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WRMS Senior Program

W. Ross Macdonald Swimming Senior Program

Ours is a program with a history of developing Senior National Level Swimmers and medalists as well as National Team Members.  The team started training at W. Ross Macdonald School in September of 2007.  Ten Senior National Swimmers have come out of the program over the last 11 years, along with over 15 Senior National medals.

We are equally proud of the many academic and professional achievements of our Senior, Varsity and Alumni members.

About the Pool:  The pool at W. Ross Macdonald School is a 6 lane 25 yd. pool.  We don’t share the pool with any other programs running at the same time as our Senior practice sessions. Our swimmers find it much easier to focus on task as there are no distractions.

It’s interesting to consider how our swimmers have been able to medal in LC races so many times at trials and Nationals while training almost exclusively in a 6 lane yards pool. It’s about swimming fast – in training and then at meets. Speed is a habit.

About Video Feedback:  We operate 3 video feedback systems for surface and underwater video. Each system includes a 43 inch flat screen at every practice.  Our systems give us the potential to deliver over 300 technical feedback units per practice. Our Seniors have all developed an excellent “coach’s eye”, they know what their strokes should look like and the feedback is there for them whenever they need or want it.

We normally run a recovery/technical practice on Saturday Mornings.

  • Starts: Swimmers work on starts based on models developed from working with Alan Wrigley. Video feedback includes long view underwater so swimmers can see entry, depth, kick speed and breakout. We also spend time on surface side view, takeoff, entry, breakout. Analysing the swimmers “bubble tube” as they enter the water allows swimmers to reduce entry drag.  Our goal is to be first off the blocks, to be ahead of the heat at breakout. Our reaction times are typically among the fastest in heats and finals.
  • Relay Takeovers:  Using video we look at the time between the incoming swimmers touch and the departing swimmers feet leaving the block. iPad video is recorded at 30 frames per second. SNC has suggested that touch to feet leaving the block should be in the area of 6 frames, we work to get the frame count down to a reliable 2 or 3 frames.
  • Turns: Long view underwater allows swimmers to improve their technique and speed into a turn foot placement on the wall, timing of the push off, kick start and speed, turn depth and breakout point.
    • Closeup at the wall: Swimmers can work on exact foot placement on the wall, timing of the push off, angle at their knees when they push off – for max power and minimum delay on the wall.
  • Stroke Work: Our technical practices allow our swimmers to see sideview tracking video – surface and underwater.  Peer coaching is often part of a technical/recover practice.

The Senior Training Schedule:

            Monday:         Swim 5:30 – 7:45am               60 – 90 Minutes dryland after school

            Tuesday          Swim 5:30 – 7:45am               60 – 90 Minutes dryland after school

            Wednesday     Day off

            Thursday         Swim 5:30 – 7:45am               60 – 90 Minutes dryland after school

            Friday              Swim 5:30 – 7:45am               Boot Camp Class 4:00 – 5:00pm

            Saturday         Mentoring Juniors                  8:00 – 8:30

                                    Technical Practice                   8:30 – 10:30am

            Sunday            Day Off

Modified USRPT Training Model:  “The only way to swim fast is to swim fast”  Seniors will do some Race-Pace training at every practice. We value speed in practice rather than high volume workouts swum much slower than race pace. Swimmers coming into our program as guests or as new team members typically comment that they have never worked harder in a practice.

Race Pace Set Examples for a swimmer trying for a best freestyle time of 53 LC. Converted yards time = 46.3. Average time per 25= 11/25 (.6 turn time subtracted) Try any of these sets and see how “easy” they are:

  • 10x 25 – holding 11.0 or better Stroke rate around 50   15 sec rest
  • 8x 50  - holding 22.6 or better  SR around 50  with 15 sec rest
  • 5x 75  - holding 34.2 or better  SR around 50  with 15 sec rest

Goal time for 400 LC Free = 4:00 - Yards Training Pace = 3:36 or .27/50

  • 12 – 14x  50 Free holding 45+ SR  and .27 or better with 15 sec rest
  • 8x 100 holding 54 or better  45 SR
  • Build 400 (by 50s) holding an average of  .27/50

Neuroplasticity and Training Pace: Studies have shown that the human brain is constantly “re-wiring” to meet current challenges. If a swimmer’s physical challenge is surviving practice in the 8,000M range including  sets of 20+x 100s  10+x 200s or 400s, their brains will re-wire to make swimming much slower than race pace as efficient as possible.  If the swimmers challenge is to swim 3,000+M mostly at race pace, the swimmers brain will re-wire to make race pace swimming more efficient.  Challenge: Try swimming a total of 3,000 yards or meters at race pace…then track the number of recovery days you need before you can swim fast again.

Injury Prevention – Physio Analysis As An Injury Preventative

  • We know that a majority of swimming injuries result from incorrect technique. Our focus on technique greatly reduces the risk of injury.
  • Many of our Seniors visit out team physio in Brampton for a proactive assessment that identifies strength and flexibility issues that could later result in a swimming injury. A corrective program that seeks to prevent future injuries is often recommended.

Dryland Program: The program includes 4 units of work per week: 3 supervised gym sessions and a Friday afternoon Boot Camp. Our water and dryland sessions are separated by the school day. Research has shown that separating dryland and water sessions by 3+ hours gives athletes the largest benefit from both sessions. Programs that offer dryland training just before or after water sessions typically do not produce improvements at the same level.

Meet Swimming

  • Race Videos: Parents record race videos which are then uploaded to our Dropbox account. Seniors watch their race videos the week after a meet. Many of our swimmers use the race videos to establish technical and training goals for the practice sessions leading into their next meet.
  • Aqua 7 Dual Meets:   5 Dual meets mostly home meets at W. Ross          
  • LC Meets:   RHAC Oct, Blenheim Blast Jan, Provincials, Trials, Hicken, AGI, Prov and West in Windsor
  • SC Meets:  NYAC Cup Nov.  Team Showdown Dec, WOSA SC,

Training Camp:  Dec 16 – 23 2019 Fort Myers Florida  LC am and SC Yds PM

Mentoring Program:  Our Seniors mentor swimmers in our Development and Junior Programs for half an hour every Saturday morning when the Seniors aren’t at an out of town meet. The Mentoring Program is a huge advantage for our Junior Swimmers but our Seniors benefit at least as much from the program:

  • Seniors learn a lot about their own swimming by mentoring the Junior Swimmers.
  • Seniors learn and practice leadership skills.
  • Seniors develop an expert coaches eye – a majority of our Seniors are more than capable of coaching a group of young swimmers long before they graduate from High School.

Social Activities

  • Camp Ak-O-Mak: :  The team spends a long weekend at Camp Ak-O-Mak in the Parry Sound/Magnetawan Area. We leave for camp after school, Thursday after Labour Day, returning around 6:00pm on Sunday. Members of our Varsity Group act as cabin counsellors. We canoe, swim, play land sports – the best ever way to start the season!!
  • Bike & Breakfasts: We run a fall and spring Bike & Breakfast where the Juniors bike along the Grand River from Paris to Glen Morris, ending up at our Coach’s home for a huge breakfast and social time. The Seniors start their ride at W. Ross, biking more than double the distance of the Junior ride.
  • Team Dinners and Breakfasts: Senior Team meetings are often part of Senior Team breakfast or dinner.