issue #40, June 11, 2019

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the wake-up swim

thoughts on swimming, coaching, and more from ryan woodruff
The Scarborough Beach Pool in Western Australia.  Incredible.
Photo credit: @isabellareed via @scarboroughbeachpool

"A coach can be connected to their team or their ego. The two are not compatible. When pressured, one will always win over the other."
-Kate Leavell
  Most coaches (myself included) want to work with the best athletes on their team.  It is exciting to coach athletes who are very skilled, knowledgeable, and perceived to be high achievers.  Certainly, it feeds the coach's ego a bit. This past weekend I was reminded how much this mentality can blind us to the true rewards of coaching.
  We attended a prelim/final long course meet that offered 50s of strokes for senior swimmers.  In the 50 back, 50 breast, and 50 fly, there were not enough entrants to fill the 16 slots offered by the A & B final.  I am not sure what it says about us collectively as coaches that the 50s were nearly empty and the 100s were bursting at the seams, but I digress.
  We had one swimmer who is relatively new to the sport who practices with a group of younger teammates because of her skill level.  She swam prelims of the 50 fly (making the finals by default), and was seeded 9th out of 9 swimmers in finals.  Naturally, she was in the B final all by herself.  Keep in mind this was her first-ever time making finals at any meet. An assistant coach and I were both concerned about how this sometimes-timid swimmer would handle the situation.
  To our delight, she crushed her finals swim, going 2 seconds faster than in prelims, and upon seeing her time gave a gold-medal-worthy splash/punch at the end. In that moment it mattered not to her whether anyone was faster or slower, but only that she had improved. It was a terrific reminder to me of the power that we have as coaches to help swimmers gain confidence and push their abilities to new levels. And it was more exciting for me to see than any race by our "best swimmers" all weekend.
- RW
loosening up
swimming videos of the week
1. Excellent example clip for butterfly:

2. Ideas for teaching a good backstroke start from @duoswimcoach:

request for feedback or collaboration

I have created an excel spreadsheet I call The Swimming Calculator designed to predict a swimmer's time based upon a chosen cycle count, tempo, underwater kick distance, turn speed, etc.  This is something I have been toying with for a few years and trying to tweak for accuracy.  It still has some work to go, but I have found it to be useful in talking to athletes about a change in tempo, improving turns, etc.  If you are a swimming nerd and would like to take it for a test drive and tell me what's working and what could be improved, I would love to hear from you.

favorite stuff from the blog
coaching inspiration
Wow, I can't believe we are at 40 issues of "the wake up swim" already! Time is flying, especially now that it is summer here in Virginia.  I hope this email finds you and your team having a successful season. The Swimming Wizard blog welcomes submissions of practices or sets that have helped your team. Please send them to If you are new to this e-mail, you can always sign up here.

Happy Coaching!

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

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