Coach Mike Leonard – Read Q&A in Swimming World Magazine

Mike-Leonard

Coach Mike Leonard is a profound figure in the YMCA swimming community. A 1988 graduate of the University of Cincinnati, Leonard has coached a multitude of national champions, national record holders and Olympic Trial qualifiers. His laundry list of accomplishments include multiple YMCA Coach of the Year awards and a spot in the Southwest Cluster YMCA Swimming Hall of Fame.

Since 1986, Leonard has sat as the Director of Competitive Aquatics at Powel Crosley Jr. YMCA in Cincinnati, Ohio. He routinely serves as a  member of the YMCA National Advisory Committee and the assistant meet director for the YMCA National Masters Meet.

Sample Q&A with Coach Mike Leonard

SW: What’s been the key to your growing the Powel Crosley Y (PCY) team?

ML: Time and tradition, relationship building and a new pool to attract talented athletes. I believe it is unique to coach the same team for 34 years. At Powel Crosley, we have always swum with tremendous enthusiasm and passion. Relationships are the key, and we thrive on building great relationships within the program, the YMCA and our community. With our new pool, opportunities arose to accept an unlimited amount of swimmers. Additionally, we have collaborated with two other westside Y teams to offer solid satellite practice groups.

SW: How would you define your coaching style?

ML: I would like to think that I have evolved and continue to develop my leadership style within the present-day culture and times. In my younger years, I was more of a taskmaster. Now I pick and choose my battles. I try to maintain core values without sacrificing the integrity of the program. The relationships are really important. The athletes need to know that you believe in them and that you care about them as people.

SW: From a training style, is PCY more volume, race pace, USRPT or somewhere in between?

ML: We are a middle distance-oriented training program with a strong race pace component. We concentrate on middle distance free and IM while doing a good amount of speed work. We also value our commitment to proper swimming technique.

SW: How has social media affected your role as a coach?

ML: I have mixed feelings about social media. While I understand that it is vital for communication in today’s world, it can also have a negative side effect on athlete relationships and team dynamics. It can be hurtful for building personal relationships, which is the strongest component of our sport. Our coaches are constantly reminding swimmers about the virtues of respect, leadership and being a responsible teammate. We talk about the destructive nature of social media and how it adversely affects the lives of others as well as the person doing the posting.

SW: In 1995, you were part of a group to create a national training series for YMCA coaches. What did you learn from that exercise?

ML: I learned new administrative ways and practical systems from other coaches. It also allowed me to share the Powel Crosley way and assist other programs, especially smaller and growing Y programs. Collaboration, cooperation and contribution are extremely beneficial.

Read more about Mike Leonard and Swimming World’s Q&A with the renowned coach by downloading the latest edition of Swimming World Magazine form the Swimming World Vault.


April 2020 cover

Photo Courtesy: PHOTO BY SIMONE RIVI, PROVIDED BY JAKED

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Swimming World Magazine April 2020 Issue

FEATURES

014    2019 TOP 12 WORLD MASTERS SWIMMERS OF THE YEAR
by Dan D’Addona, David Rieder and Taylor Brien

022    FOR LOVE OF THE SPORT
by Andy Ross
There is no denying that Federica Pellegrini is the greatest 200 freestyler in history. What makes her illustrious career so special is her approach to swimming—she’s simply doing what she loves.

024    TAKEOFF TO TOKYO: SWIMMING’S FIRST FEMALE SUPERSTAR
by John Lohn
When the Olympic Games return to Tokyo this summer, one of the highlights will be a swimming schedule that is identical for men and women, the 1500 freestyle added for the ladies and the 800 freestyle added to the program for the gentlemen. But the first four editions of swimming at the Modern Olympics did not feature equality, with women not involved until 1912—at which point Fanny Durack made a major splash.

026    ISHOF: WHEN JAPAN RULED THE POOL
by Bruce Wigo
Japan’s men dominated world swimming in the 1930s, a period known as the Golden Age of Japanese Swimming.

030    THE OLYMPIC EFFECT
by Michael Randazzo
The upcoming Tokyo Olympics has shuffled the deck for the 2020 NCAA women’s water polo season.

032    MENTAL PREP: BEFORE THE BEEP WITH CLAIRE DONAHUE
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COACHING

008    LESSONS WITH THE LEGENDS: GLEN HUMMER
by Michael J. Stott

012    SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: THE VALUE OF HAND FORCE ANALYSIS: PART I—BUTTERFLY
by Rod Havriluk
While information provided by underwater video alone can be useful, it doesn’t provide a quantitative measure of specific movements. A force analysis gives swimmers and coaches accurate and precise information so they can be absolutely certain of the impact of specific technique elements on performance.

 034    ALL HAIL TO ALMA MATER!
by Michael J. Stott
Alumni support positively affects college swimming and diving teams across the country.

036    SPECIAL SETS: TRANSITION TRAINING
by Michael J. Stott
Frank Busch shares how he trained his NCAA national champion University of Arizona athletes in 2008 between NCAAs to the U.S. Olympic Trials.

042    Q&A WITH COACH MIKE LEONARD
by Michael J. Stott

043    HOW THEY TRAIN LUKE PAXTON AND OWEN TAYLOR
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

011    DRYSIDE TRAINING: STROKE STRENGTH SERIES—BREASTSTROKE
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

039    GOLDMINDS: BELIEVING IN YOURSELF
by Wayne Goldsmith
Here is a team-based approach to helping swimmers develop the quality of confidence.

045    UP & COMERS: KATIE CROM
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS

006    A VOICE FOR THE SPORT
007    BEYOND THE YARDS
038    MOMS AT MEETS
046    GUTTERTALK
047    PARTING SHOT