Starting into Anaerobic phase - Loveland High School Swim and Dive

Notes for the Week

Right when you’re getting used to the 400’s at practice, we’re switching gears.

This week we’re starting to blend into the anaerobic/power phase of our training plan, and that means more speed work: shorter distances and more intense paces. Wednesday we finish up the aerobic phase and Friday we make the official switch.

Along with these changes in the water we’ll be making some changes on land. More sprinting, more jumping movements, and more powerful lifts in the weight room. From now on, bring shoes to run in and come prepared to potentially (weather permitting) hit the track during dryland workouts.

We’ll also start hitting more mobility training. Please bring a lacrosse ball to every practice, and if you have a foam roller/stick bring those as well.


Everyday from now on bring…

  • Running shoes
  • Dryland clothes
  • Lacrosse ball.

Newsletter Recap

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Loveland at Mountain Range

Thursday 3/31 at Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center

Athlete Release: 1:45pm

Bus Leaves LHS: 2:00pm

Warm up: 3:00pm

Meet Start: 4:00pm

We’ll be stopping at Cold Stone on our way home, if athletes would like ice cream, please bring a few dollars!

Mornings This Week

  • This week we’ll be back in the weight room on Tuesday Morning 5:45-6:45AM (required)
  • Friday morning make-up will be in the pool as always.
  • Saturday weight sessions (9-10am) also resume on April 2nd!

Spring Break

At this point in the season taking a week off can be extremely detrimental to the training program, but I completely understand that travel during this week can be a much needed escape from normal life for the whole family! To receive complete attendance points for spring break, athletes need to practice at least 3 times and need to bring in a note from a parent/guardian saying they did in fact complete the practices.  

  • Travelers: I’ll be posting team workouts on the website each day of the week.
  • Non-Travelers: We will continue to have team practices each weekday morning from 7:30-9:35AM* and weights on Saturday 4/9.

*Tuesday 4/5  we will swim from 7:30-8:45 and head down to the weight room from 9-10:00.
When we return from break, we hit the ground running with two meets the week of 4/11.


Developing a Race Strategy that Works

As we get further into the season, and as you get even more experience with the sport of swimming, you’ll find that a few races stand out to you as your strongest events. Whether you’re a 200 IMer or a 50 freestyler, developing how you race is just as important as developing your skills as a swimmer.

Below is an article by Olivier Poitier-Leroy found on SwimSwam outlining various race strategies and their counter-moves.

This article is only a starting point.

As training sets get longer, pay close attention to finding your strengths and weaknesses. Once you’ve got a pretty firm understanding of where you excel and where you need work, think about how you can race to play up your strengths and downplay your weak-points.

Side note: A bonus of figuring out exactly what you’re terrible at is learning when and what to concentrate on during practice. Example: If you’re really slow at kick sets, you should work on your kick the entire practice, and work REALLY HARD during kicks sets. Having specific skills to focus on during whole practices can help keep your mind from wandering and keep you moving toward your individual goals efficiently by making the most of your training. 

Remember that your race strategy should be pliable. Don’t get caught in the mindset that if it worked once it will work every single time. If through training you begin to develop different skills and your strengths change, change your race strategy to emphasize your newfound strengths.

Start to play around with developing race strategies now, fresh into the season, so by the time the big meets roll around you’ll have a solid plan in place for each of your races. Read the article below for ideas, keeping in mind your strengths in each event. Once you have an idea, write it down and keep it somewhere that you’ll see it daily. Practice and fine-tune your race strategies during fast sets in practice, and try them out during meets. If something doesn’t work, toss it and start fresh. If something worked well, use it again!

Want more pre-race strategies? Check out this post about mental prep and this video about pre-race routine.


The meters and yards have been stocked up, the taper has gone well, and you executed a fantastic shave down (hardly any cuts!). Now all that remains is to get up on the blocks and unleash that bottled fury of talent and hard work you have been stockpiling over the previous few months.

Despite all the grueling work in the pool, we both know that isn’t usually enough. After all, swimming is 40% physical and 100% mental.

The race starts long before the gun goes off, from downplaying expectations for all those to hear, to feigning injuries, to the antics and mental warfare in the ready room, with the winner often being not necessarily the most physically fit athlete, but the one who is able to best stick to their race plan.

The mental back-and-forth doesn’t stop once the 8 swimmers hit the water. Often races are won and lost based on the strategies and tactics used over the course of the swim.

Below I share a few race strategies that I have observed and used over the years of swimming. They work best—like most things in competition—when your rivals have no idea what you are up to.

That is where the true power of these tactics comes into play—the less they expect it, the more it throws them off mentally. You are forcing them to react to you and knocking them off of their own race plan.

(There is obviously no guarantee that these will work. And as such with each I include the counter to each strategy. But they are worth knowing, both from an offensive and defensive point of view.)

SEE ALSO: How to Prepare for a Swim Meet

Here are 7 different race tactics you can use the next time you hit the pool deck:

1. Rope-a-Dope.

Want to utterly demoralize the competition? Let them swim their absolute hardest, and still watch you reel them in. This is a fun tactic to pull on someone. If you’ve been swimming for even a small amount of time you know how discouraging it feels to watch somebody methodically reel you in, so you know how effective it can be.

Counter: The competition, so full of confidence from their early advantage surges out to a stronger lead, perhaps so large that it cannot be overcome, no matter how deeply you negative split your race.

2. Hide-and-Seek.

In the shorter races it is pretty difficult to gauge where your competition is, especially when there is another swimmer between you and your main competition. By swimming alongside the swimmer next to you, and out of sight of your main competitor, you position yourself to be able to make a sudden move, hopefully pulling ahead quickly before they can react. Peek-a-boo!

Counter: The main drawback in this strategy is that you have to aware of where your competition is—he or she can just as easily disappear behind the cover of the swimmer beside you as well.

3. Outside Smoke/The Gutter Ball.

You purposely sandbag the heats and semi-finals in order to get one of the outside lanes, where it is mega hard to see you. When the final comes around, you drop a smoke bomb on everybody and zip out to a quick lead and are never seen again.

It was like you never existed until that fateful realization your competitors have when they touch and see you hanging off the lane rope at the other side of the pool happily chewing on your goggle straps.

Counter: Sandbagging your heat swims a little too much means missing the final entirely, so be sure of what you are doing. All it takes is for a couple swimmers to swim a little faster than expected to bump you completely out of those outside lanes and out of second swim territory.

4. Fast and Furious.

From the dive it’s go-go-go! No pacing, just blast out like a lunatic to as big a lead as you can muster on the first half and pray to anything and everything that you can sustain some measure of speed coming home.

Risky, but makes for great viewing (almost always gets the teammates and coaches on their feet), and also forces you to push yourself to upper limits of what your body can handle. There’s no saving anything, and if done correctly you leave nothing in the tank.

Some of the most agony I have every experienced is taking it out like a shot over the course of the front end of a race and then limping home.

An added benefit of this strategy is that it forces the swimmers in your heat to react to what you are doing from the get-go, thereby taking them immediately off of their own race plan.

Especially effective if you are not predominantly known for taking it out like the Tasmanian devil.

Counter: Hurts like a son of a gun. Watching some swimmers pull you in mercilessly on the last lap while you try to keep your stroke from completely and utterly falling apart.

5. Hot and Cold

This is more for you sassy middle and full-blown distance swimmers. Turn up the pace on the second 25 or 50 of each 50 or 100. On the “off” 25’s and 50’s focus on maintaining the distance and pace ahead or behind your competition.

Having those “off” legs of your swim will give you the illusion of rest, even though you are still crankin’ along.

Counter: After a couple times of doing this your competition will be fully aware of what you are doing and might do the opposite in order to gain extra ground on you (i.e. hammer down on one of your “off” lengths).

6. Mid-race Breakout

Again this is more for the 400 and up swimmers. At some pre-determined point during the race, somewhere in the middle perhaps, bust out and hammer down an exceptionally fast split. Picking up the pace suddenly and taking off will startle your opponent, and while they might give chase, the delay between you peacing out and them figuring out what is happening is sometimes enough to put an insurmountable lead into place.

Counter: If you try to sprint off, and no distance is gained, than you sense as though expended a whole bunch of fuel fruitlessly.

7. Uber for Swimmers

Jason Lezak did this perfectly in 2008 in the 4x100m freestyle relay in Beijing. Bruce Hayes did it against West German superstar Michael Gross in 1984 in Los Angeles in the 4×200 freestyle relay. The swimmer’s version of a judo move, you use the speed of the swimmer next to you against him or her. Best done at high speeds (bigger the wake, bigger the draft), cozy up to the lane line and hitch a ride, saving that energy and nitro for the last burst into the wall.

Counter: Getting too close to the lane rope and mashing your face and hands on it. Your competitor could see what you are doing and move away so far that he gives away his glorious draft to the swimmer on the other side.

by Olivier Poirier-Leroy. You can join 9,000+ swimmers and coaches who read his motivational newsletter last week by clicking here.

Featured image by Mike Lewis.

Fine-Tune Your Open Turns

Last week was our first meet of the Men’s season, and we absolutely crushed it. The team as a whole looked pretty solid, and everyone swam great, but we still need some fine-tuning.

“Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points.”

– Knute Rockne

Meets are a great time for coaches to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of both individuals (which we will tell you post-race) and the team as a whole. This lets us design practices with specific skills in mind to work on turning weaknesses into strengths.

At this point, LHS is weakest between the flags and the wall in either direction.

  • Starts
  • Turns
  • Finishes

Our open turns and backstroke turns are particularly hard to watch.

Over the next few practices, we’ll be working on all of our weak points, starting with open and backstroke turns.

While Ryan Lachte isn’t my favorite person to have do these examples (he does some odd things that don’t work for every swimmer), these vids do offer some really good basic tips that everyone should get familiar with.

Open Turn (Fly)

Backstroke Turn

Backstroke to Breaststroke “Bucket” Turn

I realize this girl is MAYBE 13 years old, but this is the best example of a high-school legal bucket turn I could find.

Stay Motivated

It can get tough working on skills and drills in practice. Often times these sets are the most boring, or most technically challenging, and the tired mind will start to wander. Well, don’t let it!

While drill sets might be dull, they are one of the most important parts of practice. Developing good techniques leads to more efficient swimming and faster times in races, which is the whole reason we’re here, right?

One of the best ways to get motivated and stay focused is to watch some fast races. So here you go!

Michael Phelps Wins 200m Individual Medley Gold – London 2012 Olympics


Developing Your Best Non-Free

We have a quick three days before our first meet on the 10th, each day we’ll dig into a stroke, working on both the foundation of the stroke and refining technique. We’ll start with Butterfly and end with Backstroke.

To get prepped for this week, take a look at the video links below. Even if you’re a veteran swimmer, watch the videos. If you’re willing to work to change bad habits into good ones, you’ll get faster. If you fight the change, no one can help you.

Also below you’ll find an article that Swim Swam published last week about reducing frontal drag: Public Enemy #1 of fast swimming. Other than shaving and wearing tech suits, all of the listed methods of drag reduction are things you can start doing right now (Monday) to get faster. You should probably do them.

Note: Tuesday’s morning practice will be required, Friday will be a make up practice.

For Monday

For Tuesday

For Wednesday

Feel free to continue browsing videos to improve your best strokes, The Race Club is a great place to start.

10 Ways to Reduce Frontal Drag in Swimming

Courtesy of Gary Hall Sr., 10-time World Record Holder, 3-time Olympian, 1976 Olympic Games US Flagbearer and The Race Club co-founder. Original article found on Swim Swam.

Frontal drag is the number one enemy of the swimmer. Swimming is arguably the most technique sensitive sport on the planet. With water being some 800 times denser than air, the frontal drag forces that slow swimmers down come into play at much slower speeds than all other sports on land. For that reason, in order to become fast, we must learn how to reduce frontal drag as much as possible.

There are three types of frontal drag; friction, pressure (form) drag and surface (wave) drag. Researchers have shown that all three can contribute significantly to the slowing of a swimmer. In any given medium, including water, the frontal drag forces of an object are determined by its shape, its surface texture (friction) and its speed squared. Here are ten good ways to help reduce frontal drag.

1 – Keep the body aligned.

A curved body creates more frontal drag than a straight body. While some curve in our body is needed in order to create more propulsion, such as during the hip undulation in the dolphin kick, it is important that we bend, but not break the body. Too much curve or too much angle of one of our appendages sticking out causes an enormous increase in frontal drag. Keeping the body aligned requires having a tight core.

2 – Keep the head down.

Keeping the head down helps keep it in alignment with the body, but more importantly, a head down also can help reduce surface or wave drag. There is actually less drag underwater than on the surface of the water (think of a submarine), because we eliminate surface drag. Frontal drag is proportional to our speed squared, so ideally, we would like to see the head submerged during the fastest point in the stroke cycle, which I call the surge point. All four strokes have a surge point where the head should be underwater, even if it is slightly so.

3 – Pull underwater with a high elbow.

In the pulling motion of all four strokes, the upper arm is the ‘bad cop’, causing most of the frontal drag. By keeping the elbow nearer to the surface (except it backstroke) and more in alignment with our body’s motion, we can reduce, but not eliminate, the frontal drag caused by the forward motion of the upper arm during the pull.

4 – Wear the fastest technology racing suit possible.

The records set in 2008 and 2009 convinced all of us that the suits really matter. Even today, the best suits help reduce friction and keep the body tighter to reduce frontal drag.

5 – Shave all the hair from your body.

Although this is generally not done (or recommended) until post puberty, when significantly more hair grows on the body, shaving the entire body will reduce friction and make us slicker and faster.

6- Streamline off the start and all turns.

Getting into the tightest streamline possible creates a huge advantage when you are moving fast. The fastest point you will reach in a swimming race (about 15 mph) is when the fingertips touch the water off the starting block. The second fastest is when your toes leave the wall on each turn (6-8 mph). At either time, because of the exponential relationship between speed and frontal drag, you had better get into the tightest streamline possible.

7 – Keep your kick tight.

In freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke, the kick must be tight in order to help reduce frontal drag. With the former two, that means not bending the knees too much and in breaststroke, it means keeping the knees at or inside the hips.

8 – Double cap.

Covering up that thick head of hair and creating a new surface for your head with the reduced friction of silicone is another good way to reduce drag. Most athletes today will double cap, leaving the goggle straps between the first and second caps. The outer cap should be a thicker silicone material to maintain its smoothness.

9 – Wear low profile goggles.

Racing goggles should be strapped on tighter to the face and are a little smaller and sleeker than larger training goggles. The less they protrude from your face, the better.

10 – Point your toes.

One of them most common mistakes made on the start is not pointing the toes at entry. A German study recently showed that a relaxed foot creates 40% more frontal drag than a pointed toe. In general, the less splash one makes on the dive entry, the less frontal drag. The other common strokes where the relaxed foot causes more frontal drag is at the end of the breaststroke kick and the down kick in dolphin. In either case, keep the toes pointed backward to reduce drag.