Weekly Newsletter

Upcoming meets:

December 2 Orca meet (all swimmers) NOTE the date change. Timing on December 2nd will remain the same.

December 7-11 Gatineau (16 swimmers)

December 15/16 Family Guardian Insurance Meet hosted by the Barracuda Swim Club

We are adjusting this meet to a 2 day – 2 session meet. We will need all families to assist with providing timers during this meet. We run great meets and look forward to another excellent competition for our swimmers.

This is a perfect opportunity for some of our away swimmers to do some long course racing and post times eligible for selection to international meets. Plan your travel to get home in time to participate if you can.

The Friday night session will have a 4 p.m. warm up and 5 p.m. start while Saturday will have a 7:30 warm up and 9:00 a.m. start.

Christmas Schedule:

Darts, Neons and Tigers will swim their regular schedule until (and including) Wednesday, December 20th. These swimmers will be off for two weeks and return to their regular schedule on Wednesday, January 3rd.

Flying and Dragon Fish will have regular practices until Friday, December 22nd. Off December 23, 24, 25, and 26. One a day practices will be offered December 27-31. Off January 1st and 2nd. Back into regular scheduling on January 3rd. Timing and location of workouts in between Christmas and New Year will be confirmed.

News from the deck:

Please see the date change for the Orca meet – moved to December 2nd. Please confirm your entries with your coach.

Dragon and Flying Fish swimmers – please have skipping rope in your equipment bags at all practices. We will be using them daily in our dryland warm ups.

Team Christmas Party – Saturday, December 23rd at 7:00 p.m. Location is to be confirmed. Please add this to your Christmas calendar.

With the air and water cooling down a bit please be prepared. Swimmers who do not usually wear a cap may want to start putting one on to retain more heat. Swimmers should do a vigorous dryland warm up to lift their internal temperature before they get in the pool. Warm up should be done at a higher tempo so that you stay warm. Everyone should pay attention between sets and repeats so that the coach’s instructions can be communicated quickly and we can get moving right away. Finally, you will be colder at the end of workout so be sure you have brought warm clothes to put on for the trip home.

News from our Away Swimmers:

Great to see Izaak Bastian being ably assisted by Drew on deck during the week. The commitment to training when away from your home club or school make a huge difference in a season ending performance. Izaak will be travelling to US Junior Nationals in Nashville, Tennessee December 6-9.

N’Nhyn Fernander was offering guidance by word and example to some of our Dragon swimmers. One big take away was the time N’Nhyn was spending on his underwater work and breath control. Tip: don’t breath on the last three strokes of your fly races.

Swim Tip:

All of the Barracudas are racing over the next few weekends – some of us several times. It is a great time to review how to be ready for your races and get the most out of your training. Carry confidence into all your performances and know that you have done everything you can to be ready to put your best ever effort forward.

Race day preparation

The number one rule for swimmers and coaches on race day is "Don’t do anything new at a competition." They should stick with the strategies that they know work and lead to the best performances. The national championship is not the time to try massage if the swimmer has not had massage as part of his regular training and recovery protocol throughout the year. Nor is the big meet the time to try that new energy drink that all the other swimmers seem to be using. Without having tried it in practice or knowing how the body will react, doing anything different nutritionally at a meet is like playing with fire.

Mental Preparation and the Pre-race Routine:

Competition provides athletes the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities and to challenge themselves as to how fast and how well they can swim. The opportunity to compete is one of the reasons that swimmers train hard every day.

Although physical ability is one factor that contributes to performance, mental strength and conditioning are important as well. How athletes train mentally and what they do to prepare for the specific race has a lot to do with the eventual outcome. Swimmers need to be purposeful about preparing both their minds and their bodies for competition.

Just as scientists have identified physical, physiological, and technical profiles of elite athletes, similar work has been done to identify psychological profiles and characteristics. This research has identified a number of psychological attributes related to success. One of the key characteristics of top performers is having a well-developed pre-competition routine. Combined with high levels of motivation and commitment, coping skills, self-confidence, and arousal management skills, having a pre-competition routine helps athletes achieve higher levels of performance.

Researchers have identified factors that have both positive and negative effects on performance. One of the findings that distinguished athletes who performed well from those who didn’t was the development of and adherence to physical and mental preparation plans. Successful athletes had a pre-competition routine that they developed, practiced, and stuck to even at the biggest meets.

10 athletes from the U.S. World Championships swim team were interviewed to uncover how they approached and dealt with the mental aspect of swimming. In particular, the athletes were asked to describe how they got ready to race. Although they prepared for their races differently, all the athletes had a routine or plan to get mentally ready to race.

Highlights of the reasons why and how a pre-race routine can influence performance. Following a consistent and practiced routine will help athletes achieve the following goals.

Attain an Ideal State or Zone

The primary benefit or purpose of a mental preparation plan is to get the athlete in a mental state that seems to relate to successful performance. The process that the swimmer goes through to get there will be unique to the individual. You should be practicing and refining your routine at each competition.

Achieve Greater Self-Confidence

Success breeds confidence. When athletes are able to see and feel past and future successes as part of their mental preparation, confidence is not far behind. Imaging a successful upcoming race is the dress rehearsal to the real deal.

Give More Effective Focus

A mental preparation routine can help swimmers focus on important aspects of their performance. Technical cues ("explode off the blocks" or "hold your streamline") or images ("torpedo") can be integrated into preparation to direct attention where it needs to be as opposed to having the focus on unproductive or negative things.

Provide Comfort in Structure

A mental routine can be a security blanket, something to turn to in the stressful moments leading up to the competition. Swimmers can use their mental routine to bring consistency to their preparation and performance, whether they are swimming in a club meet or at Olympic Trials. To some degree, a mental preparation routine can take the environment out of the performance.

Engage the Mind

The mind is a valuable commodity. When purposefully recruited and engaged, the athlete has the additional support of positive emotions, feelings, and thoughts. Athletes should make wise use of all the resources at their disposal as they prepare for competition.

All Barracudas can work with their coaches by listening for mental training ques that are offered through all their training. Have a mental plan for your race. Key things like imagery, goal setting, self-talk, concentration and energy management. Each swimmer should have a personal, unique mental plan

Reassessing your swims with your coach will help you refine your plan. What was your preparation and state of mind prior to your best (or worst) performance? Be willing to use in-season meets to refine your plan. When efforts and challenges are put to you in training try to get yourself prepared in the same way mentally.

Although these things may seem insignificant when taken individually, consider what it is that distinguishes the gold medal winner from the athlete who won the silver, the third-place finisher from those who did not win a medal. It often boils down to how the athletes prepared for the competition. The best athletes in the world have strategies that help them perform to their utmost ability, and they think about those points as they prepare for competition. Swimmers who do the same will see their athletic performances improve. 

Nutrition Tip:

According to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we should eat between 5-13 servings of fruit and vegetables each day. One serving is ½ cup of cooked green or orange vegetables (carrots, broccoli etc.), ½ cup dried or canned lentils, beans, peas (preferably unsalted) or 1 cup leafy or raw salad vegetables.

This Week’s Recipe:

Avocado, Hummus and Cheese Pita Pocket

This is another quick and easy lunch idea. This is also great to pack for a pre or post practice meal so that you are not running for fast food or processed snacks. The more whole foods you eat as part of your regular diet the better you support your training and racing.

Prep time – 5 minutes Serves 1


1 small whole wheat pita pocket

2 tbsp hummus

1/8 of an Avocado sliced thinly

1 slice (1 ounce) reduced fat Monterey Jack cheese

¼ cup pea shoots or alfalfa sprouts


1. Cut off the top of the pita and open it slightly to make a pocket. Smear the inside of the pita with hummus and stuff with cheese, avocado and sprouts. Serve and Enjoy.