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Coach Clay inducted into UOP Hall of Fame for Swimming

posted Apr 27, 2016, 2:55 PM by Pat Windschitl   [ updated Apr 28, 2016, 7:52 AM ]

On April 23rd, 2016 Six individuals and 2 teams will be inducted into the University of the Pacific Athletics Hall of Fame. Established in 1982, the Hall of Fame welcomes the 2001-02 men’s and women’s swimming teams. With this year’s class, the Pacific Athletics Hall of Fame will have honored 243 individuals and 28 teams in its 33-year history. 

Coach Clay was part of the 2002 Men's swim team at University of Pacific Tigers that won their first men's Big West swim title since 1974.The men drowned 23-time defending champ U Cal Santa Barbara, 948-833.5. Coach Clay was a freshman and his team consisted mostly of underclassman. 

His coach Ray Looze said winning both the women's and men's titles was "a dream come true. The kids worked really hard all season long and the results are evident from their performance in the pool. I just hope we can improve upon what we've accomplished here at NCAAs."

M IS FOR MOTIVATION

posted Apr 15, 2016, 11:51 AM by Pat Windschitl   [ updated Apr 15, 2016, 11:51 AM ]


BY AIMEE KIMBALL, PhD//Correspondent
This article focuses on types of motivation that can keep you pursuing your goals and some motivational tricks to keep your intensity up even when desire might be down.

Types of Motivation
Not everyone is motivated for the same reasons. Some people swim for a scholarship, others swim because they love the sport, some do it because their friends are on the team, others because their parents signed them up, some simply for exercise. Your motivation for swimming is actually very important to understand, because when the going gets tough, this is what will keep you going.

The two main types of motivation are extrinsic and intrinsic.

Extrinsic is external motivation. you swim as a means to an end, to get something out of it. For example, you swim to get your name in the paper or to keep a scholarship.

Intrinsic is internal motivation and is often associated with a true enjoyment of the sport, meaning you swim because you find pleasure in improving or simply just have fun being in the water.

While neither type is necessarily “better” than the other, research suggests that when faced with major obstacles, swimmers who have more intrinsic motivation tend to persevere.

Think of it this way, if you are externally motivated, you feel like you HAVE to swim for one reason or another. If you are internally motivated, you feel like you WANT to swim for whatever reason. These small words-want to versus have to-make a big difference because if swimming isn’t going well, (ex: you are working hard but not seeing results in competition) and you feel you have to swim well to get a scholarship, not only are you going to feel more pressure, but over time, it’s easier to give up and say to yourself, “I’m not good enough to get a scholarship, so I might as well quit.”

However, if you’re intrinsically motivated and things aren’t going well, you might still be upset, but you’re less likely to quit since you’re not swimming only for results, you’re swimming because you enjoy it. 

On the flip side, sometimes we need extrinsic motivation to enhance performance. If swimming is only about having fun and enjoying the sport, the sheer exhaustion that two-a-day practices bring isn’t always enjoyable. So while we might be having fun with teammates, the actual act of swimming early in the morning may not be fun. So for some people, what motivates them on these days is extrinsic. You have to work hard at these practices so you can improve or so your coach doesn’t kick you off of the team.

Overall, make sure you have a strong intrinsic desire because this is a necessity for long-term commitment to any activity. Also, make sure you know what extrinsically motivates you and what you can use as incentives for those days you just really don’t want to be at the pool or don’t want to be working hard.

Enhancing Intrinsic Motivation
The higher your level of competition, the more external motivation becomes a part of your life. It’s hard to avoid the drive for medals, for attention, or if you’re really good, endorsements.

However, if we focus only on these external forces, it’s easy to forget that, at the heart of it all, we swim because we love it. So how do we keep our intrinsic drive stronger than our external motivators?

First, by reminding ourselves daily why we want to swim and what we enjoy. If you keep a swimming journal (which I always suggest people do), each day before you go to sleep write down what you are looking forward to the next day at practice. By doing this you keep your focus positive and on what you find enjoyable.

Second, at the end of practice, you can write down what you actually liked about practice or why it was a good day. You could even include a story about something funny that happened at practice or how much you’re looking forward to having a spaghetti dinner with your team.

Something else to remind you that you love the sport is to put a picture in your notebook from when you were really young, maybe one of your first swimming memories, so you always can re-connect with the enjoyment of just splashing around on a summer day. 

Using Extrinsic Incentives to Enhance Performance
You don’t want to overemphasize external rewards, but on the days when you need an extra mental push to keep you working hard, here are some quick motivators that you can use:

1)    Reward yourself for attaining goals, rather than using punishment for falling short. This goes for practice, not just competition.
2)    Know what you are working towards. Whether it’s an Olympic medal or a specific time barrier you want to break, post this goal somewhere you will see it on a daily basis.
3)    Tell a teammate (or coach) when you are feeling a bit lazy and ask them to really push you hard and not let you get away with this.
4)    Let your parents or roommates know your practice goals so when you get home they can hold you accountable and ask you if you achieved them.
5)    Have a “Worker of the Week” award and at the end of each practice week, have the coach or team captain acknowledge who really went above and beyond. Depending on the nature of the team, maybe this person gets to pick one event they want to swim (or not swim) at the next meet.
6)    Compete in practice. Challenge teammates to try to keep up with you.
7)    Have specific goals for competition, ideally focused on swimming a specific time rather than just on winning.

Be creative, think about what has gotten you through tough days in the past and know what you can use to motivate you now.

Summary
Know what motivates you. Everyone is a little bit different not only in what gets them started, but what keeps them going and what helps them to exert maximum effort. Always stay connected with what you enjoy about the sport, not just what you get out of it. Finally, remember it’s up to you to motivate yourself; you can’t always rely on others.

On that note, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

“Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must first set yourself on fire.”

Make it great!

Dr. Aimee

About Aimee C. Kimball, PhD:
Dr. Kimball is the Director of Mental Training for the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine. She is an Association of Applied Sport Psychology Certified Consultant, and is a member of the American Psychological Association, the United States Olympic Committee’s Sport Psychology Registry, the USA Swimming Sports Medicine Network, and the NCAA Speakers Bureau. She works with athletes, coaches, and parents to help them achieve success in sport and life.
 
For more information contact: kimballac@upmc.edu, 412-432-3777, http://sportsmedicine.upmc.com/MentalTrainingProgram.htm

The Magic of an Opportunity

posted Mar 21, 2016, 2:26 PM by Pat Windschitl   [ updated Mar 21, 2016, 2:26 PM ]

BY MIKE GUSTAFSON // CORRESPONDENT

Imagine Doc Brown from Back to the Future came up to you and said, "Today you're going to set a world record. The only thing you have to do is race." 
 
You'd swim that day, right? You'd be the first person in the pool, warming-up, excited and ready to swim? 
 
World records aren't broken every day. The opportunity is rare. You'd take advantage of it.
 
Unfortunately, time travel and Doc Brown do not (yet) exist. Swimmers don't know what the future holds. Sometimes, we don't feel like swimming. 
 
Instead of swimming that looming, ominous 1500m this afternoon, we'd rather go to the beach. Or go shopping. Or take a nap. There will be another day, another race, right? 
 
But you never know. Sometimes the difference between breaking a world record or not is simply showing up to swim. 
 
Take Kate Ziegler.  At the Indianapolis Grand Prix, Ziegler told me that on the day she broke Janet Evans' hallowed 1500m world record, she didn't want to swim that evening. She wanted to go to the beach. She wasn’t really feeling it. Fortunately, her coach convinced her to swim that afternoon. The rest, as they say, is history. 
 
But what if she had gone to the beach? What if she never swam that day? For whatever reason, the nuts and bolts were zooming in perfect harmony that day. Would they realign? Could she repeat that same performance the next day? Next week? 
 
What if she didn't swim that day?
 
I was once told from the creator of "Friends" that the hardest thing to do in the entertainment industry isn't getting your foot in the door; it's being prepared when you're already in. 
 
People always get their foot in the door, but they rarely take advantage of it. 
 
It’s that old “elevator pitch” theory. You should always be prepared when you live in Hollywood, because you never know who could be stuck in an elevator with. Some of my friends went from assistants to executive producers in 24 hours because they were stuck in an elevator with someone like Rosie O’Donnell, pitched her an idea they had rehearsed, and made the most of their opportunity. No joke. 
 
Swimming is similar. Any given lane at any given time is an opportunity. "Give me a lane, anywhere, anytime," one famous swimmer used to say, "and I'll aim for perfection." 
 
Sometimes, swimming is viewed in a linear path. You’d think, “Times will get faster. Races will get easier. I’ll eventually get here, do this, swim that, and by this year I’ll be where I want to be.” Swimmers sometimes circle on the calendar, "This is when I'll swim my fastest. This is the plan." 
 
But swimming is rarely predictable. It’s not this linear, easily-planned calendar of time progression. It's more a chaotic fun house. It’s opposite than what you’d expect. You swim fast when you expect to swim slow. You swim slow when you expect to swim fast. One day, you could be planning a trip to the beach, while your body secretly knows, “I could be breaking a world record right now, this very second.” 
 
You never know when the swim of your life will happen. 
 
You can’t plot out the future. And unless Doc Brown swings by your house and points out the highs and lows of your future swimming career, it’s best to say to yourself, “Give me a lane, anywhere, anytime – and it could be magic.”  

Olympic Wednesday - Dave Salo + Salo Test Set Results!

posted Mar 3, 2016, 10:48 AM by Pat Windschitl   [ updated Mar 3, 2016, 10:48 AM ]

This weeks Olympic Wednesday focused on an Olympic coach and some of the things that he does that he feels are successful.
 
Dave Salo has some 30 years of collegiate, club and national level coaching experience, replaced Mark Schubert in 2006 when Schubert assumed USA Swimming's head coach position.

Though far from complete, Salo's remarkable career was honored in 2010 when he was inducted into the American Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame. 

Further validating his strength as a coach, Salo consistently serves as a top national coach and continued in that capacity as the U.S. women's head coach for the 2015 FINA World Championships after also doing so in 2013. He completed his third U.S. Olympic staff coaching assignment when he served as a 2012 U.S. Olympic women's swim team assistant coach.  From his bio at http://www.usctrojans.com/sports/m-swim/mtt/dave_salo_273205.html

 
His book, Sprint Salo is available free online. https://www.teamunify.com/nceac/UserFiles/File/sprintsalo.pdf, it's a great quick read for any of our swimmers that are interested in the sport, the mechanics of training, and a bit of the physiology. 

Salo Test Set
Our monthly Freestyle test set is one taken directly from Dave Salo. It's a simple set, 3x300's as fast as you can go at a strong pace. Coaches then take the final times for each swim, plus the 100 split times, and create a rough threshold pace time. The senior groups use a variation of these types of set early each month as an indicator for where individual swimmers are in their training.

Threshold pace is the effort level where the body's lactic production meets or exceeds the body's ability to break it down. It's an uncomfortable training pace to hold and it is the training pace that helps build endurance. 

Here's an example of a swimmer at around a 1:10 threshold pace. 
Fastest repeat 100 push time, 1:05 
Sprint training interval 1:10 (about 15 minutes max before failure)
Threshold training interval 1:15 (15+ minute sets)

Swimmers swam in mixed groups with no more than two swimmers per lane. Swimmers received 30-60 seconds rest after each swim, with a goal for swimmers who were in the 3:30 or faster range to use 4:00 intervals, and those in the 3:45+ range to use 4:30. The age grouper swimmers with Coach Cassidy were on a 5:00 interval. 

Nathan

307 307 304

1:03


Jesse

310 313 316

1:06


Madesyn

3:20 321 318

1:07


Caitlin

3:23, 322, 319

1:07


Joshua

321 329 326

108


Johnny

320 325 325

1:08






Brandon

330 333 330

1:10

Great consistency

Malia

332 329 332

1:11


Lava

3:22 330 337

1:12


Cyanna

3:40 3:42 3:33

1:13

Big drop from 2-3, excellent finish.

Megan

340 335 339

113


Sruthika

345 342 337

1:14

Good descend





Liahla

349 350 350

116


Camyle

340 345 350

1:16


Luna

355 350 354

1:17


Jenika

345 350 354

1:17

Very long strokes, looked great!

Shambhavi

402 410 412

1:23


Natalie

415 416 412

1:25



Nika: 4:23, 4:06, 3:58 threshold pace: 1:25

Lauryn: 4:07, 3:57, 3:56 threshold pace: 1:25

Jonathan: 4:31, 4:20, 4:20 threshold pace: 1:30

Leila: 4:49, 4:27, 4:30 threshold pace: 1:30


Haley: 4:27, 4:21, 4:14 threshold pace: 1:25

Sam: 4:57, 4:31, 4:14 threshold pace: 1:25

Ammiel: 5:09, 5:05, 5:12 threshold pace: 1:45


Sophie: 4:30, 4:18, 4:18 threshold pace: 1:30

Lily: 4:27, 4:18, 4:12 threshold pace: 1:25

Harsini: 4:28, 4:18, 4:03 threshold pace: 1:25

Jordan S.: 5:10, 5:28, 5:10 threshold pace: 1:50

threshold pace times are a rough time rounded to the nearest 5 for age group swimmers. 

Commit Swimming

posted Feb 25, 2016, 2:54 PM by Pat Windschitl   [ updated Mar 3, 2016, 9:56 AM ]

In November of 2015 our club partnered with Commit Analytics. They are a performance analytics company that specializes in optimizing training plans using data-driven models. Or, more simply put, a swimming workout management tool that Clay, I and our age group coaches have fallen in love with. 

Commit Analytics is a small startup designed by four swimmers who absolutely love the data side of the sport. And we are excited to be working with them on the ground floor. The coaches have sent over a few different suggestions and have seen them show up in the application already. We can't wait to see how it develops over the year.

We've played with it a bit through the winter, and been using it to log every workout for the Senior teams since January and thought that we would share what we love about it with our parents and swimmers. 
 
Program Overview: 


With Commit Analytics as Coaches we are able to: 
  • Share and automatically sync workouts between all our coaches
  • Take attendance
  • View and analyze trends with an interactive dashboard
  • Define strokes, types, intensities, courses and equipment
  • Access workouts on any computer or smart device (phones) at any time. The Senior and age group coaches are now sharing workout ideas more than ever to create better workouts for our swimmers. 
    • The phones was a bit of negative with the Senior coaches as we don't like the look of our coaches checking them when on the deck, but we feel that the benefits of having them all on the same platform outweighs the cons. 

Season Dashboard


Here's a copy of our Dashboard going back to January. 


In the top left hand box we have our yards swam each week, with averages for each day on the right. Below that we have three pie charts that list our intensity levels (we are working to indicate intensity levels more), the strokes swam, and the type of swimming we do. 

As we move through the Endurance Building section of our cycle our goal was to increase yardage by about 10% each week until we hit 45k. Now we have started to increase the density of kicking in practice which drops the total yardage a little bit. 

During this period our primary goal is increasing practice density. This meant that a lot of our late January and Early February workouts had long freestyle sets. Kick sets also default to freestyle in app, increasing the percentage of free swimming. 

With noticing these trends, we've been working to design workouts to about 30% freestyle, 25% primary stroke, 30% assigned strokes, and 15% IM. 

We've heard that this page will also display attendance information soon as well. We can't wait for that to roll out. 


Weekly Dashboard


Here's a weekly dashboard sample from the top of our yardage cycle. 


During this period Clay and I were working to build up in intensity throughout the week, and then go into our Lactate Sprints on Friday. Because our primary goal during this week was LQS (long quality swims) the bulk of our workout was swim. Swimmers would remember this week as daily sets of 3x500's, 1000's and 1650's for time, and other distance per stroke, long sets. 

This was followed up by our standard of resistance and speed work Stations on Saturdays (which have less yardage on average as it takes a bit longer to get across the pool with a speed box, bucket, drag sox, or whatever else the coaches tie to you or your swimmer).  These days are usually our most fun days that really break up our aerobic training styles. The coaches would love to see better attendance on these days with our Senior and age group swimmers. 

Workout Dashboard



And here's is what we see with our daily dashboard. 


We love the workout dashboard. Coach Clay has always been a strong defender of the paper-pad workouts and this is the program that has brought him over. I've been talking about a tool like this for years and I'm glad to see that swimmers smarter than me finally brought something like this to coaches. 

As we type in a workout it tracks not just how many yards they'll be swimming, but how long it will take, what they are doing, and also the overall intensity of the workout. 

It allows us to track workouts for multiple groups in the senior team, (our most common group breakdowns are the #Distance, #Sprint, #Breaststroke, and #IM groups, with all of the swimmers falling into the #Senior or #Senior-Elite categories.   

Final Comments


Most excitedly, Commit is also working on a version for our athletes to use individually. This should allow them to see workouts after they've completed them, as well as the notes coaches include on notes pages. It should also show them their attendance percentages. This should be rolling out over the next few months. 

If you have any question about it, please don't hesitate to speak with Coach Clay or Coach Pat. 

See you at the pool!

Olympic Wednesday - Lia Neal

posted Feb 25, 2016, 9:12 AM by Pat Windschitl   [ updated Feb 25, 2016, 9:27 AM ]

“You need to fail before you can succeed, and that makes the successes even sweeter,” 
- Lea Neil 

Lea Neil said at the CeraVe Invitational her “failures” are become more prevalent, but it's not because she's swimming poorly. It's because she's leaving her comfort zone. 





In 2012, 17 year-old Lia Neal, of Brooklyn, New York became the second African American woman to make the US Olympic Team and earn a medal, winning a bronze in the women’s 400-meter freestyle relay.

Neal was eight years-old when she was awarded a Swim for the Future scholarship, giving her the opportunity to join Asphalt Green’s competitive AGUA swim team. The scholarship was established in 2001 in honor of two Asphalt Green swimmers who died on September 11, 2001. 

Following fellow history maker, Cullen Jones onto the team, and preceding Anthony Ervin’s spot, Neal was part of the most diverse Olympic Team to-date. Neal, who is half black and half Chinese, also captured some history for Chinese Americans along with fellow swim star, Nathan Adrian who is half white and half Chinese. 

Neal has since accepted a scholarship to Stanford where she is currently a seven-time All American with four Stanford swimming records under her belt. http://www.usaswimming.org/ViewNewsArticle.aspx?TabId=0&itemid=7701&mid=14491


FUN FACTS


HIGH SCHOOL
Convent of Sacred Heart '13

COLLEGE
Stanford '17

PARENTS
Jerome and Siu...Jerome works in theatre and Siu is retired

STARTED SWIMMING
6 yrs old..."My friends were taking lessons and suggested I join them."

PET(S)
One cat, Peanut, is about 6-7 years old

HOBBIES OUTSIDE THE POOL
Going to movies, restaurants, concerts



Through the course of the high school swimming seasons we will starting a new weekly video session before practice: Olympic Wednesdays. On these Wednesday's the Senior and Age Group teams will watch videos on different Olympic Swimmers that show off a bit of their life, training, and background.

Olympic Wednesday - Nathan Adrian

posted Feb 25, 2016, 9:06 AM by Pat Windschitl   [ updated Feb 25, 2016, 9:31 AM ]

"There's a lot to be said, but until you actually get into the water and do it, it all doesn't mean anything.”
- Nathan Adrian






Nathan Adrian is a U.S. sprinter, originally born in Washington state as the youngest of three kids. 
Born Dec. 7, 1988 Adrian began swimming because his older siblings were involved — he began taking lessons by 2 and joined the team by 5, but years later the 6’6″ freestyler would become one of the top sprinters in the world. 

https://swimswam.com/bio/nathan-adrian/


FUN FACTS


HIGH SCHOOL
Bremerton HS '06

COLLEGE
University of California Berkeley '12

COLLEGE MAJOR
Public Health

FUTURE PROFESSIONAL ASPIRATIONS
Doctor

PARENTS
Jim and Cecilia ... Jim is a nuclear engineer and Cecilia is a school nurse

SIBLING(S)
Has an older sister (Donella) and an older brother (Justin) who both swam competitively

STARTED SWIMMING
At age 5 when brother, because his sister and friend started swimming

SPORTS PLAYED BEFORE SWIMMING
Soccer

NICKNAME(S)
Bok Choi ... "The little girls on my team found out I was 50 percent Asian."

HOBBIES OUTSIDE THE POOL
Hanging out with friends, jet skiing, boating, dirt biking

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSON
Parents ... "Because of their perfect balance of love and support for me over the years."

TRAINING STATS
Swims 5k-8k ... 5 hours a day ... 2-3 workouts a day, 5 days a week



Through the course of the high school swimming seasons we will starting a new weekly video session before practice: Olympic Wednesdays. On these Wednesday's the Senior and Age Group teams will watch videos on different Olympic Swimmers that show off a bit of their life, training, and background.

Olympic Wednesday - Cullen Jones

posted Feb 25, 2016, 8:58 AM by Pat Windschitl   [ updated Feb 25, 2016, 9:30 AM ]

“I had to work hard to be successful at swimming. The first time I thought I was good enough to even go to college I was in my junior year of high school.”
- Cullen Jones


Cullen Jones earned a place on the U. S. National Team in 2005, qualifying for the World University Games where he won gold in the 50 free, becoming the first African American man to win a gold medal at the World University Games. 

In 2006, Jones became the first African American man to break a world record in swimming at the Pan Pacific Games as part of the 4 x 100 free relay. He also won the 50-meter freestyle, swimming the fastest time in the world that year. Jones was a four-time ACC Champion and 2006 NCAA Champion at North Carolina State University. 

Jones became the second African American to win an Olympic gold medal as part of the legendary 4 x 100 free relay team in Beijing that upset the heavily favored French team and set both Olympic and world records in the event. Jones set a new world record for his swim to earn a place on the team with a time of 47.61, a time that stood as record until broken in 2009.

Jones has been on the U. S. National Team since 2006 and served as the first major ambassador for the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative. Jones continues to give back to the sport, hosting the Cullen Jones Diversity Invitational in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2013.  http://www.usaswimming.org/ViewNewsArticle.aspx?TabId=0&itemid=7676&mid=14491


CULLEN JONES FUN FACTS


HIGH SCHOOL
St. Benedict’s Prep '02

COLLEGE
NC State '06

COLLEGE MAJOR
English (with minor in Psychology)

FUTURE PROFESSIONAL ASPIRATIONS
Write for a men’s fashion magazine, such as "GQ"

PARENTS
Ronald and Debra … Ronald (deceased) played basketball at a small college in the Bronx, and Debra was a dancer … Ronald died of lung cancer in 2000 when Cullen was 16. 

NOTABLE RELATIVE(S)
Distant relative (Rodney Wallace) was a former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle

STARTED SWIMMING
Age 8 ... "almost drowned".

SPORTS PLAYED BEFORE SWIMMING
Gymnastics, basketball

NICKNAME(S)
CJ, Nova

PET(S)
"We brought in a cat, and the first night we had her she jumped into my bed and scared everyone by hissing and swiping at us. I was 7 and slept with my parents."

HOBBIES OUTSIDE THE POOL
Playing video games, hanging out with friends

ULTIMATE WAY TO RELAX
Watch a movie, play some video games and fall asleep

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSON
Late father Ronald and coach Ed Nessel ... role model: "My parents because they woke me up for practice in the morning; that's brave!"

CHARITIES
Ronald Jones Foundation

MORE
Is working with "Do Tell Productions" on a documentary about the Flaherty Dolphins, a team from Boston that is made up mostly of kids of color ... the film will follow the lives a few swimmers on the team, in addition to Jones' journey to the 2008 Olympic Games

FAVORITES
U.S. city: New York City ... int'l destination: London ... band: Linkin Park ... celebrity: Michael Jordan; "I like to model my attitude after him." ... summer activity: going to amusement parks ... movies: Snatch, Van Wilder, Just Friends, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Waiting ... tv: Nip/Tuck, Dirt, Weeds.



Through the course of the high school swimming seasons we will starting a new weekly video session before practice: Olympic Wednesdays. On these Wednesday's the Senior and Age Group teams will watch videos on different Olympic Swimmers that show off a bit of their life, training, and background.

The Magic of an Opportunity

posted Feb 2, 2016, 2:15 PM by Pat Windschitl   [ updated Feb 2, 2016, 2:15 PM ]

BY Mike Gustafson//CORRESPONDENT

Imagine Doc Brown from Back to the Future came up to you and said, "Today you're going to set a world record. The only thing you have to do is race."

You'd swim that day, right? You'd be the first person in the pool, warming-up, excited and ready to swim?

World records aren't broken every day. The opportunity is rare. You'd take advantage of it.

Unfortunately, time travel and Doc Brown do not (yet) exist. Swimmers don't know what the future holds. Sometimes, we don't feel like swimming.

Instead of swimming that looming, ominous 1500m this afternoon, we'd rather go to the beach. Or go shopping. Or take a nap. There will be another day, another race, right?

But you never know. Sometimes the difference between breaking a world record or not is simply showing up to swim.

Take Kate Ziegler. At the Indianapolis Grand Prix, Ziegler told me that on the day she broke Janet Evans' hallowed 1500m world record, she didn't want to swim that evening. She wanted to go to the beach. She wasn’t really feeling it. Fortunately, her coach convinced her to swim that afternoon. The rest, as they say, is history.

But what if she had gone to the beach? What if she never swam that day? For whatever reason, the nuts and bolts were zooming in perfect harmony that day. Would they realign? Could she repeat that same performance the next day? Next week?

What if she didn't swim that day?

I was once told from the creator of "Friends" that the hardest thing to do in the entertainment industry isn't getting your foot in the door; it's being prepared when you're already in.

People always get their foot in the door, but they rarely take advantage of it.

It’s that old “elevator pitch” theory. You should always be prepared when you live in Hollywood, because you never know who could be stuck in an elevator with. Some of my friends went from assistants to executive producers in 24 hours because they were stuck in an elevator with someone like Rosie O’Donnell, pitched her an idea they had rehearsed, and made the most of their opportunity. No joke.

Swimming is similar. Any given lane at any given time is an opportunity. "Give me a lane, anywhere, anytime," one famous swimmer used to say, "and I'll aim for perfection."

Sometimes, swimming is viewed in a linear path. You’d think, “Times will get faster. Races will get easier. I’ll eventually get here, do this, swim that, and by this year I’ll be where I want to be.” Swimmers sometimes circle on the calendar, "This is when I'll swim my fastest. This is the plan."

But swimming is rarely predictable. It’s not this linear, easily-planned calendar of time progression. It's more a chaotic fun house. It’s opposite than what you’d expect. You swim fast when you expect to swim slow. You swim slow when you expect to swim fast. One day, you could be planning a trip to the beach, while your body secretly knows, “I could be breaking a world record right now, this very second.”

You never know when the swim of your life will happen.

You can’t plot out the future. And unless Doc Brown swings by your house and points out the highs and lows of your future swimming career, it’s best to say to yourself, “Give me a lane, anywhere, anytime – and it could be magic.”

Protein and Vegetarian Swimmers

posted Dec 14, 2015, 1:16 PM by Pat Windschitl   [ updated Dec 14, 2015, 1:16 PM ]

By Chris Rosenbloom, professor of nutrition at Georgia State. 

Recently, a swimmer sent me an email about her coach’s concern about her choice to be a vegetarian. She chose a vegetarian diet for “ethical reasons,” but her coach told her she needed to eat meat to be a competitive swimmer. 

I don’t want to contradict her coach’s advice, but I responded that what she needed was the nutrients in meat, not necessarily the meat. Don’t get me wrong, I honor everyone’s dietary choices, and you can eat a healthful performance diet while being a meat-eater or being a vegetarian. Lean meat is a nutrient-rich choice for many athletes, but non-meat eaters can, with good food choices, meet their nutritional requirements and remain competitive. 

Protein needs are slightly higher than for meat eaters because plant protein is less well-digested compared to the protein in meat or dairy. Good protein sources for swimmers who don’t eat meat include brown rice, quinoa, protein-enriched pasta, nuts, seeds, tofu, soy foods (milk, cheese and yogurt, tempeh, and texturized vegetable protein), peanut and other nut butters, and beans and peas (black beans, kidney beans, chick peas, black-eyed peas and lentils).  Plan to eat a protein-rich food with every meal and snack. Recover after a hard workout with a combination carbohydrate and protein snack, like peanut butter on whole grain bread, lentil soup, chili with beans, soy milk smoothie, or meatless “chicken” patty on a whole grain bun.

Other nutrients found in beef include iron, zinc and vitamin B12, so to replace these nutrients try including these foods.
For iron include dried beans and peas, nuts and seeds, and fortified breakfast cereals. Snack on dried fruits to boost iron intake, too.
For zinc eat nuts and seeds, whole grain bread, cereals and pasta, soy foods, including soy-based meats (replacements for burgers, chicken, turkey, bacon or sausage). For vitamin B12 include food fortified with the vitamin (check the nutrition facts panel for B12 in fortified cereals, energy bars, soy milk, and soy foods). 

A sports dietitian can help you plan a healthful vegetarian diet and these resources can also give you some useful tips. Vegetarian Resource Group (http://www.vrg.org) and the Vegetarian Nutrition group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (http://vegetariannutrition.net/).

BY CHRIS ROSENBLOOM//PHD, RDN, CSSD
Chris Rosenbloom is a professor emerita of nutrition at Georgia State University and provides sports nutrition consulting services to athletes of all ages. She has no ties to the dairy industry aside from liking milk. She is the editor-in-chief of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Sports Nutrition Manual, 5th edition and editor-in-chief of an online Sports Nutrition Care Manual for health care professionals. She welcomes questions from swimmers, parents and coaches. Email her at chrisrosenbloom@gmail.com.
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