In Practice + Pancakes, SwimSwam takes you across the country and through a practice day in the life of swimming’s best athletes. It breaks down training sessions, sub sets, and what every team is doing to be at their best. But why are they doing things that way? What’s the philosophy behind these decisions, and who’s driving this pain train? In Beyond the Pancakes, we dive inside the minds of coaches and athletes, getting a first hand look at why they do the things they do, and where their minds are pointed on the compass of evolution as a swimmer.
In today’s Beyond the Pancakes, we sat down with the assistant director of athletic performance at Mizzou (and the primary strength coach for their swimming and diving team), Joe Collins. Joe comes from a power lifting background, and never swam competitively, giving him a unique perspective that many might think would hinder his coaching abilities with swimmers, but only seems to be improving them.
When Joe looks at a swimmer, the first thing he sees is their knees, their shoulders, their ankles, all pointing in different directions. This problem stems from a lack of core strength and stability, which is Joe’s first priority, taking the swimmers through movements that will help build that strength up and hold everything in a proper line before they actually start working on building strength in other muscles.
Although Joe admittedly wasn’t thrilled when he started working with the swim team, after seeing the daily grind they go through and the dedication they have for their craft, he now enjoys thinking outside of his comfort zone to think up ways he can help. Joe has found that if they can find 2 or 3 more degrees of mobility in their shoulders, for instance, that could translate to big differences in the water, which could mean the difference between 7th place and a top 3 finish.