January 2005 archives

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27 January 2005

Seattle will play host to the Pacific Rim Sports Summit in June of this year. Nine Olympic sports will be contested, including synchronized swimming. This event is an attempt to provide high caliber international competition to US athletes. The nine participating countries include top synchronized swimming nations such as Canada, Japan and Russia. You can check out the official website for further details.

23 January 2005

I helped coach my first meet in the Northeastern United States yesterday. It was an Association meet, which basically means that two clubs in Connecticut competed against each other. Thanks in large part to the parents, who helped announce, score, prepare food, etc., the meet went off very well. I was very happy with the performance of our team.

The first meet of the year is always a little tough, as the routines are new and the athletes are not used to competiting in front of judges and spectators. I am hopeful that this meet will encourage them to work hard in upcoming practices, as they now know exactly what to improve for the next competition. It is important for coaches to review a competition with athletes, and point out things that were done well, and areas that they will need attention. It is also very helpful to video the competition, and review the tape at the following practice. Coaches must then build time into practice for each area that needs work. This takes organization and time committment; it is all too easy to get stuck on one routine skill and not make time for other important skills, such as figures.

20 January 2005

Last week I made reference to the 2005 FINA World Championships in Montreal. FINA has decided to pull the competition from Montreal due to financial concerns, and is going to conduct a short bidding process to determine another host city for the event. Long Beach, which bid for the event prior to FINA awarding it to Montreal, won't consider saving the competition due to lack of time to prepare. Australia has also decided not to bid for this summer's event. Athens, Greece, may bid for the event. Germany is also talking about making a bid. FINA will make a decision in February as to where the meet will be located.

17 January 2005

As we practice each day with our synchronized swimming clubs, it is easy to forget that there are athletes and coaches around the country working towards similar goals. You might find it helpful to stay informed about sport in general by looking at other websites such as the US Olympic Committee's site. There is a section called "Tips" that includes information from top athletes in the country. The US Anti-Doping Agency's website also contains helpful information.

12 January 2005

The world championships for aquatic sports (synchronized swimming, diving, swimming and water polo) is held every other year. This year, the International Federation for aquatic sports (FINA) has awarded the event to Montreal, Canada. The organizers are now having problems regarding funding, and the event is in jeopardy. In a meeting yesterday, FINA gave Montreal until January 18th to secure funds to host the event. FINA may either move the event to another city, or as a last resort it may be cancelled. This would be a significant disappointment to synchro athletes, as this is typically the most prestigious event outside of the Olympic Games for National Team athletes.

Additional information can be found in related articles.

10 January 2005

It is the time of year now when athletes and coaches are completing the choreography of their new routines. For athletes, this can be a scary time. New routines are often physically difficult, especially if athletes are out of shape.

It is typical that coaches begin each fall season focusing on workouts and drills. Athletes benefit from this focus, and become more fit. However, as more and more time is spent on writing new routines for the upcoming season, there is less time at practice for fitness workouts and drills. As a result, athletes find new routines more difficult than would otherwise be the case.

There is a balance to be achieved between spending time on new routines, and allocating time for workouts. Coaches and athletes must remember that both are important. Additional time may be needed in order to achieve both tasks. However, I think it is always best to remember that quality is better than quantity. Long, unfocused hours at the pool will not achieve better results versus shorter, more focused training sessions. Athletes can also do workouts on their own time, such as running. Maintaining fitness will help athletes perform new routines well. It will also speed up the process of cleaning routines (defining each count and move in order to achieve synchronization).

synchronized swimming insights from an olympic gold medalist