Aqua Notes

Clean Athletes Unite!

Leave a comment

Who’s head grows four helmet sizes bigger in their mid thirties? Barry Bonds, that’s who:
Please read this.

If the news that Barry Bonds has been using steroids comes as a surprise to you, welcome back from the coma you’ve been in. Here is a list of how much Barry Bonds made over the years: Read more

Winter Olympic Wrap Up

Leave a comment

I am disappointed but more than disappointment, I feel embarrassed.

Let’s start with the obvious target, the rebel skier. Bode can blow. How can you not hate this guy right now? His attitude and actions go against the Olympic spirit. There isn’t any place for this whole antihero thing he’s attempted to spin at the Olympic Games. He has single handedly tarnished the image and spirit of the Olympics.

If I want despondent, “Who cares?” attitude I can watch MTV. I got enough of this “whatever” crap when I was in high school. I tune into the Olympics because it is supposed to be a refreshing change, an up lifting and inspiring experience. When and how did it become cool to strive for below mediocrity? I hate the substandard attitude that this jerk seems to be consumed with. If it’s what you want you can join Bode at the video arcade where he will be hanging out for the rest of his life. Read more

Aqua Notes with Hook Ups

Leave a comment


There has been a lot of interest in the boxing that I have done as dry land activity.

I don’t think that you need to incorporate full contact boxing to reap the benefits. Hooks with a partner using focus mits make you work the trunk rotation that will help freestyle swimming. Incorporate some of those “hold your breath for 30 seconds” hypoxic work that we were discussing in the message board area while doing hooks or uppercuts sets.

It is also an incredible workout if you can find a sparring partner to go through a few 3 minute rounds.

If you are just starting out it is less important to hit hard. You can sprain your wrist. As you practice it more and build strength in your wrists you can start hitting the mits harder. Read more

Aye Aye, Captain!

Leave a comment

The Throw Up Challenge:

Thanks to all who have submitted their favorite workout with projectile results. Pool managers across the country curse me, and chlorine sales are up. We are giving a free Race Club T-shirt to the author of the best set and are closing the contest when the next Aqua Notes newsletter goes out (in about a week) so get your set in now.

Click here to join the message board.

So far there have been no reported fatalities, so that is good. Let’s keep it that way. Read more

The Throw Up Challenge

Leave a comment

I can go on about being naturally inclined towards sprinting by having fast twitch muscle fiber or distance with slow twitch, but if your heart isn’t in the event you’re training for you aren’t going to swim fast.

Now to address some aerobic training alternatives.

Aerobic work: keeping an elevated heart rate over a period of time. Take the heart rate throughout the long “garbage yardage” set. Find another exercise that 1) you enjoy 2) achieves a higher heart rate. Swim afterwards with quality sets and stroke technique drills.

Put a stationary bike on deck. Pedal trying to maintain a difficult pace (all stationary bikes measure output somehow). Aerobic work is for your heart and lungs, not your stroke technique. So focus on your heart and lungs. You want a higher heart rate? Hold your breath for 30 seconds every other minute on the bike. Pedal for 20 to 45 minutes doing this. Read more

Now Read This!

1 Comment

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

Straight from a Sprinter’s Mouth

Leave a comment

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

Exclusive Age Group Swimming

1 Comment

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

The Season of Giving

Leave a comment

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