There has been a great response to my recent newsletters offering the idea that sprinters would be better served to be trained like sprinters and not like distance swimmers.
Some have politely offered their counter argument to their take on my points. “How we are ruining our age groupers and chasing them to other sports because we won’t allow everyone to become 50 Freestylers,” or “I just don’t think sprint specific training is the way to go with kids that threaten to quit.” These are a couple of quotes taken from the message board. It’s my fault if I haven’t expressed myself clearly enough. I really appreciate everyone that has posted on our board, there has been a ton of high quality posts that offer a wealth of information for swimming fast. I love the arguments. If you don’t agree with what we are doing or saying we want to hear from you. If you agree with what we are saying or doing we want to hear from you. Read more
The last time I swam the 500 free I was a sophomore in high school. That was like 15 years ago! And this is a true story. The last mile I swam, during that same year, I was pulled out of the water half way through the race in the middle of a flip turn, by my feet, by my coach at the time, the man that made me hate distance swimming forever, Pierre Lafontaine, for swimming it too slow.
Did that help my fifty free? No. I would have quit if Pierre didn’t quit that same year and go back to Canada. I will note that my personal goal in swimming at that time was to outlast Pierre. The yardage that I did when I was 16 made me decide that I hated swimming. I was wrong, I didn’t hate swimming. I hated doing something that I was never built to do, that I was never going to be good at. It took the time after Pierre left to figure out that I didn’t hate swimming, I actually liked it. I hated swimming for Pierre. Read more
THE ART OF TAPER:
The taper is more of an art than a science. It is impossible to have a formula that works for everyone. There are many factors that need to be taken into account including age, training history, sex, muscle mass, and race distance.
AGE and MUSCLE MASS: Older athletes tend to have more muscle mass, this comes with maturity. More muscle needs more rest.
TRAINING HISTORY: If you have trained 20 thousand meters a day, six days a week, for the last 11 months your taper can last longer than the swimmer that has gone 5 thousand a day, 5 days a week for the last 3 months.
SEX: I am not a sexist. Females GENERALLY need less taper.
DISTANCE: Obviously swimming the mile does require more aerobic capacity and a long taper will rest the muscles but cut into that aerobic base. Read more
Happy New Year!
I used to swim for Eddie Reese. He used the quote, “Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.” That is true.
The problem with doing 9 to 10 thousand meters a practice is that it is nearly impossible to hold a perfect stroke through that distance. Things get sloppy with fatigue; look at some of those flip turns out there, and they don’t change to perfect for the big race. Watch the starts of the 1500 guys at the Olympics, most of them are TERRIBLE. I think that it’s safe to say that for the most part the further the distance a swimmer claims as their event, the worse their stroke technique, start and flip turns are. They sacrifice this for more aerobic capacity. Read more
Have you inspired anyone this past year? We all have the opportunity every day. You don’t need to win Olympic medals to help someone, to make a difference, to give. Remember that: not just during the holiday season.
I’m going to tell a short story, an embarrassing one. During my junior year in high school my family took a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. At some point I met a beautiful girl from Palo Alto. She invited me to go out with her that night. I snuck away and we went to a club. We ordered a couple of drinks each and the bill came. I had twenty some dollars and it wasn’t enough to cover the bill for both of us. She didn’t have any money. I was panicked, not so much because I was embarrassed. At that age I was quite familiar with embarrassment. I was panicked because the waiter was very upset and his waiter friends were closing in around me as I tried desperately to explain in broken Spanish that the LA Dodgers hat I was trying to offer him was worth about $15. Read more
We made it through a serious hurricane season. Thanks for your concerns. Sadly, we lost our Lexus LX 470 in this last storm to a speeding tree and our storage shed is off to Oz. Our second annual fundraiser at the famous Joe’s in South Beach has been postponed due to the hurricane. It is now on December 11th. The event raises money for The Gary Hall Jr. Foundation for Diabetes. My very pregnant wife Elizabeth has worked tirelessly to make this event happen. I’ll tell you more about the foundation later.
My wife and I are expecting our first in December, hopefully not during the event.
This Aqua Notes is going to cover briefly, where The Race Club comes from, where we are, and where we are going. Read more
You could almost hear the hearts pounding inside the nervous lean bodies of the six swimmers preparing themselves on the starting blocks for the finals of the 200-yard breastroke. After the starter had blown the whistle signaling for the start, it was that quiet. Most of the eyes of the 2500 spectators inside the Payne Whitney Gymnasium at Yale University on this evening just before 9 pm in the Spring of 1946 were focused on the odds on favorite, Jimmy Counsilman, the fastest qualifier in lane 3 from Ohio State. Most thought that it was Counsilman who had the best shot of breaking Joe Verdeur’s world record of 2:21.0. But even with the meet in the bag for Ohio State, there was so much tension; the spectators, perched in the highest seats five stories directly above, perspiring from the humidity, looking down on a swimming pool that appeared to be no larger than a small tank to a circus diver, could feel it. Read more
“Hey,” I say. What’s going down. Big congratulations to Anthony Ervin and Nicolas Messer on the new Race Club record. As a team effort the three of us landed a grouper that tipped the scales at over 50 pounds, the largest fish in Race Club history. How it happened.
The three of us set out on The Race Club clipper looking for good times and fish, heading towards the Bahamas. We swam tirelessly throughout the day. Then, in the early afternoon we found a reef system teeming with life. We anchored and swam out scouting the perimeter. I located a decent sized grouper and shot it, splintering it’s tail. It swam for a ledge and made it. I shot it again through a hole in the ledge. The grouper was too large to pull out through the hole so I called for help and Anthony speared the fish again from under the ledge and we got the fish out and to the boat. I dove down to take a deeper look into this ledge. I tell you now before God that I saw a mighty fin. Not knowing the size of the beast I shot and made contact. My pole spear shook violently, thrashing back and forth as a combination of sand from the bottom and blood filled the waters around me. “Holy Indian!” I surfaced. Read more
For the second time in two years, the Race Club was represented at the Master’s National Championships. Last year, we were at the Spring Nationals in Indianapolis and this summer, at Mission Viejo, for the long course Championships. Of course, last year, with the Olympics, we had a group of the world’s fastest sprinters training with us and so the Race Club made a pretty big splash (they were still talking about it in Mission).This summer, Gary Jr and I represented the Race Club, and Gary did most of the splashing (with a world record in the 50 m fly). Like everyone else at the meet, we both had a blast!
First of all, kudos to Mark Moore, the coach of the Nadadores Master’s program and the meet organizer and host! It seemed the meet could not have been run any better. The meet volunteers to all the services provided and the great reception dinner were superb! Even Mark’s surfer-dude son and beautiful daughter devoted their entire weekend to helping their dad (good training, dad!). As expected, the southern California weather cooperated beautifully. Read more
Last week I swam in my first competition since 1997 at the World Master’s Games in Edmonton, Alberta. I must tell you that the entire experience was incredibly fun, but the competition was definitely a rude awakening. Most of us have heard about the concept of being in “race shape.” Well, that was clearly where I was not.
Each year it gets a little bit harder to fool your body into believing it can still race, and this nearly 54 year old body was not about to be fooled. Having worked out only three times per week for the past year and a half, I certainly was in no position to have delusions of grandeur. Nonetheless, almost as if someone upstairs is teasing me a bit, every so often, I actually feel pretty good in practice; good enough to think that I might still be able to get up and race. Racing has a way of quickly bringing one back to reality. Read more