] and assisted by Coach Joey [Armellino], and Coach Dave. I am excited about the fresh ideas and youthful enthusiasm that this new group of senior coaches will bring to your kids. All workouts and outline design of the programs have been pre-written for the remainder of the season. The Fall season has also been formulated through the first of the year.
- Coach Tom has 20 years of my coaching log books and has been my Assistant for 20 years, not to mention he’s better looking HAHAHA!
- All meet coaching assignments are covered for the remainder of this summer.
As always there will be a continuous program for practices after the Championship meets between Ormond and Port Orange during our annual break (July 31-Aug 12)
Please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com regarding your child’s program.
I honestly wish your swimmer, you and your family much success in this great sport of swimming.
ASCA Level 5
Article by: Braden Keith
One of my favorite swimmers of all-time is Australian distance legend Kieren Perkins.
When he was going on a world record smashing spree during the mid-1990s in the 400-800-1500m freestyles I would watch and rewatch his races before practice.
I’d jump into the pool and do my best to mimic Perkins approach to swimming the distance races: go out fast and keep going out fast.
I wore out the VHS tapes I had of his races over time.
His approach to racing and training were worthy of being idolized. Swimmers are a tough bunch as it is, but the distance swimmers are in a class of their own. The mental toughness required to train and race these events is next-level.
And fewer swimmers displayed this resilience and tenacity better than Perkins.
Perkins ruled the distance events during the 1990s, winning back to back gold medals in the 1500m freestyle at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, while breaking the world record three different times. He’d also add WR’s in the 400 and 800m freestyles.
Perkins career would end with a silver medal in front of a home crowd at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 as another Australian, Grant Hackett, ascended to the distance throne.
There’s lots you can learn from one of the greatest distance swimmers of all time.
Here are some lessons in mental toughness from Kieren Perkins.
Don’t be distracted by negative people who doubt you and your goals.
Got a big goal? Maybe it’s even a little nutbar?
I bet there are gonna be some people in your life who think it’s a little wacky, crazy, or downright foolish. Battling day in and day out for a big goal is hard enough—having people in your life throwing doubt and negativity on your efforts make it even worse.
Everyone will have an opinion when it comes to your ambitious goals.
It can be hard to not listen to those that tell you that it’s a silly goal, or that it can’t be one. Or even just by people who slowly let the air out of your drive and motivation one pin-prick at a time (Come on, it’s just one drink! Coach isn’t even looking, let’s skip the last round).
The reasons people have for having a loser attitude with your goals are varied (insecurity, for instance) and ultimately irrelevant.
Being successful in the water is not common. Otherwise everyone would be doing it. Standing out from the mediocre is going to get you some attention, not all of it positive.
When discussing goals, Perkins realizes that it’s critical not to let the unmotivated infect you while also emphasizing that this isn’t necessarily easy:
“That might mean doing something different to the rest of your peer group.”
Don’t flinch when it gets hard.
The world is full of people who talk about big goals. There’s no shortage of people who start sentences with “I could” or “I want to” but don’t finish them with “and here’s what I’m going to do about it.”
Talking a big game is easy. Having big goals when things are going your way is simple. Doing the legwork and showing up every day, on the other hand, is dang hard.
If you are serious about your goals in the water, make sure your actions prove it consistently over time.
This means in the face of adversity, doubt, or that sudden realization that your goals might take longer than you initially guesstimated.
Don’t be a fairweather swimmer when it comes to your dreams.
“If you do have a goal in life, you need to be committed for the long haul.”
Even the pros experience serious lapses in confidence.
After his dominating performances in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and during the summer of 1994 where he batted around the 400, 800 and 1500m freestyle world records like a cat playing with a stuffed mouse, Perkins was the easy favorite to win the 1500m in Atlanta at the 1996 Olympics.
But he’d struggled at the Australian Trials, not qualifying in the 400m free. During prelims in Atlanta he’d barely made the final. The cacophony of whispers that Perkins was “washed up” were hard to ignore.
On the afternoon of the final in Atlanta, a couple hours before he was to get on the block, Perkins was experiencing a full-blown meltdown of confidence.
“I actually started to get really nervous, like 10-year-old-freaking-out, I’m going-to-die, my-life’s-over kind of nerves.”
The next time you are feeling the nerves stacking up on you, remember that not only is the swimmer in the lane next to you feeling the same way, but the swimmers you idolize so much feel it too.
Do what works.
Seems like the most simple piece of advice you could ever receive, right?
Do what works. Stick to what you know. If it works, do the dang thing.
But a lot of the time when swimmers get anxious or feel that sense that things are spiraling out of their control it’s because they are doing something new, they don’t have control, and they’ve veered off from what has worked for them in the past.
Maybe it’s a new environment, so you adjust your pre-race routine. Or you are racing against elite-level athletes, so you feel you need to adjust how you do your meet warm-up at the last minute.
That day of the 1500m final Perkins got a little angry at himself. Gave himself a mental slap. And thought back to how he’d prepared for big race situations (and been successful) both as a high-level athlete and even as a kid.
He shut everything out. Compartmentalized the outside noise, the expectations, the other athletes, everything else and focused squarely on his lane and his swim.
“There was just nothing else, there was no noise, there were no other athletes, there was just this 50 meters of water where I had finally the opportunity to see what I had and really test myself and prove it.”
It wasn’t about beating anyone. Or rising to meet someone else’s expectations. Perkins locked himself in to his own performance, knowing that to get the best of himself he’d have to lock down his focus and attention.
Prepare yourself so that it doesn’t matter what the competition does.
Oh, I love this little piece of advice because it gives you the ultimate power of your own performance.
The point of training is to physically and mentally steel you so that when you get up on the block on race day it doesn’t matter what the competition does, who they are, or how fast they might or might not go.
Perkins intimidated his competition by the way he raced: he trusted his preparation enough to know that he could go out fast and keep the pace, breaking the other swimmers before the race had completed its first couple laps.
“I wasn’t particularly worried about the individual and I know that sounds a bit odd and selfish, but at the end of the day when you’re standing on the blocks there’s seven other bodies in the water with you, who they are, where they come from, what they like or don’t like—who cares? It’s irrelevant. They’re just seven other bodies that need to be dispatched like anybody else.”
If you train and ready yourself to the best of your ability it won’t matter what the competition does and doesn’t do on race day.
You’ll be armed with your best performance possible.
See you in the pool,
P.S. Want help with your mental training? Last year I wrote and published Conquer the Pool: The Swimmer’s Ultimate Guide to a High Performance Mindset.
From learning how to be mentally tougher, learning how to focus properly in practice, to how to be mentally and physically ready to rock and roll on race, Conquer the Pool will help you develop the mindset of a mega champion.
The book was written with the feedback of 200+ head coaches, Olympians, former world record holders and NCAA champions. It’s written as a workbook (so you get to take your new mental toughness skillz for a ride for yourself), and it’s written in an easy to understand style that may or may not make you chortle out loud every once in a while.