issue #9, november 6, 2018
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the wake-up swim

thoughts on swimming, coaching, and more from ryan woodruff
This incredibly beautiful scene is shared with us by ORCA (@orcaswimclub) in Orange County, California. Do you have a unique, beautiful, or amazing pool picture you would like to share with us?
Please send it to us and maybe we will feature it here.
“Sometimes it's the journey that teaches you a lot about the destination"
- Drake
  We are now nine issues into this little project, and I am enjoying putting it together for you each week.  I see a few familiar e-mails pop onto the list every now and then, but for the most part, I have never met my readers.  This means you may not understand the context of my perspective.  Perhaps it it is time for a brief introduction...
  Three years ago, I arrived in Lynchburg, Virginia, USA after stays in Gainesville, FL, Chapel Hill, NC, and Allentown, PA.  I got my bachelor's and master's degree in sports sciences, got my feet wet in coaching, and got married at the University of Florida.  I learned from excellent coaches and fantastic swimmers in all of my subsequent stops, growing as a person and a coach, and becoming a father three times over.  Good fortune allowed me to coach at Olympic Trials, USA Nationals, and NCAA Championships, and watch swimmers I worked with at UF at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004.
  Now, I coach a medium-sized YMCA team of about 230 swimmers, working mostly with 15 & overs on a daily basis. We operate primarily out of two short course pools with a staff of about 10 coaches.  I love my team and where I work, and we strive to get better every single day. My goal is the same as it has always been -- to be the best coach that I can be for our swimmers.  My hope is to help you strive for the same.  -RW

loosening up
  • Last week I pledged to start writing an article per week for parents.  Here is article #1: Working Together. While I am writing this and future articles specifically for my team, feel free to borrow the concepts and if you decide to quote or link to the article, I only ask that you give me credit.
  • Two contentious issues on tap this week in the swimming world: the FINA vs ISL/Adam Peaty issue and the USOC filing to decertify USA Gymnastics and the specter of the same happening for USA Swimming (unlikely, in my opinion).  Both issues stem from the same root cause -- that Olympic sports where even world-class athletes struggle to make an income are so bloated that they are consuming, abusing, and disregarding the interests of the people who are at the center of the whole thing -- the athletes. Sound familiar, NCAA?!?.  I hope that Peaty and company will go forward with the meet.  If enough of them get on board and challenge FINA, it might open the doors to opportunity for more athletes in the future, and might lay the foundation for reform at the highest levels. And couldn't they just call it "not a meet" as one swimswam commenter suggested?
  • James Clear wrote a convincing article on the power of consistency in achieving your goals and developing good habits: The Seinfeld Strategy
  • Sometimes average swimmers turn out to be great coaches because they can relate to the person with non-elite initial ability.  This Adam Grant opinion piece sheds some light on the topic.
  • We all make mistakes in our twenties.  If you are still in your twenties, maybe reading this will help you avoid some of the typical mistakes (numbers 1, 5, and 6 in particular sting me when I read them).
  • Tom Yetter wrote this excellent article a few years back: How to Teach Age Groupers to Work Hard in a Positive Atmosphere.  I highly recommend it and have shared it with my entire staff.
  • One of the clearest voices on the internet, Seth Godin explains How to Be Remarkable.
butterfly example video
This swimmer has pretty good rhythm & timing and is an excellent example to show your young swimmers.
favorite workouts from the blog
tweet of the week
Dr. Jim Afremow (@goldmedalmind)
          "There's no such thing as a champion’s mind gene, so there’s absolutely nothing preventing all of us from learning how to think and feel like a champion - to be our true best self.  Now, isn't that the ultimate gold medal?" #TheChampionsMind
this week's bit of inspiration for you and your team

A Builder or Wrecker?
I watched them tearing a building down,
A gang of men in a busy town;
With a ho-heave-ho and a lusty yell,
They swung a beam and the side wall fell.
I asked the foreman: “Are these men skilled?
And the men you’d hire if you had to build?”
He gave a laugh and said, “No indeed – Just common labor is all I need.
I can easily wreck in a day or two What builders have taken years to do.”
And I thought to myself as I went my way,
Which of these roles have I tried to play?
Am I a builder, who works with care,
Measuring life by rule and square?
Am I shaping my deeds to a well-made plan,
Patiently doing the best I can –
Or am I a wrecker who walks the town
Content with the labor of tearing down?
-written by Carmelo Benvenga in 1967
That's all for issue #9 - I hope you found it fun, interesting, and useful to your coaching. If you are seeing the wake-up swim for the first time and want to subscribe, click here.  Comments and suggestions are invited. Please send them to
Thanks for reading,

Countdown to Tokyo: 626 days

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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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