HMST Family Newsletter
Issue 2: Week of September 30, 2013
“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect”. --
“After all, you only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.” --
As a parent sitting in the stands, breathing the humid and chlorinated air, watching the endless laps, it is almost impossible to imagine that one’s gasping child with the writhing, splashing stroke might develop into one of the polished senior swimmers carving elegant lines down the pool with apparent effortlessness. But with practice, miracles can happen. In this issue of the Chlorinator, we take on the topic of Practice,
including some questions for Chuck—and his answers.
Before a Successful Practice: A few suggestions
- Fuel of a nourishing sort: Particularly because practices occur during the dinner hour(s), it’s important to keep the tank from running dry.
- Hydration: The team swims hard and the chlorinated pool should not be your child’s primary hydration option—bring a water bottle.
- Accoutrements: Nothing ruins a practice like a forgotten swimsuit. (See Warren Buffet quote above.) A check-list helps. A back-up pair of swim goggles is also a wise investment.
- Swiss Timing: Early arrival keeps everyone happy.
Physical conditioning and proper technique are the rewards of steady practice and the essential ingredients to becoming a faster swimmer. The endurance conditioning will help give your child an advantage in other sports, too. Few sports offer the low-impact, total-body strengthening and aerobic benefits of swimming. While participation in most sports ends at high school or college, the swimming skills a child develops now will be with them throughout life.
How many practices should my child attend?
There is not one correct answer to this question; the number of practices is up to the parent and swimmer. US Swimming is an impressive feeder organization for US Olympic swimming but it is important not to be swept away by the system. Consider your child’s goals for this sport, your family obligations and priorities, and the age of your child. At HMST, the number of available practices increases as a swimmer progresses through the various levels. Your child will not be penalized at HMST for not attending every practice. A younger swimmer may find attending two practices a week is the right balance, while some parents may find that their child needs more physical exercise to keep the squirrelliness at bay. Some senior swimmers practice daily, including Saturday mornings, while others limit mileage each week. The right balance will be different for each child and family.
The coaching staff has designated Friday practices as time each week when they will focus most pointedly on developing swimming technique. While technique is taught at all practices, Friday practices will involve less distance and more drills. This will give the swimmers a somewhat less rigorous practice the day before a meet, while providing new strategies for faster swims at those meets.
QUESTIONS FOR CHUCK
What are the Coach’s goals for practice?
- Silver Group: To understand correct stroke mechanics (understand what you need to do in the stroke to be more efficient) and to gain comfort in the pool.
- Age Group: To work on perfecting strokes (all strokes, turns, and starts) and to build endurance.
- Pre-senior: To build endurance, to become aware of repeat times in practice, and to develop race strategies
- Senior Group: To build a training base, to develop kinesthetic awareness of times and body feel, to perfect race strategies, and to practice aerobic and anaerobic training.
How can a parent support the coach’s goals for practices?
- The best way for a parent to support what a coach is doing is to be THE PARENT and nothing more. Support your child no matter what happens with a swim, when they do well AND when they struggle. Encourage your child to try their best and do not compare them to others.
What makes a coachable swimmer?
Congratulations to Erin Earley!
- A coach wants to see a swimmer trying to implement the coach’s directions. In some cases, a swimmer may not believe that he/she is capable of doing what is asked, but the coach will not ask a swimmer to do the impossible. A coachable athlete is one who accepts the coach’s challenge. The coachable athlete is usually the one who makes more rapid progress.
Erin’s recent accomplishments are a testament to many hours of practice
and to her innate ability, and they deserve special mention:
- Currently ranked #1 in the country in the 14/under age group in the 200 back and top 10 in several other events.
- Ranked 116th in the world in the 200 back in all age categories (yes, she now appears on lists with Missy Franklin!)
- Qualified this past summer for the US Junior Nationals, the US Open, and the World Championship Trials
- At the US Junior Nationals in Irvine, CA, Erin finished 11th in the 200 back
- Earned an invitation to the National Select Camp in October at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO. (Will she appear in lip-synching, YouTube videos next?)
- Erin will also attend the US Grand Prix meet in Minneapolis in November and the US Junior Nationals in December in Greensboro, NC
If you have any suggestions for topics, notices, inspirational quotes, etc., for The Chlorinator, please email Troy or Zoe Resch at