January 21, 2019
The coaches have been looking at the current team and asking questions about the difference between the team of today and that of 10 years ago. At that time we had a much larger group of swimmers at JOs and also Far Westerns. As a whole the team was stronger. Our top end of the team is still strong but it seems that the second level is not as strong as it used to be. In our discussions the one factor that seemed to stand out was the average attendance of swimmers, it’s not as high as it was then. We know that many swimmers have other activities that keep them away from the pool, however, some swimmers who could attend a practice just make the choice not to. Ten years ago we had more incentives in place to encourage and reward greater availability in our athletes. With that in mind we are adding incentives to encourage higher attendance by a greater number of swimmers. As Brian’s paper shows Availability is the most important ability a swimmer can have to improve and reach his or her potential and that is our goal.
In this vein we will have a reward for all swimmers who can achieve attending 85% of their group’s practices, starting from Jan 1 – April 30. All swimmers who make this commitment and bring their attendance to that level will get to participate in a Pizza Party and have a time of games and Fun at a large group practice. The reward will take place on May 17th.
Swimmers who attend more practice are more fit, have better stroke ability and tend to be the faster swimmers. This is our hope for many more of our swimmers.
Please Read the following article.
THE POWER OF PRACTICE AVAILABILITY by Brian Bolster OAQ 1/19
Bill Parcels, the great Hall of Fame football Coach and two time Super Bowl champion said, “The greatest ability is availability.” In every sport this is true, but none more so than swimming. The skill sets, the stroke specific strength and the ability to function athletically in and under water while undergoing severe aerobic and anaerobic stressors, are totally unique to swimming. They are learned, trained and developed at swim practice every day.
This is the 23rd season of OAQ. During that time we have repeatedly seen the payoff for AVAILABILITY, the consistent attendance of practice, at every level on the team, from B minus level swimmers all the way up to Olympic Trials qualifiers. At the heart of our sport is the challenge to improve and be your best.
Swimming’s great value are the life lessons it teaches, how to set goals and accomplish them, how to learn and develop skill sets, how to handle success, and perhaps most importantly how to learn and grow from failure. One of the greatest lessons is how to develop preserving grit, to overcome adversity and succeed. This is a tremendous gift your child can receive from our sport, one that will help develop and strengthen their character for the rest of their lives and help to make them better, more confident and successful people. But this can only happen when a swimmer invests the necessary time required to make it happen. It’s no coincidence, our best swimmers are the swimmers with the best attendance.
We measure success from where a person starts to where he or she finishes. Whitney Dean is a wonderful Osprey success story, one of our very best. She began with the team as a 7 year old B- swimmer. Whitney lacked any form of natural ability. She had little feel for the water and often struggled. But Whitney did have AVAILABILITY. She was consistent in her attendance. She loved her team mates and coaches and working to improve, and she became a routine winner of the 85% Commitment Trophy. Her progress was slow but steady. It took her 8 long years to make her first JO time at the age of 15 in the 100 back. She was so excited! Meanwhile Whitney’s grit, character and toughness were all being transformed by her commitment to the process of swimming. She graduated Del Mar HS with straight A’s and won the Principle’s Award for excellence in school athletics and academics. She went to Seattle University and walked on to the Division 1 swim team. She came back to OAQ the summer after her freshman year in college and at the age of 18 she finally had her first Far Westerns cut in the 800 meter free! At Far Westerns, she swam one of the best Max Out races in team history, pushing through extreme pain and nausea as she dropped over 15 seconds to final, place 8th and set a team record (that still holds) of 9:49.40!
Then Whitney did the near impossible. Seattle U is known as a premier nursing school in the country. No one before had ever been able to handle the extreme academic load AND swim on the University team. Whitney did. She also graduated the nursing school with a GPA of 3.88, and received a special scholarship her Jr. year because of her excellent work in both the pool and the classroom. Whitney is now a successful, newly married 26 year old RN working in Pediatric Oncology. She is the embodiment of what OAQ stands for. She tells me her experience with OAQ, and the bonds of friendship formed with her team mates that continue on today, have brought her great joy and been instrumental in helping shape her into the woman she has become.
Five time Olympic Gold Medalist Missy Franklin recently retired from our sport, and had this to say about the process and AVAILABILITY, “The first 18 years of my career were as picture perfect as it can get. The equation couldn’t have made more sense: you work hard, you have a positive attitude, you show up EVERY DAY and give your best, you get faster.”
Success is measured by where you begin, and who and what you become.