The Morning Swim Show, June 8, 2012: T2 Aquatics Growing With Paul Yetter at the Helm

PHOENIX, Arizona, June 8. SINCE joining T2 Aquatics in 2010, Paul Yetter has seen his team's stock rise, and he talks about his goals for the team and some of its star swimmers on today's edition of The Morning Swim Show.

Yetter talks about welcoming Elizabeth Pelton and Katie Hoff to the team recently and what it's like working with his former charges again. He also discusses the other swimmers on the team attending Olympic Trials and what his expectations are for the team as it continues to gain exposure around the country. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.

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Morning Swim Show Transcripts
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Jeff Commings: It's Friday, June 8th, 2012, and you're watching the Morning Swim Show. I'm your host Jeff Commings. Today in the FINIS Monitor we'll be joined by Paul Yetter, the head coach at T2 Aquatics in Naples, Florida. He's got a great team of swimmers assembled there, some of which are favorites to be named to the U.S. Olympic team in a few weeks. Paul joins us right now from Naples. Hey, Paul, how you doin' today?

Paul Yetter: I'm doing well, Jeff. How are you?

Jeff Commings: Doing all right, thanks. So, you haven't been on the show since you joined T2 Aquatics down there in Naples. What's the last few years been like for you?

Paul Yetter: It's been really good. You know, coming down here to Naples the weather is great, the people are great. I've got a — we've got a growing team and a good group leading into trials.

Jeff Commings: And you came there from your first in North Baltimore Aquatic Club and then you're assistant coach at Auburn. What's it been like to move from being an assistant coach to a head coach of a swim team?

Paul Yetter: Well, it hasn't really been much of a change for me in my sense of doing my daily job. You know, at North Baltimore I had quite a bit of autonomy even though I wasn't he head coach of the team. You know, I could, you know, run the training group that I was running and do what I needed to do. And at Auburn being an assistant, you know, I certainly was able to have some autonomy there as well. And, you know, here it's kind of the same way and, in particular, when you take the — when you understand that I don't have a lot of administrative things in terms of billing, the money is managed by my partner Kevin Erndl. He's our team director and he handles a lot of the stuff that I think a lot of coaches — a lot of head coaches have to handle so I can focus on training and coaching.

Jeff Commings: That's really cool. So, a couple of swimmers that you coached at North Baltimore and now they're in Naples with you, Elizabeth Pelton and Katie Hoff. What has it been like riding a bike in terms of coaching with them since, you know, you weren't with them for a couple of years?

Paul Yetter: Yeah, yeah, it has been. It's been great. It's — riding a bike is a terrific way to say it because it's been — we've just picked up where we've left off and I know them pretty well and they know me pretty well and I think it's been an awesome experience for all of us.

Jeff Commings: In terms of kind of the training with them, has the way you train them chanced since you were in North Baltimore?

Paul Yetter: Yeah, I say it probably has a little bit, you know, just in terms of natural progression of an athlete. You know, it's been almost four years since I've had the opportunity to work with Katie and almost three with Elizabeth. So it's been — there's been some things that are a little bit different that we've kind of put into the training and some things we've taken away, but I would say it's probably more the same than different. There's a lot of things that I think each of those athletes are good at doing and benefit from when you put it into their training, and we've made sure this maximizes those types of things.

Jeff Commings: And also in the water there you've got 34 year old Erika Erndl. What it's like to have her in the group?

Paul Yetter: She's 34?

Jeff Commings: She is 34.

Paul Yetter: I didn't know that. Yeah, she's — coz, you know, she's — she doesn't seem like she's 34. She does things in practice each month that are better than she's done prior to that day. She's — she moves forward like a teenager in training, which is really awesome. It's kind of funny, you know, coz she does have a little bit more experience that other athletes but she's fun to work with and she's focused and driven and does great things in practice every day.

Jeff Commings: So pretty much she kind of blends in with all the teenagers in the pool.

Paul Yetter: Yeah, yeah, I think she pretty much does.

Jeff Commings: Apparently so, since you you didn't know how old she was. What other swimmers at T2 should we be looking out for this summer?

Paul Yetter: Well, we've got a group of seven athletes going to Trials, so aside from EriKa, Elizabeth, and Katie, we have National A Finalist Anne-Marie Botek from last summer, National B Finalist Karie Haglund. We have Bridget Halligan who's a 50 freestyler. She made her cut in Indy, went 26 flat in a 50. And we've got a 14 year old named Elise Haan, who's in my view an up-and-coming swimmer. She's been 2:17 and 1:03.4 in the backstrokes and, you know, has some good other strokes and ability, so I'm excited about what she can do over the next couple years.

Jeff Commings: Now, with the success you had previously with Elizabeth and Katie, I would say you're the kind of coach that, if you were going to go anywhere and you would have had your pick up anywhere in the country to go in terms of, you know, wanting to club — coach a club team, why did you pick Naples?

Paul Yetter: Well, you know, Naples offers a terrific environment in a lot of ways, you know. The weather certainly is very good so, you know, if you want to build a post graduate team, having great weather is kind of an advantage. Another advantage I feel like we have in the post graduate world is we have a lot of connections in town here. We've been able to help some of our professional post graduate athletes with job interviews and that sort of thing with the connections we have here in town. They — a lot of people that live and work in Naples are excited about the fact that they might have, you know, athletes that are swimmers that are high level athletes but, you know, that can work for them. You know, swimmers have proven that not only can they graduate from college, but they can handle many things while they're getting their degree. And so the business owners and the people that we have in town here are really excited about the fact that, you know, we have people that they can actually use for the benefit of their business and so we get the best of both worlds in that sense. Additionally, Naples is the place where there's — there are a lot of kids. There's not a ton of teams in our county. So, you know, we've got a growing team. Our team has gone from, you know, 105 kids to — and, really, 105 kids that, you know, only half of them really were competitive, meaning, they compete every month, to over now we're over 175 and growing rapidly. And, you know, so it's got all those different advantages to it.

Jeff Commings: When you came to Naples in 2010, what were your goals for the team?

Paul Yetter: Well, my goals for the team were to build it into, you know, a very well-established club team. Certainly, we felt like with the way U.S.A. Swimming was going, having a postgraduate presence was, you know, something that we could do. Having Erika Erndl here already sort of, you know, gave us the kind of the framework to work with that. We also wanted to become a great age group team and we didn't, you know, have — you know, we had some age groupers here but, as I said, we didn't have a lot of people that were competing on a very high level. We didn't, you know, have anybody that was on the top ten list and that sort of thing, but you know, we felt like we could do it and I kind of like that challenge of, you know, in a sense, starting from scratch and seeing if, you know, if we — me and the other coaches here and the other administrators here could actually build something that hasn't been established.

Jeff Commings: Interesting. Well, a new team isn't the only big change for you. You and your wife have welcomed a daughter to the world last year. How's that been going for you?

Paul Yetter: It's been going great. It's fun. Rayna is 14 ? months old and every day she's learning new things and it's pretty wild to see. I was just away at a meet in Gainesville for a few days and I come back and she's learning new words and she can just — you can see how she has grown up in three days.

Jeff Commings: Pretty amazing. Yeah, I want to ask you about that meet in Gainesville. Knowing that we're three weeks out from Trials, how did your team do?

Paul Yetter: We did well, really well. It's — it was probably the most low-key meet I have maybe ever been to. There were, I think, 180 swimmers. The first morning session lasted an hour and 11 minutes and I think that was the longest session of the meet. I know the final session started at 5 last night and I was done at 5:40.

Jeff Commings: Wow, that is definitely a short meet.

Paul Yetter: Yeah, but we did well. I mean, we, you know, we had a lot of — we had a few swimmers swim some of their main events, but for the most part we tried to experiment with the races and do things a little bit differently and swim some off events basically, I just wanted them to get on the starting blocks and check your mark, go, and not just have six weeks in between, but at the same time we are — the amount of events we did and the amount of days we competed for most athletes was significantly less than a normal meet.

Jeff Commings: Well, it sounds like everything is going well there out there in Naples, Paul. Congratulations, not only on getting a couple of your great swimmers back on to your team but all the success that we've been seeing as a team in the past two years.

Paul Yetter: Thanks, Jeff.

Jeff Commings: All right, we'll see you at Omaha.

Paul Yetter: Thanks. Thanks for having me.

Jeff Commings: All right, so that's Paul Yetter joining us from Naples, Florida, and that's gonna do it for today's edition of the Morning Swim Show. I'm Jeff Commings. Thanks for watching.

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