PHOENIX, Arizona, August 16. KIM Brackin is back from the London Olympics after coaching Kirsty Coventry to her third appearance, ready to start a new chapter in her life that still keeps her involved in swimming, and she talks about it on today's edition of The Morning Swim Show.
Brackin discusses the specifics behind her new business venture and how it will help swimmers learn more about their technique. She also discusses how she can act as a pre-college mentor to high school seniors and how triathletes and Masters swimmers can benefit from her expertise. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Jeff Commings: This is the Morning Swim Show for Thursday, August 16th, 2012. I am your host Jeff Commings. Today's guest is Kim Brackin, who is back from the London Olympics after coaching Kirsty Coventry to her third appearance. She has got no time for a break because she is ready to start a brand new venture and Kim joins us in the FINIS Monitor from Austin, Texas to talk about it. Hey Kim, good to see you again, how are you doing?
Kim Brackin: Thanks Jeff. I am doing great. It is good to see you too.
Jeff: So you are back from London. You are Kirsty Coventry's personal coach. Your third time working with her at the Olympics. No medals this time but how was the experience in London for you?
Kim: Well, it was a great experience. I mean, Jeff, you can never minimize the opportunity having to coach or compete at the Olympic Games, it's the pinnacle of our sport. You go there to push yourself to your limit, to learn from other coaches and just watching people and to see how you respond to successes and failures and I think that we did that and you know learned some stuff about ourselves. So no medals, but I think more importantly we learned that our spirits are strong and resilient. And we certainly both had some challenges over the last six months and it was really cool to work it out with Kirsty to have each other as a support network and I think have some good success at the Olympic Games. And just you know in a personal note for me, it was a really good time to reflect on my career and the impact I have been able to have on world-class athletes over the last 19 years and reconnect with coaches who I worked side-by-side with over the years, and then just see some coaches that I have just been able to coach with throughout the world, whether it is an Olympic games or world championships. So it was a great kind of way for me to close that — at least for now the competitive coaching career that I have had.
Jeff: Yeah and imagine it is like a big reunion of sorts because–
Jeff: Your reach in swimming has gone a long way.
Kim: Well thanks, yeah. It has been fun.
Jeff: So as you said if you are kind of getting ready to start a new chapter. Tell us about this new business venture, the Brackin Elite Swim Training?
Kim: Yeah, I like to call it BEST, a nice acronym there, but I love coaching and I think I am pretty good at it and I wanted to stay in the sport, but as a collegiate coach you wear so many different hats and if you see stay in one area too long, probably some of those other areas are going to suffer, and for me technique was an area that I would have loved to concentrate on more often. But again, juggling all those hats it didn't feel like I could give it the time and energy that Ireally would have liked to so Brackin Elite Swim Training is a way for me to focus just on techniques. So I will be coaching athletes in Endless pool and using DartFish analysis to assess their technique and I think now having the time and the technology, I don't think you can find really a better environment to work on becoming a more efficient and effective swimmer. You know it is interesting, I saw an article where Shane Gould who is a legend in Australian swimming where she talked about how they are assessing what they believe to be the less than stellar performance of the Australian swimming team and she mentioned that she felt like swimming was over scientized and that there should be more of a — working more towards quality of stroke versus you know just training with it or the science of it so much. So what I would like to do is kind of blend a little bit of science and art and help people swim more efficiently and like I have always had really great mentors in terms of technique so Richard Quick, Bill Boomer in the mid 90's and then working at Auburn with David Marsh and Dave Durden. You know, we always felt like technique and sometimes out of the box technique was a foundation for efficient and fast swimming, so I am really excited to come and get back in just that little niche.
Jeff: It sounds like you are at least maybe these days an advocate of the quality over quantity philosophy in swimming.
Kim: Yeah, absolutely and I think I have never been a big quantity, quantity, quantity person, but you know there absolutely is a place for training in you know training up and down the pool and taxing different energy systems and I can't, I don't intend to train athletes like that. I don't tend to be a primary coach to anyone, but I do want to look at the quality of swimming and I think that you know this is the perfect opportunity to do that.
Jeff: So tell me what will you actually be doing as a coach? Will people be coming to you for some of your technique advice or will you be going out to different clubs around the country?
Kim: I would certainly you know entertain the idea of doing clinics. I have done that before and really enjoyed doing them, but BEST is about being here in Austin. So I have an Endless pool. I will have an Endless pool on my property and people will come to me. What I modeled after what a golf pro does, so specific skill acquisition and then reinforcing consistently good habits. So like I said I don't want to take the place of a coach in a club environment but I would love to act as a tutor, or you know just supplementing what that coach is doing. You know, I know as a college coach I didn't have the time to consistently reinforce for 26, 30 different athletes everyday some of the great skills that they could be working on to become more efficient in the water. So they will be coming to me, and I will hope to work in conjunction with their club coach and reinforcing things that you know they think is valuable and they will get in the Endless pool. There are mirrors on the bottom of the pool and kind of in front of the pool and then even for backstrokers above you. There is consistent video, a video feed so we are always recording what is going on. I think it is a great opportunity for different learning styles. So you know there is kind of three learning styles: auditory, visual and tactile and for the visual learner, they are like, they are going to be in heaven because they can see themselves while they are swimming and then stand up at any moment we can hit rewind and they can look at what they were doing and then we can try something different and look at it again. For an auditory or tactile learner, I will be standing right there. It is not like you have to yell down the pool or wait till they get back. They are swimming statically if you don't know what an Endless pool is you are just swimming within a current. Which I can turn up to different speeds so auditory or tactile learner, I mean I can even be hands on so that is an environment that they probably never been in order to learn. I just think as a learning tool it is an environment that is really a parallel right now.
Jeff: You just came off I know just recently coaching Kirsty at the Olympics, but looking ahead I mean do you feel like you are going to ever get that itch again to get back on deck and coach a swim team again?
Kim: You know potentially I would never rule that out. I loved coaching in the college environment. I feel like I have had a lot of good success there. This is going to allow me to stay in Austin right now. We love Austin. It is a great community to be in. It allows me to stay in coaching and I am really excited about being able to communicate my ideas in my timeframe and to a wider spectrum, a wider audience than I have ever had before. And you know I talked a lot about apply to club swimmers, but I really want to be able to use this resource for Masters swimmers and tri-athletes. One of my first clients is going to be Terra Castro who is a professional triathlete. She is competing in Ironman Louisville in less than 2 weeks. Go Terra! And you know she will be coming down after that and as she gets back to training mode, we are going to help perfect her technique so I feel like this business could really grow and you know we will just kind of see where it takes it. One other route I think we could go and in terms of helping the college bound student-athlete and that is what I am really excited about that part is helping kids understand what that transition is like going off to college. You know, I think they need a tool bag on skills and how to make that transition successful. You know two things that pop into my mind are being self-sufficient and knowing how to problem solve and I think I can help besides just working on their technique, just day-to-day if I develop a long term relationship with them helping them with some of those characteristics that successful college student-athlete needs and then helping them network with different coaches. Having coached for as long as I have and then working on the CSCA board I knew coaches in all different divisions and I think I can help them reach out maybe a little bit more than they traditionally would be able to and you would share some of the video that we are taking. You know that is a view that most college graduates don't get to see of athletes they are recruiting so there is a lot of different ways that I think we can you know build the business besides just coaching technique.
Jeff: Well Kim, I think this is going to be a great venture for you. I am sure it is going to be great to see a lot of the swimmer who you will start to be a second coach to you when this starts in mid-September so we will look forward to hearing more from you as this gets off the ground.
Kim: Thanks, I appreciate that and I now have to get people from all over the country, you know not just the athletes here in Austin or in Texas and have people come to a great city and spend some time here maybe before they compete or after they compete at a meet you know a mile down the street so it will be a lot of fun and I appreciate your attention to it. Thanks.
Jeff: And how can people learn more about Brackin Elite Swim Training or BEST?
Kim: Well right now we just have a landing page up at www.brackineliteswimtraining and there is a link to email me and sign up for a newsletter so hopefully mid to late September is the launch date. We are in the process of getting the pool and we are actually building an apartment in our backyard and our garage apartments so that is a place where people actually stay. So there is a lot– there is going to be a lot of good information on that website, but again it is right now it is just a landing page so please come back to it and sign up for that newsletter and then I will work to keep you up-to-date.
Jeff: All right Kim, thanks again for joining us and best of luck with BEST.
Kim: Thank you so much I appreciate it.
Jeff: All right my pleasure. That is Kim Brackin joining us for today's Morning Swim Show talking about her new venture, sounds very exciting for her. I am Jeff Commings. Thanks for watching.
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