Note: It doesn't matter if you're a coach or swimmer, watching an elite level meet or age-group practice. The below applies. Please read the following article from a very wise man...
~By Dave Samuelsohn
What did you learn from the 2004 Olympics? Did you follow the results online? Did you watch the coverage? Did you get up out of your seat for the big finishes?
Most of what Coaches know about swimming they learn from observing, analyzing and sometimes, by jumping in to try and feel what it feels like - in effect, reverse-engineering the most efficient swimmers in the world to determine what makes fast swimmers, fast.
You just had a once-in-a-four-year opportunity to watch the world’s most elite swimmers demonstrate their starts, turns, and amazing strokes, from above and below the water, in hi-definition. You heard Rowdy Gaines tell us what to look for and, presumably, you got to rewind - or reverse-Tivo - and watch it all again.
So what did you learn?
How does Jason Lezak get off the blocks so fast? Why does Alexander Popov’s entry leave no splash? How much time does Natalie Coughlin spend on her back - or is she mostly on her sides? When exactly does Michael Phelps recover his head after breathing in Butterfly ? Was it the same in the 100 as it was in the 200?
What was different about Amanda Beard’s style of Breaststroke? How many other styles did you see and what worked? Why does Ian Thorpe’s kick look to be so much more an important aspect of his stroke than other swimmers’? (...and how do I order a pair of those feet ?!)
Who’s faster: Gary Hall or Grant Hackett? And what do you think goes through Jenny Thompson’s mind - and heart - when she steps up for a relay?
What a great opportunity to observe and analyze, and maybe, jump in to try and feel what it feels like…
What did you learn?