Upcoming events:

Saturday, February 24 – Lyford Cay Swim Meet

Saturday, February 24 – Abaco Open Water race

March 2-3 – CARIFTA Trials

News from the deck:

Thanks very much for all the efforts on the weekend. The meet ran very well and the feedback I heard on deck was positive. A late night Friday was because we had more than 300 swimmers entered in the meet – a huge number and a real reflection of the quality meets that the Barracuda Swim Club puts on.

The Executive Board did a great job of thanking people in their note Sunday. I would add that many hands make light work – we have one more meet in May this year and we look forward to having everyone pitch in as much as they can.

The open water swim on Sunday requires a lot of organization and I really thank everyone who stepped up with boats, medical personal, timing and all the other things. The winds really picked up and a seemingly simple task like getting a finish line set up turned into a feat of strength – in the end 35 swimmers raced and were safe and well supported throughout.

There were a few questions about the National time standards that were published in the heat sheets. There has been a coaching committee reviewing the standards and some changes have been suggested. A final decision about the 2018 standards will be made by the end of this week and sent to our national organizing body for review. We will have final numbers to publish here in the next couple of weeks.

Swim Tip:

A Tale of Two Swimmers

I am going to weave a bit of a story about planning, vision and performance using two unnamed but possibly identifiable Barracuda swimmers.

Planning – As many of you know from reading Steven Covey’s work, it is important to start with the end in mind. With that in mind:

1. August 1, 2028 (estimated start date of Los Angeles Olympics) – 3829 days

2. August 1, 2024 (Paris Olympic start) – 2368 days

3. July 25, 2020 – first day of swimming at Tokyo Olympics – 900 days

4. September 3, 2018 – start date of next season – 209 days

5. June 21, 2018 – start of Bahamian Nationals – 135 days

6. March 31, 2018 – start of CARIFTA in Jamaica – 53 days

7. March 2, 2018 – start of CARIFTA Trials in Nassau – 24 days

Lots of swimmers plan to be at the Olympics in their lives but very few actually make it. It takes years of preparation – so much so that the reality is that most of the swimmers who will be in the finals in L.A. ten years from now are already in pools around the world training.

For our story one of our swimmers has 900 days left until their first race in Tokyo. 900 days – probably 1200 workouts, a couple of hundred races, untold weight sessions, video review, travel days and other tasks. All that is balanced with post-secondary educational demands. A tentative plan is already laid out with high level competitions penciled in right up to July, 2020.

Another swimmer is looking to qualify for their first Bahamian nationals. This may be the highest performance standard they ever achieve – their very own Olympics. We will provide them with the same feedback and preparation on a smaller scale. With 135 days to go and considering current attendance rates we are really looking at 70 more practices and probably about 20 races to get tuned-up and ready to go.

What do these two extremes tell us? There are similarities and differences, but on a day-to-day basis there is more the same than different.

Training is vital for both of these swimmers. Daily preparation, focus on necessary skills and fitness are imperative. The inputs may be different. A typical day may look like this: a ninety-minute practice that includes 15 minutes of body weight based dryland exercises and swimming 3500 meters in the pool versus two, 2-hour swimming workouts plus an additional hour in the weight room for a total of 10 000 meters of swimming and loaded resistance training in the weight room.

The expectations are different i.e., higher performance standards, more focus on swimming to a race specific time with other good technique - stroke count, breathing pattern, pacing. Despite different end goal, all of these factors apply to either swimmer if they get themselves mentally and physically committed to their work.

The expectations for these swimmers are, in many ways, the same. They want to be better than they have ever been before. They want to challenge their own limits. They are looking to find a way to recognize their own potential.

The priorities of the swimmers may differ but not always. Surely they are looking to excel in the pool but also in school, in their relationships and in all the other aspects of their lives. How they set their priorities will impact their ultimate success. The Olympic aspirant sees "only" 900 days and has so much to do they don’t feel they can leave anything out. They don’t miss workout, they give up social events in lieu of sleep, they make nutritional decisions that support their training and racing. The National level swimmer may still be learning to balance their priorities or they may have different goals. They regularly attend 5 of the 8 offered sessions during a week, they try to eat well but believe that fried chicken and fries is the base of a good dinner. They plan their schedule with social events dominating their planning. They look at 135 days as being a pretty long time.

This is where goal setting and having a clear vision of the end goal, comes in. Coaches will remind you daily of what you are to focus on, provide a training environment to assist you to attain your goals and find appropriate levels of competition for you. Parents, for a long time, will provide transportation, emotional support, financial support and all the love and attention that their swimmers deserve. Others in our lives need to be aware of what is going on as well – teachers, friends, workmates – all the people who touch our daily lives.

It is a big operation to become the best swimmer that you can be. Barracuda Swim Club is committed to providing an avenue for future Olympians and National qualifiers all the same. Think of where you fit in this spectrum and decide that if you want to make the jump from one to the other. Talk to your coach, enlist the help that is available and let’s plan to succeed.

Thought of the Week:

Just something that came through my inbox this week that I thought was interesting for BSC swimmers.

" I tell my campers every year. If you were in my group, and this is a 12 and under group, you would be good 500 freestylers and 200 IMers. That should be the focus at that age." – Eddie Reese, Texas

Remember the importance of aerobic development in our younger swimmers. Look to improve all your strokes, all the time until you are physically prepared to specialize.


Nutrition Tip:

Last week, we shared information about the essential nutrition building blocks: carbohydrates, protein and fat. This week, we will focus more specifically on carbohydrates. This information can be found in the January 2015 edition of SwimSwam and is written by Aaron Schwartz (M.S., R.D., L.D.)

Nutrition is the one part of most athletes’ training that gets neglected. I have studied nutrition for seven years and have plenty of experience working with people that struggle with nutrition. Why is that? For one, most athletes don’t consider nutrition as training. Like just about anything, nutrition requires consistency to see results. Sure, you can get by with your training without even thinking about nutrition; a proper diet isn’t necessary if you’re looking to just "get by". Our bodies are pretty efficient and can turn whatever junk food we throw at it into a usable fuel. However, I would argue that in order to maximize your workouts, truly see your full potential, nutrition should be viewed not only as part of your training but the most important part. If you consistently invest in your health through nutrition, I guarantee that over time you will feel and perform better. It’s easy to get discouraged when the quick fixes and miracle diets that the world we live in promises fail to yield results. I encourage you to ignore what this world says and start investing in your health through a consistently healthful diet, simply by eating real food. Here are some tips to get the athlete started:

1. Make the majority of your carbohydrates complex outside of workouts.

Carbohydrates have taken a beating lately from the most recent fad diets to the popularity of both the Atkin’s and Paleo diet. No, carbohydrates are not inherently bad for you but I will agree the Western Diet consists of entirely too many carbohydrates. With that being said, carbohydrates are, or should be, an aerobic athlete’s best friend. The literature is riddled with study after study demonstrating the benefit and importance of a high carbohydrate diet for athletes, particularly aerobic athletes. Simply put, carbohydrates are the body’s fuel currency. No other nutrient burns as efficiently as the carbohydrate does. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American College of Sports Medicine and the Dietitians of Canada all agree that carbohydrates should make up the majority of calories in your diet. Want numbers? A range, albeit large, of 6 to 10 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight is recommended. Swimmers and other mostly aerobic athletes will need closer to 8-10 g/kg.1 For a 160-pound person, this turns into 580-720 grams of carbohydrates. Outside of the actual workout itself, the carbohydrates that you want to focus on are complex carbohydrates. Examples include: Legumes (lentils, beans and peas), Whole Grains (oats, brown rice, and whole grain breads), Fruits and Vegetables.

Recipe of the Week: 

Thai Cashew Chicken and Broccoli on Quinoa:


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 8 boneless thighs)

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tsp minced fresh garlic

1 tsp ground ginger (or 2 tsp minced fresh ginger)

2 cups water

1 cup quinoa

4 tsp sesame oil

2 cups broccoli florets

1 cup thinly sliced onions

¾ cup water

3 tbsp peanut butter

1 tbsp honey

1 cup unsalted toasted cashews

The Recipe:

1. Slice chicken into thin pieces and place in a large, sealable plastic bag. Combine soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic and ginger in a bowl and pour into the bag with the sliced chicken. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (and up to 24 hours) to marinate.

2. Bring water and quinoa to boil in a medium sauce pan. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for another 6 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

3. Place 2 tsp of sesame oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the broccoli and onion and cover the pan. Cook until the onion is opaque and the broccoli tender (about 8-10 minutes). Transfer to bowl and set aside.

4. Remove the chicken, reserving the marinade. Place the remaining sesame oil and the chicken in the large saucepan on medium-high heat and cook until the chicken is no longer pink, about 7-10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the marinade to the pan. Stir in the water, peanut butter, honey and cook for 1 minute. Toss in the onion and broccoli mixture and stir thoroughly.

5. Divide the quinoa among separate serving plates. Top with the chicken-broccoli mixture. Sprinkle with toasted cashews and serve.