Swimming World Presents “Cal Golden Bear’s Dave Durden On Impacting Lives Through Coaching”

SW May 2020 - Dave Durden - Leader of Men

Impacting Lives Through Coaching

By David Rieder

Dave Durden, University of California and U.S. national team coach, simply refers to himself as a swim coach. But he’s also a leader, an expert at maximizing performance, removing doubt, instilling confidence and navigating young men through demanding situations.

The entire four-day event was a Golden Bear showcase, a dominant performance as California won the 2019 NCAA men’s swimming and diving championship, the program’s fourth team title in nine years, but its first since 2014. The all-around dominant effort included a virtuoso performance from senior Andrew Seliskar, who fulfilled years of potential to win three national titles, the first of his career, and legions of Cal fans and alumni roared their approval of the Bears’ swims session after session.

But the enduring image of the meet came in a typically quiet moment, when Cal sophomore Daniel Carr had an opportunity to reswim the 100 back. He swam by himself in lane one, directly in front of his team cheering section, and he threw down a lifetime best by more than a half second to claim the fourth seed overall for the final.

As Cal men’s coach Dave Durden watched Carr touch the wall, he screamed in excitement—and lost his footing on the slippery pool deck. Durden ended up on his knees, still celebrating the performance as if nothing had gone wrong. But other than that one very literal slip-up, the Golden Bears were impeccable.

That’s the Cal modus operandi: always perform at or above full strength at the NCAA Championships. Durden has been at Cal since the 2007-08 season, and in every year after his first two, Cal has finished first or second in the national rankings. Ten years straight. That is, until 2020, when circumstances derailed the Bears’ opportunity to defend that championship.

The COVID-19 pandemic that has crippled life throughout the United States and the entire world claimed the NCAA Swimming Championships as an early casualty. When the news of the cancellation broke, about two weeks before the meet, Durden spoke to his team about their “social and moral responsibilities” to the world, which would require putting their athletic responsibilities on hold.

“Our top 12 guys, we felt, were as good or better than anyone else in the country, and we felt good about going into NCAAs and showing that,” Durden said. “I think like any 18-to-22-year-old athlete, they’re going to take that moment as a disappointment, but they’re able to redirect very quickly. We’re a pretty nimble group. We’re a pretty active group. We can handle some adaptation pretty quickly, and we’re ready to adapt to the next thing.”

So instead of sulking around and feeling sorry for themselves, the Cal team maintained perspective on the situation as a whole. Sure, they had every right to be disappointed to lose out on NCAAs, but they appreciated the process that had put them in position to be successful and moved on. That’s a maturity so valuable in swimming, a sport that requires grueling dedication, but even more patience.

“That’s more a characteristic of the campus than it is our team particularly, and I think we try to embody that,” he said. “There’s a level that they have of calmness in these situations as a group or as individuals or as a team that we’re going to work through it and figure it out.”

To read more about Cal Bear’s Dave Durden and coaching amid a pandemic, 
Check out the May/June 2020 issue of Swimming World Magazine, available now!

Swimming World May June 2020 Issue - Gretchen and Alex Walsh - Cover

[PHOTO CREDIT: SPEEDO USA]

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FEATURES

020 TOSSED INTO TURMOIL
by Dan D’Addona
The spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had a far-reaching impact not only on everyday life, but also on the sport of swimming across the globe.

022 COVID-19 AFTERMATH: UNCERTAIN TIMES
by Dan D’Addona
While the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to sports around the world, the full financial impact of the pandemic will not be known for some time—especially in college sports, which could lead to uncertain and even a fearful future for the sport of swimming.

024 TIMING IS EVERYTHING
by David Rieder
Everyone knows how important timing is—races can be won or lost by hundredths of a second. For swimmers competing at the NAIA and NJCAA Championships, the most important timing was measured in days. Both associations were able to complete their championship meets just before other major sports championships were being canceled due to the threat of coronavirus.

026 SILVER LINING COULD TURN TO GOLD
by Michael Randazzo
The Olympic postponement was hardly perceived as a positive, but it could lead to hope and opportunity for any men’s or women’s water polo team that aspires to Olympic competition—including the United States’ national teams.

028 MENTAL PREP: BEFORE THE BEEP WITH ASHLEY TWICHELL
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

030 IMPACTING LIVES THROUGH COACHING
by David Rieder
Dave Durden, University of California and U.S. national team coach, simply refers to himself as a swim coach. But he’s also a leader, an expert at maximizing performance, removing doubt, instilling confidence and navigating young men through demanding situations.

034 CHASING THE ULTIMATE DREAM… TOGETHER
by David Rieder
Alex and Gretchen Walsh have worked their way up the pecking order of American swimming, and in 2021, the talented sisters from the Nashville Aquatic Club and two-time national champion Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, Tenn., will get their shot at their greatest goal: the Olympics!

038 TAKEOFF TO TOKYO: T ‘N’ T—A FRIENDLY RIVALRY FOR A DYNAMITE DUO
by John Lohn
During the Olympic campaign of 2000, Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres—complete opposites out of the pool, but with few differences as competitors—were engaged in a friendly, but not-so-easy rivalry—one that brought out the best in both swimmers.

042 TAKEOFF TO TOKYO:MISTY’S MAGICAL MOMENT
by John Lohn
The United States’ Misty Hyman turned in one of the biggest upsets in Olympic swimming history, beating Australia’s Susie O’Neill—the defending Olympic champion, world record holder and the host country’s favorite—in the women’s 200 fly at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

046 ISHOF: A DUKE, A MERMAID, A WAR AND THE FLU
by Bruce Wigo
COVID-19 isn’t the first pandemic disease to have brought the world of competitive swimming to a halt, and the 2020 Olympic Games are not the first to be postponed or canceled. This is the story of the years between 1914 and 1918, when the world was suddenly and unexpectedly turned upside down by events not so different from what our sport is experiencing today.

048 ISHOF: TRAGEDY & TRIUMPH AT U.S. TRIALS…60 YEARS AGO
by Bruce Wigo
Every U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, since they were first held in 1904, has always seen favorites fail and underdogs rise to the occasion.

COACHING

016 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: THE VALUE OF HAND FORCE ANALYSIS: PART II—BACKSTROKE
by Rod Havriluk
Synchronized video and hand force data is an essential tool for optimizing technique. A coach can use the force data to pinpoint limitations, refer to the corresponding video images to explain changes and monitor a swimmer’s progress in improving technique.

018 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: THE VALUE OF HAND FORCE ANALYSIS:  PART III—BREASTSTROKE
by Rod Havriluk
The two previous articles in this series (Part I—Butterfly and Part II—Backstroke) presented information about the value of using hand force analysis to identify specific technique elements that limit performance, and in many cases, substantially. This month’s article includes more general information about force analysis with a breaststroke example.

052 MOTIVATING SWIMMERS TO NEW HEIGHTS
by Michael J. Stott
Memorable are the sporting events where an athlete or team is “on fire.” Swimming World checks in with two high school and two age group coaches for insight into how that happens. Spoiler alert: the common denominator is “buy-in” from athletes who connect with a coach.

056 AEROBIC OVERLOAD: VOLUME REVISITED
by Michael J. Stott
In the first of two parts, Swimming World Magazine re-examines the role of volume in  swim training.

058 SPECIAL SETS: CHANGE-OF-PACE FUN
by Michael J. Stott
USA Swimming master coach consultant Bob Steele provides some favorite change-of-pace exercises that are designed to insert spice and fun into in-season training.

060 SPECIAL SETS: STARTING OVER
by Michael J. Stott
Bruce Gemmell, head coach at Nation’s Capital Swim Club (Georgetown Prep site in North Bethesda, Md.) provides some sample sets—and some guidelines—for when it’s time to return to the water for training.

066 Q&A WITH COACH DOUG FONDER
by Michael J. Stott

067 HOW THEY TRAIN OLIVIA BRAY
by Michael J. Stott

069 Q&A WITH COACH RON & DON HEIDARY
by Michael J. Stott

070 HOW THEY TRAIN MADDIE SMITH AND EMILIA BARCK
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

012 DRYSIDE TRAINING: STROKE STRENGTH SERIES—FREESTYLE
by J.R. Rosania

015 DRYSIDE TRAINING: DRYLAND EXERCISES TO DO WHEN YOU CAN’T SWIM
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

063 GOLDMINDS: THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE IN SWIMMING
by Wayne Goldsmith
The greatest power that swimmers can possess is the power of choice. With that one power, all swimmers—regardless of age, experience or level of swimming capability—can accelerate their improvement and realize the full extent of their potential.

072 UP & COMERS: FINN CONLEY
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS

010 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

051 DID YOU KNOW? 1920 U.S. WOMEN’S OLYMPIC TEAM

073 GUTTERTALK

074 PARTING SHOT

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