Courtesy of Anne Lepesant and the Southern California Swimming’s Metro Committee:
We do the pull and kick at a very specific time in breaststroke… – Do we want a big sloppy kick or a tight, fast kick in backstroke?.. – Butterfly is a kick driven stroke. Use your stomach muscles… – You cannot do your pulldown until you turn onto your stomach… – Rotate side to side. You really have to anticipate your breath. Get your breath early… – Keep your head still and let your body do the rotating… – Tight streamline, hands come apart, dolphin kick, pulldown, then shoot and recover… – The faster you get your elbow up the faster you get that hand in… – Arms up, eyes looking forward, press your toes into the block, circle arms forward, and go… – Straight in fast, flip tight… – Feel the power from the pull…
Such was the advice given to 80 swimmers aged 9-12 by coaches from a dozen different teams as part of SCS Metro Committee’s development camp in La Mirada this weekend. The camp is part of the committee’s mission to encourage younger age-group swimmers and to support their athletic development as they move toward the next stages of swimming.
According to camp director Michael Jafari:
“…the camp’s purpose is to create a learning environment for more competitors to focus on such things as goal setting, visualization, relaxation and racing strategies, as well as leadership.”
Mirroring the format of USA Swimming’s various select camps, this regional version featured targeted stroke instruction and included visits from members of the National Team. “We split the campers into small groups and rotated them through seven stations: fly, back, breast, free, starts, turns and underwaters,” explained Jafari. “Not only did the kids benefit from focusing on technique, but they were able to work with coaches from other teams, which adds a little perspective to their training.”
Back on land, Olympic medalists Jessica Hardy and Anthony Ervin spent an hour with the kids, telling their stories, posing for photos and signing autographs. Both Ervin and Hardy began their swimming careers as age-groupers in Southern California so their stories resonated with the kids. “It was really motivating,” one young swimmer told his father at the end.
It was meaningful for the elite athletes as well. “I really enjoy being here, back in Southern California where I started, talking to these kids. I wish I’d had something like this when I was their age,” said Anthony Ervin.