Aaro Tahtivuori

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The Race Club: What did you think of Coach Gary Hall Sr.?


Karim Tahtivuori (Aaro’s dad):  Great coach! We truly appreciated Coach Gary for his very professional approach, where he explained his coaching philosophy with respect to preferred swimming and drill techniques in simple and logical scientific terms.  The coaching was consistent and logical across the board, which enables the swimmers to apply the same principles in everything they do in the water. Very impressive.  Last but not least, he showed great passion when speaking to the swimmers as well as good sense of humor, which lets swimmers relate to him easier.

TRC: What did you think of TRC Coaches and Staff?

KT: Very good coaching and other support. The yoga lessons were great, making swimmers understand that body awareness, balance and flexibility are key to swimming faster.  Also the interns did a good job of supporting the swimmers be it then running for a spare snorkel, yoga mats or other equipment.

TRC: Were your expectations of the camp fulfilled?  In what ways did TRC fulfill or not fulfill these expectations?

KT: Definitely. We had quite high expectations, so not easy to exceed them, but truth be told, we started talking next year on the way back to cold Finland.


TRC: Was TRC staff helpful in arrangements and providing all necessary information for your swim camp?  Going to the camp, did you feel fully prepared?  If not, how could we have helped you with your preparation.

KT: Very helpful. When making the arrangements, what impressed us the most was Amy’s unbelievable response times. Whenever we asked for something, she always responded on a same-day basis. Really felt good about the process.

TRC: Did you take advantage of any private sessions or video analysis?  If so, do you have any comments?

KT: Yes. Video analysis still pending, but the private lessons were spot on, giving our swimmer just the right amount of things to work on without flooding with too much new things.

TRC: Do you have any additional comments?

KT: Loved it and confident this will prove to be money well spent if ever. Committed to coming back and showing it was all worth it and that the camp helped Aaro reach a new level in his development as a swimmer.

Aaro, age 15 from Helsinki, Finland

Zahra Gaskin

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The Race Club: What did you think of Coach Gary Hall Sr.?

Asha Gaskin (Zahra’s mom): Very patient, inspiring and a fantastic teacher. Zahra commented daily on how kind he is and he was certainly able to connect with her and provide instruction at every session.

TRC: What did you think of TRC Coaches and Staff?

AG: All extraordinarily friendly, helpful and able to share their knowledge effectively with the children participating, while keeping all sessions fun and enjoyable

TRC: What did you think of Islamorada?

AG: A lovely location for the camp and for a holiday in general. All members of our family thoroughly enjoyed the Keys and we plan to return again for this camp and also for vacations in general!

TRC: Were your expectations of the camp fulfilled?  In what ways did TRC fulfill or not fulfill these expectations?

AG: Yes! We were very pleased with the attention paid to Zahra and the fact that there was small enough numbers to facilitate individual attention so that she was able to learn and reproduce the stroke corrections recommended. Since returning home she constantly uses the techniques taught and we can see that a positive impact has occurred.

Zahra Gaskin, Age 9 from Barbados

Thomas Akdeniz

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The Race Club: What did you think of Coach Gary Hall Sr.?

swimmerSinan Akdeniz (Thomas’s dad): What’s left to say really, a world class coach and a really nice man.  I think that the real key was how inspirational and personalized the coaching was.

TRC: What did you think of TRC Coaches and Staff?

SA: Great.  Very happy with the coach to swimmer ratio, all of the coaches were well informed, and perhaps most importantly consistent.

TRC: What did you think of the swim sessions?

SA: Great.  Very flexible and personalized, as the least experienced swimmer in the camp Thomas never felt overwhelmed or intimidated.  I really struggle to imagine a more productive swim camp.

TRC: What was your favorite and least favorite part of the camp?

SA: My favorite part was Gary taking the time to introduce new swimmers by name as they joined the camp.  Didn’t really have a least favorite part.

TRC: Did you take advantage of any private sessions or video analysis?  If so, do you have any comments?

SA: Yes!  I think that the most important thing that we learnt from this is that the coaches are so consistent in their approach to coaching that they were interchangeable.

[Thomas, 17 from Ontario, Canada]

Elizabeth Moore

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Hi Amy,

I just wanted to pass along to your dad a heartfelt THANK YOU!!  I thoroughly enjoyed both of my lessons this past Sunday and today. His depth of knowledge regarding the technical aspects of swimming is tremendous and it was such a pleasure getting to listen to him.  I am looking forward to working on the technique tweaks that he did for each of my strokes and turns and incorporating the dryland stretching routine into my training.  Thanks again for coordinating all of this for me and my husband.  It was an invaluable experience. Please tell him I appreciate him coaching both me as a swimmer and teaching me skills in which will enable me to be a better to coach to my swimmers. 

All the Best,

Elizabeth Moore

[age 38, had sessions at Race Club CA]

Matthew Tamkee

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Swimmer Review from June 2013:

TRC: What did you think of Coach Gary Hall Sr.?

Lee Tamkee (Matthew’s dad): Matt always loves working with Gary.  He’s a sponge for information and Gary’s knowledge is second to none. This session was different in that being Matt’s second time around Gary suggested a change of his stroke to a shoulder driven freestyle.  Matt always feels that he is learning but sometimes it may be too much and Matt needs to refine what he has learned.

swimmerTRC: What did you think of The Race Club staff?

LT: This was the first time Matt worked with both Amy and Richard and he found it very enjoyable. He said to me after his last session with Amy  – “that she was putting it all together for him”.

TRC: Did you get everything you wanted out of the swim sessions?  Would you have preferred to spend more time concentrating on a certain area?  If so, how could we improve the training regime?

LT: Sometimes there maybe too much information and learning vs refining what was taught earlier.

Review from February 2013:

swimmingAfter three visits to the Race Club, 17 pounds lost  and finally figuring out the “egg beater” kick, I am pleased to say that the pieces are starting to come together for Matthew. This weekend was his best swim meet ever in terms of performance and confidence.   He seems to have found the right balance of weight and fitness and he is now much more comfortable  and confident in all his stokes.  He achieved two [Canadian] age group National times ( in the 50 and 100 BR) this weekend and is close to 3 more, he has never achieved one standard before.  Of course he has one of those early birthdays so he has to meet new standards by July, as he ages up at the end of March.

Off every start he was in the lead or near the front and on every turn he came out further ahead than he went in.  All the privates have helped immensely (no more superman streamlines).  In his 100 Fly he looked very strong and came into the race  with a PB of 1:09 and he did 1:06 and 1:04 and he was not pushed.  In his 200 IM he came in with a PB of 2.27 and a best time this year of 2.32, he won in 2:19 and was not pushed.  His breast stroke has improved tremendously with the egg beater kick and the stretching exercises.  In his 100 Breast he swam 1:11:61 which was 12 seconds faster than last year.

It has been a challenge for him to incorporate all the technique and the knowledge learned at the Race Club as you rebuilt most of his strokes, but it’s starting to come together for him.  He his very confident in switching freestyle techniques for different races and Lana and I were chuckling as he won the 100 Free doing a hybrid stroke, when we were expecting a shoulder driven stroke,  he said he wanted to save energy for his next race.  He then did a shoulder driven free style in the relay later than night.

Jacqueline Snow

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TRC: What did you think of Coach Gary Hall Sr.?

camperMike Snow (Jacqui’s dad): Outstanding; wealth of knowledge/Kept swimmers motivated/I liked very much that he has high expectations for the swimmers.

TRC: What did you think of the Swim Sessions:

MS: Very organized/focused/I liked that the camp covered everything we hoped it would; starts, turns, technique, etc.  Much more emphasis on technique than any camp our daughter has attended.

TRC: Were your expectations of the camp fulfilled?

MS: All expectations were fulfilled.  Our daughter learned many lessons that after swimming for over ten years she had not heard before.

TRC: What was your favorite and least favorite part of the camp?

MS: Jacqueline enjoyed the one on one time/great coach to swimmer ratio.

TRC: Did you take advantage of any private sessions or video analysis?

MS: Private lesson was well worth it; she is much more confident in her abilities.

John Beattie

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TRC: What did you think of Coach Gary Hall Sr.?


John and his brother Jeff Beattie

John Beattie:Awesome! I don’t know anybody more knowledgeable about swimming and we’re lucky that he enjoys sharing that knowledge with us.

TRC: Were your expectations of the camp fulfilled? In what ways did TRC fulfill or not fulfill these expectations?

JB: Yes. I came the first time looking to re-learn how to swim freestyle especially since things had changed in the 25 years that I was out of the sport and the race club was the perfect place to come. I dropped half a second in my 50 Free time. This trip was more about refinement and having fun and I got both.

TRC: What was your favorite and least favorite part of the camp?

JB: Gary himself was the best part of the camp. There was no “least favorite” part.

TRC: Did you take advantage of any private sessions or video analysis?

JB: Last trip I did the video with Richard. It was excellent, especially Gary’s voice-over commentary.

Ali Aly Swim Camp Review

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Amazing!  I love how Gary presents the material, compares its effectiveness to what your child has been doing and explains what makes his techniques better, gives examples of significant swimmers using the techniques and in what setting.  I love how he involves himself in every child’s training, regardless of level and experience.  He does not talk down to the kids, demean, yell, or insult but rather provides the constructive criticism that is so vital to improvement and the desire to improve.  He includes the parents, which is unusual but helps us to support our young swimmers.  His private lessons were outstanding; very targeted.  He “sees everything”.  I also applaud his flexibility to allow those who needed distance practice additional time in the pool.

The family coaches (Amy, Maria, Richard, Gary Sr.) clearly live and breathe the methods and approaches and work almost indiscernibly as a single unit.  I was very pleased to see that the intern coaches were so very well trained and had a good eye to the nuances of each swimmer, and were just as focused whether the swimmer was very young or more experienced.  Everyone was very kind and upbeat.

My son can’t wait to get back there.  The training made a very big positive change in his attitude about swimming and taking his training more seriously.  He says he feels much more confident.  We’ve already seen improvements.  He is not yet consistent, but we feel it is just a matter of time and adapting to the changes.

-Dorothy Aly

swim camp review

Kommy Farahani

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Good Evening Amy:

What a wonderful and fulfilling experience it turned out to be. I was touched beyond description by Gary Hall’s grace and humanity. His most expert advice and gift of teaching will be everlasting. I hope to maintain and strengthen my association with The Race Club in the future. My gratitude also goes to you for your diligent organizational efforts. We are thoroughly grateful for everything.  I will stay in touch.

Kommy F
(Masters swimmer from Ontario, Cananda)

Aaron and Jordan

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Hi Amy,

Aaron got back from Israel (Maccabiah Games) August 1. It was truly a life changing experience for him and my daughter Lauren. He had to adjust his taper a bit, because with the Israel Connect program the first week out there, they were touring all day long with only about a 2,000 meter workout in the morning. As you probably know, it was less than an ideal taper. But Aaron had all PBs. He was able to swim on relays with Garret Weber-Gayle. He lead off the 400 medley and went second on the 400 free with a 52.00. He also got a 2012 Olympic Trial cut time in finals of the 100 back with a 57.46. He was top 8 in all his individual events. His best individually was 4th in the 200 back. Read more