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Coach's Corner

This area of the site will be used by the coaches to share information on:

  • Stroke Technique
  • Nutrition
  • Mental Preparation & Goal Setting
  • Anatomy of a practice
  • Dryland

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Swimmer Nutrition

We know nutrition is very important to a swimmer's development. We are often asked "What should my swimmer eat?" and "When should my swimmer eat?".  Pay special attention to what to eat/drink, and when to eat/drink. Being aware of what we eat and drink will make us all better!!!

In terms of total calories, swimmers should aim for a diet of: 60% carbohydrate, 15% protein, 25% fat
 
There are no magic foods and no magic food groups! Extra vitamins, minerals and supplements are not necessary in a healthy diet. The easy guidelines for your athletes are as follow:
  • Eat colorful foods.
  • The more naturally colorful the more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and carbohydrates are available for recovery and general health.
  • Eat early and often. The first two hours post-workout are the most critical.
  • Drink early and often.
  • Hydration must be continuous.
Recovery Nutrition
After exercise, the dietary goal is to provide adequate energy and carbohydrates to replace muscle glycogen and ensure rapid recovery. Start the replenishment process immediately. The “window of opportunity” to maximize glycogen replacement lasts only about 2 hours. It is also advisable to pulse the system, i.e. eat something substantial every hour rather than waiting for a large meal or eating only every 3 to 4 hours. The replenishment should be adjusted according to the intensity of the practice. A less intense workout requires less replenishment. Finally, something is better than nothing so emphasize consuming some carbohydrate fuel immediately after workout rather than waiting until the next full meal.
 
Nutrition for Competition
Once again, teach athletes that there is no magic food and that they must focus on long term nutritional choices. When it comes to swim meets, they need to prepare nutritionally for the entire competition. There is no way to fuel for a particular race. It is important to maintain constant energy, blood sugar levels and hydration
by snacking and replenishing throughout the competition.
 
Fluid Replacement Tips for Swimmers
  • Keep a fluid bottle by the side of the pool when working out and drink between repeats and sets.
  • Choose sports drinks that taste good, stimulate fluid absorption in the body, maintain proper fluid balance in the body and provide energy to working muscles.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks which can cause stomach bloating and may reduce fluid intake.
  • Avoid caffeine-filled beverages which are diuretics and contribute to fluid loss.

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Swim Meet 101

At GREAT, we view swim meets as an extension of training. At meets, swimmers learn valuable lessons about race strategies and technique. Please read this article for insight into how meets operate and how to get the most out of a meet experience for your swimmer.

Meet Selection

At the beginning of a season, our coaching staff selects which meets we will attend. We aim for 1-2 a month during the winter season, with more as we get closer to the Championship Meets.  In the summer, we try to attend as many as possible, because the season is so short. Most of the meets we attend are close enough for day trips, but we do try to sprinkle in a few that require an overnight stay. These are fun, and they help prepare our swimmers for swimming fast in big meets. The meet schedule for each season will be posted on our website at the beginning of each season, on the front page, under the swim meets tab.

Signing Up For Events

We do all registration for our meets through our website. When a meet is available, you will receive an e-mail. You will also receive a reminder e-mail one week before the deadline to sign up for each meet. To sign-up, go to our website and click “attend this event” next to the meet you’d like to attend. You can access the meet letter through this link as well. It will let you see which events are offered on each day and what time each session begins. After selecting "attending this meet" please select the events that your swimmer would like to swim.  Please pay close attention to which days the events occur on, so that you do not choose an event that occurs on a day that you will not be attending.  The coach reserves the right to enter your swimmer in additional events or to edit your selected events if they feel it is a good opportunity for you swimmer to develop.  You will be notified by the coach if there is a change to your original selection. After the deadline, I will send out a list of entries. At that time, please review your swimmers’ entries and reply to that e-mail ASAP, if you see any changes to be made.

Before The Meet        

You will receive e-mails before the meet containing your meet fee information. You also receive one within the week before the meet with information about the location of the meet and the times of the sessions.

What To Bring

Swim Suit + Extra Swim Suit

Team Warm Up and Team  Clothing

2 Team Caps (in case one breaks)

2 pairs of Goggles (in case one breaks)

2 Towels

Healthy Snacks NO JUNK FOOD

Drinks (water or sports drink) NO ENERGY DRINKS

Please note: a deck of cards and/or some other types of games help to pass the time between events for your child.

The Big Day

On the day of the meet, please have your swimmer on deck, ready to go 15 minutes before warm-ups begin. PLEASE CALL THE COACH ASAP IF YOU ARE RUNNING LATE OR UNABLE TO ATTEND A MEET YOU SIGNED UP FOR.  At most meets, your swimmer will need to sign-in to show they are there and ready to race. Once the sign up sheets are pulled down (generally 45 minutes before the session), swimmers who are not signed in will be scratched. We will warm-up as a team and then the session will begin. USA swim meets have a time limit of 4 hours per session. Most meets we attend will be shorter than that. During winter meets, the swimmers are on deck and parents are in the stands. We ask that during a session, all swimmers stay on deck so we can find them easier. The swimmers will be responsible for getting to their races on time, if there is confusion coaches will assist them. During summer outdoor meets, we will all sit together under shade tents. When your swimmer has finished all of their events for the day, the coaching staff would like every swimmer to stay until the end of that session to cheer for their teammates.

DQ's

Sooner or later, all swimmers get disqualified. At our meets, the officials will talk directly to all swimmers who are disqualified and explain what went wrong. We ask that our swimmers stay calm (easier said than done), and listen to the official. After that, a coach will discuss the DQ further with the swimmer. Then, we’ll move on and focus on the next race.

Swimmer Expectations

We ask the following things of our swimmers at each meet

  1. Be on time and warm-up with the team.
  2. Talk to a coach before and after each event. He or she will review technique and race strategy before your race, along with giving you your heat and lane assignment. Afterwards, he or she will discuss your race with you, tell you what you did well, and give you some tips to improve.
  3. Support your teammates when they race by cheering
  4. Have Fun!!

Meet Goals

At the beginning of each season, the coaching staff will ask the swimmers to fill out a goal sheet for the season. We ask that swimmers think about what they want to accomplish throughout the next season and what steps they will take to achieve these goals. As coaches, we will try our best to help your swimmers achieve their goals.

Our overall goal is to see our swimmers improve by getting faster in the water (often called “cutting time”).  There are many factors that go into cutting time and it will not happen for all swimmers every race of every meet. If your swimmer is not cutting time, don’t get too frustrated. Many of our best swimmers go through long periods of time where they don’t cut. You can always talk to a coach about your concerns. Cutting time is not our only goal. Meets are also a great time for kids to work on stamina, racing, and stroke technique. The goals beyond cutting time vary from swimmer to swimmer and event to event and will be discussed in the pre-race conference with the coach.

Overall, we want our swimmers to have fun at meets. Meets are a great time to interact with your teammates and coaches and enjoy being a part of the team!

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The Anatomy of a Practice

We thought a good way to finish this forum would be to explain how a typical practice works. We try to vary practice as much as possible, so it does not feel too repetitive for our swimmers.  Below is a sample of how practice is structured. The order of the sets changes daily. Remember, parents are also welcome to watch practice and coaches are available before and after practice to answer any questions or discuss any issues.
 
Warm-up- Every practice begins with a warm-up to get the swimmers ready to train, both physically and mentally.
 
Skill or Drill Set- Everyday we work on a stroke or skill (starts, turns). During this set, we will work on a specific drill that targets the mechanics of the stroke. In future coach’s corner articles, we will discuss specific drills.
 
Kick Set- This is where we target both the technique and power of the kick. We do kick sets with and without kickboards and with and without fins.  We spend the majority of kick set time on flutter kick but we also incorporate dolphin and breastroke kicks.
 
Pull set- On pull sets, we wear pull buoys and focus on our arms. These sets usually incorporate pull mechanics and breath control. Again, freestyle pull is most common on pull sets.
 
Swim sets- This is sometimes called a “main set”. We have decided not to use that term so the importance of the other sets is not diminished. A swim set can focus on any stroke. It is often a combination of more than one stroke. We do distance, sprint, variable speed, aerobic and anaerobic sets. It is important that we train all swimmers in different strokes and energy zones.  Discussion on each energy zone and type of set will be included in future coach’s corner articles.  Although stroke drills are done during the drill set, we do stress stroke technique throughout swim sets. This is an important time for swimmers to learn how to practice good stroke technique while swimming fast and over different distances.  Coaches will talk to all swimmers about technique during rest intervals or sometimes, stop an individual swimmer to correct an element of their stroke.
 
Cool Down- This is just as important as the warm-up and usually involves easy swimming.
 
Depending on time and other activities planned during a particular practice, we may not cover all areas. We always do the warm-up, cool down, drill, and swim sets.