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1. "10 Commandments for Swimming Parents"

USA Swimming

2.  For Core Body Strength, Mobility, and Flexibility

Scott Volkers

3.  Attendance at Swimming Practice

John Leonard

4.  How to Study while maintaining your training

Wayne Goldsmith

5.  Nutrition: The Power of Protein

Nancy Clark

6.  Interview w/ Mike Bottom: Sprint Coach@Cal-Berkley

Phillip Whitten

7.  "Yes You Can" article on self confidence

Wayne Goldsmith

8. An Insight Into Ian Thorpe

Craig Townsend

9. Parent's Role In Youth Athletics

Tom Doyle

10. Perfectionists

Craig Townsend

11. Turning On Your Off-Season

Mia Bolton






















Scott Volkers Exercise Routine
For Core Body Strength, Mobility And Flexibility

The following exercises are just a few of the available ones, which have been collected of a number of years from various sources around the world. These exercises were added together to then form a routine which begins with stretching and mobilizing and then moves through stabilizing and cross body strengthening. This routine can be used daily or slotted in anywhere into your program. Its benefits can be enormous and can transform a weak and unstable person into a well-coordinated, strong and athletic one. Give it a go.

All exercises are done continuously and are synchronized together in your group using rhythm and timing combined with strength and conditioning.

Always begin at a level that your group can handle, and then build it up to become a routine which lasts for up to one hour at a time. The number of times per week you can use this type of program is totally up to you. Coach Volkers Video on Core Body Strength can be ordered through the American Swimming Coaches Association by calling 800-356-2722 or through the web order form.


1. Arm swing behind neck.
Aim= To get the blood flowing and actively stretch the triceps.

Goal= Make sure to reach the hand as far down the spine as possible.

Note= This can be repeated and done more vigorously later in the routine.

2. Double arm swing with trunk rotation.
Aim= To warm and stretch the pectoral and lower back rotational muscles.

Goal= Use rhythm and brace the swing by pushing the same knee forward as side you have swung to so as to gain a greater stretch.

Note= This can be repeated more vigorously after warming up.

3. Single arm swing without trunk rotation.
Aim= To stretch the Pectoral muscles and to work the shoulder stabilizing muscles.

Goal= Use rhythm and timing and hold opposite hand at 90 degrees to the shoulders.

Note= Only to be done vigorously after warming up thoroughly.

4. Opposite leg to hand swings.
Aim= To stretch the lower trunk and cross body muscle groups.

Goal= Hold legs and arms straight and do not bend at the waist too much.

5. Bent over straight arm swing.
Aim= Cross body stretching, with lumbar mobilization and hamstring stretching.

Goal= Hold arms straight, rotate shoulders and touch outside of opposite foot. Do not bend the legs.

6. Bend and backward stretch
Aim= To mobilize the spine both forward and backward and stretch the hamstrings.

Goal= Hands on hips and bend backwards, then bend forward and touch the ground.

Note= Flex lower abs before bending in either direction, and do not bounce in full stretch.

7. Standing Monkey Flies
Aim= Work the rhomboids and deltoids for back and shoulder stabilization.

Goal= Standing tall with arms straight, punching up and down, and rotating the arms.

Note= Do not flap the arms. Control the exercise. Change positions after 20 reps/min.

8. Lunges and lunges with streamline.
Aim= To give hip stability by working the quads, glutes and hamstrings whilst stretching the hip flexors.

9. Sit ups with streamline and bent leg stretch.
Aim= To work the abdominals in both directions, and stretch the groin and lower back.

Goal= As you sit up, streamline and bring the feet up together and lunge forward between your legs. Repeat this action up to 20 times.

10. Slow sit ups
Aim= Working the abdominals slowly isolates them and gives a better result.

Goal= Take 3 to 5 seconds to complete each movement. Or stop mid-way through to a degree of difficulty. Leave the arms straight and parallel to the ground in both directions.

11. Leg raises. From ground level, through 180 degrees with straight legs.
Aim= To use abdominal control through a wide range of motion, stopping in different positions. Also used as spinal stretch as you roll over backwards.

Goal= Hold in different positions for periods, for as long as you can sustain, with correct form.

12. Lizard stretch.
Aim= To stretch the abdominals after working through the last three exercises.

Goal= Lie on the ground in the push up position, and then push the top half of the body upwards and backwards to stretch the abs. Deep breathe through the extension and hold for up to 10 seconds and then repeat as many times as you like.

Note= Hold lower abs firm to take pressure off lower back. If there is any pain then discuss this with your physio.

13. The bridge stretch
Aim= To work shoulder stabilization, stretch your back, abs, calves and hamstrings.

Goal= Hold push up position with buttocks held in the air, and start with a calf stretch. Next, move from this bridge position to an inverted bridge position and hold for a couple of seconds and then repeat any number of times.

Note= Make sure you move through the full range of motion and hold your lower abs firm.

14. The push up position.
(A large range of exercises can be done from this position).

Aim= To work shoulder stabilization, cross-body and body-core strength.

Goal= To stay in this position and then work through a range of positions and exercises so as to work on the body core and stability.

Normal push ups

Done with a stiff body at varying heights, repetitions and tempo.

Round push ups

From the standard position, sway to the right and then in a circular motion, go down, across then up on the left side and back to the middle. This can be done up to 20 repetitions, depending on existing strength.


Whilst in the push up position, with flexed abs and straight back, begin to do a light and small bounce of the whole body. Remain flat.

Praying mantis

From the standard position, raise one arm to the front, to the side or to touch

One arm side bends

From the push up position, rotate onto one arm with your feet on top of each other and your body perpendicular to the ground. Dip the waist toward the ground staying straight and back up. Repeat this 8 to 10 times per side. Note: This exercise can be done on your elbow to begin with if necessary. Shoulders need to be in line with the body.

NOTE: All of these push up exercises can be done for a continuous period of up to 5 or so mins.

15. Seated alternating single arm swings with back arches.
Aim= To loosen the arms after the previous workout and to stretch the thighs, abs, lats and pecs.

Goal= To sit on your feet, then lift your body upright and throw your right arm over your head toward your left shoulder and arch your back until the full stretch has been reached, and then continue onto the opposite side. Then repeat.

Note= Try to keep a continuous flow and rhythm going.

16. Star jumps and front splits at single and double time.
Aim= To loosen the shoulders and work on the streamline, whilst working the legs, timing and coordination.

Goal= Do normal star jumps with a full streamline at both slow and fast speeds, using a side and or a front leg split. Repeat 20 reps each way.

17. Squats in different positions with added monkey flies.
Aim= Work the thighs and add some rhomboid stabilization to the exercise.

Goal= Hold a half squat position then hold the arm directly out from the shoulders and perform monkey flies or rotations in this position.

18. Horizontal cross body coordination drills.
Aim= To stabilize the shoulders and work on right and left brain coordination.

Goal= (a) Lying flat on the ground, lift your arms off the ground. Then swing your right arm out and around to touch your left foot which you have lifted up. (b) Same starting position, but tighten your body and buttocks so only your stomach is on the ground; then lift your right arm with your left leg keeping them both straight and hold them lower down and repeat on the opposite side. This can be done any number of times. (c) Still in the same position, rotate both arms back slowly towards your thighs and then lift your upper body higher into the air, arching your back.

19. Track start with switching feet.
Aim= Coordinating hip stabilization whilst holding at the shoulders.

Goal= Hold the track start position, then switch legs one after the other. Start with single time and then build up to double time. 20 reps should suffice.

20. Burpies. Both slow and fast
Aim= To coordinate a full range of movement through changing body stresses.

Goal= Start from the standing position, move fluently down into the push up position and the back to the standing position. For the first burpie, add a full jump after coming from the push up position and then repeat. Five of each exercise should be sufficient to finish the work out with.

Note= Always tighten your lower abs, especially when dropping into the push up position. This will guard against back pain if susceptible.

Attendance at Swimming Practice
By John Leonard

One of the hallmarks of a quality swimming team program is a planned program of physical development.

(Other hallmarks include an emphasis on teaching, intelligent approaches to competition, and racing with a purpose, as well as individual attention to those who are "earning it" through their attention to the instructions of the coach.)

The planned program of physical development includes programmed physical stress and recovery times. Progress can only be made by the athlete by imposing a previously unexperienced stress on the body system. The body will then adapt to this stress, if provided the appropriate degree and timing of recovery. (Total rest is NOT appropriate does not provide the lower level stimulation necessary for compensatory chemical reactions to develop.)

The stresses applied can be in the form of speed, distance swum, or "density" of workout. (yards per time period.) Stress can also be specifically applied in accordance with energy systems. A quality swimming program will mix the stresses in appropriate quantities and types for the group of athletes, and thus the individuals, being trained. The "mix" will be different for different groups and individuals, based on their previous training.

Thus, attendance at workout is a CRITICAL feature in making physical progress in the program. When an athlete misses a workout, they upset the delicate balance of "how much of what" stresses they apply to their body. In worst cases, athletes attend the recovery workouts, and miss the stressful workouts and thus never apply increasing stress to their systems. In the next worst scenario, athletes miss a series of recovery workouts, and attend only the stressful workouts and thus never get the appropriate recovery stimulation, and go from "sore" to "more sore." Finally, missing a "cycle" of stressful and recovery workouts means that the athlete takes "one step forward and one step back" and worse, comes back to a stress/recovery cycle that is now two steps up from their last practice .... a very stressful adaptation.

This ignores, of course, the fact that the athlete has let his teammates down by not attending, and has lost the opportunity to learn what is being taught that day.

NOTE TO COACHES: If you allow athletes to miss practice without comment, you are saying in effect, "It doesn't matter if you miss." If their absence means nothing, then so does their presence (mean nothing).

To help create good swimmers, we must have good attendance habits. Remind them of the upcoming meets, and something that exists to achieve there...goal setting.

With 13 and ups, we want to press for good attendance. For 12 and unders, we want to educate parents and swimmers as to its importance, while not stopping them from playing other sports as well. But make sure they know we consider swimming to be just as valid and exciting and involving as football, volleyball, etc. And remind them subtly that in swimming, "everybody plays all the time."


Coaches...are you helping your athletes set goals? Attendance goes up in direct relationship to the athletes having goals.n

How to Study while maintaining your training:

Making it Cool and not ending up a Fool.

By Wayne Goldsmith

One of the toughest assignments for all athletes is the balance between sport and study. Swimmers and athletes generally are by their nature high achievers. They live in a world of time management, goal setting, overcoming adversity, personal challenges and self-management. For a short time (between ages 14-18) however, the pressures of being a high achiever present a tough challenge for even the most committed and well - organized swimmer.

There is no doubt that high school is a challenging time for all students.

lWhat is happening during the high school years?
lYou are growing and developing physically
lYou are thinking about getting a part-time job and saving money
lYou are thinking about finding a boyfriend or girlfriend
lYou would probably like to learn to drive
lYou are studying hard for the most important exams of your life AND....

At the same time you are trying to complete one of the big jumps in your swimming development: the jump from AGE GROUP to SENIOR competition.

All this happening at once!
You are basically being asked to mature into adulthood, be a student of excellence and progress your swimming to senior levels within a period of two years.

It is tough! It’s so tough that many do not successfully achieve their goals in any one area let alone all of them.

The frustration usually comes from having to compromise and sacrifice in one area to benefit another. Swimmers often take the option to drop a few swim sessions to concentrate on their studies.

True, this makes more time available for study, but the high achiever also finds it frustrating that whilst grades are improving, they feel like a "brick" in the water and years of training and preparation seem to be wasted. Unfortunately many swimmers find it just too tough to come back after the decreased training loads and never make it back to pre senior swimming performance levels.

However, YOU CAN DO IT. You can achieve academic and athletic success. Success is your choice and as with all things, success comes from being positive, being disciplined and committed to the achievement of goals and remaining focused and motivated during the tough times.

Several top swimmers and many great athletes have completed their education and still excelled in their sport. Australian Marathon great Rob De Castella won several major races whilst completing his study at University.

In swimming, Olympic Gold Medallist David Thiele is a specialist medical practitioner and completed his medical studies whilst training for the 1960 Olympic Games. Commonwealth Games medallist Tim Ford is a lawyer. Olympic Gold medallist Michelle Ford has a degree and distance swimmer Chloe Flutter (8:32 800 freestyle) last year was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford University in England. Commonwealth Games Gold medallist Marty Roberts has a sports science degree and more recently Chris Fydler has completed not one but TWO degrees whilst maintaining his status as one of the nation’s top sprinters. Michael Klim excelled during his final year of high school with outstanding grades and has performed magnificently in major international swimming competitions since.

The good news is that swimmers have a distinct advantage over most of their fellow students. The discipline, personal management, time management and goal-orientated skills developed during swimming training are the same skills necessary to successfully complete academic studies. The techniques you use everyday to get the most out of swimming training are the same skills that will help you achieve the grades you want at school.

It is imperative that coach, family and friends support any efforts toward excellence in high school. The support of the coach and the understanding of family and friends are a key factor in the success of any plan to do well as a swimmer and as a student in the final years of High School.

Some practical hints:

lYou are in control of your study and training program. Regardless of what your school friends say or do, success in the end is your decision. Do the training and study that you need to do to get the results you want? If your friends think studying is not "cool", get some new friends!

lWhat might happen and what could happen is not as important as what is happening right now. Don’t worry about the exams at the end of the year. Focus on doing the little things right, everyday, every class, and each assignment. (WIN THE WORKOUT principle in the classroom!!!)

l90% of stress comes from not doing things when you should have done them. The best time to start a study program is TODAY.

lAn extra hour study each day is an extra day study each week- You can control time! It’s never too late to be the person you wanted to be.

lTake care of the immediate and the ultimate will take care of itself.

lNo matter what happens there is another way to look at it. Nothing is as bad as it first seems.

lWhat if something goes wrong? Have a plan, Have a second plan and have a backup plan to the second plan. Don’t plan to fail by failing to plan.

lNEVER, EVER, Give up - there is always a way. Develop an "I can" strategy rather than saying "I can’t".

lSuccess is never guaranteed, but you can choose to increase the likelihood of success by adopting a study program and swimming training schedule that will allow you the best opportunity to succeed.

lThe difference between ordinary and extraordinary is the little extra. Try 30 minutes LESS T.V. per day and do 30 minutes EXTRA on math equations. Try 30 minutes LESS video games per day and learn five EXTRA new words to help with reading and comprehension. Those little EXTRA’s add up to EXTRA-ORDINARY results.

The smartest people don’t necessarily get the best grades just as the most talented swimmers don’t always win. It is more likely that the best grades (and gold medals) go to the students (and swimmers) who have prepared the best, who have committed themselves to a daily routine where excellence is the minimum acceptable standard and who manage their time and themselves most effectively.

There are a lot of similarities between swimming well and getting good grades. Preparation is important. Planning is crucial. Confidence is vital. Time management - essential. For all swimmers however, none of these concepts is new. They are things you grow up with, things you utilize every day. In many ways your swimming career has prepared you for the opportunity to do well in high school. All the attributes you need to be a great student you have already developed as a swimmer. You have a competitive edge.


Make the most of it.

Nutrition: The Power of Protein
Reprinted ASCA News Vol. 96-4
Source: The Physician and Sportsmedicine
Written By: Nancy Clark, MS, RD

Once upon a time, the "best" sports diets were based on steak and eggs. Supposedly, meat-eating athletes were stronger, more muscular, and more aggressive. Today, we know that strength and muscles are built with exercise (not extra protein), and that carbohydrates provide the fuel needed for muscle-building exercise.

But in the transition from a high-protein to high-carb diet, many athletes have eliminated meat-and have also overlooked the importance of protein. Some have taken the public health recommendations to eat less saturated fat to the extreme and are surviving on fat-free bagels and pasta. This type of diet may seem ideal, but in addition to being low in protein, it lacks important nutrients such as iron (needed to carry oxygen to working muscles) and zinc (needed for healing).

Many of these so-called "vegetarian' athletes are simply non-meat eaters who have not bothered to replace meat protein with plant proteins. They may think they are gaining a competitive edge, but they are actually hindering themselves. They often have lingering colds, nagging injuries, poor recovery from workouts, and overall fatigue as dietary imbalances take their toll.

Protein has recently reentered the spotlight. Some sports nutrition gurus advocate getting as much as 30% of daily calories from protein, double the standard 12% to 15% recommendation. Confused? Join the club. Here are some protein questions and answers that should help.

Why is protein important for athletes?
Protein is made up of chains of amino acids, some of which our bodies cannot manufacture. Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscles, as well as repairing the muscle damage that occurs during training. Protein is also needed to make red blood cells, produce hormones, boost your immune (disease-fighting) system, and help keep hair, fingernails, and skin healthy. Athletes who are protein deficient may complain about having hair that falls out easily and fingernails that grow slowly and break easily. Female athletes who eat a protein-poor diet may also stop having periods.

How much protein do athletes need?
There isn't an exact number for athletes because protein needs vary, depending on whether an athlete is growing, rapidly building new muscle, doing endurance exercise, or dieting, in which case protein is used as a source of energy. Protein requirements for athletes are higher than the current recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 0.4 g of protein per pound of body weight, which is based on the needs of nonexercisers. Protein recommendations for athletes are commonly expressed in a range to include a safety margin. If you do the math (1g of protein has 4 calories), you'll see that you don't need to have 30% of your calories come from protein.

Do bodybuilders need more protein than runners?
No. Per pound of body weight, bodybuilders actually need less protein than endurance athletes such as runners. That's because protein, more precisely the amino acids that are the building-blocks of protein, is actually used for fuel during intense exercise, particularly when carbohydrates are not available. Protein can provide up to 10% of energy during exercise when a person is carbohydrate depleted. But here's the catch: Even though endurance athletes may need more protein per pound of body weight, they tend to need a smaller total intake of protein because they often weigh less than bodybuilders. For example, a 200-pound bodybuilder may need about 140 g of protein a day (0.7 g of protein per pound), whereas a 150-pound marathoner may need about 120 g of protein per day (0.8 g of protein per pound). Most people can get enough protein through their diet, eliminating the need for protein supplements. Is red meat bad for athletes?

Lean cuts of red meats are not bad for athletes. The best choices include flank steak, London broil, eye of the round, and extra-lean ground beef. Besides being protein-rich, lean red meat is an excellent source of iron and zinc.

Some athletes are afraid of the cholesterol in red meats. But actually the cholesterol content of red meat is similar to that of chicken and fish. Yes, fatty hamburgers, pepperoni, bacon, and ribs are unhealthy and should be eaten only occasionally, if at all. But athletes can healthfully have about 4 oz of lean meat two to four times per week. In fact, a lean roast beef sandwich could be a healthier choice for the heart than a veggie sandwich packed with cheese.

Can athletes who choose a vegetarian diet get adequate protein?
Yes. Vegetarian athletes can eat enough protein to satisfy their bodies' needs if they wisely choose plant proteins. Lacto-ovo vegetarians (who eat eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy foods but no meat) can most easily consume adequate protein because these foods are excellent sources of life-sustaining protein and contain all the essential amino acids.

The key for total vegetarians, or vegans (who eat no milk, eggs or other animal proteins), is to eat a variety of grains that have complementary amino acids. For example, beans and rice is an example of mixing legumes (peas and beans) and grains. Also, tofu is an excellent addition to a vegetarian diet. Tofu has made headlines because it is a high quality plant protein that contains all essential amino acids and offers the bonus of phytochemicals that protect against heart disease and cancer.

A word of caution: Although vegetarian athletes can consume adequate protein from their diet, they have to be willing to eat large amounts of plant proteins. This is often easier for men with hearty appetites than for weight-conscious women. If you are eating a vegetarian diet that consists primarily of grains, fruits, and vegetables, you are probably eating an unbalanced diet. You might want to consult with a sports nutritionist who can help you add the right amount of protein. For a referral to a local sports nutritionist, call the American Dietetic Association's referral network at 1-800-366-1655.

Remember. You, your physician, and your nutritionist need to work together to discuss nutrition concerns. The above information is not intended as a substitute for appropriate medical treatment.

    Where to Find Protein

    SourcesProtein (g)


    Tuna, 6-oz can40

    Chicken breast, 4 oz35

    Pork loin, 4 oz30

    Hamburger, 4 oz30

    Haddock, 4 oz27

    Cottage cheese, 1/2 c1.5

    Yogurt, 8 oz1.1

    Milk, 1%, 8 oz8

    Cheddar cheese, 1 oz7

    Whole egg, 1 large6

    Egg white, 1 large3.5


    Baked beans, 1 c14

    Lentil soup, 10.5 oz11

    Tofu, extra firm, 3.5 oz1.1

    Refried beans, 1/2 c7

    Hummus, 1/2 c6

    Kidney beans, 1/2 c6

    Peanut butter, 1 Tbsp4.5

    Almonds, dried, 123 

Interview with Mike Bottom

By Phillip Whitten

Swimming Technique January-March 2001 Feature Article

The Bottom Line on Sprinting
The World Sprint 2000 team, an elite sprinting team that was part of the Phoenix Swim Club and coached by Olympian Mike Bottom, enjoyed stellar results this summer, highlighted by the second and third fastest performances ever in the 50 meter free by Gary Hall Jr. and Anthony Ervin, who also tied for Olympic gold.

One of the most successful coaches this year has been Mike Bottom, a member of the ill-fated 1980 U.S. Olympic team. The associate men's coach at the University of California-Berkeley, Mike headed up the "World Sprint 2000" team, an elite sprinting team that was part of the Phoenix Swim Club.

The World Sprint 2000 team consisted of 11 highly-motivated, world-class male swimmers--nine of them freestyle sprinters: Americans Anthony Ervin, Scott Greenwood, Gary Hall Jr., Matt Macedo and Jon Olsen; and foreigners Felipe Delgado, Bart Kizierowski, Gordan Kozulj (a 200 meter backstroker), Francisco Sanchez and Julio Santos. Later, Marcin Kaczmarek (a 100 and 200 meter flyer) also joined the team, though he broke his hand on his first day of practice.

Coach Bottom divided the team into three groups:

- The Veterans: Hall, Kizierowski, Kozulj and Olsen;
- The Three Amigos: Delgado, Sanchez and Santos;
- The Guppies: Ervin, Greenwood, Kaczmarek and Macedo.

Last summer, Coach Bottom and his staff, consisting of assistant coach and team coordinator, Heather Johnston (now an assistant coach at Louisiana State University), and assistant coach Norishi Kobayashi, instituted a highly unusual but extraordinarily demanding training program. The results were nothing short of phenomenal.

- Hall and Ervin both broke Tom Jager's 10-year-old American record in the 50 meter free, with the second (21.76) and third (21.80) fastest times in history;
- Kozulj swam to a European title in the 200 meter backstroke;
- Eight of the 11 swimmers made their country's Olympic teams: Hall and Ervin (USA); Sanchez (VEN); Santos and Delgado (ECU); Kizierowski and Kaczmarek (POL); and Kozulj (CRO).
- All but two of the swimmers swam lifetime personal best times (Olsen and Sanchez).
- At the Olympics, Hall and Ervin tied for first in the 50 free, and Kizierowski placed fifth. Hall finished third in the 100 free with a lifetime best, anchored the world record-setting 400 medley relay (3:33.73) and the American record-setting 400 free relay (3:13.86). Ervin led off the 400 freestyle relay (48.89).

In July--a few weeks before the U.S. Olympic Trials--Swimming Technique sat down with Coach Bottom to ask him what he did to produce such extraordinary results. Here's what we learned:

Swimming Technique:Mike, the swimming community has been impressed with your highly innovative program, but you've always stressed how much you owe to the ideas and techniques of other coaches. Tell us about that.

Coach Mike Bottom:Yes, what we've done here is largely the result of what I've synthesized from four great coaches I've worked with over the course of my career. They are George Haines, David Marsh, Mark Schubert and Nort Thornton.
- George Haines, my coach in high school, was the most influential. He was way ahead of his time, always maintaining a balance of speed and endurance work during the water portion of his program. He never had us do mega-yardage and never overtrained his swimmers. He had a way of taking us to our limit in training, but he never pushed us beyond that point, where we'd be unable to recover.
- Then there's David Marsh, under whom I worked as an assistant coach at Auburn for several years. Dave emphasizes the complete athlete. I learned from Dave that it's not necessarily the fastest guy in the water during workout who will swim best at the end of the year. It's the guy who does the most things right, most consistently.
- From Mark Schubert I learned the importance of aerobic training. Before Mark, I hadn't fully appreciated the importance of having a solid aerobic base. I think that's because when I was at Auburn, by the time my sprinters came to me, they already had a solid aerobic base.
- North Thornton is a technical wizard. We do a tremendous amount of technique work at Cal--I'd say about 50 percent of what we do is technique. This summer, we've been training almost eight hours a day, and it's at least 50 percent technique.

ST:Almost eight hours a day? Give us a rundown of your training schedule.

Bottom:We train from 8:15 to 11:45 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and from 4:15 to 8 p.m. every week day but Thursday. There's no workout on Thursday afternoon, though the guys usually do something on their own in the water, and we have Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday off. What does that come to? About 36 hours a week, I think.

I remember when I was training Gary (Hall) for the '96 Games and there was a lot of criticism that he wasn't training hard enough. He said to me, "Coach, I'm training hard enough that my heart rate is over 100 for six or seven hours a day. How much aerobic work do you want me to do?" He was right.

ST:Right. Let's talk a bit about the dryland training you do, which probably would strike most coaches as the most unusual aspect of your program.

Bottom:There actually are several basic elements to our dryland program, the specifics of which are fluid and literally changing all the time.

First off, we do weights three times a week for 75-90 minutes per session. Two of the sessions focus on upper body strength and one on lower body. We also do stretching every day for 15 minutes. Then, once a week, we do full body stretches for 60 minutes.

ST:And what about your dryland circuit?

Bottom:Actually, we have two--an outdoor and an indoor circuit, during which the swimmers' heart rate remains between 140 and 180 for at least 45 to 50 minutes. These circuits are designed to increase aerobic capacity and improve strength. We do each dryland circuit twice a week. The focus is on core body strength, shoulder strength and stability, balance, aerobic capacity and technique (for which we use a mirror).

Tuesday and Fridays are the days we do the outdoor circuit, usually combined with some hard, fast kicking. For example, the guys will run two laps (half a mile) of the outdoor track, then do several minutes each of obstacle course running, basketball lay-ups, jump pull-ups, then some pliometrics. Then they'll get in the pool and do some fast kicking--all-out 100s and 50s, then a longer, easy swim. We'll run through this three to four times.

ST:What about the indoor circuit?

Bottom:We do this twice a week as well. Each element in the indoor circuit takes 60 seconds, with about 10 to 15 seconds between stations. We have focus mitts, kicks, speed bags, dodging and popping. The guys really love all this boxing and martial arts stuff. Then we do a lot of work with the medicine ball because it helps strengthen the core. There are several exercises in which we throw it; then some core exercises. For example, the swimmer lies on the floor, holds his feet up, and twists left and right.

Some of the exercises are created by the swimmers themselves, which is something I like to encourage. It keeps them thinking about why they do what they do, and how to do it more effectively. If someone comes up with an idea, I'll ask them what they're doing and why. Not all of their ideas are good ones, but some are very good. If the team adopts one of these new exercises, we name it after the guy who invented it. It becomes known as the Matt Macedo Twist, or the Anthony Ervin Core Exercise.

ST:What about training in the water? How much yardage do you do?

Bottom:I actually don't know how much yardage we do. I vary sets depending on how the guys are doing. On Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning, we have a lactate set. A typical set might be 5 x 100 plus a 300 swim-down. Some of the 100s are done with fins, some with fins and paddles. All of this is done fast, and these guys have done some pretty impressive times.

In mid-July, for example, I gave them this set: 3 x {3 x 100 meters (sc)} with an easy 50 between each 100. They gradually descended from 56 to 57 seconds with no equipment to 49 seconds with equipment.

Everyone trains primarily for the 100. Gary (Hall), Anthony (Ervin), Julio (Santos) and Scott (Greenwood) will go down from the 100 to the 50--their primary event--but still swim very good 100s. I wouldn't be surprised to see Gary break the 50 record, but I also think he's capable of going 48 in the 100--maybe a 48-low by Sydney. Gordan (Kozulj) will go up from the 100 to the 200 (back), but he still should be able to swim a strong 100.