Swimming World December 2021 Presents – Coaching In A Changing Environment (Part 2)

Swimming World December 2021 - World Swimmers of the Year - Coaching In A Changing Environment Part 2
Rebecca Smith at the 2021 Olympic Swimming Trials [Photo Courtesy: Scott Grant/Swimming Canada]

 

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Coaching In A Changing Environment (Part 2)

By Michael J. Stott

 

Last month (November 2021), in Part 1, Swimming World explored how COVID-19 altered swim training as we have known it. This month, we look at some issues and opportunities facing club swimming as it strives to be the sport of choice for a younger generation.

More than 200 years ago, English romantic poet William Wordsworth noted, “The world is with us too late and soon.” Regrettably, for the last two years, so has COVID-19. And as swim teams resume operations, they are re-examining how past practices and new thinking can augur future success.

Jack Roach, former national junior team director for USA Swimming, is now the director of coach and athlete development for TIDE Swimming (Virginia Beach, Va.). He reports that during the pandemic, TIDE coaches rediscovered the importance of engaging their athletes emotionally and psychologically.

“What we were doing before, we did better. I think other teams did that as well. Conversely, those who were not doing well previously, continued to do worse,” he says. “Our parents rallied around one another and the team. Without committed parents, we would not have survived.”

TIDE board leadership aggressively focused on pre-pandemic plusses and pursued an assortment of ways to support the coaching and admin staff on dryside issues that the board could uniquely lead. As examples, Katy Arris Wilson, board president and former USA national team member (1987-92), says that TIDE:
• “Used our board’s skill set to lead the efforts to apply for a local PPP loan;
• “Analyzed our financial statements. Even before knowing if we qualified for the PPP loan, we made a commitment not to lay off or furlough any staff;
• “Made adjustments to the dues structure based on time out of water.

“We also let our coaches guide our athletes and membership. Jack Roach and head coach Richard Hunter led the staff and found the best ways to connect with athletes when forced out of the water by the governor. They communicated well with athletes, and the board sent out communication to parents about our efforts to resume in-water practice.”

Says Wilson, “The genuine care and connection that our coaches committed to our athletes did not go unnoticed by team parents who often, unsolicited, stepped up. For instance, one single parent, a fireman, volunteered to livestream all of our meets on YouTube. He presented the idea to the board, and we funded all the investment (wiring for Wi-Fi, cameras, switchers, speakers, etc.). He then cobbled together all the manpower and coordinated with meet hosting volunteers so the meets could be watched via YouTube.

“We also communicated more proactively with our pool partner, the YMCA of South Hampton Roads, to get our athletes back in the water as soon as we were legally allowed, which was sooner than most clubs across the country. Frequent coach communication with Y staff was critical here,” she says.
With a semblance of normalcy returning to TIDE activities, Wilson cites three areas of continued board diligence:
•  Dryside support of coaches—i.e., financial oversight, compensation and benefits—so coaches and staff feel appreciated and valued;
• Securing pool space, near term, medium term and long term;
• Giving coaches latitude to run the program and instill the culture they defined in our work with a consultant in August 2019.

GOING FORWARD
Joel Shinofield’s résumé includes service as a club coach, assistant at the University of Minnesota, head coach at Washington & Lee, executive director of the CSCAA and now managing director of sport development at USA Swimming.

“Never has it been more important for a team to be strengthening ties with its community and families,” he says. “In the boom times, we may take some of those things for granted—i.e., a waiting list. But the reality is if you have a deep connection to families and athletes about the value of your program and the reasons for what you are doing, you are going to retain people at a high level and develop a good reputation in your community.

That’s the thing coaches in this country have done well, but it has to be reinforced in a time like now—adding value to the people you work with,” he says.

To continue reading more from coaches on what the future of swimming could or should look like, 
Click here to download the December 2021 issue of Swimming World, available now!

 

Michael J. Stott is an ASCA Level 5 coach, golf and swimming writer. His critically acclaimed coming-of-age golf novel, “Too Much Loft,” was published in June 2021, and is available from store. Bookbaby.com, Amazon, B&N and book distributors worldwide.


Swimming World December 2021 - World Swimmers of the Year - Caeleb Dressel and Emma McKeon Lead the Way - Double COVER[Dressel Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher / USA Today Sports]

 

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FEATURES

014 2021 SWIMMERS OF THE YEAR
by Dan D’Addona, Matthew De George, John Lohn and David Rieder
World: Caeleb Dressel (Male American) & Emma McKeon (Female Pacific Rim)
Male Pacific Rim: Zac Stubblety-Cook
Female American: Katie Ledecky
European: Evgeny Rylov & Sarah Sjostrom
African: Ahmed Hafnaoui & Tatjana Schoenmaker

022 THE TOP 10 PERFORMANCES OF 2021
by John Lohn
Five-time Olympic champion Caeleb Dressel heads the list of the best swimming performances produced in 2021, thanks to his world record in the 100 meter butterfly at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Overall, the top 10 performances consisted of seven women’s efforts and three from the men. A further breakdown reveals seven individual swims and three world record-setting relays.

025 HONG KONG HERO
by David Rieder
People gathered in shopping malls, crowding in front of big screens to watch their national hero race for Olympic medals. Others watched on office conference room TVs, while passengers on the train had their mobile devices tuned to the Tokyo Games. What they saw was Siobhan Haughey become the first and only Olympian from Hong Kong to capture multiple medals—two silvers in the 100 and 200 freestyle.

032 ISHOF FEATURE: AQUATOTS MURDER CASE—THE KATHY TONGAY STORY (Part 3)
by Bruce Wigo
This is the final story of a three-part series about “The Aquatots Murder Case” regarding the death of 5-year-old Kathy Tongay and the subsequent murder charge against her father, Russell. This month’s episode: Russell Tongay’s appeal, life in (and out) of prison, what happened to Kathy’s brother, Bubber, and the impact the case had on age group sports in America.

044 NUTRITION: HOLIDAY/INTENSE TRAINING
by Dawn Weatherwax
To train hard, you need to eat hard! Make sure you put as much emphasis on nutrition and sleep as you would on your workouts.

COACHING

036 COACHING IN A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT (Part 2)
by Michael J. Stott
Last month, in Part 1, Swimming World explored how COVID-19 altered swim training as we have known it. This month, we look at some issues and opportunities facing club swimming as it strives to be the sport of choice for a younger generation.

042 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: MAXIMIZING SWIMMING VELOCITY (Part 6)—THE PUSH PHASE
by Rod Havriluk
In freestyle and butterfly, swimmers typically decrease the push phase time to increase stroke rate and swimming velocity. In doing so, the premature upward motion of the elbows pulls the hands upward and compromises propulsion. Most swimmers can gain additional propulsion on the push phase by pushing the hand backward instead of pulling the hand upward.

045 SPECIAL SETS: ZOE DIXON—VERSATILITY IS KEY
by Michael J. Stott
Zoe Dixon, 2021-22 National Junior Team member, has had quite a year. Swimming for Coach Norm Wright at NOVA of Virginia, the 17-year-old is ranked No. 1 in Virginia and 11th nationally for the Class of 2022, and has committed to the University of Florida.

047 Q&A WITH COACH BRENT BOOCK, ELMBROOK SWIM CLUB (Wis.)
by Michael J. Stott

048 HOW THEY TRAIN CAMPBELL STOLL
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

041 DRYSIDE TRAINING: FINISH STRONG
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

051 UP & COMERS: THOMAS HEILMAN
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS & SPECIAL SECTIONS

012 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

013 DID YOU KNOW: ABOUT THE 1951 PAN AMERICAN GAMES?

028 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

050 HASTY HIGH POINTERS

052 GUTTERTALK

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