John Bell

Leave a comment

The Race Club: What do you think of Coach Gary Hall Sr.?  John Bell

John Bell: Gary has a tremendous amount of knowledge, skill and experience in effectively and efficiently teaching stroke technique. He is quick to see stroke faults and patiently work with his swimmers to correct them.

TRC: What do you think of Islamorada?

JB: Islamorada is the gem of the Florida Keys. I wish I would have scheduled several days just to relax and dive.

TRC: Were your expectations of the camp fulfilled?

JB: I was not only a satisfied customer, but a delighted one. I learned what not to do and took away at least three techniques on all four strokes with drills to practice.

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

John BellJB: My most favorite part of the camp was the individual instruction from Gary and his staff. Everyone made sure that I had some “take home value” which I could drill and improve in the future. My least favorite part was getting beat by all of the teenagers, but I am old enough to be their grandfather.

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

JB: The private lessons and video sessions were outstanding. Gary and his staff have the gift or recognizing stroke faults and then immediately correcting them with you patiently and professionally.

John Bell, 71


Leave a comment


I just want to say how much ___ and I both appreciate the time and effort you put into working with ____.  It is obvious how much you care about giving ____ everything possible to help her become a more successful swimmer and athlete.  The sessions went far beyond both of our expectations for clarity of points made, reasoning behind the approach and pragmatic steps that she can take to improve herself, not just physically and technically, but even mentally.

____’s spirits are high tonight and she reports that she was able to maintain streamlined breakouts throughout the workout.
I am helping ____ select a subset important focus points before going off to [her team] work-outs such as:

Break Out
1) Tight steam line and strong dolphin kicks right-away (strong both up and down motion)

Freestyle, High-Elbow Style:
1) Arm stays in line with shoulder in the pull (does not cross under body during breath!)
2) Focus on shoulder rotation

Breast Stroke

   1) Knees together

   2) Chin Down

   3) Dive/Snap head down

1) 120 degree arm bend in pull
2) Increase shoulder rotation

1) Head snap down and up
2) Chin up – glide over water

That’s only a subset – I will help her cycle through more points as she progresses (and will be here to help her with flexibility/strength exercises for core and for kicking).

I have read up on the visualization (VNT) instructions and loaded the sound tracks – plus the instructions – into her phone.  She is going to leverage that tool as well.  I think “Peak Performance” with Program 7 looks like a good one for her.  “Breathing Skills for Readiness” looks like good fundamentals (zen-like).  “Cool, Calm and Ready” might be good for her to combat fear.  “Mind over Matter” looks like good instruction to avoid negative thoughts as well.

Again, can’t thank you enough for your attention to ____ as a student.  It was such a treat to work with you!

All our best!  And look forward to seeing you again.


(They came to train for 6 private sessions and learned all this and more. The swimmer was 12 years old)


Marshal and Orion Wang

Leave a comment

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

Marshal and OrionChen Wang (Marshal and Orion’s dad): Unparallel. Legendary. Drive and self-driven. Humorous. Big vision and attention to details. Amazing combination of noble spirits and humble attitude.

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

CW: Well orchestrated team. All dedicated and complement each other perfectly.

TRC: What did you think of the swim sessions:

CW: Balanced technical and yardage. Efficient. Diversified swimmers, so observe, learn and share among them.

TRC: What did you think of Islamorada?

CW: Been there 5 times before. But sorry, no down time this time. [This means they signed up for only 5 sessions for Marshal and they ended up doing 13 sessions for Marshal and 7 sessions for Orion]


Orion, second from left. Marshal, on right.

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

CW: Yes. Technical part is quite obvious. Plus, “Life is worth swimming”, the attitude towards the sport.

Marshal, age 11 and Orion, age 8 from New Jersey

Text to Amy from Chen during the camp, on Marshal’s birthday/New Years Day:

“You all made a special day for [Marshal]. He is a little bit shy sometimes but will remember this a long time. Nothing better than listening to your Daddy’s life experience sharing story. This is more attractive than the Seven Mile Bridge, or Key West’s sunset. People back home in NJ would think it’s crazy for not visiting those places, your folks made a swimming pool a magnet to let us forget those must see places. Absolutely admire and inspired by you, Richard, Mary and of course, Gary. We are not only talking about swimming, we are learning an attitude, a methodology to deal with our day to day life. What really touched us is the passion, the dedication and seriousness you folks have demonstrated. It’s our fortune to know you and learn from you. Thanks again and Happy New Year! Chen Wang


Aaro Tahtivuori

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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.