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Monday, 25 August 2014

Flipping the Switch

Every great athlete goes through a period of time where they flip the switch & begin to develop into a great athlete.

I spoke with a young athlete last summer, fresh off a near medal-winning swim at the World Youth Championships.   I asked him, "What did you learn?"

He said, "I have to work harder."

"I have to work harder"

There is something about saying this phrase out loud that merges its intention to the athlete.

This phrase, said out loud with intent, is the switch flipping.

"I have to work harder".

Nothing comes before it & nothing comes after it.

Great athletes need greatness like they need air.

"I have to work harder."

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Recapping July 2014 Championship Meets

T2 Aquatics' has started its Championship Season with a Bang!

Congrats to all T2 Aquatics athletes who participated in our Sectional and State Championships this month!  T2's "Senior" athletes (age 15 and older) earned a 5th place finish at USA Swimming's Sectional Championships held in Orlando (July 10-14), and T2's "Age Group" athletes (age 14 and younger) placed 5th in Florida Swimming's Age Group Championship competition held in Gainesville (July 18-21).

Here is a recap of each meet's highlights, "what's next" for each group of athletes, and a short description of our T2 Aquatics' athletes who are competing at National Championship meets at the end of the summer.

Recap-- "Senior Athletes" -- USA Swimming Southern Zone Sectionals (Orlando):

T2 Aquatics foursome of Elise Haan, Justine Bowker, Kayla Tennant, and Abby Garner teamed up to win 2 relays, leading our young team to a 5th place finish.  

Individual point scorers include: Justine Bowker (individual Champ in the 200 IM, 4th in the 100 Fly), Elise Haan (3rd in the 200 Back and 4th in the 100 Back), Haley Fournier (10th in the 1500 Free), Kaitlyn Hauser (8th in the 1500, 13th in the 200 Fly, 16th in the 400 & 800 Free), Liam Hollowsky (8th in the 800 Free, 15th in the 1500 Free), Shawn Lemarie (11th in the 800 Free, 13th in the 1500 Free).

Read more about individual Champion Justine Bowker under the "Who's Who" section.

What's Next for "Senior Athletes":

T2 Aquatics athletes Justine Bowker, Elise Haan and Kaitlyn Hauser will travel to Irvine California in August to compete in the National Championships (Bowker), and the Junior National Championships (Haan and Hauser).

The National Championships will serve as a "Selection Meet" for USA Swimming's Pan Pacific Games Team, Pan American Games Team, and World University Games Team.  USA Swimming will also choose its 2015 World Championship Team based on the results of Nationals and the Pan Pacific Games.  T2 Aquatics' Justine Bowker is coming off an outstanding season, where she qualified for USA Swimming's prestigious National "A" Team and put up the 10th fastest time in the World en route to winning the 2013 U.S. Open Championship in the 200 IM.  We are looking forward to seeing Justine swim faster than ever at this meet.

The Junior National Championships is the most competitive 18 and under Championship in the World.  T2 Aquatics' representatives are poised for a great showing on this stage, having picked up valuable experience at increasingly higher levels of swimming.  

"Who's Who" (The athletes to watch in the "Senior Age Groups":

Justine Bowker (University of Michigan) is a former Big 10 "Swimmer of the Meet" and Big Ten Conference Champion.  Justine's 2013 U.S. Open Win in the 200 IM was her third U.S. Open Championship Victory (she won two in 2009).  Her time of 2:11.07 was the 10th fastest time in the World during the 2013 season, and is the 10th fastest time in the history of United States Swimming.

Kaitlyn Hauser (Estero High School) is going into her Junior year in High School. Kaitlyn won the 2013 2A State Championship in the 500 Freestyle, and is currently ranked 10th Nationally in the 1650 Freestyle, as well as 12th Nationally in the 1000 Freestyle among all 15 year olds.

Elise Haan (Gulf Coast High School) is going into her Senior year. Elise has won three 3A State titles in the 100 Backstroke and one 3A State title in the 200 Medley Relay, and is currently ranked 5th Nationally in the 100 Back, and 6th Nationally in the 200 Back, among 16 year olds.


Recap -- "Age Group" Athletes -- Florida Swimming's Age Group Champs (Gainesville):

T2 Aquatics foursome of Paolo Sunyak, Matt Limbacher, Cole Gutknecht, and David Olmstead teamed up to win the 200 Medley Relay on the second day of competition, boosting T2 Aquatics to a 5th place finish at this Florida Swimming 14 and under Championship meet.

Mason Laur (age 11), Karen Liu (age 14), and Matt Limbacher (age 14) each brought home individual wins, and bragging rights that come with being the fastest athlete in the State of Florida.  Mason won the 200 Free, 50 Fly, and 100 Fly in the 11 year old age group, Karen placed first the 200 IM, and Matt was victorious in the 100 Breaststroke.

Individual point scorers include: Madi Baron (7th in the 200 Back), Jacob Conner (7th in the 50 Back, 6th in the 50 Free), Audrey Delcompare (5th in the 100 Breast), William Erickson (9th in the 50 Breast, 10th in the 50 Back, 4th in the 50 Fly, 10th in the 100 Back, and 5th in the 100 Fly), Emma Feehery (6th in the 100 Free, 5th in the 200 IM), Madison Feehery (6th in the 200 IM), Andrew Garner (7th in the 50 Fly, 6th in the 50 Breast), Emmett Gillen (5th in the 50 Free, 4th in the 100 Fly), Cole Gutknecht (3rd in the 400 IM, 8th in the 400 Free, 8th in the 1500 Free), Makailey Hauser (4th in the 800 Free, 8th in the 100 Breast, 6th in the 50 Breast, 8th in the 400 Free), Maquinn Havig (8th in the 200 IM), Zoe Hendrickx (7th in the 50 Breast), Mason Laur (3rd in the 800 Free/200 IM, 1st in the 200 Free/50 Fly/100 Fly, 5th in the 100 Breast), Havana Layton (7th in the 50 Back, 9th in the 50 Free), Matt Limbacher (2nd in the 200 Breast, 1st in the 100 Breast, 5th in the 50 Free, 6th in the 200 IM), Karen Liu (5th in the 800 Free, 4th in the 400 IM/200 Fly, 8th in the 100 Fly, 1st in the 200 IM), Davis Olmsted (8th in the 50 Free), Olivia Owens (16th in the 50 Fly), Chloe Pankita (3rd in the 800 Free, 5th in the 400 Free), Anton Sunyak (8th in the 50 Fly), and Paolo Sunyak (8th in the 200 Free, 8th in the 400 IM, 6th in the 1500 Free). 

Read more about individual Champions Mason Laur, Karen Liu, and Matt Limbacher, in the "Who's Who" section.

What's Next for T2's "Age Group" Athletes:

T2 Aquatics 14 and under athletes are finished with racing for the summer.  Our next major competition will be in December.  Our top athletes are encouraged to train through the first of August , and then take a break for 7-14 days.  Many athletes/families have already started this process.

The training that takes place during August, minus the vacation time, is generally very good for T2 Aquatics athletes.  We like to use this time to get ahead of the competition.  One of the reason our athletes are encouraged to train for most of this "end-of-the-summer" period is because great gains can be made during this time, and we would prefer to not take a formal "break" from training.  We tend to see families go on their separate vacations (as do some of our staff members), but for the most part we remain a cohesive team.  We find that we move our athletes forward during the month of August in a progressive way -- which is not the norm in Florida or in most parts of the United States.

"Who's Who" (The athletes to watch in the  "Age Group" groups):

Mason Laur (age 11) is currently ranked 4th Nationally in the 100 Fly, 5th in the 50 Fly, 11th in the 200 Free, and 12th in the 200 IM.

Karen Liu (age 14) is currently ranked 19th Nationally in the 400 IM.

Matt Limbacher (age 14) has a number 1 ranking Nationally in the 13 year old 100 Breast, as well as 3rd Nationally in the 200 Breast.   This weekend, competing his second meet as a 14 year old, Matt put up the 8th fastest time Nationally in his new age group.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Coral Springs Meet Recap

It's been awhile since I've posted on this blog....so here we go again!!

Last weekend our T2 Aquatics Team hit the road and traveled to Florida's Gold Coast for a Prelim/Final meet.  We had a great meet!  See this youtube clip (and description below it) to find out "WHY" and "HOW" our athletes earned a "Beach Practice" on Thursday of this week.

T2 Aquatics Spirit

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

T2 Aquatics' athlete Katie Kramer swims from Europe to Africa

T2 Aquatics / Marshall University Student-Athlete Katie Kramer completed the "Straight of Gibraltar" last month, becoming the youngest American Female to complete the swim.

Of note, Katie made the decision to swim without the aide of a wetsuit!

Katie is a great example of what we are about at T2 Aquatics.  She had a great IDEA, and turned that idea into something great.  The IDEA was the necessary first part, and the ACTION was of course the necessary final part.   But without the IDEA of doing something this hardcore....the swim never would have happened.

Listen to Katie's interview with swiminfo.com here

Check out this article & Q/A, on swimswam.com here

Way to Go Katie!!!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Training and Competiting with an Edge

For those of you who follow NFL Football, you have recently learned that the Cleveland Browns have traded their young Running Back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts, in exchange for the Colt's 1st round draft pick in 2014.

It's a bold move by both teams.  The Browns have essentially conceded their season two games in, and are starting to prepare for two high draft picks next year, while the Colts are obtaining a much-needed running back to go with their prodigious Quarterback, Andrew Luck.

It's curious to me what Trent Richardson has said in wake of this trade. Keep in mind that Trent has shown flashes of greatness, but overall has not been outstanding (albeit while playing for a sub-par team in the Browns).  Yesterday, after learning about the trade, Trent was quoted as saying:

“I’m going to get studying on my playbook and get ready to go against San Francisco,” he said. “When I do go in this weekend, I’ll be playing with a big chip on my shoulder. I play like that every week but this week I feel like I got a lot to prove to people.”

A big chip on his shoulder?  Now he's going to up his game?  To prove that he shouldn't have been traded?  I understand his statement, and I have no doubt that his effort will be higher than it has been.  And that is my point.  Where has this edge been for the last year, if it's true that NOW he is going to up his game?

Athletes with an "Edge" are the best athletes to have on your team, and they are the toughest to deal with in competition.  Sometimes it takes disappointment to find that edge.  The Michael Phleps', the Michael Jordan's, and the Tom Brady's of the world have that "Edge" every day of their lives.  They hate losing, and take it personal when they don't perform their best -- and they carry that disappointment through months and years of time.  They don't get disappointed for a day and carry it through the end of the week.  The get disappointed and carry it through redemption...however long it takes.


Recently, at the World Junior Championships I spoke with an athlete who had finished his last individual race.  He had hoped to win an individual medal, but fell short.  He had raced well and performed his lifetime best time, but of course he wanted to stand on the medal stand after the race.  Instead, he stood next to me.  I asked him what he had learned.

He said, "I know now that I have to work harder, and improve the little things in practice."  His expression told me that he knew his walls and his skills were not in line with his fitness -- and without the skill work he would continue to fall short.  He wasn't thinking about the race at all.  He did everything he had trained to do.  His expressions told me that he was thinking about his practices and all the hours of wasted effort training at 95%. 

Whether it's the skill part of the sport or the fitness part of the sport that needs to improve, you have to identify it and attack it.

I thought this swimmer's comment was right on.  And it's coming from one of the best 18 and under athletes in the history of the USA.  At 17 years old, he was learning young that you have to bring that edge to practice and competition every day, and practice being that edgy athlete all of the time -- or risk disappointment at the end of the season.  What he had done, to get to be the best 18 and under in the USA, simply wasn't good enough!