December 2004 archives

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15 December 2004

Synchronized swimming involves propelling your body through the water and out of the water. This is done using your arms, hands, legs, feet, and ultimately your core body strength. Support scull is the main technique used to keep your legs high out of the water. It is often difficult to teach swimmers this important skill, as they have trouble feeling pressure on the water with the palms of their hands.

I am often in search of drills that I can give the swimmers I coach to help them 'feel' the water on their arms and hands. When sculling, especially doing support scull, it is difficult to describe what it feels like to have pressure on the water. I found a great website that has some good drills for capturing this feeling. You can have swimmers do laps of swimming, but also laps of sculling. Support sculling can be practiced in a layout position with your face down on the surface of the water. Swimmers can scull foot-first down the pool, and practice feeling the water pressure against their palms. There are other tips on this esynchro website that you may find helpful.

12 December 2004

It is that time of year again...synchro coaches and athletes around the world are writing their new routines for the year. I have been trying to do some writing myself. In my opinion, it is much better to watch a routine that is simple and synchronized, than a routine that has complicated, difficult moves and is not together. This is especially true for novice and intermediate swimmers.

Last week I was working on a trio routine. They wanted to do a spin with three complete turns. It really matched the music, but they were not together at all when they tried to do the move. I convinced them that if they slowed down and did only two turns together, they would probably get higher marks from the judges. Also, if they start out with a simpler spin, and learn to get it together, we can always add back in another spin.

Sometimes it is also easier to write something simple, just to see how it will work. Then more ideas may come to you and you can add in simple touches that make the routine more interesting. (e.g., head turns, hand movements, etc.)

7 December 2004

Have you ever noticed how silly Olympic mascots are? It took a while for Izzy to grow on me in 1996. Izzy was supposed to be a futuristic cartoon stuck in a computer, or something like that. Mascots are chosen several years prior to the Olympic Games. So by the time the Olympics came around in 1996, the idea of a computer-related mascot was a bit outdated. His form actually kept changing, as well as his name. At first it was 'Whatisit' and then it became 'Izzy.' He was cute though.

I found this picture of the 2006 Winter Olympic mascots, Neve and Blitz. You have to admit they look a bit funny.

I actually really liked the 2002 Winter Olympic mascots, Powder, Coal and Copper.

4 December 2004

I just want to post an additional article and information on the death of Donn Squire. He founded the Cypress Swim Club with Del Neel, and the club plans to continue to work in his honor this year.

Anyone who wishes to make a contribution in honor of Donn, may make donations to the Cypress Swim Club. Contributions may be mailed to: Cypress Swim Club at P.O. Box 4714, Carmel, California, 93921

2 December 2004

Each year athletes must try out for positions on the United States National Teams. The top ranked athletes in the nation make up Team I. The next in line make up Team II. And there is also a Junior National Team made up of the top athletes in the Junior age category. Selection criteria and events vary from year to year, and athletes may be asked to compete against each other several times before a decision is made.

Results of several phases of team trials are available on the USA Synchro website. A list of Team I athletes and Team II Training Squad athletes is posted.

synchronized swimming insights from an olympic gold medalist