Guidelines for Competing Internationally
When you are representing the US, it is important to remember how you are perceived around the world
Five Tips for Adapting to International Travel
This summer USA Swimming will be represented across the globe by our athletes. Targeted advice about preparing to compete at a high level internationally after crossing multiple time zones is scarce.
Sport Psychology: Game Plans, Battle Plans, Business Plans
In the previous article, seven strategies were briefly introduced. The first strategy is having a PLAN. Call it what you want – game plan, battle plan, business plan -- any of these work.
5 Things You Should Already Do To Reach Your Potential This Season
I am astonished to learn how often athletes aren’t doing the basic things that, in my opinion, are the foundation for success for an elite athlete.
What is Sport Psychology?
Sport Psychology is an integral part of USA Swimming’s High Performance Pit Crew and you’re the driver! Use your entire pit crew!
So you want to make the Olympic Team?
Besides working your tail off, being incredibly dedicated and talented, there are a few other things that will get you to Rio in 2016.
Your Hall of Fame Brain
You can reinforce good technique with targeted video viewing and perhaps learn new tricks to work on at the pool.
Providing Data and Answering, "So What?"
Data is a challenge. It’s our job to provide our athletes and coaches with every available resource to be successful, but information alone is a marginal resource and practical applicability is essential to its utility.
U.S. vs. The World: How Do We Look So Far?
As we all start gearing up for this summer’s Phillips 66 National Championships, there is sure to be plenty of discussion about who will make each team’s roster. While there is little use in speculating about these things before the competition, there is still value in looking at current benchmarks.
Synchronizing Dryland Strength with Swim Training
The National Team Coaches Seminar in April featured much discussion on the subject of dryland training. Synchronizing dryland strength training with swim training requires a balance between the two, and identifying the proper starting point for the athlete.
Grit: Can it be developed or is it innate?
Do you know an athlete who not only never misses a workout, but never misses a yard of their training, or a rep in the weight room? Is this sort of determination, or Grit, just how they are, or have they developed their grittiness over time? It’s a good question.
Blood Chemistry FAQ
One of the most popular offerings enjoyed by the USA Swimming National Team is the Blood Chemistry Program. The response to sharing this information with the USA Swimming community has been awesome and inspired some excellent questions.
Men’s NCAA Qualifying: Has It Become Harder?
Last week I looked at the progression of qualifying times for the women’s NCAA championship. This week I will repeat the same process for the men’s meet to find out if there has been any significant impact since the new selection procedures were introduced.
NCAA Women's Progressions
During my travels the past few months, I’ve had a number of conversations about NCAA qualifying procedures, and whether or not it has become more difficult to qualify as an individual for the championship at the end of season.
Abdominal Training: Misconceptions and Solutions
Common abdominal training programs promise increased strength and performance through repeated forward flexion exercises, such as the standard sit up and the v-up. What these programs don’t offer are dynamic, functional movements that stabilize the spine and strengthen the core to facilitate an explosive transfer of power from the legs to the arms, which is the key to increasing velocity and power in any stroke and distance.
Getting the Most out of Your Nap Time
Naps are an excellent tool for athletes in training and on game day as well. Here are a few tips to help get the most out of your nap time.
Dryland: The Benefits of Yoga for Swimmers
In March I wrote an article about incorporating certain types of dryland training to improve fitness and athleticism. After that article was posted, I received a lot of feedback and questions from both athletes and coaches. The most common of these questions was, “What about yoga?”
Blood in the Water
In this forum I have had the opportunity to write about the USA Swimming National Team blood chemistry program. This past April, the impact of the blood chemistry program was presented to the coaches in attendance at the National Team Coaches Seminar in Colorado Springs.
Following Routine: Should I Do a Wake-Up Swim?
With the summer championship meets just around the corner, a lot of athletes and coaches are working to finalize the details of their race-day plans. While there is something to be said about the calm and confidence that can be gained through following a routine, the ability to be flexible and adapt to situations is something that gives elite athletes an edge.
The 10K Race is not a Marathon
Also known as the marathon event, the 10K open water race is perceived as a long, steady-paced swim. The 2012 London Olympic race proved that it is anything but. In fact, successful pool swimming can make open water success very attainable.
Where We Are: A Grand Prix Times Comparison
At last weekend’s Mesa Grand Prix, I had a number of conversations with various people about how the meet “felt like” the beginning of the ramp up to World Championship Trials. For a number of reasons – strong international field, new location and facility, summer-like conditions, big crowds – Mesa seemed to mark a change in approach and intensity.
Swimmers' Lungs are not Like Other Humans'
Conventional wisdom says that lung capacity cannot be increased. There are mechanisms for athletes to increase how efficiently they use the oxygen they inspire, but increasing the actual capacity of the lungs is considered to be a dodgy proposition. But, wait a minute!
A Demographic Shift: Ages of U.S. Olympic Swimmers
Recently, I have written two articles about the path our 2012 Olympic athletes and medalists took to London. This article is going to continue to expand upon that research and look at the progression of our Olympic rosters as a whole over the last few Olympic cycles, in particular the age of our Olympic qualifying athletes.
Goal Setting and the New Year: Be SMART
It’s that time of year again… a new beginning. The time when we all commit to New Year’s Resolutions. If you are like most Americans, you will make it your goal to do something, or not do something, for the next year. But how many of us actually keep these resolutions?
National Team Blood Chemistry Testing Program
The USA Swimming National Team participates in a blood chemistry program to help the athletes gain insight into their bodies’ response to training. The program has also led to discoveries about their nutrition and their health in general. Here are some of the tests they run.
The Pathway to an Olympic Medal
Last month I wrote about the developmental tracks taken by our 2012 Olympic Team in terms of their participation in previous USA Swimming camps and competitions. This month I am going to discuss similar research that we have done on our medalists and the progression by which they came to their success in London.
2012 Olympic Team - How Did They Get Here?
We at the National Team Division are turning the page on a successful London Olympics and are beginning to look forward to 2016. As such, rather than the usual discussion of something technical you can do in the water, this article is going to focus on the path by which our 2012 Olympic athletes came to qualify for and compete at the games.
Nutrition: Protein Post-Training
Ongoing research has led to more concrete information regarding the timing of protein intake, the quantity of protein ingested and the best source of protein for hard-working athletes. The existing research is very sound; however, modern tools and methods have made evaluating the ability of skeletal muscle to synthesize protein possible.
Health: 3 Recovery Tips from the Experts
At the 2012 USAS Convention in Greensboro, N.C., the Sports Science and Medicine Committee sponsored a panel discussion on recovery. The panel agreed in theory and in practice on three tips to help swimmers recover from hard training.
Nutrition: Good News and a Word of Caution about the Supplement Industry
Recently NSF International released a smartphone application which allows athletes to search for a supplement and find out if it is “safe and fit for use.” It is possible in the future a similar application will allow athletes to order directly from a certified lot number. This is a huge and important step for athletes and supplement manufacturers as well.
Strength: Maintain Strength at the End of the Season
The strength gained by athletes throughout the course of the season in the weight room can be maintained during the rest phase of their season plan with a fairly basic prescription; however, it is very easy to undertrain or even completely change the nature of an athlete’s strength training when resting for end of season competitions.
Dryland: Looking for a Good Exercise? Try the Burpee
Coaches and athletes are always looking for an exercise to round out their dry-land programs. The burpee, when performed correctly and with proper instruction, is not only a challenging and effective body-weight exercise, but it can be manipulated to be easier or harder depending on the skill of an athlete. Additionally, the burpee is also an ideal warm-up exercise for the entire body.
Health: Staying Healthy at the End of the Season
Taper is the time of year for which all athletes wait. Unfortunately, athletes heading into the taper period are extremely susceptible to illnesses and infections. The good news is, once an athlete knows why they are more susceptible, there are some really easy steps they can take to fight back.
Nutrition: 3 Things You Need to Know About Dietary Supplements
USA Swimming does not endorse the use of dietary supplements and encourages athletes to first practice proper nutrition through a complete and balanced diet. Yet there are still many pressures for athletes to take a supplement. Here are three things you need to know.
Nutrition: The Danger of an Iron Deficiency
One of the most critical tests the National Team athletes get when they have their blood drawn is the iron profile. Of particular importance is their Serum Ferritin level. Low Serum Ferritin can be indicative of an Iron deficiency, which can be devastating to an athlete’s performance.
Strength: The Best Barbell Exercise?
With proper instruction and supervision, ground-based barbell exercises can provide explosive and athletic movements that target nearly the entire musculature of the body. If an athlete could only pick one barbell exercise, perhaps the best choice may be the Hang Power Clean.
Nutrition: Recovery Nutrition during Hard Training
Christmas training has been a tradition for club teams and colleges across America ever since there has been a break between December 26th and January 2nd. Whether your team is travelling or staying home, athletes will be challenged to eat enough calories to stay fueled for longer training sessions and additional practices.
Health: Alcohol. Growth Hormone, and Sleep
Alcohol consumed before sleep has a destructive effect on an athlete’s ability to recover from their training regimen.
Strength: Ground-Based and Olympic Lifts
It is fashionable these days for Bosu-balls, foam rollers and stretch cords to take the place of plates and bars. Unfortunately, for trained athletes this is probably a mistake.