A Letter from Head Coach, Scott Johannsen

Sarah Lolli

Hello Orca swimmers and parents,

Our first season together has come to an end. I can’t say how much I am enjoying returning to coaching and especially returning to the Orcas. For those of you that don’t know, I actually swam for the team when it was the Rock Island Y swim team. When I graduated from college, I returned to the team as the head coach and the team wanted a mascot. After a team vote the Orcas were born. I have to admit, it wasn’t my top choice, but thinking back it does fit.

I wanted to take some time to reflect on the past 8 weeks and talk about the summer season and the other exciting things that will be going on with the team.

First of all, I want to thank the assistant coaches, Tyler, Everlynn(Evie) and David. Thank you for showing me the ropes of the team and introducing me to the swimmers and telling me a little bit about each of them. This made the transition very smooth and it was much appreciated. I also want to thank you for covering for me while I coached the Davenport Community Schools Jr. High program.

The last 8 weeks have been a great learning curve. Me getting to know each of you as parents and as swimmers and you getting to know me as a coach and an individual.

When the summer season starts again on March 25th, 2019. I will completely implement my coaching philosophy and strategy. It didn’t make much sense to start something new in the middle of a season. The philosophy and the strategy for success is very simple. Teach each swimmer to swim each stroke in the most efficient manner possible, using proper stroke technique while also improving each swimmer’s conditioning and preparation for competition both, mentally and physically.

The process is simple. We will begin the season working on proper stroke technique for each stroke and do conditioning with short distances. The first week everyone, from the Beluga’s to the senior swimmers, will do nothing but 25’s. We will swim these distances with proper techniques and at race pace. Reinforcing positive muscle memory. Swimming in practice the way we want to swim in meets. As the season progresses we will increase the distance of the sets. For the Seniors/Gold and Silver swimmers we will increase the distance of the sets by 25 yards each week, while maintaining proper stroke technique. The younger swimmers, Beluga and Bronze will increase their set distances by 25 yards approximately every 3 weeks, while still maintaining proper stroke technique. As the season progresses, each swimmer will gain increased endurance and conditioning while reinforcing positive muscle memory to swim each stroke as efficient and fast as possible.

A word of caution, not everyone develops in the same way and at the same speed. Learning to be a great swimmer takes time, dedication, a few ups and a few downs, some good swims, some not so good swims, some good days and some bad ones. Swimmers, please don’t judge your swimming by the achievements of others, strive to be the best you can be. Parents do not judge your swimmers by the achievements of others as well, swimmers develop at their own pace, some grow quickly, grow later, some are bigger, some are stronger, some are more competitive and some just like being a part of the team. Encourage and support your swimmer to be the BEST they can be. With the support of the coaches, their teammates and their parents, each swimmer will reach their full potential and become the best swimmer and person they can be. The greatest swimmers in the world don’t swim lifetime best times every time they swim. They use each swim as a learning experience and they build upon what they learned and what they need to do to improve and reach their goals.

Another exciting thing that will be starting in the next session is the introduction of The Quad City Swim Academy. The Swim Academy is a learn to swim program that teaches new swimmers how to swim properly from the very beginning. The Academy is a skill based learn to swim program that allows young swimmers to advance through the program at their individual speed and achievement levels. There are 10 skill levels and after each level is achieved, the young swimmer is acknowledged and moves to the next level. Each level has in the water instructors that only teach certain skills. Once the skill is mastered the swimmer moves on and after level 5 they become eligible for the Beluga level of the Orcas and continue through the levels until they reach and complete level 10. After completing level 10, the swimmers will know all 4 competitive strokes plus the proper turns and starts and will be ready to advance to the Bronze group and beyond. This is an exciting way to develop young swimmers and build a solid foundation for the future of the team as a whole. Please spread the word about the QC Swim Academy. Swimming is a fun sport and a life time skill; everyone should know how to swim and swim properly. We will also be looking for in water coaches. This is an excellent part time job for upper level Senior and gold level swimmers. Contact me to find out more.

One of the biggest questions I get asked from parents, is what should my swimmer be doing in the off season, the time between the winter and summers sessions, or the time between the summer and the winter sessions? My answer is nothing. Swimmers need time to recharge themselves both mentally and physically. I encourage swimmers to take the time to enjoy time with friends, catch up on school work and just relax. Now, the swimmer that is at the senior level and has made swimming a top priority, I encourage them to stay in shape. I encourage them to continue or start a strength training program. If they are just starting out, get with me and we will develop one tailored to their specific needs and abilities. Swimming is fun, but there has to be balance in life.

Finally, as the team starts to grow there are going to be questions. I encourage everyone, swimmers and parents, if you have a question; please reach out to me and ask. As the team grows there has to be open lines of communication. As I mentioned earlier, I swam for this team 40 years ago. It is about the team and the team is the swimmers and the parents. We cannot grow and strive as a team if we get caught up in individual mind sets. As the head coach, my job is to grow the team and develop swimmers to become the best swimmers they can be and to help them become the best person they can be. Not everyone is going to qualify for championship meets, not everyone is going to break team records, not everyone is going to be on the “A” relay, and no one is going to win every time. The only thing that everyone can be is a good team member. If we think like a team, act like a team, we will grow like a team and that is how everyone wins.

Enjoy the break, I will see everyone real soon. If you have any questions please reach out to me, my door is always open and my phone is always on. You can reach me via email at masterswimmer1963@gmail.com, you can reach me on my cell phone, talk or text, 563-343-5157. You can stop by my office at 2422 East Kimberly Road in Davenport, Iowa. Just look for my name on my Shelter Insurance sign out front or call my office at 563-386-7852. I am looking forward to building this team back to like it was in the old days, where Rock Island swimming was the standard in which other teams strived for, in and out of the water.

Yours in Swimming,

Coach Scott