Monthly Archives: November 2013

Coach Rick on Swim Training Toys


The swimming community has a bewildering array of training toys available for swimmers and coaches to use during practices. Some are useful for certain situations, some are rarely useful, and some are the source of a lot of debate.

Here are the most common of these toys

  • Kickboards – these are the floating boards swimmers use for kicking
  • Pull Buoys – these are either 2 white styrofoam cylinders, or a one piece unit that swimmers put between their legs so they only use their arms for propulsion
  • Paddles – These are put on the hands to encourage proper arm technique as well as provides greater pull power, in addition to greater stress on the shoulders
  • Fins (also called Zoomers) – These go on the feet and allow the kick to provide much more power and faster speeds. They also artificially improve body position.
  • Rubber Bands – Some swimmers use these around their feet to minimize foot action during swims with pull buoys. We don’t use these.
  • Water Bottles – Self explanatory, but these should be MANDATORY for all swimmers at all meets and practices

A few weeks ago, Coach Caillin sent out an excellent explanation of why her groups use, or don’t use, fins. If you missed it earlier, you may want to read it now. (Click Here) She did an excellent job explaining our team philosophy on these issues

My older swimmers (Junior and Senior groups) have specific issues and opportunities when considering training toys. Firstly, they are bigger and stronger, their body position and strokes are pretty much under control, and with the added training time, we need to ensure we don’t create any overuse problems in key swimming joints (shoulders and knees).

Secondly, my personal point of view is that anything that artificially makes swimming easier or faster than ‘normal’ …read more

Source: Rick’s Blog

Guest Blog: Coach Caillin on the Use of Fins with Developing Swimmers

swim fins

Many parents have asked me recently why we don’t use fins for the Entry level groups, and why we use them so minimally for Novice. Those are good questions. Every team has their own viewpoint on this, so it is a very debatable topic, and a very confusing one for parents.

Here is our team’s philosophy of fin usage.

How can fins help?

Fins can be great in improving ankle mobility, and in helping with specific drills or focus points in strokes when traveling at slower speeds (less focus on maintaining body position). They can also help give swimmers a feel for the strokes at really fast speeds. However, as with most swimming aids, they make swimming easier, and this has its own problems. Take the fins off, and suddenly the swimmer may have a hard time moving through the water. Swimming is hard work, and toys cannot replace the hard work and effort that must be done to improve.

How are they to be used in order to help the swimmer?

If you believe throwing a pair of fins on a swimmer and have them swim up and down the pool with them on will miraculously improve the stroke then this next section will be a surprise.

Bill Sweetnum, one of the top swim coaches in the world, and a coach of over 40 British and Australian Olympians, along with John Atkinson, another British National Coach outline several tips regarding the use of fins for young swimmers.

They suggest that fins can be a great aid, but only if used accordingly. Fins should be restricted for younger swimmers, and should never exceed more than 50% of a practice in all other swimmers. Their reasonings for this is that fins should be used mainly in short rest repeat sets, sprint sets and sets that aim …read more

Source: Rick’s Blog

Thoughts on Our First Meet

We’ve finished our first meet, and what a meet! First off, thanks to everyone who helped in any capacity. It took a great team effort to make this happen – coordination with the town, with Lakeshore Swim Club, and with Swim Ontario. Then a tremendous amount of work to get the timing system running properly (thanks Wilmot Aquatic Aces Club and Milton Marlins!), along with volunteers, arranging food, drinks, etc. Special thanks go to Lakeshore Swim Club for having the patience to take us through this endeavour, and for taking the lead role in this meet.

But it was worth it. There is nothing like holding our own meet in our own pool, and the kids evidently thought so too. The energy level was high, the swimming was fast, and everyone had fun.

We had a record number of Tritons swimmers attending (35 swimmers not including 4 more who had to scratch) producing a team high 129 Personal Bests (PBs). This is made all the more impressive as the meet only lasted a little over 3 hours. The vast majority of swims also showed better focus, preparation and aggression than we have seen in the past. The coaches are very happy.

Just a sampling of the highlights

  • Macrae Hewitt, swimming in his 6th race of the meet including a team record in the 800 free, won the 25 m challenge by 0.08 seconds against Lakeshore’s Shaun Gordon, and finished with 6 firsts (2 team records) and a second.
  • Emile Trottier blowing everybody away with an incredible 3:25 in his 200 Free
  • Matticyn Rawn-Kane breaking Kylie Day’s team record in the 50 Back
  • Rali Kechelieva agreed to swim her first 800 Free ever IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MEET (new team record!), and still went on to PB her Breaststroke, Freestyle and IM races …read more

    Source: Rick’s Blog

Update to Divisions 3 Post


A few people have been asking me some more questions about Division 3. I’ll answer them here in this update. But keep in mind that we will also hold a meeting soon with all Division families invited. That’s when the organizing and planning can really start.

Where will we be staying? Do we have to stay with the team?

We have a volunteer parent working on trying to get us a good deal on a hotel near the pool. We don’t have a final count on the number of rooms we’ll need, so nothing has been decided yet.

We recommend everyone staying at the team hotel, but if anyone has connections in Windsor, you can certainly stay there. However, if you do stay elsewhere, you still have to be able to make some team meetings and get to the pool at the appropriate time.

What will we do for food? Do we have to eat with the team?

I’ve been a part of some wonderful Division experiences in the past, and have learned some nice tricks. If we reserve a meeting room at the hotel for the whole time we are there, then we can turn it into a food room. This means that the swimmers do not have to go to restaurants for their meals and snacks. This saves an incredible amount of time (when they should be sleeping), but also saves an enormous amount of money. The only downside is that it requires a lot of parental assistance in terms of organizing, buying / preparing food, clean up, etc. Meal costs would be split between families.

Any family is welcome to eat on their own, but you still have to be able to make team meetings, and be at the pool on time. Keep in mind …read more

Source: Rick’s Blog

Why Division Team Championships are Different

Division Team Championships are different. There is no doubt about that.

There are three basic types of meets that a swim team gets involved in over the course of a year.

  • Meets without qualifying times – these make up most of our meets
  • Meets with qualifying times – these are big invitational meets, as well as regional, provincial and national championships. The qualifying times may range from moderately difficult to very challenging.
  • Division Team Championships (Division 3 Championships held Dec. 13-15 in Windsor this year).

Divisions is our one true team meet. Every other meet we go as a team, but pretty much swim as individuals or on relays. That’s the nature of swimming. However, Divisions is all about the team, and only about the team. In fact, many years Divisions doesn’t even give out individual event awards. With 40 or so teams at the Division 3 meet, only a small number of our swimmers have a reasonable chance of scoring points, but every swim is about doing well for the team. It’s a wonderful meet in that everybody is working towards a common purpose.

Our goals of the meet are to score points and have a positive team experience. This means we have to carefully select the group to achieve those goals. Here’s where it gets unusual.

Selection of the Team

We are allowed a maximum of 25 swimmers at Division 3. We have about 35 this year who are eligible and want to compete – meaning 10 won’t make it. You’d think that the faster, more experienced swimmers would be the natural choices, but that’s not the case here.

The issue is that with only 25 swimmers each team has to make choices of what age groups should get more swimmers and have relays. And every year teams tend …read more

Source: Rick’s Blog