issue #14, december 11, 2018
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the wake-up swim

thoughts on swimming, coaching, and more from ryan woodruff
The Greensboro Aquatic Center, which is in the midst of building an additional long course pool, presumably with hopes of landing the 2025 or 2027 FINA World Championships.
"Whatever you do, do it well.  Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do."
-Walt Disney
 I spent this past week in Greensboro, NC at the USA Swimming Junior National Championships-East. Four swimmers from our club competed and it was a valuable experience for all of them. I came away with a number of impressions. First, the depth of American club swimming right now is perhaps our biggest strength as a swimming country. There are so many clubs and coaches out there doing excellent work, so many striving toward the top that the pace of improvement seems to have accelerated in recent years. Second, I had conversations with many coaches, and every single one was very open to talking about their methods, their program, and the lessons they have learned along the way. This mentoring and sharing of ideas is the rising tide that lifts all boats. Third, I continue to be amused by the smallness of the swimming world. The meet felt like an episode of This is Your Life -- there were coaches who coached me, former swimmers of mine now coaching, and swimmers who are still on teams that I coached over a decade ago. Several readers of my blog who I have never met introduced themselves and thanked me for the blog/newsletter. All in all, I left feeling profoundly inspired for my own coaching, for the future of team USA, and for this awesome sport. -RW
loosening up
parent article
Moving Up: The Parent Transition
by Ryan Woodruff
"Moving up" is an important experience in the life of a swimmer. When a swimmer is old enough, has shown a sufficient level of commitment, and has improved his skills to a new level, he will be invited to "move up" into the next training group. The invitation is an honor, a sign that the coaching staff believes the swimmer is ready to take his preparation and thus his performance to new heights.

Moving up often means increases in commitment, training time, the difficulty of practices, and a new group of teammates to train with. Each of these aspects of the move-up can present challenges. Thus, the swimmer will need the support of his parents. This brings us to our topic: The Parent Transition.

When your swimmer moves from one group to the next, you as a parent must also make a transition. These changes include:

Increasing your own level of commitment. Your swimmer will likely be expected to practice MORE OFTEN. Our groups are set up so that each group practices for a longer duration more frequently than the group below it. At the senior level, this means...  Keep reading
Workout of the Week
(a set or workout not published elsewhere)

I borrowed the concept of the "Dirty Thirty" from Coach Bryan Welter  . A "Dirty Thirty" includes (1) sprinting out to 15m, (2) executing a fast flip turn, and (3) underwater dolphin kicking 15m back to the wall all while (4) not taking a breath.  Incorporating it into this set made for a big challenge. Most of my swimmers had to take one breath during the Dirty Thirty, but we made sure to hammer the 25s.  We did this in a SCM pool.

inspiring video of the week
The documentary "Free Solo" is drawing incredible reviews this fall.  The film documents Alex Honnold's mind-blowing no-ropes ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite.  In this 4-minute video from The Players' Tribune, he offers a peek into his mindset and some valuable thoughts on setting impossible goals.

actual swimming video of the week
From our friends at, this is one way to develop hand speed in breaststroke.

favorite stuff from the blog
coaching inspiration

"Leaders must honor these three 'time zones':
       THE PAST - A leader must learn from and honor the past
       THE PRESENT -- A leader must meet the expectations of the present in a quality way
       THE FUTURE -- A leader must create a clear and tangible path for a more prosperous future."
- Doug Conant (@dougconant)
That's it for issue #14. I am enjoying the process of putting this together for you each week, but I could use your help. You can help by submitting a set or workout of your own. Sharing is what is powering our profession and driving our progression. Any comments, suggestions, or submissions are welcome to
Thanks for reading,

Countdown to Tokyo: 591 days

Links listed in this e-mail may be affiliate links meaning that I earn a small commission if you make a purchase from those links.  This won't add any extra cost for you, and I appreciate your support of
the wake-up swim
and The Swimming Wizard blog.
Copyright © 2018 Ryan Woodruff, All rights reserved.

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Ryan Woodruff · 801 Wyndhurst Drive · Lynchburg, VA 24502 · USA

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