April 24, 2014
Race Swami Lands New Gear from Larry H Miller Charities Grant
GLENDALE — With the help of the Larry H Miller Charities foundation, west side-based Race Swami, which serves under represented youth from Rose Park, Glendale and surrounding communities, recently secured new training gear for its young Swamis. At the top of the wish list were three VASA Trainer swim benches, which have been shown to help swimmers in several ways—by developing strength, enhancing endurance and in improving stroke technique. By having these VASA Trainers readily available near the pool deck, Swami athletes can simulate motions they make in the water right there on deck, where coaches can instantly make proper adjustments to any given stroke.
Other equipment additions acquired from the LHM Grant included Finis products, including alignment boards and Agility Paddles. The later product has become renowned for it's strapless design and ability to improve pulling strokes in the water to allow for greater efficiency.
"I'd say the most important aspect for a young swimmer to hone in this sport is develop proper technique," Race Swami head coach Matt Finnigan said. "It's always been the most important aspect of our training regimen at Race Swami when we're developing these age groupers. Give them the foundation to build great looking and water efficient strokes and I gurantee we'll start seeing better swims. And so the products we enjoy implementing into our daily training are those items which have generally been shown to vastly improve their mechanics. We're really excited to have this new equipment available for our kids and it couldn't have happened without the generosity and care of Larry H Miller Chariities. We thank them profusely for this gift."
Finnigan claimed the Finis Agility Paddle can provide a swimmer instant feedback as they swim a given stroke and "tell" the swimmer whether their stroke is on or off. "If that paddle is bopping around in the water and the hand isn't set in the 'bed' in a strong, firm position then it generally means the pull has a flaw or inefficiency somewhere along the way. We tell our kids to keep 'listening' to the paddle... to rework their pull so their hand will set gently—but firmly in that paddle as they pull through the water. As it's turned out, it's beginning to click for many of our kids."
The Finis Alignment boards, or as Finnigan refers to them as — a "snorkel board," were acquired specifically to do away with the old-school kickboards. He never much liked the kickboards' use in training as his swimmers over the years never got a kicking workout so much as a socializing opportunity. "Those boards just didn't seem to work aside from having our kids sit on them and paddle with them. But for kicking, the body alignment is totally off. With a kickboard, a swimmer isn't really simulating the proper body positioning as they would need when they're swimming... when they're racing. The head is up. The hips are sunken. Not good... All we want from our swimmers, and look for from our swimmers is acquiring better kick, better leg and ankle and foot mechanics—whether it's going to be serviceable, decent, good, great or fantastic. With the alignment boards, we will be able to at the very least put our kids in a better position to improve... peroid. So I'm happy."
Although the three VASA Trainers are stored at the Steiner West Pool in Glendale and are used primarily by the Junior & Senior Swami groups, the other equipment was evenly divided between both of the pools (the other site being Northwest Rec Center in Rose Park), that way all Swamis, whether they train at one pool or the other—and regardless of group—will have access to the equipment. "With the grant we were able to purchase a substantial quantity for both the Agility paddles and the alignment boards," Finnigan said. "It's going to add another dimension to our routine, for sure."
Two additional storage containers were also purchased with the grant so all this the new equipment has a proper, safe home.