Practice + Pancakes: How to Turn Your Double into a Mini Meet

SwimSwam wants to give you an inside look at what a normal day-in-the-life looks like for any given swimmer, and how that differs from team to team or city to city. We send our head of production, Coleman Hodges, to be a fly on the wall at practice, then relay what he discovered back to you over pancakes. Or at least breakfast.

Practice + Pancakes Holiday Edition! I took a trip home for the new year to Columbia, Missouri and visited my old swim club, Columbia Swim Club. The first practice I went to was with coach Todd. Now I have a theory: I think Todd’s hair is so awesome because he has so many good ideas that they have to come out somehow. If you don’t know what his hair looks like, watch the video. If you haven’t heard any of his ideas about swimming… watch the video.

I coached with Todd for 2 years, and he was always coming up with creative and new ways to give the kids challenges that they could have fun with, especially during the holidays. This year was no exception. Todd created his very own mini meet within a morning/afternoon double.

He separated the kids into 2 teams, tigers and sharks (CSC is the tigersharks). In the morning, he had the kids do 3 rounds of 6×50, and Todd kept track of how many each athlete got under their 200 goal pace. Then based off of those results, he put them into A, B, or C heats. Then in the afternoon, each heat did 2 rounds of 4×100, all out on 4:00. They were scored based on how close they got to their best times on each 100. Pretty intricate, but with the help of 1 or 2 other coaches, Todd turned his double into a prelims/finals format test set that left the kids tired but kept them competitive.

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That’s what I call some grade-A coaching. Effort + enthusiasm for what you do = the best atmosphere for successful swimmers 🏊🏼


Too much emphasis on performance and competition. I think very unhealthy to put so much pressure on kids. What ever happened to just enjoying swimming and frolicking in the water? These kids are being conditioned to think if they do not do good they will be failures. This is why so many Americans are depressed, sad and lonely. I know a lot of people will disagree but this is fact and you can never ignore fact.


Facts are backed up by evidence. What this is is conjecture based on shoddy observations.


A competitive, performance based sport has too much emphasis on performance and competition? I don’t know about you but if my parents were paying tons of money for me to go to swim practice and I was “frolicking” in the water I wouldn’t have stayed in swimming very long. The kids are being conditioned to handle bigger meet schedules where they need to swim fast in the morning to make it back at night (and swimming fast is fun).

Don’t feed the trolls 😉

ct swim fan

Really? Practice should be frolicking in the water? That is what I would call swimming with your friends after practice is over.


Nice practice! Like that it was based on their specific 200 pace versus just who went the fastest times. Good way to reward “slower” swimmers who may have actually swam better times relative to their own personal best.

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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