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Gary Hall Sr. and the Race Club staff are here to provide you with strategies to improve your swimming – no matter what your level is. Read blogs featuring coaching tips, new staff members, important upcoming swim camp dates, techniques tailored for specific swim strokes and much more. Learn from the experts by following the Aqua Notes Blog. Swimmers throughout the United States turn to this blog as a resource for new swimming drills, increasing speed and improving overall performance. Sign up to get these detailed guides to building your technique for all 4 strokes.

Mental Toughness: The Mike Burton Story

In our talks on mental training, we often share an inspirational story of one of the many swimmers that we believe are a 10 on the killer instinct scale. One of my favorite stories is of Mike Burton. Many of you have never heard of him, but you should know about him. He was as mentally tough as Michael Phelps, but with a lot less talent.

Vertical Arm Recovery in Butterfly

As coaches, we sometimes find young swimmers that demonstrate this extraordinary and remarkable shoulder flexibility that would enable them to use this butterfly technique. The question is should we be teaching the high vertical arm recovery in fly to them? I think we should.

Goosebumps Moments in Sports

I have had many goosebumps moments in my life. Three of the most notable were watching my son, Gary Jr, win an Olympic gold medal in the 50 meter freestyle twice. The other was carrying the Olympic flag in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games of Montreal Canada in 1976. That was an indescribable feeling of honor and the highest one I have ever received.

What Octane Rating do you have on your Freestyle Recovery?

At The Race Club we use the analogy of Octane ratings in gasoline to describe the different arm recovery motions in freestyle. Octane is a low molecular weight hydrocarbon that is an additive to gasoline, and which helps the engine run more efficiently, particularly at high compression. Metaphorically, the words High Octane have become synonymous with powerful or dynamic in the English language.

What is your Baseline Freestyle Speed?

At The Race Club, we look at the freestyle kicking speed as the baseline speed for your freestyle. In other words, your all-out kicking speed for 50 yards is your baseline freestyle speed for 50 yards, before you add in your pulling and coupling motions. It is true that the shorter the race, the greater the contribution the kick makes to the overall freestyle speed. Therefore, the more important the kick becomes. However, the kick is meaningful for most fast swimmers, no matter what the distance and particularly when you want to put your freestyle into high gear at the finish.

Understanding the 4 Basic Sciences of Fast Swimming

Swimming fast is primarily the result of the effective application of four broad basic sciences, Physics, Physiology, Kinesiology and (lumped together) Neural, Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences. All four of these basic sciences interact and, to some degree, overlap and are extremely important in helping an athlete swim fast.

Physiology for Swimmers, Coaches and Parents – Part III Muscle Composition

The paradox of building too much muscle mass is that it can begin to affect our shape (morphology), making us bigger, which increases frontal drag forces.  In most sports, getting bigger and stronger will make us better. In swimming, that is not always the case.

Improving your Swimming Race Starts off the Blocks

The Three Techniques of a Clean Entry for Swimming Race Starts: When a swimmer’s hands first strike the water on the swimming start, the speed of the swimmer will never reach anywhere near that level again in the race. Whether a swimmer simply falls off the block or has a huge vertical leaping ability, like Caeleb Dressel or Brad Tandy, the vertical speed at hand entry will be similarly near 13-14 mph, thanks to gravity. Both swimmers will also reach the water at exactly the same time. The difference is that Caeleb and Brad will reach the water over 4 meters from the wall.

Butterfly Stroke: Why I like Rikako Ikee’s Butterfly Technique

Rikako Ikee has already proven to be one of the fastest women butterfly swimming competitors in the world. Watching Rikako  swimming butterfly, you will see that she has very high recovering arms on both sides; a very vertical arm recovery compared to most. Her hands are well above her elbows on her recovery. Lazlo Cseh of Hungary has a similar recovery among the men’s butterfly swimming.

Peak Performance Sports Psychology Mental Toughness: Are you Anchoring to improve your Swimming Performances?

At The Race Club camps, our fifth and final point of peak performance mental toughness training is called anchoring. Anchoring is sports psychology that the swimmer does or says or thinks either standing behind or on the starting block, just seconds before the start of an important race.

Swimming Fast: Is it your Mission?

Goal setting is a vital part of the process of success. After all, you cannot get somewhere if you don’t know where you are going. For the most successful swimmers, those that compete in the Olympic Games or World Championships, there is more to their success than just goal setting. They are each on a mission.

Freestyle Swimming Strokes: The Magic of 90

Freestyle swimming strokes for freestyle and backstroke involve the number 90.I believe that everything in the world involves mathematics. The way objects are structured, animate or inanimate, down to their atomic configurations, and the ability and way in which they move, specifically in the stroke rate of swimming, all involve mathematics.